Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Part Two - Learning English or a Foreign Language: 6 Effective Ways to Use the Internet
Let’s Continue Learning English or Another Foreign Language Using the Internet
So, you can’t go live in a country where English or the foreign language you want to learn is spoken, attend a formal language class, get a private language tutor or use books and written materials because you may not have good access to any? We said in part one of this article post that some other ways to learn English or another foreign language are to listen to CDs or audio-cassette tapes, watch TV, movies and video programs. But available to almost all are the vast resources of the world wide web – the internet. We’ll continue here to examine three additional ways of using the internet to learn a foreign language.
Photo: A Language-learning computer room at the Santiago de Cali University in Cali, COLOMBIA
4. Help in developing listening skills
Considered to be the most difficult of the language skills to develop, listening cannot be taught. Rather, you must practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. Every week, twice a week I passed a street vendor at the same spot, absolutely clueless as to what he was saying. I knew what he was selling – I just peeked over at his wares. But his entreaties in street Spanish fell on my language-clogged ears for months. Then one evening, without warning, it happened. Just two days before, his cries were the same incomprehensible slur they’d been for months. That one evening however, when he launched into his huckster’s spiel I suddenly understood every word. My listening comprehension skills had clicked in. Why then? No one knows. Especially not me, and I’m a post-graduate-degreed Language Education Specialist!
Practice your listening skills with radio programs in your target language for a change at www.live365.com which has live global feeds 24 hours a day in multiple languages.
Foreign language internet radio and foreign news radio in 27 European, 4 Middle Eastern, 9 Asian languages and audio feeds from 19 African countries are broadcast on: http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio.html
5. Playing games and having fun
Vocabulary is often referred to as the "building blocks" of language. Knowledge of vocabulary is one aspect that separates the language learning levels. The more vocabulary and lexis you know, the more communicative you are.
Here are some unique language activity sites that help build your language as you “play”:
• The http://www.manythings.org/ site offers “interesting things for ESL students” like songs, jokes, quizzes, word games, puzzles, slang and even podcasts to help stimulate English language acquisition.
• The foreign language course site at:
http://www.foreignlanguagehome.com/topics/courses/index.htm has activities in 27 languages including Finnish, Mandarin and Quechua.
• At the Transparent Language site you can play games in any one of more than 100 languages from Afrikaans to Farsi or Guarani to Yoruba. And yes, they have Zulu too. Check out all their listings here: http://www.transparent.com/games/
6. So what language tickles your fancy?
While the selection of language courses, tutorials, news feeds, music and other audio – visual materials online is extensive, ALL the world’s 6912 languages simply aren’t available. Sorry. But many are and here’s how to find yours if it’s online.
• 108 FREE online foreign language courses are posted at: http://www.word2word.com/coursead.html
• The PARLO language website offers courses in English, Spanish, French and Italian at: http://www.parlo.com/parlo21/home/courselist/courselist_en.asp
• The E. L. Easton Language Institute offers 14 languages online from Albanian to Japanese, Latin to Croatian to Russian and Spanish. The site is online at: http://eleaston.com/languages.html
• A plethora of language learning activities for the world wide web are online for practice activities from the University of Hawaii here: http://polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/lss/lang/nflrc.html
Although the internet may not be the complete answer to all your foreign language learning needs it nonetheless can be a tremendous resource in your efforts to “habla español”, “parlez francaise”, or “sprechenze Deutcsh”. The prestige, financial gains, personal satisfaction, envy and opportunities that frequently follow with knowledge of a foreign language are without equal. Why don’t you start today trying out some of these effective ways to use the Internet to learn English or a foreign language. By the way, if you do find Cochimi, Cibemba or Kukapa, please let me know – I’m still looking! Any other informative, constructive comments are also welcomed.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 80 countries. Get your FREE E-books,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: firstname.lastname@example.org Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.