Speaky: Like Facebook, but for Language Exchange

Speaky is an attractive social networking site I've discovered that serves as a language exchange platform. When you set up your profile, you select your native language, as well as the languages you're learning. "Statuses" in those languages (in my case, English, French and Spanish) pop up in the main feed. However, this is not the main aspect of Speaky.

The site will suggest people who are at varying levels within the languages you're learning, and who are also learning your native language. You can request to "buddy" these people, and begin a conversation over instant message. For example, I see people who are native French speakers and want to practise English. I might also see intermediate Spanish speakers.

This way, we can exchange our languages -- I get to practise my French, and they get to practise their English.

One area I haven't delved into yet is the video chat. (Or audio chat, as my laptop camera won't work.) If it works, and I can get past my nerves, it could have a magnificent impact on my speaking skills. I hope it works well, but I can't comment on it yet.

What have I discovered so far? I actually can hold a basic instant message conversation in Spanish, even if I'm making a lot of mistakes.

I spent a few days researching language-learning, and the biggest inhibitor to learning a language is being afraid to make mistakes. Language is about communication. You have a goal to speak well, but children don't speak perfectly to start with. Begin by communicating, and people will correct you along the way.

Speaky is the greatest platform I've found for this so far.

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