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A Chattering Class for Foreign Travel

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Atlanta's TripLingo has just the phrase

As the Warby Parker Class Trip's big yellow bus travels this great nation, the language might be English, but language barriers still remain. The great soda / pop / coke divide comes to mind.

When the team rolled into Atlanta, we caught up with local startup TripLingo, whose iOS app is a playful and rather addictive take on language instruction.

Sure, TripLingo offers freemium dictionary, flashcards, and phrase guides for eleven foreign languages, but features like the "Slangslider" are the real standouts - allowing the user to switch among formal, casual, slang, and crazy modes of the same expression. ("Con Superman", it turns out, is the crazy version of "excuse me" in Mexican Spanish.)

"One of my favorite things to do when travelling is use the crazy version of phrases and try to make cab drivers laugh," founder Jesse Maddox said. "People are really surprised and receptive to it."

Of course TripLingo isn't just about making cabbies laugh. Their Dari language unit (the Persian dialect spoken in Afghanistan) was created to help troops overseas. "We found the U.S. military phrase book for Dari and discovered it hadn't been updated in 20 years," Maddox said. "For $3000 we were able to update all the content... We often get notes from the military or aid workers thanking us for the app."

You can download TripLingo here.

Now go forth (and go con Superman).

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