There is a new app called Hey! Lingo that you can use to learn Japanese (or many other languages) that you might not know about yet. The developer, Martin Dabrowski, reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to create a Hey! Lingo review, and I was more than happy to do so.
I was given a free membership to it so that I could explore and utilize it freely and check out all that it has to offer. And boy is there a lot!
If I shared everything it would probably be information overload, so in order to be more concise I have broken down my experiences and thoughts on it into the sections below. Let’s get started!
What Is Hey! Lingo?
In the developer’s own words, Hey! Lingo is a language learning app available on the web, iOS and Android that teaches 27 languages through fun and fast flashcard based games.
They focus on teaching the most common words and sentences for each language so that the things you learn are immediately relevant and useful.
I’ve always thought that this approach made the most sense for people who are just starting with a new language since you get much more value from learning things like “hello” and “goodbye” rather than words like “sidewalk.”
That being said, there are literally dozens of different categories to choose from so you can focus in a particular area that is of interest to you such as meeting people, traveling, or my personal favorite: famous movie quotes!
The flashcards are very visual in nature giving you both the written words to learn and an accompanying picture that illustrates the new word or phrase.
This is also something that I like since I’ve always found it easier to remember something when it has a real life, solid connection.
For example, when you learn the word いしゃ you see a doctor. Now the next time you encounter this word in a card and you can’t quite remember what it means, the picture can give you a clue to help you recall it correctly.
That being said, there shouldn’t be any fear of making a mistake since it will immediately give you a full translation so that you know exactly what words and phrases you are learning.
That’s the main process that you use with flashcards, learn something new and then re-encounter it later to review it.
Eventually you will have seen it so many times that it is considered a learned word and you can move on to new ones confidently.
There are actually quite a few different types of flashcards that test different things, but I am saving those for this next section of the review since it is relevant to the Japanese language (which is the only language I used on the app).
One last thing to note before we move on is that Hey! Lingo has a lot of social and gaming elements to it. It uses streaks, accolades, and leader boards that can show how you stack up against other people in the community or your friends.
Hey! Lingo Japanese
There are quite a few different types of flash cards and each one will test a different language skill such as listening, sentence building, translation and more.
For example, the translation cards can be either from Japanese to English, or from English to Japanese.
When they give you the Japanese word first it is written in both hiragana and romaji, along with an audio file of the word or sentence so that you can learn what it sounds like.
Likewise with the listening cards, you will hear a Japanese phrase or just a single word and then have to either select the correct word written in Japanese, or on the English cards you will simply choose the correct translation.
Something that is common with flash cards is repetition, and Hey! Lingo does this pretty well by presenting you with the same information throughout the entire lesson in different formats.
You might learn a new word with a translation exercise, and then several cards later have to recall what that word means from just how it sounds.
Another card that I liked was when you had to construct the Japanese sentence yourself, which of course is a skill that you will utilize when speaking or writing in the language.
The nice thing is that when you are being tested on a single word, you get to spell it out with each kana. Whereas when it is an entire phrase, you simply have to put the correct words in the right order.
There are additional types of cards such as Switch and Blank, but the main point that I wanted to convey is that the variety keeps things interesting by presenting the same information in multiple ways.
It is also nice since it allows you to switch between more active and passive forms of learning.
Beginner To Intermediate Levels
One question that should be asked and answered is “what level is this app appropriate for?”
I would say that it is really aimed at beginners and people who are at an early intermediate stage with learning Japanese.
The app teaches a lot of vocabulary from many different parts of the language (verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.) which is something that everyone has to learn.
It also helps people understand some of the aspects of Japanese grammar through the sentence examples and exercises, although it does not provide a detailed explanation on how it functions.
Something else that should be noted is that I only ever saw hiragana and romaji used, which means that you won’t be learning any katakana or kanji from it.
Because of that, I think that beginners would derive the most benefit from using the app.
Having said that, there are a lot of useful phrases in there so anyone who might be living in, or visiting Japan would also get a lot out of the phrasebook-type lessons.
There is one other thing that I think would help boost the learner’s progress in addition to using the app, and I will talk about it in this next section.
Enhance Learning With This
Most people use multiple resources when learning Japanese such as apps, grammar books, online tutor lessons and so on.
The Japanese language is so different from English that it is almost scary to try to learn it when you first start out!
That being said, I think that people who have a good beginner book that teaches Japanese grammar would benefit a lot by combining that with the Hey! Lingo app.
The reason why I think this is because they both complement each other.
With a beginner book, you would have detailed explanations on the trickier parts of Japanese grammar like particles, politeness levels, counters, and so on.
The biggest drawbacks of books is that they don’t help with listening practice, and I also feel that they never have enough examples to help you really lock in the concepts.
Hey! Lingo on the other hand has hundreds of different flashcards, many different ways of presenting the information, and audio files on everything so you can get a good grasp on the language.
Again, this is just my own personal thoughts on the matter, but I wanted to share it since I think it will help.
Get Started Now
I’ve done my best to convey my own experience and thoughts on it throughout this review, but you won’t really know if it is the right thing for you until you try it out for yourself and get a real feel for it.
Because of that, and since you can get it for free with the option to upgrade to premium if you decide to unlock all of the apps features, I highly encourage you to give it a try to see for yourself.
You can check it out using any of the links below:
- Web: https://www.heylingo.com
- iOS App: https://tinyurl.com/wavtkabv
- Android App: https://tinyurl.com/fkz2v98f
If you have any questions concerning Hey! Lingo, or if you would like to share your own thoughts and experience on it, you can do so by leaving a comment below.
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: