Frequently Asked Questions

Chatterbug is an online language learning system with two parts: Self-Study and Live Lessons. Self-study is time spent on activities like study cards, readings, and journals in Chatterbug. Live Lessons are guided, 45 minute one-on-one video chats with a native speaker of the language you are learning.

Chatterbug offers the effectiveness of private language tutoring and the flexibility of online study. Study when and wherever you like!

Currently German for English speakers. We are focusing on German first to perfect the technology and the curriculum, and then we will expand into other languages.

Soon we plan to offer English, Spanish, and French. In the longer term, we plan to offer a wide variety of languages.

To use Chatterbug past the initial trial period, you must subscribe to one of our plans. Our study plans start at €15/$18 per month. All plans include one or more Live Lessons per month. See the pricing section for more details.

It’s up to you! The more you study, the faster you get better.

Spending about 2 hours a week in self-study and 2 Live Lessons per week—a total of 3.5 hours per week—will typically get you from a complete novice to CEFR’s A1 (basic communication skills) in about 5 to 6 months. Going from A1 to A2 (routine conversations) would take a similar amount of time.

Nope! You can take our placement test before you start studying and immediately jump ahead to your current level. You can also retake the placement at any time if you don’t think you’re at the right level.

We are working on it! We will be releasing it shortly.

Live Lessons are guided, 45 minute, one-on-one video chats with native speakers of the language you are learning. Learn more on the home page.

To put it plainly, yes. There are many tools out there that help you practice vocabulary or study grammar, but without conversations with real humans, using your new language skills in the real world will be very difficult. You may find you know many words, but cannot understand anyone speaking or form complete sentences on your own.

No. Self-study and Live Lessons are like peanut butter and jelly—they are pretty good on their own, but way better when used together.

Self-study will teach you vocabulary and language rules that you will use in the Live Lessons; the Live Lessons will reinforce the vocabulary and rules by using what you learned during real conversations. Live Lessons bring together all of your efforts and really teach you to speak the language. But you have to work concurrently on building your foundation of vocabulary and grammar so you have the raw materials you need to benefit from the Live Lessons.

We make this part super easy—no coordination involved. You select the times you want to take lessons each week, and we pair you with tutors that are available during those times.

Only if you want them to be. If you opt in, you will be able to go back and see replays of all of your old lessons including video, audio, chat messages, and exercise information for each lesson.

As a student, the recordings can be very useful to see your progress, and to jog your memory of tips from your tutors.

You can select one of 3 options: don’t record at all, record only for your use, and record for your use plus our research.

In the first option (don’t record at all), we do not record your lessons. :)

In the second option (record for your use), we do nothing with your recordings—they are yours for your own benefit.

The third option (for your use plus research) allows us to use the videos for research purposes to improve Chatterbug and our curriculum. Your recordings will not be made public or otherwise shared outside the people improving the system.

You don’t need to be! After you sign up, you will select one of 3 options: don’t record at all, record only for your use, and record for your use plus our research. After signup, you can change this setting any time in your account settings.

Not at this time. All of our Live Lessons are one-on-one.

Nope, we think it’s helpful for you to hear different accents and speaking styles just like you would in real world conversations. So we pair you with a variety of native speakers for your Live Lessons.

You’ll have an opportunity to rate your tutor at the end of each session, and to let us know if there’s someone you prefer not to work with anymore. We screen our tutors for friendliness and helpfulness. It is very important to us that everyone has a positive experience.

If you ever want to end a Live Lesson early for any reason, you can do so by pressing the button that says “End Session Early”.

Yes! You can apply on our tutor application page.

As a tutor you will be in 45 minute one-on-one video chats with students.

Check out our tutor application page for more info.

Nope. At this time, we only require that you are native in the target language and are a really nice person.

No. All curriculum is provided by Chatterbug. The system will show guided exercises to the student that are at the student’s level.

Yes. At this time, we require all tutors to allow recording. Some students will have opted out of recording, and in those cases you will not be recorded.

You have two options regarding recording: record only for the student’s use, or record for the student’s use plus our research.

In the first option (record for the student’s use), we do nothing with your recordings—they are yours for your own benefit.

The second option (for the student’s use plus research) allows us to use the videos for research purposes to improve Chatterbug and our curriculum. Your recordings will not be made public or otherwise shared outside the people improving the system.

We approve tutors based on their availability in timezones where there is student demand.

Yes! Please check out Chatterbug for Business.