Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Language learning through twitter - Take a bite everyday!

In the overwhelming information era, we have so much to read and digest everyday. It's hard to take some time out, sit down, concentrate and study. It is even harder for working people to leave office early, skip gatherings with friends or family, commute a long way to class, then do homework or review.

Twitter can be a solution to this. It is really a great way to learn anything, especially languages. Here are a few ways you can utilize this great social media tool effectively to learn a language:

1. A word a day: Follow people or group which teaches you a new word, a new phrase everyday such as BBC language which offers Spanish, German, Italian, French etc. Say the new word aloud a few times until you have internalized it, try to make a sentence or two if you can. You can do all these while you wait for your bus, train, elevator or traffic light!

2. Exercise on the go: Follow people or group which provides you mini-exercise in your target language, such as DoubleTranslate which offers fill in the blank exercise in German.

3. Share your own learning: tweet whatever you have learnt today, be it a phrase, a proverb, a grammar point, an idiom, a joke, a tonguetwister, or how to say Merry Christmas in your target language, also tweet a sentence that you make with a new word... Repetition is a good way to learn and the tweets serve as a great review page.

4. Learn together: create a list and get your classmates or friends who are also learning the language to tweet and share their learning with each other. This way you get to learn more everyday.

5. Read for fun: follow interest groups which post in your target language. For example, if you like reading news and are learning Spanish, instead of following CNN or BBC in English, why don't you follow CNN en español, el Pais, DW Spanish, etc.? Find the cooking, music or sports twitter users, follow them and read the related news for leisure. If you're interested in the topic, chances are you will continue to read and learn more new vocabulary in that field.

6. Correct me: invite native speakers to follow you and help correct sentences that you make and tweet. You can do language exchange and offer help back to your virtual teacher. Learn your mistakes and you're on path to accuracy.

As the phrase goes "Many a little makes a mickle" or in Chinese 积少成多 (jī shǎo chéng duō). Start now and you will be surprised how much you will have learnt in one year, albeit your busy schedule!

Can you think of more ways to use Twitter to learn a language? Share by leaving a comment here. Thanks!

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