OkyDoky (formerly Hey! Lingo) is a new resource for foreign language vocab that offers language learners a ton of languages. What it lacks in history it makes up for in diversity (both in languages and in the ways you can learn the vocab in them).
In this OkyDoky review, I’ll explain all the ways in which you can learn all this vocab, and what kind of language learner OkyDoky is best for.
OkyDoky is for learners of 26 different languages, including:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- Filipino (Tagalog)
And while you can’t use all of these languages as a base language just yet, you can learn from English, German, and Swedish.
Once you create an account, choose your own cute little character to represent yourself (you can change this at any time), and pick your language, this is the view you’ll get of all the content available in OkyDoky.
This page shows us a couple of things:
- Your path to 3000+ words (which leaves you a solid-sized vocabulary to practice actually speaking)
- Courses (start with frequently used words & end speaking long sentences)
- Vocabulary (learn useful words related to a single theme)
You can choose to learn vocabulary with either of these two paths, whichever one is more useful or interesting to you. For example, if you want to be conversationally fluent as quickly as possible, you’d go by way of courses; if you want to be able to talk about specific things, you’d go by vocabulary.
This right here is already a pretty good indication of the flexibility language learners can get from OkyDoky! This not only offers us a specific road map to achieve a specific goal, but it also includes several ways to get there.
And, no matter which path you choose, you can pick up whichever course you like, whenever you like. This allows us the flexibility to be spontaneous and creative in what we’re learning, while still working towards the same long-term goal of 300 words.
OkyDoky review: flashcard types
I’m a big fan of resources that allow us to switch up how we’re consuming our flashcards. There’s Anki, which has several different options that we can mix and match however we please. There’s uTalk which takes us through a predictable pattern to build our skills in multiple ways. How does OkyDoky do it?
Here’s what I got when I selected a French course. There’s a lot here, so let’s dissect it.
- How many cards in the course, depending on if you’re a plus member or not (more on that later)
- Different tabs to go through as you make your way through these cards: “Study”, “Review”, “Difficult”, and “Pinned” cards. These are great tools for keeping track of the terms that are more difficult for you
- “Timer Speed”, which you can use to speed things up or slow them down if your comprehension is higher/lower than average. You can also turn this off if it’s putting too much pressure on you
- Card types
Card types is the biggun’ here! We’ve got “Translate”, “Listen”, “Build”, “Switch”, and “Blank” (I told you, OkyDoky is all about options and flexibility!).
Here’s what some of the different card types looked like when I just selected “all”.
There’s a couple of things I really liked about how this session went. First of all, even though I left myself open to all the card types, it started easier and slowly got a little harder (i.e. “Build”).
Second, if you like all the fun little sound effects and graphics of Duolingo, you’ll love OkyDoky. With the little clicking sounds and the “success” sound effect, plus a big giant reward star that pops up every time you get 5 or 10 in a row right…OkyDoky’s got the gamification thing down pat. This will absolutely keep you interested in language learning.
Oh, and for the sake of building your comprehension, the term is repeated multiple times, whether it’s a “Listen” card or not.
If you get it wrong? No worries, it’ll show you the answer for you to review, and make a note of it to test you on again later.
And that’s pretty much it for the cards themselves! While you’re not going to get any grammar lessons or explanations, this can make for an excellent way to pick up grammar in context. Simple, yet very fun and effective.
Looking for more information? Scroll down to see a list of all the flashcards you’ve been working on.
Seriously, OkyDoky’s graphics are on point! The whole website gives off a great fun/easy-going/perky feel.
You can see a visual representation of how well you know each phrase, the translation (and transliteration for languages with non-Latin alphabets), two different audio recordings of said phrase, a little emoji describing the phrase, and a link to a forum to discuss (again, much like Duolingo).
Because OkyDoky is still so new, there’s not much in terms of discussion. However, just like Kwiziq was when they first expanded to Spanish, you’ll get a response pretty quickly.
Fair warning: if you head on over to the Discussions sections, you’ll find a lot of users correcting OkyDoky’s content and complaining that there shouldn’t be so many errors.
They make a fair point, but I can’t say how their content is created, and they consistently heed the advice and make the corrections. So, you know, take that bit as you will. A brand new website isn’t going to have all the kinks fixed just yet.
OkyDoky’s chat courses
Recently, OkyDoky has released 80+ new language courses in a new feature called chats! To access them, make sure you have the most recent version of the app (or just use the website on desktop) and click on the brown speech bubble courses.
With these chats, OkyDoky switches it up a little bit and goes from kind of random phrases to phrases that you’ll use in an actual conversation. You don’t have all the options of the other courses, but it is a good option for connecting the information you’re taking in into some more realistic “conversational” practice (you’re not actively having the conversations, i.e. speaking, but you’re still creating those connections between random words/phrases and getting used to real-life chats).
It’s pretty simple: you’re given a phrase, a few fill-in-the-blank options, and a timer. Your job is to make it make sense.
As you can see, your correct answers are in green speech bubbles, and incorrect ones are in red. In the end, you get your stats, which let you know how you did in that particular session.
And, per the rest of the app/website, you can replay the chat just with the phrases that you struggled with to really dive deep into the more difficult stuff. So it’s a challenge because you’re essentially throwing yourself into the conversation, but it’s not a challenge because you’re still not actually speaking.
OkyDoky’s other tools
Besides the main show, the flashcards, OkyDoky has a few other tricks to help us stay motivated, consistent, and interested in our language learning.
First we have the Leaderboard. As OkyDoky continues to improve I can see this as a really helpful motivation tool to keep us learning!
At the moment there are two versions of the site-wide Leaderboard: one by language, and one for all OkyDoky users put together. It’s pretty easy to rank at the moment because there aren’t that many users, but I hope once enough language learners join you’ll be able to compete just against those in a particular course.
I would love to see this develop into something along the lines of Duolingo’s leagues, where you’re pit against a certain amount of members every week. But, as of right now, they’re working with what they’ve got (i.e. not too many members).
Another option, if you have friends who are also using OkyDoky, is groups! Create a group and give your 4-digit group code to anybody you like in order to compete with your friends (a much easier and personal competition than everyone learning a certain language).
You can create a group with as many languages as you like, and edit which languages are counted at any time.
Next up we have daily goals! Go into your account page and see some simple statistics for your study habits.
Unfortunately, these aren’t really front-and-center – it took me a minute of exploring the website to find this. However, I do really like the calendar view. Some may want some more in-depth stats (especially for paid members), but at the moment this section is pretty simple.
Besides the fact that I really need to focus on one course at a time, you can see the percentage of the words I’ve learned, when I’ve studied, and how long I’ve studied for (excellent fodder for PolyLogger!).
Underneath, you also have the option to set a daily study goal and set a daily reminder, either via email or via the mobile app.
Even for a paid language resource, OkyDoky keeps it pretty accessible. They don’t block out entire courses but instead give you a little bit of everything. Just in the French course I reviewed for this post, it included 38 free words and 329 extra for paid users.
So what does it take to get those extra words? Well, not much!
OkyDoky is very accessible. I recommend getting that membership now; like I said, it’s a pretty new resource, so these prices may very well increase over time.
And keep in mind, OkyDoky currently covers the most often-used vocab of 26 different languages, and we get access to every single one of them with an account. The sky’s the limit folks!
Who should use OkyDoky
That’s the end of this OkyDoky review. Do I like it? Yes. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Because it’s still in its beginning stages, there are a lot of errors that need fixing. While it’s easy enough to report errors and get them fixed, this does mean we need to take these flashcards with a grain of salt sometimes.
OkyDoky really shines in its use of gamification, giving us those little endorphin rushes whenever we click around the site. It also mixes up the flashcards really well and gives us the power to choose what kind of learning we want to be doing.
And, of course, I love the visualization of the OkyDoky goal. With that specific goal in mind, language learners who are looking to bulk up on phrases in a variety of different languages in a fun way are gonna love this!
It’s a lot like Duolingo, but strictly for vocab and phrases. Like I said, you’re also not going to get any explanations behind grammar rules or anything like that, so if you can’t figure out these phrases via context, you’ll need to go somewhere else for backup.