Language Transfer review
Language Transfer is one of those language learning resources that not many people have heard about due to lack of marketing. There’s no marketing for Language Transfer because it is 100% free (and not free with ads like Duolingo…it’s actually free).
Not only that, but it’s a totally unique approach to learning to speak a new language in that it approaches languages not from “hello” and “my name is” like the more common approach, but from what’s easiest from your native language (so long as that language is English).
In this Language Transfer review, let’s talk about this approach, and whether or not Language Transfer can help you accomplish your own language learning goals.
Language Transfer’s background
The first thing I mentioned is that Language Transfer is free, and that’s an important distinction. Not only because it’s on the list of ways to learn a language for free, but because it’s born out of one guy’s method. One guy!
There’s no “team” (although Mihalis is currently trying to wrangle up some volunteers to help out with this project) – it’s just one simple method of approaching learning a language.
At the moment, you can use Language Transfer to learn:
- English from Spanish
Of those languages, the ones with the asterisks are the only ones with complete courses – the rest just have a part 1.
So what does a Language Transfer course look like? Well, like this.
Yup, it’s literally just a playlist on SoundCloud, easily accessed right on the website. Or, if you prefer, Language Transfer also has a YouTube channel with all the lessons right there, too!
You don’t need to submit an email address, create an account, nothin’. Just have internet access and you’re good to go! You can download the files to your computer, stream them any kind of device, or download the mobile app. Language Transfer does not want you to have any obstacles in accessing their content.
Language Transfer Review: a small disclaimer
Generally, when someone starts learning a foreign language, I recommend starting with the most commonly-spoken words and going from there. While the purpose of this Language Transfer review isn’t to say that that’s wrong (because it’s definitely not), this is another way to go about it.
When I tested the Spanish course, there were a few rules of thumb that I really didn’t agree with at first. Things like:
- you’ll be and feel like a Spanish speaker after the first hour
- don’t try to memorize what you’re learning, that’s destructive
- don’t write anything down
Those rules/statements really put me off at first. I think a critical piece of information they’re missing is that all that is true with this particular strategy. I mean, although the concept of fluency is really vague and not a great approach to learning a language, memorizing is definitely not destructive, at least not if you’re doing it effectively.
So what is this strategy? What makes it better or worse than other strategies, and could it be beneficial to you? Keep on reading!
The Language Transfer methodology
Like I said, most other language learning resources will start you off learning things like greetings and how to introduce yourself, which totally makes sense. What’s the first thing you learn in the Spanish course?
Specifically, you learn that English words that end in ‘al’ are generally the same in Spanish, but with different intonation (well, he doesn’t use that word, but that’s what he means) and different sounds (like you’ll learn using The Mimic Method).
So, words like normal can easily be guessed! You don’t have to memorize vocabulary or use a book to figure that out, so long as you understand that rule.
And you know what? He’s right. If you’ve ever practiced speaking Spanish and wanted to use a word but wasn’t sure if you knew the translation, chances are you guessed. And chances are you were either correct or almost correct.
And right there, that’s the entire basis of how Language Transfer teaches languages without textbooks or expensive courses. It teaches the rules of how languages are connected, so you can figure it out for yourself!
Who should use Language Transfer
Like I said, Language Transfer is more accessible than most language learning resources, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for everyone. It’s almost a natural way to base learning a foreign language off your native language, but it’s missing a lot of information that’s important for some people.
It’s not visual
There is nothing visual. Nothing. You don’t learn to spell words. You don’t learn which letters are accented or what those accents look like. Sure, you learn to conjugate ‘querer’ into ‘yo quiero’, but you don’t necessarily learn that there’s a ‘u’ in there. With this method, that’s not important.
That means that if you want to work on your reading or writing skills, you’ll be SOL. It’ll be hard to connect the things that you learn here with the other skills that you want to improve.
In my opinion, this is, without a doubt, the biggest problem for some language learners.
There’s no feedback
While the method is really simple and to-the-point, there is no feedback. It’s like watching people in movies from the 80s learning a language from a Pimsleur CD and totally butchering words and sentences, and all the CD does is say “great job!” Thanks for the compliment and all, but there’s no way to know if what I’m saying is actually right!
I mean, you’re probably not going to make any real mistakes, but don’t think you can avoid having real conversations just by using Language Transfer. Language is all about communication, and communication requires at least 2 people!
Look, I like to learn foreign languages. Accents are not the kind of thing that turns me off from listening to somebody. So I don’t want you to think I’m being judgmental towards someone who doesn’t sound like me.
However, this course is 100% audio. There’s no transcript (again, no visuals). The entire method is all about realizing the patterns between the two languages. Like me, over 70% of the people who read this blog are Americans. And there were a couple of instances where it took me a second to figure out what Mihalis was saying.
For example, the first word that was taught: normal. I thought he was saying “norman”! That seemed really weird to me. Clearly it’s not a huge deal, but it can prove to be an obstacle, and make this whole thing just a bit more confusing.
I do have to say, though, that if all you want to do is impulsively move to Spain and figure out the language as you go…this is freakin’ solid.
How to support Language Transfer
Language Transfer costs $0.00, has zero ads, and doesn’t even ask for your email address. All in the name of accessibility! But what if you want to support the mission? There are a couple of options for us, fortunately.
For one, you can always send them direct cash donations via PayPal if you so choose. Or, if you want something back for your donations, there are a couple of other relevant choices.
The first option is the “non-shop”, which has products in two categories: dissemination material and learning material.
The dissemination material – things like postcards and tote bags that you can use to help spread the word – only cost enough to cover production and shipping. Consider these products to be their free marketing.
Or, you have the learning materials.
These products are the same exact things that are also available for 100% free right on the website. It’s literally just a way to support the method.
Finally, you can support Language Transfer through their Patreon. With a dozen different membership options ranging from $1 a month to $100 a month, you get more chances to share marketing materials, share Language Transfer with organizations, or get Interlinear Books for free (that part’s really interesting to me).
If you don’t already know what Interlinear Books is, it’s an independent organization that translates books into a variety of languages. Basically, it creates bilingual books.
According to the Patreon, “Interlinearbooks.com have offered supporters of Language Transfer free translated stories to help them practice their new language. These are available on $3+ tiers.” Yay perks!
Language Transfer review: I genuinely love it!
I think Language Transfer can be an excellent way to learn a new language, and I’ll definitely be trying some of the other languages at some point in the future as a way to make those connections between languages that I’d be making anyways.
And I absolutely respect how accessible it is! Money can be a huge obstacle for language learners, thanks to that expensive marketing that I was talking about before.
But, for literally any other skill outside of speaking, Language Transfer can’t help you. Apply this information to your own language learning strategy as you will!