Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Learning a Language Online

Thanks to a friend for bringing my attention to the recent New York Times article Learning a Language From an Expert By Peter Wayner. The article links to some great resources for online language communities. Has anyone tried these services? Some of them are set up like social networking sites and seem like they’d be both fun and useful.

The internet offers streaming radio, newspapers, social networking, movie rentals and subject-oriented chat rooms in any language. That is to say, everything that we have in English, but in your target language. By reading about and even discussing something that interests you in a second language, you have the opportunity to be engaged, learn something new about the culture and subject while practicing your language skills.

Not sure what something means? You can cut and paste words that you don’t know into online translators or dictionaries. You can respond and be answered on various websites. You will learn how to better understand contemporary usage and even slang, which would be hard to do in a formal textbook. The formal textbook still has a place, of course, since you’ll want to understand the grammar and history of a language and culture.

What sites have you found most useful?

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