You don’t just think outside of the box.
You think like there is no box!
You know that an iron can also be used to grill a sandwich. You can think of at least 30 uses for a copper hanger. You know how to get the cheapest flight while your friends end up with overpriced ones.
You’re hacking your way through life and you use the same mindset in everything you do, including learning English.
So you should definitely know about the unique English learning opportunities on Discord.
Discord is a chat platform for gamers. Maybe it’s totally new to you, or maybe you already spend all night on Discord while battling your way through “Fortnite.”
Either way, you can transform this platform into an addictive tool for English practice.
We know you have a million questions buzzing in your head, so read along to discover more!
What Does Discord Have to Do with English Learning?
If you know video games, you probably know Discord. It’s a free platform for gamers to chat over voice or text messages.
Gamers tend to love its polished look and easy set-up. But who says they’re the only ones who get to benefit from it?
Many people decide to learn English Discord-style, and as soon as you discover why, you’ll smash that “Join” button without thinking twice. Here are some of the great benefits that English learners can get from Discord:
- A peer-to-peer learning opportunity: Don’t live near native English speakers? You can still get live conversation practice on Discord by chatting with both native speakers and other ESL learners. You have the option of group or one-to-one voice chats. It’s a low-pressure environment and far more enjoyable than taking the ESL journey all by yourself.
With Discord, tons of people receive a notification as soon as you send a message, and since the platform is accessible anywhere (more on that below), it’s easy and fast for them to respond to you.
- An international community at the tip of your fingers: As Discord is based on sharing and chatting, its international members form a tight-knit community. English might be a universal language, but the vocabulary and accent can be very different from the U.S. to the U.K. to South Africa to Singapore. Discord will expose you to English speakers from across the globe so you can expand your comprehension skills.
- An easily accessible platform: Web, Android, Windows, iOS… you name it, Discord’s on it. Discord is sort of like a mix between Skype and Telegram. It has the best of all worlds plus an unbeatable user experience on all platforms.
If you enjoy this type of authentic English learning, you should also check out FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It even reminds you when it’s time to review! Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
How to Navigate Discord Like the Pros
Discord could be tricky to newcomers, so here are a few instructions to get you started on the desktop version.
1. Messaging: When you open a Discord server, the center of the screen is where all the conversations are displayed. You can type your message in the small window at the bottom of the page and start chatting.
2. Members list: At your right is a column with all the members of the servers, with their status (online/offline), roles (moderator/member) and other info.
3. Channels: Think of the channels as chat rooms focused on different topics of conversation. You can find them in the column on the left with a hashtag (#) before their name.
4. Messages: Access your personal messages by clicking on the Discord icon at the top left, where you can read “Home.”
5. User settings: Your user settings have all the information about your profile: email, username, app settings…
Who Said Discord Is Only for Gamers? Explore 5 Discord Servers to Learn English
English Language Learners
Type of server: English only
Best for: Beginner English learners who are also discovering Discord
First, head to the #Rules-and-info channel to learn about the do’s and don’ts of the server. After that, jump around the other channels to discover what they have to offer.
You can explore at your own pace and won’t be overwhelmed by this server, since it’s pretty straightforward. Our favorite channel is #One-line-story, where members collectively write a rather quirky (cute and odd) story by contributing one sentence each.
Official Unofficial Duolingo Discord
Type of server: Multilingual
Best for: Learners using the Duolingo app, although not necessarily
Carefully read the instructions in #Welcomes-and-rules. They provide a helpful Google Drive document explaining all the steps to take to use the server like a pro. Seriously, don’t skip a line in this document, it’s a life-saving resource.
Once you type “?rank English Chatroom” in the #Bot-town channel, an English-only channel will appear on the left. Join it and make friends as you chat with the other ESL learners and native speakers in this server.
Our favorite channel is the #Golden-Owl-Showcase, where you can share your progress in Duolingo with the other members.
Type of server: English only
Best for: All levels of English learners
Once again, the #Rules and #Info channels should be your first stops in this server. Once you familiarize yourself with the process, go to #Beginner-English to start chatting. You can also go to #Proofreading if you would like someone to correct your English or answer a grammar-related question.
The “English Learning,” “Learning Notifications,” and “Voice Channel” categories are the most promising channels.
Learning English Together
Type of server: English only
Best for: English learners of all levels and native speakers
As soon as you log in, you’ll automatically be tagged in the #Welcome-channel. Identify your level by writing “.iam Level” followed by “A” if you’re a beginner, “B” if you’re intermediate and “C” if you’re advanced. The #English-chat is a good channel to start, as it has a particularly active community.
Type of server: Multilingual
Best for: ESL learners of all levels
The fact that you’re fluent in another language will come in handy, especially if you’re open for a language exchange session.
When you open this server, you’ll find yourself tagged in various channels. First, go to #Welcome and read the message where you were tagged. If you enter “.iam learning English,” you’ll then have access to the private channel #English, where you can chat freely.
We also love that Linglot’s discussions go beyond learning English the traditional way. The Lounge category offers the chance to connect with like-minded people around creative topics like art and music.
What do you think of these Discord servers for learning English? Do you know of any other interesting ones you would have added to the list? What are your tips to learn English Discord-style? Is this going to be your new favorite way to learn English?
Don’t hesitate to chat about these and many other topics in one of the servers above. There are thousands of English learners just like you, thirsty for knowledge and places to learn the language… with a twist.
Discord servers are an awesome place to learn and practice several languages for free, especially English as you might already know. Give them a try and you’ll become addicted. I should know, since I personally use them to learn Hungarian!
Stay curious, my Discord friends, and as always, happy learning!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.