language-exchange-apps

9 Best Language Exchange Apps in 2023 to Connect and Converse

Believe it or not, there are others out there who want to learn a new language just as badly as you… and some of them want to learn your native tongue.

Out of these eager learners, there’s somebody who’s also a native speaker of the language you have your eye on.

That’s what we call a win-win situation, and you can find these wonderful learners to complement your goals with apps for language exchange!

I’ve gathered the best language exchange apps of 2023 where you can find the perfect partner for you.

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What Are Language Exchange Apps?

Language exchange is a valuable learning experience. Find a native speaker of your target language who wants to learn your native language, and start talking!

Typically, you’d set a time limit for each language and help each other converse in that tongue until the time is up. You learn a lot and (hopefully) make a new friend.

Language exchange apps take the whole process mobile. You don’t need to struggle to find time to meet in person or feel awkward talking in real time face-to-face.

Apps for language exchange can help you do many things:

  • Learn on the go by sending text or voice messages when convenient.
  • Get individual feedback on writing, pronunciation and grammar.
  • Ask questions and get personalized answers.
  • Practice any and all language skills as desired.

There’s nothing like taking notes from someone who’s a linguistic insider. But of course, language exchange shouldn’t be your only study method!

You might enjoy learning songs in your target language. Adding music into your studies is not only a fun way to learn, but also a great way to help you remember vocabulary, plus other amazing benefits.

Memorizing the lyrics to a couple of popular tunes will likely impress your language exchange buddy, too.

Or, you might be more into learning with videos. You can try FluentU for authentic videos made by and for native speakers, like movie clips, commercials and music videos.

The interactive subtitles and personalized quizzes can help you learn and study words and phrases that you can practice with your language exchange partner.

Now that you know what they are, let’s look at some of the best language exchange apps that you can add to your learning arsenal!

1. Best for Ease of Communication: HelloTalk

language-exchange-apps-hellotalk

Based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, HelloTalk boasts over 30 million users and more than 150 languages.

HelloTalk offers tools to assist with translation, transliteration, voice-to-text and text-to-voice features. Even beginning language learners are sure to understand each other.

This app really excels at making communication easy. You can chat with your language partners via text and voice messages, voice and video calls and even doodles!

HelloTalk also allows you to share “Moments” like you would on social media. Anyone learning your native language can see your Moments and learn from them, and you can find others’ Moments in your target language.

Though the app is not unsafe, it’s sometimes called “the Tinder for language learners.” HelloTalk has a bit of a reputation for attracting unsavory users who are looking for a partnership of a different kind.

Just remember to never give out personal information, and only move the conversation to external apps if you feel completely comfortable.

2. Best for Straightforward Practice: Tandem

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With Tandem, you can text, talk or video chat anywhere in the world.

Like many social networking sites, you can “Follow” people, see who follows you and filter who can see your profile. You can also write reviews about users you interacted with and send “good vibes” their way to tell others, “She’s cool.”

Tandem acts much like a chat program with added features for language learners. You can communicate via text, video, audio and images. There’s also a “translate” feature and the option to correct writing.

The free Tandem app covers a lot of mileage, but you can upgrade to Tandem Pro for $13.99 a month to remove ads and gain a few extra features.

Tandem handles the Tinder-similarity issue by reminding users that the app should only be used for language learning. Further, every application is reviewed to help ensure that Tandem remains a safe place for users.

Everyone who joins is also required to upload a profile picture that clearly shows their face. But be wary that online security measures such as these are never fully foolproof.

3. Best for Specific Language Questions: HiNative

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HiNative is a Q&A platform that specializes in getting your questions answered by native speakers of your target language.

Click the “Ask” button, and the app will provide question templates. Once you fill in the blanks, your question will be auto-translated to other users’ native languages.

You can record yourself talking to allow native speakers to provide feedback on your pronunciation. There’s also a category for asking about a country or region, and one called “Ask Something Else” that’s usually used for cultural and opinion questions.

HiNative has two forms of in-app currency. Pay for Coins to send gifts to others, and give Diamonds to reward excellent content. Earning enough Diamonds allows you to cash them out for real money!

A monthly subscription of about $6 gets you access to additional question templates, priority tickets for faster responses, audio replies, bookmarks, removal of ads and more.

Of course, as a language exchange, you can and should answer some questions yourself. It won’t take much effort, and it’ll really help out other members of the language-learning community.

4. Best for In-Person Groups: Meetup

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Meetup shows you people in your area who regularly come together over a common hobby or interest.

If you love knitting, want to join a book club or hope to practice your target language—there’s a Meetup group for that.

Start your search by looking for conversation groups. Browse the “Language & Culture” section to find conversation groups in your area, tailored by target language and level. Often, these groups meet regularly, on a particular day and in the same location.

You may also meet a language exchange partner through Meetup’s cultural groups.

Cultural groups tend to include native speakers of the given language as well as culturally-attached individuals (they’re learning the language, love the food, have a spouse from that culture, etc.). These groups also get together regularly, and activities often involve music, film and food.

Meetup is free to join but requires a small fee to RSVP to events. Organizers of events pay a monthly subscription fee.

5. Best for Careful Connections: Idyoma

language exchange app

Idyoma aims to help its users “learn languages together,” per its slogan.

An intentional misspelling of the Spanish word idioma (language), this app was originally created for native Spanish speakers. Today, you can find language exchange partners for virtually any language.

To use Idyoma, create a profile complete with pictures of yourself and language information. You can then meet other language learners in your area or worldwide.

Like Tinder, you’ll swipe right or left to filter through profiles. Of course, on Idyoma you’re looking for someone who would make a good language exchange partner.

Once you select a partner, you’ll connect in the app via text chat. Within chats, press and hold messages to get an instant translation. There’s a monthly cap on the number of chats you can start, so choose wisely. This should also help reduce any unsavory message connections.

For $2.99 a month you can upgrade to a premium subscription. You can also pay a one-time fee of $4.99 to verify your identity and encourage more people to chat with you.

6. Best for Simplicity of Use: Speaky

language exchange app

Don’t mistake the simple interface of Speaky for low functionality.

Like other apps, you begin by creating a profile with a picture and a short “About Me” description, including your native and target language(s). You can designate current levels for each of your languages, from beginner to native.

Next, browse the profiles of other learners on the app and set up an exchange. You’ll chat primarily via text and audio messages, and you can make corrections to your partner’s written messages to help them improve, and vice versa.

When browsing for conversation partners, Speaky lists them based on who’s currently online. You can filter your search by native language, target language and even hobbies or interests.

The no-frills interface makes the app easy to use and navigate. Speaky claims users from 150 nationalities and over 110 languages. It’s completely free to use, and one of the best parts of Speaky is that it’s ad-free!

7. Best for Organic Connections: Twitter

language exchange app

Ever thought about advancing in your target language in 280 characters or less?

That’s where Twitter comes in. There’s content in virtually every language, valuable study resources and even entire communities of language learners, like #langtwt.

You can also search for a hashtag related to your target language, like #LearnGerman or #LearnArabic. If you find a user who looks like they could be interested in an exchange, DM (Direct Message) them with a polite self-introduction to try to get the ball rolling.

You could even send out a tweet looking for a partner with the relevant hashtags and wait for replies! There are likely many people just as eager to practice their target language as you. 

Perhaps the best option, though, is to join already existing conversations, share your opinions and ask questions. Twitter’s language learning community is vibrant, social and eager to collaborate. It’s possible you’ll find a language exchange partner by letting it happen naturally!

8. Best for Group Discussions: Reddit

language exchange app

Reddit is a giant collection of internet forums. Each forum—called a “subreddit” or “r/” for short—is its own community.

Once you have a Reddit account, find a subreddit you like and click the “Join” button. To use Reddit for language exchange, I recommend that you first join a specific language community subreddit.

Look for subreddits that start with “r/learn,” like r/LearnJapanese or r/LearnFrench. Learners often congregate in these places to share resources, organize exchanges and offer learning tips. These are great places for more in-depth discussions about your target language.

You may also have success on subreddits like r/Japanese or r/French. However, these subreddits are often more for the appreciation of the language and the native speakers there may not be open to posts looking for exchange partners.

You can also try r/language_exchange. The subreddit posts have titles showing what language the user is offering and what they’re seeking to learn. Reply to one of these posts to start a language exchange partnership, or create a post of your own!

9. Best for Sense of Community: Discord

language exchange app

While Discord started as an interface for user-created chat rooms to accompany livestreaming gamers, it has since grown into a collection of group chat rooms for just about anyone.

Chat rooms, known as “servers,” generally revolve around certain topics or themes. You can join a server for your target language, where the focus is to learn and communicate in said language, or servers specifically for language learning, like The Global Language Federation.

There are also plenty of Language Exchange servers. You can use Disboard to search for servers and find your tribe of like-minded learners.

You can engage in text or voice chat with other users. On language exchange forums, you can converse in your target language or post that you’re looking for a language exchange partner. This would be the easiest way to start a longer-lasting learning relationship.

Browse your options, pop in to say hello or just lurk for a bit, and make some new language-learning friends!

 

These are nine of the very best language exchange apps as of 2023.

But they’ll be worth nothing unless you hit that “Send,” “Call” or “Post” button.

Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Make it yourself and gain a new friend in the process!

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