10 Reasons You Should Be Using WhatsApp To Learn A Foreign Language Faster

Often nowadays we take apps for granted, after all there are millions of them. Sometimes we fail to realize how powerful one simple App can be in our personal development, simply by it’s functionality.  WhatsApp is one of those Apps. After having it on my phone after some time, I decided I needed to pick up on my Brazilian Portugese learning for preparation to travel to Brazil. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of use, and how many people had the App.  Here are 10 reasons why this should be in your top 3 tools of learning a foreign language period.

#1 – It’s Free – No Cost to text or send messages anywhere in the world. The most valuable gem to you as a foreign language learner is the mind, thoughts, and voice of a native speaker in that language. If you are in the United States and learning Spanish this may not be a problem, especially in New York or L.A.. However, if you live in Montana or Mississippi it might be hard to find natives speakers of other languages. For languages like Portugese, Yoruba, and Dutch, you might have a harder time coming across a native speaker. From a few friends on Facebook, to a few friends on Skype, soon you could have a vibrant What’s App list of native speakers in different languages all over the world!

#2 – Send Audio Voice Clips – Is this the best thing since sliced bread or what!?!? In our W-TECC Accelerated Language Learning method we emphasize “Virtual Immersion” Aside from being surrounded by a circle of native speakers joking on you the next best tools for Immersion are Skype and WhatsApp. Skype is incredible for Video Chat, however on the go, WhatsApp and the easy press play voice clips, make it feel like having a “Global Walkie Talkie” Not only that, like any text message application you can save the clips and RE-play the clips and practice saying what the native speaker is saying. You can compare dialects and learn intonation, pronunciation, and more. For example, if a native speaker in the Norte of Brasil is different than a native speaker in De Sul, you can begin getting a sense of the nuances of the culture and language!

#3 – Broadcast Lists – The Broadcast feature lets you send a message to many people at once, without revealing the recipients to one another. In this sense, it works like bcc (blind carbon copy) on your email. Each recipient then has the option to respond to you individually. Let’s say you really have the urge to practice your new language and all your friends in the other time zone may be asleep, All you have to do is send out a quick broadcast message “Hey, are you awake?” Next thing you know you can practice until the Sun comes up or you fall asleep whichever comes first. One of the biggest barriers to language learning is the hours put in. You have to live with the language. Once you have plenty of people to speak with (There are 1Billion people in China for example- you only need maybe 10-20 who might be available). It makes accessing native speakers super convenient.

#4 – Group Chat –  You may add up to 50 participants to any group you create. You may create a maximum of 50 groups.  Do you get the idea here? You may not be ready to learn 50 languages at one time, however you could create multiple groups in the niche language you want to learn, so that when you want to learn all the terms such as “English For Business,” or “cooking” or “cultural geography” you can exist in the group chat, and have wonderful discussions from multiple native speakers all chiming in in about idioms, slang, meanings, and the “best way to say things”.

#5 – Videos, Photos, Music – You can send videos, photos, and music (with iPhone you need izip to send mp3). The next best thing to Skype for language learning, considering the videos have to be recorded and sent, but photos are great for describing terms, nouns, vocabulary. And Videos and music are all part of language learning that give you the extra sensory references you need to enhance your memory of your new language. This is where true virtual immersion kicks in.

#6 – 19 More languages supported –  You can use a wider range of languages in the application. This allows you to use it in the language you choose and makes it suitable for more users around the world. If you really want to go full on in your new language you can actually be a real daredevil and set all your controls up in the new foreign language. However, this could also prove to be counter productive if you don’t memorize and know all the terms first. At the same time with an easy user interface there aren’t too many rabbit holes you could get lost in if you don’t understand the instructions, like on a camera for instance.

#7 –   Exports to email – You can export the data from your app to an email address, so you have a copy of it and can forward it on to another person if needed.  This is great for transcribing conversations and practicing them over and over again. Again, the reading, writing, listening, and speaking components are all in full effect here, and this is one more tool that allows you to share, communicate, reference it for your retention.

#8 – Has favorite contacts with Avatars of your contacts  –  With favorite contacts you have quick access to the people who you communicate with most, with their smiling face, or whatever they are expressing in their photos. This is great when you are meeting new people learning the language, and you want to remember who you are chatting with. Unlike normal text where you are just stuck with a name, with photos you can place your photo for their memory and you can see their photo, it also makes it a more natural community feel as you are connecting with people creating broadcasts, groups, and stopping in to say hi to people.

#9 – Supports widgets – You can add widgets to the home screen. This allows you to have more flexibility and to see information at a glance, without going into the app. It’s great to step into a meeting, and come out and see which conversations have contacted you. The features are very flexible if you don’t want to be bombarded with buzzes every second you can change notification settings. However if you do, you can keep them on. Everything is very simple to use, and the interface is great.

#10 – Largest user base –  It is the most popular instant messaging app with over half a billion registered users.  It is easy to find all your contacts here.  Again, you cannot go wrong with 500 Million Users! Someone in that group speaks the language you want to speak. Since it’s all connected by phone numbers and international codes, all you have to do is ask “Hey do you have WhatsApp?” on Facebook or some other place where you’ve met someone. And they either have it or can easily download it and you can talk to people on the other side of the earth and learn their language. Indeed the world is getting smaller, but our communication with one another is getting better!

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