When we asked you in our recent survey why you were learning a language, almost half of you said it was for travel. Which makes perfect sense, of course – why learn a language unless you plan to use it?
As you know, our uTalk app is designed for people who are travelling, who want to learn a few simple words before leaving home, waiting to board your flight, or even when you arrive. Because if you know even a little of the local language, it can make all the difference to your trip – that’s something else you told us!
Because we know travel can be an expensive business, we’re offering one lucky winner a prepaid travel card worth US$100 (or equivalent in other currencies), and a free uTalk Premium in a language of your choice – check uTalk.com to see which ones are available. uTalk Premium includes 1,200 words and phrases across 35 categories in your chosen language – that should keep you busy for a while…
If you’d like to see what uTalk’s all about, check out our guided tour.
Entering is simple – log in below and check out the ways you can take part. The more you do, the greater your chances of winning – it’s that simple! And by sharing the giveaway with friends, you can earn extra entries.
We’ve extended the competition to Friday 7th November, when we’ll verify the entries and then contact the winner, so there’s still plenty of time to enter.
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter (or maybe even if you don’t) you’ll know that we recently released a new update for our app, uTalk. And we’re really, really excited about it; not only does it now work on iPads, it’s got 130 languages included and it looks gorgeous. So I thought I’d give you a quick guided tour, so you can see what all the fuss is about.
Choose your language
Once you’ve download the app, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that it’s got loads of languages. From French, Spanish and German, through to Lao, Kachchi and Cebuano, we’ve got them all (and if we don’t have the one you want, we probably soon will – let us know what you’re waiting for in the comments).
The best bit is if you’re just curious and want to hear what a language sounds like, it won’t cost you a penny, because uTalk gives you a Starter Words section in all 130 languages completely free.
These Starter Words include the essentials that you’ll need when you first arrive in a new country – ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘help’ (hopefully you won’t need that one, but it’s always a useful word to know!) among others.
There’s also a selection of games to help you remember these key words, so you’re totally prepared before you step off the plane.
If you’re anything like me, though, once you’ve learnt a few words you won’t want to stop. So uTalk gives you the chance to learn more, with the Essentials and Premium upgrades.
The Premium will unlock 1,200 words and phrases across 35 categories for the language you choose – and that’s when it gets really fun. The app’s got everything from food and drink and travelling, to adjectives and numbers up to ten million. You can order a beer, ask someone to dance and check you’re on the right train (again – useful).
How it works
Ok, let’s get down to business. You’re going to France for a few days, and you want to learn some French before you go. How should you use uTalk?
First, choose your topic. Then, start with the Practice; this is where you learn the vocabulary. You can listen as many times as you like, slow it down, even have a go yourself with the recording button. Each word or phrase has a corresponding picture, which will help you remember it later, and they’ve all been translated and recorded by native speakers.
Then it’s time for the games. Start with the easy game, because it’s – well, the easiest. You’ll be shown some randomly selected pictures and hear one of the words you’ve just learnt. Choose the correct picture to carry on and start scoring points.
Then work your way up through the games, which get gradually more difficult. Be warned, they’re very addictive, so you may miss your stop because you’re concentrating so hard. And you might get some funny looks when you play the recording game on the train. I speak from experience on both of these things…
Hidden throughout the app are 48 achievements. No, I won’t tell you what they are – but every now and again you’ll see a message pop up that says ‘World Tour Destination Unlocked’, and then at the end of that game, you can go and see where you’re heading off to.
Tap on the destination and watch your plane take off. To see how many destinations you’ve collected (and how many you still have to find) touch the grid icon at the bottom of the screen.
Of course this is all well and good, if you have time to sit and learn the language before you leave home. But what if you don’t?
No worries – just take uTalk with you, and any time you need a word, type it into the search box. (I used this feature myself when I went to Italy a few months ago and it saved me more than once.)
So what do you think? If you’re ready to give it a try, you can download uTalk from the App Store for free right now (no camping out required!). And we love customer feedback, so please do tell us what you think of the new design and features.
Most importantly, we really hope you enjoy using the new uTalk as much as we enjoy telling people about it 🙂
Today, we’re excited to introduce Amy, our new sales and marketing assistant. Amy’s going to be with us for the next twelve months while on her placement year from university, and she’s written today’s blog post, about why learning a language is one of the most important things you can do.
When you ask people if they can speak another language or if they would like to learn one, the response is often, ‘Why? What’s the point, everyone speaks English?’ Here at EuroTalk we want to change this perception and to show you why learning a language can be rewarding, enlightening and open up so many more opportunities.
Yes, it may be easier when visiting another country to assume they will speak English, and very often they do in the main cities and tourist areas, but what if you want to explore off the beaten track and find the soul of a country? Do you want to feel apprehensive, excluded and unable to participate, or do you want to be able to jump in with both feet, get to know local people, their customs and truly the best places to visit and eat, not just the latest Top 10! Without the ability to speak the language it is difficult to get to the heart of a country and to appreciate its people or culture in any depth, you can end up merely skimming a clichéd surface.
If you know the language, you will enjoy meeting people rather than feeling awkward and are likely to make some good friends as well, an even greater benefit if travelling alone. In life, isn’t it as much about the people you meet and the experiences you share, as where you were at the time?
Maybe you’re worried that learning a language is a bit boring? Not any more. With our app, uTalk, you learn in a fun and exciting way, no more sitting at a desk for hours at a time, dreading being asked to read out loud! No time? You can learn on your commute, whilst standing in a queue for your lunch or simply sitting on your sofa at home. Learning a language has never been easier and more accessible. No matter where your next adventure may be, make the most of it by learning the language. Remember, you never look back and regret the things you did do, just the things you didn’t. So what are you waiting for?
So, you’ve decided to learn a language. Great! Now what?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have gone straight to the Internet in a fit of great enthusiasm, and bought yourself a language course – whether that’s in an app, on a CD or online. You might even have gone a step further and enrolled in a class.
But then the sun comes out, or the World Cup kicks off, or you decide to start reading the Game of Thrones books (only recommended if you have nothing else to do with your time for at least six months), and that passion for your new language starts to fade a little bit. Suddenly there are other things to do with your time, and although you definitely still want to be able to speak the language, you just don’t seem to have the time or enthusiasm to actually learn it.
And so that language course you bought, which promised so much, is forgotten and unused, and your dream of going travelling and fitting in like a local remains just that – a dream.
Can anyone else hear violins…?
It might sound obvious, but the thing about language courses, whether it’s EuroTalk, Rosetta Stone, Duolingo or any of the other multitude of programs out there, is that they’re only as useful as you allow them to be. I wish I could tell you that simply by downloading uTalk to your iPhone, the vocabulary will magically find its way into your brain while you’re sleeping, but it’s just not true (although if you want to try it, it’s available from the App Store).
Let’s look at this another way. You want to lose weight, so you join a gym. Logical. Maybe you even go along a few times after work. But then six months later you’re still not skinny, and on top of that you’re out of money and you probably feel pretty bad about yourself too. According to research by online accountants Crunch.co.uk, here in Britain we were wasting £37m a year on unused gym memberships in 2011. Just think what we could have been doing with that money. Or how fit we could all have got if we’d kept going to the gym.
The fact is, gyms don’t magically make you fit, or thin. (If it were as easy as that, I’d have joined one a long time ago.) They just provide the conditions you need to get yourself there. Even a personal trainer, whose job it is to help you, will only get so far if you’re not willing to meet them in the middle. And it’s the same with language software – if you don’t use it, it can’t help you. We’d all love a big red button that will get us instantly to where we want to be, but life isn’t like that.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Learning a language isn’t just about being able to speak that language. It’s also about the things you’ll discover along the way. You’ll learn to appreciate your own native tongue, understand the culture of the language you’re learning; you might even make a whole new group of friends. And personally, I think the satisfaction you feel the very first time you manage to speak to someone in another language, even if it’s just to say hello or thank you, is much greater than the pleasure you gain from becoming fluent. In the same way, reaching your target weight will feel amazing – but nothing will beat that first pound you lose.
So my advice is this – don’t buy language software, unless you’re going to use it. Because as the late Maya Angelou once said, ‘Nothing will work unless you do.’ And we don’t want your language app gathering virtual dust on your iPhone, until one day you realise you don’t need it any more and quietly delete it.
But if you do decide to invest in a course (hopefully EuroTalk!), and you follow through on that crazy plan you had one day to learn Russian, or Korean, or even Klingon, that’s great. I guarantee you won’t regret it – and it’ll definitely be less painful than going to the gym.
Sometimes one word is all you need… With the World Cup getting underway today, here’s how each national team says that all-important word, ‘goal’.
You can find this and lots more in our language learning app, uTalk – available to download and start learning right now from the App Store. So whether you’re watching the football at home or away, you’ll always be prepared.
(There are lots of non-football related words in there too, for those of us with other interests!)
Please do share the infographic with friends and tell us how you’ll be shouting ‘Goal!’ this World Cup 🙂
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