Speechling Review - Great, But Only to Practice Speaking
This Speechling review is based on my experience using the platform to practice my French pronunciation.
I go through Speechling’s features and how the app compares to other language learning platforms on the market. I also explore the quality of the pronunciation feedback Speechling provides and my thoughts on whether the Unlimited Plan offers good value for money.
Speechling is an excellent language tool for intermediate and advanced learners wanting to practice pronunciation. In my opinion, it is not an ideal resource for beginners. The Free Plan is better than many paid alternatives. The Unlimited Plan is excellent value for money.
👍 Emphasis Entirely on Speaking
👍 Better than Many Paid Apps
👍 User-friendly on Desktop & App
👍 World’s most spoken languages available
👎 Not Great At All for Beginners
👎 No Real Conversational Practice
👎 No Grammar Explanations
👎 No Reading or Writing
This Speechling review is quite extensive.
If you would like to skip to the part that is most relevant to you then please feel free to do so using the table below.
What is Speechling?
Speechling is a website and app that enables language learners of any ability to improve and perfect their speaking skills and pronunciation. It offers this niche service in a wide range of languages.
It is a great pronunciation tool for intermediate and advanced learners.
However, if you require face to face interaction and conversational practice then Speechling is not for you. You will probably prefer online language classes through sites like italki and Preply, which provide native online tutors.
How much does Speechling cost?
Speechling provides the choice of two versions. The first is the Forever Free version, which enables you to listen to and mimic native speakers with thousands of sentences that are pre-prepared.
The second is the Unlimited Plan version, which is $19.00 p/month. This includes a number of additional benefits, the greatest being the feedback you receive from a native speaker relating to your pronunciation.
Use the Promo Code TRALIN to receive a 10% discount on the Unlimited Plan.
Languages Available on Speechling
The languages available at Speechling include:
French Spanish (Latin America) Spanish (Spain) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Japanese Korean German Italian Portuguese (Brazil) Russian English (U.S) English (U.K)
How Speechling Works
We'll start this Speechling review by going through functionality.
Speechling is a website and app which enables you to learn and perfect your pronunciation in a foreign language. This works through a number of stages.
1. Listen - You listen to a native speaker pronounce a sentence clearly before repeating it. You can also answer a question or describe an image instead if you choose to.
2. Speak - You can record yourself repeating the sentence or answering the question before saving this recording.
3. Feedback - Speechling processes your recording before providing feedback on pronunciation, intonation, rhythm, grammar and word choice.
4. Repeat - Each language at Speechling contains thousands of sentences which suit learners of all levels, some tailored to learners at beginner level, with others intermediate and advanced.
Note: The goal of this process is not specifically to help language learners develop in the target language, (although this is, of course, a part of it) but to reach conversational fluency.
The Speechling Method
Anybody who has read any of my language related posts already will be aware that I think proper cultural immersion is key to mastering fluency in a foreign language.
Whilst Speechling does not put you directly in front of an actual person in the way that online tutoring services such as italki do, it certainly brings you closer to this cultural immersion than most online language learning platforms through its method.
The Speechling Method uses a common SRS (Spaced Repetition System) used by apps like Pimsleur and Memrise to increase the efficiency of your learning and provide feedback from real human voices and, (with the Unlimited Plan ), certified pronunciation coaches.
It’s as close as you can get to a genuine interaction without a genuine interaction!
Unlike some other linguists and language teachers, I am a firm believer that studying grammar and vocabulary in traditional formats (textbooks, dual language books etc) is important, but I understand that it will only take you so far and that everybody learns differently.
One thing we all have in common, however, is the desire to be able to actually speak a language, rather than simply understand it.
I feel too many language apps and online courses give us a good ear for a foreign language without actually teaching us to speak it.
And, let’s face it - learning a new language is no fun if we can’t speak it.
With this in mind, I think Speechling offers something really valuable to anybody looking to practice their speaking and pronunciation (all of us…)
Particularly, those without the confidence to go straight to an online language tutor through fear of sounding unnatural or silly.
Getting Started with Speechling
Signing up to Speechling is really simple. You can connect to your social media or use your email address.
You then select the language you would like to learn.
A great feature here is that there is no limit to the number of languages you can practice - you can switch between languages whenever you like.
I have an upper intermediate level of French but I am a complete beginner in Japanese. So, I am switching between both and taking advantage of the different ability levels to do so.
With any language on Speechling, you can pick the gender of the speaker. This may not seem like a big deal (to me it isn’t) but for some tonal languages, it can make a difference to language learners.
The functionality of Speechling is very simple. You read a word, phrase or sentence, record yourself saying it, then listen to the native speaker repeating it.
You have the choice to listen to the sentence being read first, but it plays automatically once you have spoken.
Of course, there is less variation with Speechling - all you are doing is listening and repeating - but let’s not forget this is all part of the free plan.
The Speechling Phrasebook is a great feature that further demonstrates the mass of content available on the app.
Like many other language apps, Speechling provides a chance to go through and learn simple expressions of everyday life and travel, with topics placed into categories including:
- Basic Expressions - Basic Questions - Basic Answers - Transportation - Hotel - Health - Restaurant - Money - Weather - Clothing - Phone - Bad Situations - Administrative - Personal Questions
You can also use this area to build your vocabulary and test your knowledge of nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Core Curriculum & Conversations
The Speechling Core Curriculum starts at Beginner and goes through to a second stage of Expert.
There is also a separate dedicated conversations section including an answer the question activity, a describe the image activity and a freestyle mode.
Again, it is clear to see that there is so much content on this app. It is what surprised me more than anything when I started writing this Speechling review.
As discussed in this Speechling review, Speechling is a speaking and pronunciation app, first and foremost. However, it also provides a constant opportunity to improve your listening and comprehension skills in the target language.
If you want to practice any topic in particular then you can do so through the core curriculum.
Sentences are also written down once you have said them and you can practice specific sentences or phrases if you need to.
In addition to the features mentioned above, Speechling also contains a number of features also found in other SRS popular language learning apps.
These includes Flashcards, Fill in the Blank exercises and Multiple Choice.
Speechling’s Free Version - Surprisingly Good
Having used Speechling to practice my French, I can say that the features of the Forever Free Plan make it a better resource than many paid alternatives.
Honestly, this is surprising. Usually, you really do get what you pay for (or don’t) with language learning apps.
From experience, I have found that free language apps are either of poor quality or simply ineffective.
For example, anybody who reads my language resource reviews or watches my videos will know I am not the biggest fan of the leader of free language apps - Duolingo.
In honesty, I am amazed by not only the quality of Speechling, but also the quantity of content available in the free plan.
The Forever Free Plan includes access to the entire curriculum with all languages, as well as side by side comparisons of your recordings with those of the native speaker and 35 pieces of feedback on your recordings per month.
In addition to this, the native speaker recordings encourage you to improve your own attempts.
This is this an example of effective SRS (Spaced Repetition System) in action. It also increases the chances of Speechling working for you, thus fulfilling its purpose of improving your pronunciation.
Speechling Premium Plan - How Much Does Speechling Cost?
The Speechling Unlimited Plan costs $19.99 per month.
You can save 10% on this cost with the promo code “TRALIN”.
There are several features in the Unlimited Plan which make it worth considering. Obviously, all of the Free Plan benefits are included. However, the main benefit is getting feedback on your pronunciation from a native speaker, listed as your personal tutor.
With the Unlimited Plan, you can submit as many as you like with no limit.
You are also guaranteed to receive feedback on your pronunciation from the native tutor within 24 hours.
Your pronunciation is reviewed and colour coded by the tutor. If it requires improvement then the tutor will send a voice recording which lets you know where you’ve gone wrong, followed by the correct pronunciation.
Even in real life, people do not always let you know when you’ve pronounced something wrong in the target language, so this is really useful.
I do feel this makes Speechling’s Subscription Model stand out from other online language learning tools. One of the reasons I chose to write this Speechling review was show language learners the quality of this free resource.
In fact, I am yet to come across a pronunciation or speaking app that provides such personal feedback.
All of this feedback, and the voice recordings you have made, will be stored in your Audio Journal. This is a great way to track your progress and ensure you don’t forget certain words, phrases or vocabulary.
Another way to review pronunciation of receive feedback on it is to find a tutor on a site like italki or Preply. However, I prefer to use my time with online tutors for conversational practice, rather than pronunciation practice specifically.
Speechling Premium users are able to download all Speechling content. This means access to Anki decks and more than 10,000 Speechling sentences.
You can also download male and female voiced audio files.
Use the promo code “TRALIN”” to save 10% on Speechling’s Unlimited Plan.
Speeching Review - Where Could Speechling be Better?
The focus is solely on mimicking native speakers, having your pronunciation reviewed and then improving it.
I have mentioned in this Speechling review already that I think Speechling is a great resource. However, I think there is room for improvement, especially for complete beginners.
In fact, I would not recommend Speechling for anybody who is completely new to a language.
This is because Speechling does not introduce you to the language gradually, even though the beginner sentences are basic.
I have tried Speechling for French as an upper-intermediate speaker. I found it far more beneficial than Speechling Japanese, of which I’m still a beginner.
Why I Recommend Speechling
As a language teacher myself, I am always encouraging my students to speak as much as possible.
Speaking is the most important skill anyone can acquire when learning a language.
Yet, it’s the part we tend to struggle with most, be it due to a lack of confidence or simply a lack of practice.
I think Speechling overcomes this obstacle and brings learners as close to cultural immersion as possible without a tutor or actually moving to the country of the target language.
Speechling is not going to teach you a language from scratch.
However, if you are an intermediate or advanced learner, it is an excellent supplementary resource from which to progress your speaking skills thanks to 10,000+ sentences and unlimited feedback from a native tutor.
Why You Should Try Speechling’s Unlimited Plan
As you'll have seen in this Speechling review already, if you are an upper-beginner, intermediate or advanced speaker then I absolutely suggest trying Speechling’s Unlimited Plan version.
Speaking is the area with which most language leaners struggle most, creating a lack of confidence and a hinderance to progression. The Speechling Premium version is the best value for money solution I have come across to focus entirely on speaking and provide a degree of cultural immersion without actual face to face interaction.
If you are set on learning a language online for free then I would recommend Speechling’s Forever Free Plan.
It is not going to teach you a language in the same way that more rounded language apps like Pimsleur and Busuu will, but it is the best language app around from which to improve your speaking.
As far as practicing pronunciation goes, I would say it’s definitely one of the best apps on the market.
Use the promo code “TRALIN”” to save 10% on Speechling’s Unlimited Plan.
Alternatives to Speechling
If you are looking for a tutor rather than a language learning app then consider Preply. Preply is a marketplace where students from all over the world can find one-on-one online tutors for personalised learning programs.
It is very similar to italki, with the same common goals and the same main features. Preply also contains an in-built classroom which enhances the quality and efficiency of lessons for both tutors and students.
Rocket Languages is a software focused language learning app that uses audio lessons, interactive exercises and readings to get you to a conversational level in a foreign language.
Through its structured and proven successful process, you will begin to understand more about the language you are learning quite quickly. Sign up to a trial with Rocket Languages.
With its trialled and tested method, Pimsleur is one of the most effective and slickest language learning resources of its type.
It’s a great way to learn a language by yourself, placing a strong emphasis on aural and pronunciation skills, with less detail around grammar, reading or writing than many other language courses.
Whilst you will not have face to face interaction with a tutor like on italki, the Pimsleur app and desktop versions are smart, user-friendly and packed with a variety of content that balances vocabulary, daily scenarios and culture in a way that is digestible even for complete beginners.
Pimsleur offers all users a Free 7 Day Trial.
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