Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My teacher, Facebook

When learning a new language, there are a million and one ways to expose yourself to and study the language. You can take formal classes, move to a country that speaks that language, arrange language exchange partners, listen to music and watch TV in that language, or even just grab some grammar books and study on your own.

Language learning tools you probably didn't consider using? Your Facebook. Your cell phone. Your ipod. Your anything-that-has-a-language-setting. Those little gadgets you use everyday, change them from English and learn their vocabulary!

Sure, a lot of the vocabulary isn't terribly confusing. I could have guessed that notification would be notificación in Spanish, but it's nice to confirm, and to learn the words for link, tag, and home (it's not casa). You use your Facebook everyday, so why not read it as Juan ha comentado tu estado, and Carolina te ha invitado al evento "Fiesta" rather than the same old notifications.

Learn the configuración of your móvilResponder to your mensajes. Remind yourself that today is martes, not Tuesday. Review los meses del año.

This may not sound like much, but languages are learned in baby steps. Every exposure you have to words used in context increases your understanding of them, and understanding words and phrases better means they will more naturally slip into your speech. Think about how many times a day you use your phone, computer, and ipod, and what you could possibly learn each time. Even if it is just Pedro te ha etiquado en 3 fotos, it's something.

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