Language studies are evolving. With the increase in tuition fees, many students are shying away from language studies in traditional institutions, opting instead for more vocational studies in the hope of securing a career. Rising fuel costs make traditional face-to-face tuition too expensive for many language learners. Many are forced to teach themselves languages outside of the usual teaching frameworks. With the widespread availability of the Internet, the world has got smaller, and contact with native speakers and their culture has become a real possibility for people who cannot make regular trips abroad. As a result, language learning has got easier! So here are 5 top tips on how to take full advantage of the wealth of language learning resources on the Internet, as recommended by professional language tutors, learners and teaching experts!
1. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Follow users who tweet in the target language. The language Twitterati tweet so regularly that you can rest assured you’ll be exposed to the target language on a regular basis. Why not enter into a discussion in the target language too? That way, you will be able to practise your writing skills and make regular contact with native speakers. Likewise, join groups on Facebook and subscribe to YouTube channels providing videos in the target language – fantastic for your listening and comprehension skills!
2. Download Podcasts
Download as many podcasts as you can in the target language and listen to them on your way to and from work. The British Council podcasts are brilliant for English language learners. If your language is up to scratch, why not download podcasts for native speakers? Even if you only understand a small percentage of what is being said, you will unconsciously expand your vocabulary by listening and understand what new words mean by their context. They really are a great resource to hone your listening abilities!
3. Join a Forum
Join a forum in your target language on a subject that really interests you. That way you will want to return to the forum to read updates and ongoing discussions and will increase your exposure to the target language. Why not join a language learning forum too for tips on how to improve your language learning from other learners?
4. Listen to the Radio Online
Try out a few online radio stations broadcasting abroad and leave it playing in the background while you’re at home. The key to successful language learning is regular exposure to the language, so make it part of your daily routine and tune in every morning while you get ready. The beauty of the radio is the range of vocabulary you are exposed to, from music related words to the vocabulary used on news programmes and the slang used by DJs.
5. Search For Local Meetups
Have a look online for nearby language and culture groups (we recommend checking out www.meetup.com ). Most groups have pages with an events calendar and a forum where issues can be discussed with other members in the same boat as you. You will be surprised at just how many are going on and they are a brilliant way to meet native speakers for some invaluable conversation practice! A fantastic way to take your online study offline.