Last year at this time I ran a series of posts highlighting some great online resources for language learners. In that series I introduced you to Livemocha, LingQ, The Mixxer, and Rhinospike. As spring rolls around again, I’d like to highlight some more great online resources in the coming months. Like last year, I’ll introduce each and then allow the creators of the resource the opportunity to answer a number of questions to help you know just what exactly they are all about.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Tweetalang. If you are a regular reader here at the blog, you already know the creator, Nate Hill from his guest post back in November: Focused On Listening. Nate has been doing a lot of great things for English language learners with his other site Tweet Speek English and now he is working to create a great new resource that will tap into the power of Twitter for all language learners – Tweetalang.
That’s right, Tweetalang is still in development. As an avid Twitter user though, it sounds like an exciting resource and I wanted to introduce you to it now and encourage all of you who are able and excited to help make Tweetalang a reality.
In order to speed development, Nate is working to crowd fund Tweetalang’s development and I would encourage you that if you are an avid language learner and an avid Twitterer to consider stopping by and contributing yourself. There are lots of great incentives as well for those who give.
Here are the questions I put to Nate about Tweetalang:
- In 200 words or less, what exactly is Tweetalang?
Tweetalang is a site that empowers language learners to easily produce personalized audio courses from their activities on Twitter.
What does that mean? An example might benefit us best here. Let’s say I have been learning Spanish, and Twitter is one way I like to communicate with native speakers. After connecting to Tweetalang, I just add a hash tag (#) to my Spanish tweets that I want to submit to Tweetalang.
Tagged tweets are spotted and taken in by Tweetalang, and shown to native Spanish speakers in the community who then make corrections to the tweeted text, make it sound more natural, and record it directly on the site.
This corrected and recorded tweet is then returned to you to be studied and shared.
- What is the number one benefit a language learner will gain from using Tweetalang?
I believe language is best learned by observing, experimenting, and participating in communication with native speakers. Twitter is already a great place for language learners to do all three, but Tweetalang will transform Twitter into a robust language learning tool–adding the unique ability to create text and audio about your life as you live it in a foreign language–anywhere in the world.
- How will Tweetalang differentiate for different levels of learners?
Tweetalang is completely in the hands of the learner. Each submitted tweet is part of the experimentation phase of learning, so will naturally match his/her current language level.
For example, if an absolute beginner picks up a few words and tries to mimic how they’ve seen it used in a sentence (the observation phase), then the Tweetalang community will help the learner express that basic idea correctly and naturally. This will lead to more observations and discovery about how the language works, which will lead to more experimentation until thelearner feels he/she has mastered that phrasal structure enough to effortlessly communicate with it (the participation phase).
An advanced learner, on the other hand, might be using more difficult vocabulary or grammar structures, but Tweetalang will still work in an observe-experiment-participate loop that leads to natural discovery of how the language works.
- What excites you about the future of Tweetalang?
The most exciting part about Tweetalang is that this is only the beginning. Once the tool is in place, it will be a fluid, moving creature, learning the languages of the world as people from all over the globe interact with each other through Tweetalang. This body of living language will have a place to reside and will steadily grow into a massive resource for language learners and educators alike. The fun will come for us as a community to stretch our creative powers to think of ways to learn with this resource.
- Where is Tweetalang at now in terms of development and what can reader’s do to help speed it’s arrival?
Tweetalang is moving as quickly as it possibly can to get beta out there for everyone to start experimenting with. The development is incredibly time consuming and being done around full time jobs. That’s why we started the IndieGoGo crowd funding page.
The funds that we get through the language community’s contributions there will allow us to speed up the development process drastically by hiring extra work, as well as giving us a comfortable buffer from which to operate our servers, outage free, while in beta. Seriously, every dollar that is contributed helps tremendously, and ensures that we make it to the end of that long runway for a successful take off.
Another big thing you can do to help is share! Even if you don’t have a dollar to give, please share across all of your networks. If we share enough, we could get featured on IndieGoGo which would really boost our visibility.
- Outside of Tweetalang, what is the number one thing the everyday language learner can do to help themselves learn another language?
Defining what fluency looks like to me has been the number one thing I have done in my own language learning pursuits, and I really recommend it to everyone.
Defining fluency requires you to examine and outline how you’d like/need to use the language, which in turn highlights specific goals, and accomplishing goals gives you a way to track real, objective improvement. I like to call this the fluency loop. Of course, working all of this into a fun routine of communicating in a way that doesn’t feel like learning is the real secret (one I hope to achieve for Tweetalang users)!
Be sure and stop by the Tweetalang site today to contribute or share . Tweetalang sounds fantastic and I hope together we can help it become a reality soon.
Follow on Twitter @tweetalang
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