Review of: Speechling
Use: Improve pronunciation & listening skills in Spanish
A great way to improve your accent and listening skills in Spanish.
$19.99 for premium membership. Free membership has a ton of features
Can easily be used a few minutes each day or more depending on your needs.
Ease of Use
Extremely simple and user friendly
I Don't Like
Summary: Speechling is a learning tool centered around audio. Students can use the site to listen to phrases spoken by native speakers. Students can also then upload their own recordings of the same phrases to receive feedback from Speechling's coaching team.
All in all Speechling is an easy and effective way to practice Spanish pronunciation and listening skills. However, it doesn't offer much help in the area of grammar.
The site is set up as a learning resource or tool. It is not a comprehensive Spanish course. Still, If you're in need of something to help you practice pronunciation and listening, you'll be hard pressed to find a simpler and easier resource.
The site has a premium membership as well as a free one. A free account provides a lot of value and is at least worth checking out.
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Pros of Speechling
It's a near perfect tool to practice pronunciation
When learning a foreign language, pronunciation is often thought of as more of a luxury than a necessity. Most people and courses treat a good Spanish accent as a bonus you can work on later. They don't realize just how much a good accent helps you remember and understand the language better.
Because it's centered around audio, and allows you to receive feedback from native speakers, Speechling is an excellent tool for improving your Spanish accent. Not many Spanish courses can say the same.
It's great for increasing your listening skills
In addition to pronunciation, Speechling is great for developing your Spanish listening abilities. It's dictation feature is particularly helpful in this regard, as it helps you double check what you think you heard.
It helps you practice inputs AND outputs
There are a plethora of Spanish audio courses and tools out there, but most of them don't provide a way for you to practice using what you learn. Speechling does. With their conversation feature you can practice producing the language on your own and receive feedback from the site's coaches.
This feature is not a substitute for a real conversation, but it is a valuable option.
Cons of Speechling
Doesn't teach grammar
While you can obviously learn Spanish vocabulary by learning stock phrases, you're not likely to pick up a lot of grammar in the process.
Speechling doesn't offer any information, lessons, or resources for explaining the ins and outs of Spanish grammar. All you have to go on are the phrases themselves.
Not very structured
Speechling sorts its phrases out based on your ability in Spanish. Beyond this there isn't any structure to the site. If you're looking for a systematic and comprehensive course, then Speechling probably isn't the best choice.
Speechling is simple and straight forward to use. Here's a list of its features:
The core of Speechling are its audio phrases. You listen to a recording of a native speaker, and then record yourself imitating what they said. Then within 24 hours a real person (called a coach) listens to you recording and sends you feedback on your pronunciation and accuracy.
These phrases are sorted by level of difficulty, but you can also work through them based on subjects such as "restaurant, basic expressions, health, transportation, etc".
There is also a dictation feature which allows you to practice your listening comprehension. An audio track plays while you write out what you think heard. Once you finish your answer you check against the correct transcription.
Speechling also has some features which allow you to practice some of your outputs in the language. You can record yourself either answering a recorded question from a native speaker, describing an image, or simply saying anything you want.
There is also an in-site flashcard system. Each card plays a portion of audio (you can choose whether or not to display the Spanish text). You then "flip" the card to see whether or not you heard the phrase correctly and understand what it meant.
Finally there is an audio journal which keeps track of all the feedback you receive from your coaches.
Speechling is offered at two price levels: free and premium. The chief difference between the two levels are the allotted coaching sessions.
With a free account you can use 35 coaching sessions per month. This means you can receive up to 35 corrections on your recorded phrases.
With the premium account you have unlimited coaching sessions every month. You also have access to the audio journal which lets you keep track of your progress and save past corrections.
With a premium account you can also switch between languages and practice more than just Spanish. Speechling also offers phrases for French, German, Russian, and Chinese.
The price for a premium account is $19.99 per month. There is a 7 day free trial available for the premium level.
What other people are saying about Speechling
I find it to be a great complement to language learning, though not necessarily a standalone product. It’s great for pronunciation and practice but could use more for true beginners and vocabulary acquisition. I love that you get reviewed by a coach that is a native speaker and not some robot that deems what you said “correct enough” to pass the level or question. That personalization really is a nice touch.
I’m a huge fan of Speechling. The Unlimited Plan provides a ton of value for the cost. Learning proper pronunciation and improving the flow of your speech is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of learning Chinese. Getting feedback is something that everyone will eventually need. The Unlimited Plan is the most effective and affordable option I’ve come across to solve this problem.
Even if you aren’t willing to spend any money, I’d recommend using Speechling. The Forever Free version is better than other popular and expensive products. It makes it very easy to improve your speaking and listening skills.
Alternatives to Speechling
Lyricstraining is a free site that helps you learn vocabulary through music videos with subtitles. The site is set up as a game. Some of the subtitles will be missing and as a video is played you have to type in the missing words in real time.
Spanishpod101 uses primarily audio lessons in a podcast format. It has flashcards, vocabulary, and word sheets. It is divided into units and has structured lessons unlike Speechling
While Speechling isn't strong enough to stand on its own as a full fledged Spanish course, it is a powerful tool for working on your pronunciation and listening skills.
The site offers a ton of value, even if you don't sign up for a premium subscription. It's definitely worth checking out!