A few weeks ago, I shared some of my favourite language blogs with you. While blogs are great for motivation and tips, some people might not feel comfortable – or even interested – in connecting with the authors by leaving comments.
Besides, leaving a comment might help you connect with one blogger and his or her readers, but it won’t help you connect with the thousands of non-bloggers who are out there talking languages – people just like you who are working hard to learn their first, second, or tenth* foreign language.
*Ten languages! Ha! I can barely keep up with two.
I highly recommend that any language learner connect with other language learners. Message boards and forums are some of the richest places to ask for advice, share resources, commiserate, seek out inspiration, or just chat with other language geeks who actually get it.
HTLAL is a well-established and well-respected forum that’s been around for years. It’s the place to be if you want to talk about languages – learning them, speaking them, dreaming about them, maintaining them, living them. New posters are made welcome, and many of the regular posters are extremely experienced and generous with their time and advice.
The real gold nuggets are hidden in the language learning log board, where learners of all levels can post their thoughts, experiences, suggestions, questions and complaints. I keep two logs on HTLAL: Stelle Speaks Spanish and Stelle’s Taga-Log.
(My super-top-secret user name is Stelle. Shhhh. It’s a secret.)
HTLAL isn’t perfect. It suffers from a clunky interface, an absentee administrator, and intermittent loading problems (although it hasn’t had any load time problems for the last few months). The forum software hasn’t been updated in years, making it hard to use on mobile devices. With the lack of updates and the benign neglect, it seems inevitable that the forum will one day disappear.
Until that day, though, it remains one of the best places I’ve found to talk about languages with serious, committed learners.
I’m not an early adopter. No, really. I had never even listened to a podcast before I started learning Spanish last year.
That explains why it took me so many years to start using the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet”. Reddit is basically a site where people can submit content – links, videos, discussion topics, images, articles – which is then commented on and voted up or down by thousands of other members.
Reddit can be a bit overwhelming at first. It’s an extraordinarily busy site with thousands of subreddits (or areas of interest). To use Reddit to talk languages (which is all I’m interested in doing on that site), I would recommend following only related subreddits, and unfollowing anything else.
I read (and sometimes comment on) the following subreddits:
The best thing about Reddit is that its membership self-moderates. Spammers and trolls are quickly downvoted and disappear before long.
Lots of the language discussion on Reddit is actually beginner-focused. There aren’t as many serious and useful discussions as there are on HTLAL or on Polydog. But it’s an excellent source of free resources, and there are subreddits for just about any language.
(My super-top-secret name was already taken, so I had to go with stellere.)
The popular language learning blog Fluent in 3 Months also has a forum. While, not surprisingly, many of the posters adhere to Benny’s “speak from day one” philosophy, it’s open to any language learner, regardless of his or her approach.
Fi3M not as busy as the other forums and message boards mentioned in this post. It’s also heavily weighted with beginner language learners. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a beginner – everyone was a beginner at some point – a well-balanced forum also needs some more experienced members to provide a different perspective.
The Fi3M forum can be a good source of encouragement and suggestions for resources if you’re learning a new language. There are some gems in the language mission section.
(Again, I had to go with my second-favourite super-top-secret user name , stellere. I’m very unlikely to start new posts on Fi3M, although I do try to encourage people learning Spanish and share suggestions and resources when I can.)