Online Language Learning With Native Speakers - Lang-8

by Lang-8 Marketing, 27/02/2014


With the abundance of online tools now available to assist in learning a new language, lang-8.com stands out somewhat in taking things back to basics. Instead of relying algorithms or automated translators, lang-8 connects native speakers with each other on a social network geared towards language education.

The site can be described as a networking site for those interested in language and cultural exchanges and much like Facebook and other social sites you can add friends and join groups based on your interests or location. But first and foremost, it is tool to help learn a language with.

Lang-8 users can write journal entries in the language they want to practice and then have it corrected by native speakers. With over 90 languages being studied by nearly 750,000 registered users there always someone there to help you with your writing skills.

Lang-8 works through a system of reciprocal corrections, so Claire could be learning Korean and writes an entry in Korean which is corrected by Kyung-Hoon, who however, is learning Japanese so he then posts an entry in Japanese that is corrected by Misaki and so on. Users are encouraged to correct others journal entries through a point system, which allocates points based on the number of corrections provided and the helpfulness of the corrections, more points earned see your own posts displayed more prominently for others to correct.

Lang-8’s focus on journal and diary entries lends itself only to writing and reading practice and this by itself will obviously not get you fluent in a language; instead lang-8 is a useful free tool that will help you practice writing skills without having to pay for the corrections.

One drawback with lang-8 is that the corrections will only be good as the person making the correction, but for someone learning a language in almost all cases a native speaker will be able help you out and the system of points and thanks points also helps to maintain the quality of corrections. And of course, you can always pose questions on grammar, or on things such as which word sounds more natural in particular in context, within your journal entries to clear up any issues you come across.

But Lang-8 can be more than just a language correction website, with the ability to add friends and the option to join any of hundreds of interest groups, it is a place to meet natives and others looking to learn a language, making it a complete social language platform. And being able to network with others is something that lang-8 excels in –  whilst many online tools seem strip out the people element of learning a language, lang-8 helps you learn and meet other people at the same time – and in the end we are all learning a language to communicate with others.

It was this idea of connecting language learners that led Yang Yang to start lang-8 following his graduation from Kyoto University where he studied Computer Science. As a bilingual Chinese and Japanese speaker he used his experiences in languages and programming to build grow Lang-8 from small beginnings with just a few languages into the global community it now is with users in 190 countries.

In the last year alone we have gained over 200,000 new users, of which more than 15,000 were from Korea. Lang-8 continues to grow, receiving venture capital funding from CyberAgent Ventures last month and has ambitions of soon reaching 1 million users and in the long term targets 100 million users.

Visit Lang-8.

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