I stayed home sick for two days this week, which means I spent an inordinate amount of time surfing the internet. In that time, though, I came across the most exciting site I’ve seen in a long time: italki.com. There are other language exchange sites out there, but none of them are as good as this one. First off, this site is super active. In less than 24 hours, I had 30 language partners in Spanish and Thai. Today is only my fourth day and I’m already turning away partners and my Sunday is booked with scheduled exchanges via Skype.
What I like even better, though, is the notebook feature. You can write a short piece in your target language, and natives will correct it and explain what you did wrong. I’ve corrected a dozen or so entries in English, and I’ve had several people correct my Spanish and Thai. I appreciate that more than one person corrects the work, too, since there are varying levels of grammatical mastery represented and speakers come from various regions. Here’s one of three corrections so far on a piece I wrote about a Vetusta Morla concert:
Some of the mistakes I made were just careless on my part, but some of them are errors I *always* make and I can now strive to fix.
Here’s a correction I got in Thai:
I don’t think this site will replace my private Thai lessons because I definitely need an organized, experienced teacher, but I do think it will speed up my learning because I now have real people to speak and write to, so the pressure is on for me to do the best I can.
A few more details:
1. Italki has professional teachers and informal tutors available for a wide range of prices per hour. I may become an English teacher/tutor on there this summer to earn some extra cash so I can finance my learning habit.
2. All links to Italki in this post are referral links. If you join Italki after going there with one of my links and then decide to pay for lessons, I’ll get a referral bonus of about 50 italki credits which could be used towards private lessons. If you would like to avoid helping me out (why do you hate me?), you can just Google “italki” and not let anyone benefit from your joining.
3. When I spend too much time on italki helping out beginners, my English becomes MUCH more simplistic. I fear this post is written rather choppily.