7 Friendly Online Communities of Language Learners

Joining an online language learning community or forum can be highly beneficial to learners of any language.

A language learning community is a group of people who are all learning a language—maybe not the same one as you, but everyone is trying to pick up a new tongue in some way.

Language communities offer support and a sense of understanding, among other advantages.

So, how do you find them?

Keep reading for seven language learning communities, plus some of the numerous benefits you’ll get by joining one (or a few!).

Contents


7 Online Language Learning Communities

1. Omniglot: Best for Written Languages

Omniglot is a compendium of linguistic knowledge and the different writing systems used to represent language.

It’s been run by Simon Ager since 1998. Ager is an unassuming fellow who speaks French, German, Chinese, Japanese and Welsh.

I’ve included this site on the list as a nod to learners of the written texts. There’s a disproportionate number of excellent learning communities for spoken language, but only a few focusing on written forms. Omniglot is one such place.

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Its forum has sections on constructed scripts, extinct languages and even translation requests. But lest it be mistaken for a “writing only” learning community, you’ll be happy to know that Omniglot contains voluminous tips, tricks and techniques for learning how to speak different languages. It really covers all aspects of language education.

Omniglot has attracted serious language learners to its pages. You can really feel genuine passion and curiosity within the forum’s pages. You’re also likely to bump into really intelligent people on this blog.

So, if you want a place that’s low on negativity but high on learning, check out Omniglot. You can find links to official Omniglot accounts all over the web towards the bottom of this page.

2. Linguaholic: Best for Ease of Use

Though some parts of this community are not as active as others now, with Linguaholic, you feel that finding the information you’re looking for is just a few clicks away.

So, while you may not get as many replies these days if you want to post your own query, there is still a wealth of information waiting to be discovered by new language learners.

Linguaholic has sections for language learning in general as well as more specific topics, like “Language Study Apps,” “Language Teaching,” and others.

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With this community, I got a sense of kaizen, the Japanese concept of continuous improvement. The threads, comments and information on the site present a picture of language studiers who are ready to share their experiences in the hopes that someone else can learn from them too.

3. Fluent in 3 Months: Best Community Leadership

Fluent in 3 Months is managed by the fun-loving, globe-trotting Irishman Benny Lewis. He’s fluent in seven languages and intent on adding more tongues to his already robust repertoire.

Achieving fluency in three months may be a stretch, but Benny’s philosophy is that if you want to learn how to speak a language, then you’ve got to speak it from the first day. Mistakes and all.

You can join this language learning community simply by following along on its social media channels and joining in on the conversations in the comment sections.

You can also head over to the blog to get involved. There, Benny discusses how he learned his many languages, language hacking techniques, reviews of language products and helpful articles.

4. Reddit: Best for Active Discussions

Reddit has an awesome list of language learning communities (called subreddits) that can be as specific and as broad as you’d like.

One such subreddit is r/languagelearning.

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The forum is for anyone interested in learning a language, whether they’re an absolute beginner, a raving polyglot or a person who’s just plain interested in linguistics.

Queries submitted on the forum include topics like:

You can ask anything you want in the language learning niche. You can search it for a specific language or topic. And this subreddit has other language learners and various native speakers in good numbers, and they’re actively ready to help and answer questions.

Reddit forums have the added functionality of upvotes and downvotes. An upvote moves posts higher up the page, while a downvote drops it lower. This allows members to bring attention to the highest quality content, saving everyone precious learning time.

5. Polyglot Club: Best for Making Connections

This community is particularly known for language exchange opportunities, meaning it’s a great place to find new native-speaking friends.

Head to the language exchange page and you can filter potential pen pals by country, city and languages. Users who have been active recently will appear first, so you have a higher chance of getting a reply back.

Beyond that, Polyglot Club also provides forums so users can ask language questions and have their writing corrected by native speakers. There’s even live, online chatrooms if you just want to hang out and get some quick language practice or discussion in.

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Perhaps the best part of Polyglot Club, however, is that you can also find in-person events.

So, if you want to experience the benefits of a language learning community beyond your screen, Polyglot Club can help you figure out when and where to meet up with other learners and native speakers in your area.

6. WordReference: Best for Translation Questions

WordReference is often considered the top dictionary-translation site online. But WordReference also houses a lively learning community, with a forum section to boot!

And its forums are nothing to sneeze at. At the time of this writing, there are over 4,000 active users “now online.”

In true tradition as a translation service, the forums for major languages like Spanish, French and Italian come in language pairs. For example, the French forum has subsections on French-English, French-Spanish and French-Italian.

But WordReference also has forums for a good number of lesser studied tongues, such as Greek, Indo-Iranian languages, Slavic languages and Semitic languages.

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The queries and topics that you’ll find in this community space are heavy on translation, vocabulary, meaning, usage, sentence structure, pronunciation, tenses, parts of speech and grammar elements. So for queries of this nature, your best bet is the WordReference forums.

7. Unilang: Best Variety of Languages

With over 54 on offer, the Unilang platform serves the greatest number of languages, including Polynesian languages, Basque, Faroese, Sami languages and even Kurdish.

The interface may look a bit old-school, but you’ll be treated to some awesome community-generated resources. There are courses, videos, podcasts, dictionaries, scripts, vocabulary lists, phrasebooks, stories, software, games and exercises that no other platform can provide.

The main theme in this language learning community is collaboration. You not only have the chance to take advantage of the resources made by others, to discuss them and ask your questions, but you’re also encouraged to create resources of your own.

In doing so, you help your fellow language learners while learning and immersing yourself more in your own target language. And isn’t that a win-win?

Benefits of Joining a Language Learning Community

Meeting fellow language learners

Just knowing that you’re not alone can be a great comfort to language learners.

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Sooner or later, you’re gonna be discouraged. You’re gonna feel down and out. It’s a normal part of the language journey, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or fun.

A language learning community can put all your language struggles into perspective. Just imagine a class of several hundred million. When you go to your favorite forum and read that someone else asked the same language question you’ve been asking yourself recently, you realize you’re not that bad.

There are people ahead of you, who’ve been through it all and found ways to overcome the same difficulties. There are people behind you who are still looking for guidance and direction. When you come to the forum and read a language question that you actually know the answer to, you realize you’re really not that bad!

In addition to getting awesome tips that have worked well for others, forums can create bonds that connect you to every other language learner there, even if you’re studying different tongues. Fellow learners understand each other, creating an online community where you end up cheering each other on as you all chase success.

Interacting with native speakers

Did you know that you can actually learn a whole new language without ever spending a dime? Native speakers have a lot to do with it.

It used to be that gaining access to native speakers involved buying a plane ticket, getting lost in their city and asking where the nearest bathroom is.

Of course, today, you can talk to native speakers without even the courtesy of introducing yourself. You simply type out your question online somewhere and then helpful native speakers will answer—sometimes within seconds!

Even if they’re not language teachers, they possess the very thing you’re working your tail off for: fluency in their language. And beyond language, native speakers can give you inside information on cultural practices, idiomatic expressions, slang, pop culture and other areas your textbook doesn’t cover.

You don’t need to rely solely on native speakers to get language immersion practice, however. You can also utilize authentic content made by native speakers: TV and movies, music, video games and so much more.

You could also use a virtual immersion platform such as FluentU. Its supportive tools make it easier to consume native content when learning—and then you can take this new knowledge into your next conversation with a native speaker to practice.

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Hearing about resources and products

Joining forums is one of the best ways to learn about all sorts of language resources. With so many people tapped into the language learning scene in these forums, you’re bound to be one of the first to hear about new language products.

Language learning communities are also great for getting honest reviews of said products and resources.

If a particular language course is good, you’ll hear about it from someone who has actually taken it. If it’s not so great, you can engage those members and ask them what they liked and didn’t like about the product. It’s always possible that their cons will be your pros, and vice versa!

So, make an account with an online language learning community and ask away. You’ll be a more empowered, connected and informed language learner by doing so.

 

And there you have it: Seven awesome language learning communities and what you stand to gain from joining one.

You can meet fellow language learners, patient native speakers and lovers of language who are already hanging out there.

They’re all waiting for you, so what are you waiting for?!

And One More Thing...

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Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

 

 

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