I just discovered one of the coolest websites of all time…if you are an avid language learner! 😉
It is called lang-8 and is a social media meets virtual classroom meets private tutoring session, and it is incredible. You can sign up for an acount for free, and when you first sign up you write down what your native language is and what the language you are learning is. Then, your “news feed” is full of people who have the opposite of you. For example, I wrote that my native language is English and that I am learning Japanese and Korean, so my news feed is full of native Japanese and Korean people trying to learn English. Once you become “friends” with people on the site, their journal entries go to the top of your feed and are easier for you to find.
What is the point of the site?
Whenever you feel like it, you write a joural-type entry and send it out into the universe. Then, the people I mentioned before will see your journal and have the ability to comment on and correct the entry line-by-line. (This is the point in the story when my younger brother proclaimed, “Thats so boring! It sounds like school!” But for people like me this is fascinating.) The site rewards you for posting, correcting other people’s entries, getting “thanks” from other people and so on, and the higher points/status you have on the site, the higher up your own journal entries will appear on other peoples pages, giving you a higher chance for it to be corrected.
I first started using this website this past Saturday, and soon after joining I posted a journal entry in Japanese. LITERALLY 2 minutes after posting the entry, I had corrections and comments from 3 native Japanese speakers and within 30 minutes the post had more corrections and had been viewed several more times. WOW.
This was so incredible, and I can definitely see myself using this site not only for practicing my writing skills, but also for when I have questions at random times of the day about Japanese for my classes.
In addition, it is great (stress free) practice for tutoring students in English, which is something I am interested in. I will also be a TA in an ESL classroom next Spring when I return from Japan, so this is a good way for me to keep up my interest and enthusiasm, as well as being able to help other people the same way they are helping me.
This site is useful for people of any language and of any level of language ability. It is perfect to put yourself out there and practice your newly found language skills annonymously.