The Internet is a wonderful thing. Since the dawn of the 21st century, the Internet has helped millions come together to form communities based on similar interests. Not only has it made the connection among like-minded people stronger, it has also helped people learn new languages and expand their horizon of knowledge though language exchange communities.
In this increasingly connected world, it has become extremely useful to know a foreign language. Knowing another language may not only fetch you your dream job but will allow you to meet new friends and share brighter ideas.
Benefits of Language Exchange Communities
The best way to learn a foreign language is by joining communities. That way native speakers can check your grammar, word choice, pronunciation and accent. This helps you learn the nuances of the language.
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In addition to practising with native speakers, joining language exchange communities gives you access to a vast number of resources. Furthermore, it will ensure that you meet like-minded people who share the passion and interest for learning a new language. Languages are not learnt in a day, but if you want to become fluent you will have to keep engaging in regular, high quality practice. Joining a language exchange community is a great way to do this.
Language Exchange Communities
You may find several language exchange communities on the Internet. However, here are the best six communities which will polish your language skills like a shining diamond:
Fluent in 3 months
One of the largest, most popular and most known blogs for language learning. Managed by an Irish traveller, Benny Lewis, this blog talks about the different language hacking techniques. Lewis also writes neutral reviews of the language products available online. He also lives by the mantra of ‘If you wanna learn how to speak a language, then you’ve gotta speak it on the first day. Mistakes and all.’ The forum divides the language learning into categories with one specially dedicated to “ Speaking the languages” and others like writing, reading and listening.
Omniglot is a compilation of linguistic knowledge and the different writing systems used to represent language. It’s one of the better forums to learn about written forms, as well as the spoken language. The owner Simon Ager, also focuses on tips, tricks and techniques on learning to speak various languages. Omniglot attracts many passionate language learners as it covers almost all aspects of language education.
Reddit is not only about upvoting and downvoting items. This forum has an amazing list of language learning communities arranged in subreddits. One such subreddit is /r/languagelearning.
Another major advantage of this forum is that the native speakers are quite active and readily help beginners and polyglots alike. The upvotes and downvotes push the posts above or below, giving readers a better understanding of the highest quality content. The attention is focussed on the most relevant post rather than the newer comments. The downvoting, on the other hand, is a major disadvantage, as it can discourage people from commenting for fear their comment won’t be generally approved. The content doesn’t stay in the same position for a very long. The longer a post has been online, its position eventually falls past the first page.
The forum of an optimal size, the people who run this appear to have a genuine interest in the field of linguistics and in the people who wish to learn new languages. One of the most active communities, it has sections like ‘Language Study Apps’, ‘Language Teaching’ and ‘Language Exchange Corner’ where one can actively participate and seek help. The administrators of this community work hard to implement the users’ comments and suggestions while continuously adding more languages and tweaking the site.
Unilang serves the most number of languages including Polynesian languages, Faroese and the Sami languages. The user-friendly interface allows the user to access the community-generated resources like courses, videos, dictionaries, podcasts etc. Unilang is one of the few communities which supports live text chat. It also allows typing in Arabic, Chinese or Russian. Unilang encourages its users to collaborate and create new personalised resources apart from taking advantage of resources created by others.
A fore-runner in language learning, Bilingua connects you with other users who are fluent in a language you are learning and matches you with them based on similar interests or personalities.
It provides guidance throughout the learning process and gives the much-needed motivation with advanced gamification. In addition to those, the live text chat feature provides ease of communication and the voice and video chats encourage communication. Soon, Bilingua will offer a forum style community for the learners to ask and seek answers to their questions.
Learning a new language has never been easier. The connectivity has made it much smoother for people to reach out to native language speakers who are willing to share their knowledge. A scientific study concluded that people who are multilingual are more intelligent than people who speak just one language. Learning a new language will open up the doors of a rich treasure of wisdom, knowledge and socio-cultural heritage.
There has never been any better time to join language exchange communities than NOW!
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Also published on Medium.