What’s the story behind Tandem language learning?

It’s a good question, because for many people, a tandem is a ‘bicycle made for two’, rather than a method for learning languages.

The bike gives some hint as to how Tandem language learning got its name. A Tandem bike needs two people to move forward. But where exactly does language learning come in?

According to the Oxford English dictionary, a tandem can also mean “a group of two people or machines working together”. Tandem language allows you to join forces with someone who speaks the language you want to learn, so you can both benefit from each others skills.

If you have tried to learn a language before, you will know that it is almost impossible to speak well without lots of practice. By working together, we can communicate and learn more quickly and effectively.

In fact, learning through language exchange is not a new concept at all. The first mention of a ‘mutual system’ for learning languages was in the UK in the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s/early 1970s that the method started to be called ‘Tandem’.

By the end of the 70s, Jürgen Wolff had developed the procedure for organizing individual Spanish-German Tandem partnerships in Madrid. This grew into a networks of schools in Europe, and ultimately to the Tandem Fundazioa (you can read more interesting stuff about the Fundazioa’s history here).

We’re pleased to be working together with the Fundazioa to make Tandem language learning available to everyone – no matter where in the world you live.

Want to give it a try? Download our app on iOS or Android now 🙂

International Mother Language Day: What Makes Your Language Special?

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Here at Tandem HQ, we don’t need much of an excuse to celebrate languages and language learning. To celebrate International Mother Language Day, our team shares their experiences of learning languages and what they love best about their native language.

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Tandem Tales: From Language Exchange to Art Exhibition

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On Tandem, we encourage you to find a partner who shares your interests. KiKi from Japan and Julie from Germany bonded over their mutual love of art - and now...

12 Amazing Female Language Bloggers You Should Follow

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When it comes to learning languages, we all need a little inspiration from time to time. Who better to inspire us than someone who is sharing their own language learning journey? For International Women’s Day, we look at some of the most amazing female bloggers and vloggers out there.