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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Online Language Learning Resources

Photo credit: algogenius via flickr.com
Many language learners might ask: how can we learn language? Ten years ago, the answer might have been read as many books in other languages as you can, devote your time to understanding textbooks, and do as many grammar exercises as you can. However, because of the internet, we can now learn foreign languages in a way that is fun and even facilitates making foreign friends! This blog post will explore the online resources in language learning, particularly the online language learning websites and language learners’ blogs.





Language Blogs

Lots of language blogs are started by language learners who have succeeded in learning foreign languages and living in another culture. Their blogs often share the experiences of living in another culture and give language learning tips. Here are some blogs:

This blog consists of language learning tips from Benny Lewis, who did poorly in his language classes while he was a student, but is now a “full-time language hacker”. He was awarded the title of National Geographic’s Traveler of the Year. This blog introduces readers to his story as he travels the world to learn new languages.
     Jovin started this website after she gave herself a long term project: to learn as many of the languages spoken around New York City. This blog chronicles her linguistic adventures, some misadventures, and the mental and physical fallout she experiences while studying various languages. This blog also has a directory of learning-resource reviews for other people seeking to learn a new language or reinforce old skills.
Luca’s blog provides language learners a unique way of learning languages. He wants to provide language learners with the techniques to study foreign languages with optimism, passion, effective methods and experience. His belief is that anyone can learn a language and learning languages is a life enriching experience. His blog posts and videos can be found in various languages.

The blogs listed above are all general language learning blogs. There are also many other blogs devoted to learning certain languages, for example, All Japanese All the Time, Women Learning Thai, DW World Deutsch lernen.

Online Websites

Online Language Learning websites are now quite popular among language learners. They are usually composed of online lessons and language learning resources. Several have features that connect you with native language speakers to practice your targeted language. There are also websites that help you find language partners and make friends around the world. Here are some websites that have been rated among one of the best:

Bussuu is one of the biggest language exchange communities. Learners who have some understanding of the language can get more from this website. This site provides the learners with all kinds of language learning approaches: reading, writing, listening and speaking. In addition, the Busuu app enables learners to have their lessons or review materials on their tablets and phones. Some features like printable PDF review files are only available through the paid Premium membership with a seven day trial period for free.
When there is new material in the lessons presented, Livemocha will break it down for the learners, but reassemble the parts in the end so that the students can revisit and apply what they have learned. This site provides learners with networking options while studying foreign languages. Livemocha allows learners to have virtual classes or an online session with a private tutor. The online community is a Facebook-style networking page with chat options and friend suggestions.
The courses in BBC Languages are completely free. It is a great source for the beginners in foreign language learning. The website under each language covers the basic information one needs to know about that language and the country where the language is spoken. This site also provides various online resources in listening, speaking and exercises for writing and speaking, which have hints and sample answers.

The websites listed above are chosen because they are typical language learning websites, which have features in well-structured lessons, encourage online networking, and new language acquisition. There are also other good websites that can help with language learning, such as Conversation Exchange and Duolingo.