For anyone who has never heard of italki before, I promise you that it is one of the most powerful online language learning tools you will find. Italki, at first glance, is a website where you can find language partners and teachers to help you learn a new language. And it is a great website to do that.
At the same time, italki is much more powerful. Think of it as an online resource to reach out to people around the world.
Here are 7 ways to use italki besides as a basic site to find language exchange partners.
1. To Plan A Trip
This one is great because you don’t even need to be learning a foreign language. The only requirement is that you be willing to work with someone eager to learn English. Start by finding exchange partners in your target country. You can use the search feature, or even just start chatting with people.
Be clear from the start that you are willing to practice English with them in exchange for information about where they live, what there is to do, and for insights from a local. Then, spend some time chatting with them (in English) about who they are and where they live. I guarantee that you will learn more about your destination than you would just from tour guides and online articles.
2. To Proofread or Correct Your Writing
Diana has used italki before to proofread things she has written. Normally, when she writes in English, I proofread it, and when I write in Spanish, she proofreads my writing. However, occasionally, if I don’t have the chance to read through something and she’s in a hurry, she’ll use italki to go through what she wrote.
She sets up a class with a paid teacher, at accessible rates, who works through her writing and helps her correct it. This is great for her for a few reasons: a) she’s not waiting for me to have time to review it, b) she learns from the corrections the person makes, and c) I’m not particularly known for my patience so she receives impartial feedback about her writing, and we remain happily married.
3. To Translate a Word, Sentence or Document
italki is great if you’re stuck on a word, phrase or sentence and need to better understand what it means. The truth is that words exist in foreign languages that are not clear to you as you are learning the language, in spite of whatever you read online or in a dictionary. Italki has the option to post a question and native speakers will answer quickly. In my experience I generally have an answer within an hour or two.
For longer paragraphs or full documents, it’s worth the small investment to hire someone to work through it with you. Take the opportunity to turn it into a private language class.
4. To Meet People
Of course, italki is a fabulous tool to find conversation exchange partners as well as teachers. Even so, if you are not interested in learning a foreign language, you can still find a diverse range of people to communicate and talk with. As long as you’re willing to speak English and help someone in their process of learning English, you will always find a friend online. Plus, it’s a great feeling to help others learn about your culture.
5. To Learn a Dialect
Speaking Latino is of course a website about learning dialects, Spanish slang and the local language throughout Latin America and Spain, so of course we need to mention how much italki can help you with learning the specific language of a country. There’s a great feature that allows you to search for teachers based on their country, so of course if you want to learn a specific dialect, or learn more about the language of a certain country you just search on people from that country.
I have found it to be an extremely useful resource for this. Once I explain what I am doing, and that I am interested in their country, and the unique language they speak, people immediately open up and are willing to help.
6. To Learn Grammar
If you have a question about grammar for a language, italki is the perfect place. You have trained teachers, knowledgeable natives and avid learners all willing to chime in. Heck, even if you are a native English speaker and have a question about English you can probably get a clarification or answer.
7. Ask a Question
Just have a random question you’d like to ask someone? Italki works for that too. Obviously it makes more sense if it’s a question about a specific region or country, but the truth is, you can ask anything here. There’s a good chance you’ll receive an answer. In fact, it’s likely you’ll hear a few differing opinions.
italki is an amazing website that allows you to learn from others. Glancing at the home page, you wouldn’t expect it to be a social website, however, in almost every part of the site, you’ll find people willing to help, to teach and to learn from any interaction with them. Spend a little time playing around and talking with people and you’ll find that you will be using italki daily.