This site is supported by Nobility Studios.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Blogging on Lang-8 to Learn a Language and Improve your English

4 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Lang-8.com is essentially a blog-site centered around language exchange. Ever since the site first opened, it has improved a lot and there appears to be a large and active community for all the major languages. Even for minor languages, you should be able to find some people to help you. I recently started keeping a Tagalog journal on the site and I have received help from native Tagalog speakers.

You sign up, indicate your native language, the language(s) you are learning, start blogging. When you post a blog entry in X language, it shows up in the feed of people who natively speak X. The feed prioritizes your friend list and entries with 0 corrections. People can then proofread and correct your blog entry, and leave it as a comment. The website has nice support and formatting for corrections. It parses your entry sentence by sentence and when people leave corrections for you, it shows what you wrote + their correction as a pair so it is very easy to learn from your mistakes. Also the webdevs recently added a point system. You get points when you help people, and there are rankings for each language. This made the site 10x more addicting.

When I first started, I got a correction(s) within a few hours. As I blogged more, and my friends list grew, and I got more of a presence on the site by helping other people, my blogs started getting proofread within minutes.

The site is also good for getting over pride/embarrassment issues as an individual learning a language. Most people grossly overestimate how much they know a language, and may lead themselves into an embarrassing situation where their ignorance gets outed. Either that, or people never get to the point where they actually try to compose meaningful paragraphs because they're too afraid of trying. No one on the site will insult you for having barely comprehensible writing, and they will try to help.

As an IRL-bonus, I don't think it's too silly to add your lang-8 profile to a resume as long as you maintain a professional image, particularly if you're young and you need something to fluff your CV. If you maintain a profile for 6-12+ months, write every day, continuously improve and write about more and more difficult topics, proofread journals and help other people learn your language every day, and end up teaching yourself another language, this shows: (1) you can dedicate yourself to a long-term goal and not give up (2) you are an extremely good communicator (3) proof that you can communicate in a foreign language, at least through writing (4) proof that you are "detail-oriented" instead of that being a cliche description that means nothing on 90% of resumes.

1) Blog every day. The topic of your posts doesn't matter, but they should be very diverse and include the mundane. Don't worry about how interesting it is, no one cares and people will still correct your entry. Even 1 or 2 sentences is fine, I occasionally correct English posts from people that read like intoxicated Facebook status updates. If you can't think of anything (how is that even possible?), write your schedule for the day, what you have eaten so far, how many glasses or mugs you own and how they are arranged in your cupboard, write a really shitty movie/book review (I liked this movie because the acting was good. _____ was a good actor. ________ was a good scene. The dialogue was interesting. I would recommend this to my friends. I liked the colors the director used.), write an arithmetic problem in words, write about your job, write about how many siblings you have and where they live...

2) Rewrite corrected entries in a notebook. After people correct your entry, take note of any grammatical errors, if they leave some advice, include it.

3) Friend request people who have commented on your blog. Stack your friend list, your entry will be prioritized in their feed and you'll get more numerous corrections, quicker.

4) Change the interface language of the site to the one you are learning. Bottom right hand area on your account home page.

5) Help other people. The website works because of reciprocity, but this will also help you in a few ways. By reading broken English, I believe this can unituitively improve your English. You will also get insight from how people that natively speak the language you are learning, view your language. Eventually, you may notice patterns in their non-native composition that will give you a subtle understanding of how their language works. Additionally, people will be more likely to give you corrections if you regularly correct other people's journals.

Edited by Michio
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Great, I'm interested in your work. Have you done anything there, and which language did you take the plunge in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like a good site. Maybe I’ll give blogging in French a try once I get tired of some of what I’m studying now. :) I read in it all the time, but I hardly ever use it to write.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Great, I'm interested in your work. Have you done anything there, and which language did you take the plunge in?

I don't have anything super interesting that I've written in Japanese or Tagalog lol. But here's something short (like 4 sentences?) I wrote in Japanese yesterday. I know it's not too impressive... I was trying out some new expressions.

I stopped studying language for a while, but picked it up again. I can't figure out what the hell I want to do with my life, but I'll just say, foreign language is the only thing I've done (other than lifting weights), where I can sit down and attempt to write something or work through a grammar book, and not realize I missed lunch and it's 4 pm, and I should probably drink some water too. Nothing else holds my attention like that.

English:

Discipline is greater than motivation.

Discipline is more beneficial than motivation. When it comes to getting things done, motivation is unreliable, but discipline allows us to take action when it is needed.

Motivation is just a feeling, but it is diiscipline that allows us to start and finish things regardless of how we are feeling. Motivation merely allows us to begin. It is also fleeting, and if the time comes to take action when we have no motivation, we must rely on our discipline.

By completing a small task you cannot fail every day, discipline can be cultivated. For example, regularly writing in your Lang-8 journal.

Japanese:

習慣はやる気より重要です。

習慣はやる気やるよりも有益なのです。物事を遂行することに関して,やる気は当てになりませんが、習慣はいざとなったら行動を起こさせてくれます。やる気はただの感情です。習慣はどのように感じているのかにかかわらず物事をさせるものです。やる気で物事に着手することができますが、やる気とははかないもので、行動を取るときがきても、やる気がなければ、習慣を頼りにしなければなりません。毎日必ず小さなことをやり遂げることで、習慣は養われます。例えば、lang-8の日誌に書くのことです。

One thing I could do is some specific translation research in order to translate certain things on this site. It would be a big project, but I would learn lot. I know very few words that are related to philosophy for example, so I what I would do is go to the Japanese wikipedia, start with the 哲学 page, and start reading. I would write down key words such as "metaphysics" plus a little context, and translate that into English. I would use 1 piece of paper per word, with several contexts. That way I have a good sense of how the word works.

Next, after collecting a lot of key words relating to philosophy, I would study the contexts, do a little reading etc. then try to write something down about those words, check with native speakers to make sure I'm not writing nonsense. These small pieces of my writing will be my reference when I attempt a translation of some heady philosophical composition. This would be a large project, and since I would be writing it on paper (purely for my own benefit to improve my Japanese script, this would be much simpler on a computer), I would keep an index of words and number all the pages. Of course I could type all of this to a computer but I like paper when I'm studying a language... It's different.

This is what I would do for any subject, and I should do it if I'm serious.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0