Social networks are supposed to show us the freshest updates on our friend groups and in the world, right?
So why is it that each day’s newsfeed seems so much like the last?
Pictures of babies…
News posts and comment section arguments…
Envy-inducing vacation photos…
What if there was a social network where you could actively grow and learn?
What if you could turn your social media time into language learning time?
You definitely can!
We’ll show you six social networks where you can connect with native speakers and other learners from around the world, build your vocabulary and practice your language skills.
Yes, technology for language learning is every language student’s best friend, and social media is an exceptionally fun way to learn any language.
Ready to get scrollin’?
Why Use a Language Learning Social Network?
Language is inherently social, so it’s just more natural to learn it socially.
The ultimate goal of studying a language is to be able to communicate effectively in conversations and in writing. Language learning social networks get you chatting casually with native speakers, which won’t just give you essential communication practice but will also expose you to new vocabulary, slang and cultural lessons you’d normally have to travel for.
Plus, as you start to make friends on these networks, you’ll have people to both answer your questions and hold you accountable. Whether it’s posting a question in a public forum or shooting a message to a new native speaking friend, it’ll be easy to get your grammar roadblocks and vocabulary confusions solved. Having these types of language learning connections also creates a whole community of people who are invested in your language development.
If you like this type of authentic language learning apps and programs, an innovative tool to check out alongside language learning social networks is FluentU. It’s another fun way to learn your target language the way native speakers really use it.
Each video comes with interactive captions, flashcards and exercises built to teach you new words in an engaging, memorable way. Not only will you be actively building your vocabulary and listening comprehension skills, you’ll also be absorbing pop culture in your target language—giving you lots to post and chat about on one of the social networks below!
Connect with World Languages: 6 Language Learning Social Networks
Also available: iOS | Android
italki may be best known for its one-on-one language lessons, but it also offers terrific community features on its website whether or not you’re taking lessons.
For instance, you can post pieces of writing to the “Notebook” section for native speakers to correct. An “Answers” section allows you to ask questions and/or peruse responses to other users’ questions. A “Discussions” section allows you to discuss whatever is on your mind, whether you’re seeking friends, asking a pressing language question or just wanting to chat about current events in your target language.
Aside from posting publicly, you can also view other user’s profiles on the “Language Partners” page. From there you can send messages or hit “Add Friend” to start building up your network.
As it’s also a platform for professional teachers, italki offers one of the most varied and colorful learning experiences that can be found on the web.
For focused study, you can hire one of the platform’s professional, experienced language educators who’ll teach you everything from grammar to slang to day-to-day conversations. All you need to do to get started is to select your preferred teacher, then schedule a paid trial lesson.
All in all, the nice array of options make italki a great social network for language learners.
Also available: iOS | Android
Speaky is a free language exchange app that can connect you to a world of learning opportunities.
Just select what language you want to practice and sign up through your Facebook or Google+ account. With more than 180 countries and 110 languages represented, you can practice common or even many uncommon languages.
Speaky allows you to connect with other users who share your interests, so you’ll always have something to talk about. It’s easy to scroll through a feed of profiles to see who’s online and learn more about them. Every user’s profile shows what languages they speak, what they’re learning and what level they’re at—and Speaky also makes it easy to distinguish native speakers in particular.
Through a web browser, you can engage in audio or video chat. Through the app, you can text chat. Audio messages and file sharing are also in the works.
Connecting like this is a helpful way to get real-world practice in your target language in a comfortable setting that encourages learning and growth.
Also available: iOS | Android
Got a question? HiNative can help!
HiNative is formatted as a question-and-answer platform for language learners. Simply post a question in text or audio. To make it simpler, you can even use HiNative’s built-in question templates or post a picture to give other users some context.
Then, native speakers can respond with text and/or audio answers. This makes HiNative a good way to ask grammar questions, find out how something is pronounced, seek clarification on slang or even ask whether your pronunciation is correct.
In addition to language questions, HiNative also accepts questions about culture, so you can get tips and insights into countries around the world.
If you’re feeling friendly, you might also try answering people’s questions about your native language or country.
HiNative has users from over 170 countries and supports over 110 languages.
The basic version of the app is free, but the premium version ramps up the social network-style features. You’ll be able to hear every voice answer (including to other users’ questions), a search feature, notifications and “premium tickets” that highlight your questions to get them more attention.
Also available: Android
If you’re looking for a versatile tool to find and chat with people around the world, Languing is a good bet.
You can search for friends using various filters like language, proficiency level and age. Languing is designed to make finding and messaging friends as easy as it is on a regular social network. It also offers audio, video and text chat, which is great to practice all the key skills—reading, writing, listening and speaking.
There’s even a built-in translator so you can look up tricky words without leaving the platform.
Supported languages include English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Croatian, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
When you sign up for Lingualia’s language lessons, you also get access to its language learning social network.
This network aims to help you make new friends who are native speakers. From there, you can also practice your target language, ask questions, receive help and help others (a good deed always feels good).
Lingualia offers Spanish and English. You can interact with other learners with a free subscription. Additional website features like dialogues and example audio require a paid subscription.
UniLang is a language learning forum, which is like an old-school social network.
There are a number of different forums to meet your learning needs on UniLang.
To get started, check out the “General Language Forum,” which is great for getting your feet wet in the forums and discussing languages in general. You’ll find a community of avid language learners! Some topics that are discussed include language games, translations, words you just learned, words you’re struggling with, etc.
UniLang also has a “Culture” board to help you learn about world cultures. Topics include literature, politics, religion, music, clothing and more.
For focused help in your target language, look to the wide array of language-specific forums. There are forums for common languages such as English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese and Japanese, but there are also forums for less common languages like Faroese and Basque.
Some forums also discuss specific language groups, like Celtic languages, North American indigenous languages and Sami languages. If you’re learning a constructed language or developing one yourself, there’s even a forum for that.
Perhaps best of all, UniLang is an active forum, so new posts appear regularly.
So if you’re looking to “friend” and “follow” your way to better language skills, look no further than these six language learning social networks!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.