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Language Web 2.0 November 11, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Social Networks, Speaking.

I have joined so many language exchange networks in the past year that I have already lost count of them. Whenever people contact me for language exchange, I would ask them from which language exchange website they found out about me. Quite often, they simply cannot recall it, probably because they themselves have also joined too many of these networks.

There is recently posted on Mashable a comprehensive list of 70+ online language communities and resources. 15+ of these are language exchange networks. So it looks like everyone is jumping into the wagon! Most of these sites render like a typical social network, with features such as messaging and forums. Some also include built-in voice-recording, communication tools, and even language courses. Out of the many I have tried, I would recommend SharedTalk, Kantalk, iTalki, and xLingo.

But then this whole new business of language exchange network, or Language Web 2.0, has still not yet proven to be anything effective. So far, I have only seen people using the services as a mean of socializing and making friends. Have their languages skills improved? It is really hard to tell.

As for myself, I always find it difficult to follow through once I have established a contact in those social networks. I would usually exchange a few private messages and end there. Sometimes, we would conduct a few voice-chats but that’s all about it. Perhaps I should try to make more effort in knowing the other person instead of just treating him as a resource of language learning. Here is a brilliant quote from Master Steve in his recent podcast which is very true:

“It is very difficult to have a conversation just for the sake of having a conversation with someone that you aren’t necessarily interested in having a conversation with.”

One thing is for sure though. Everybody seems to be looking for more exciting ways to learn languages other than the traditional model of classroom learning.