Perfecting your pronunciation and listening skills is one of the most difficult challenges a language learner faces. Finding the material to practice is even harder. Enter: RhinoSpike.
RhinoSpike’s interface certainly needs a facelift, but it still offers something unique to the language-resource scene: a free audio-exchange platform. Many language tools overlook the importance of pronunciation and listening in their courses, which is where this platform fills the gap. Perfect as a supplementary tool for your learning and, it comes at absolutely no cost to you!
What is RhinoSpike?
RhinoSpike is a simple audio tool that focuses on developing your listening and pronunciation skills. It works as a type of language exchange: you submit audio recordings in your native language and then you can receive an audio recording in the language of your choice.
How Does RhinoSpike Work?
The idea is simple.
- You submit a text in your target language that you want to be read out loud.
- A native speaker records themselves reading the text.
- In exchange for this material, you need to record a text in your mother tongue. When you do this, it bumps up your request in the queue. The more audio recordings you upload in your native language, the higher your request is bumped up in the queue.
- Once the recording is ready, you can download the audio file to your computer or mobile and get practising.
This mutual language exchange from users means the program remains completely free!
What Else Can You Do On RhinoSpike?
Compared to other language learning resources, RhinoSpike is quite a basic platform, but it does offer two additional perks for users.
Search through a huge database of recordings
As well as submitting your own recording requests, you can also search through a pretty hefty database of more than 75,000 recordings, and download and use them as you wish. If you’re lucky, you might find one that matches what you need without having to wait for a recording!
Request a transcription of an audio file
Another fantastic feature of RhinoSpike is the chance to request a transcription of an audio file or YouTube video. If you struggle with listening to a language at real speed, you can ask a native speaker to write a transcript for you which you can use to follow along with the video.
What Languages Can You Request on RhinoSpike?
Currently, RhinoSpike has more than 75,000 recordings available in 87 different languages, a number that seems to be growing every day.
Here’s a pretty extensive list of the languages you’ll find on RhinoSpike so far:
- Nepal Bhasa
- Haitian Creole
What are the Pros and Cons of RhinoSpike?
- Native speakers speaking at real-time speed
- You can request a huge array of languages and dialects
- Can request transcription of an audio file too
- Completely free to use! (as long as you submit a recording too)
- Wait time can be very long, especially for the more popular languages
- The quality of audio recording can vary
Is RhinoSpike an Effective Method to Learn a Language?
Using RhinoSpike alone will not teach you a language. In fact, it won’t even help you to master the basics.
Used as a supplementary tool, however, RhinoSpike is fantastic for keeping your pronunciation on track and ironing out any listenings problems you might come across while you’re talking to natives. Of course, there are tutoring platforms like iTalki, and language partner apps like Tandem, but it can be hard to spend enough time on these to actually make a difference. That's without even mentioning the price!
Despite being created ten years ago, no one has come close to offering something like this on the language resource scene. So we’d say, submit a text, or, at the very least, take a look through the database for recordings that might already help you out!