245975861 bc7a09fc2e m How can instant messaging help in learning a foreign language?
by Cyprien

How can instant messaging help in learning a foreign language?

Throughout time, the methods and tools for learning a foreign language improved and enriched a lot: from the traditional learning of a foreign language at school based on books, reading, writing and translation, to using audio CDs and watching videos. The immersion into a community speaking the targeted language was, for a long time, seen as a privilege that not everyone had the opportunity to take.

Even if today there is freedom of movement, let’s not forget that traveling abroad and living for a while in a foreign country is still a privilege for many inhabitants of this planet. But fortunately technology evolved providing us with a second world, the World Wide Web, where immersion into a foreign culture and learning a foreign language from native speakers is no longer a dream.

There are four dimensions of learning a foreign language: speaking, understanding, reading and writing. And there are few tools that provide a complete approach, allowing learners to develop the four skills at the same time. Instant messaging is one of these few tools.

Who does not chat with his friends via a Skype, Yahoo Messenger or MSN? I think instant message is a component of everyone’s daily life. Then, why not use instant messaging to learn a foreign language?

Instant messaging has the advantage of allowing also video and audio communication, which turns it into a multifaceted tool of learning a foreign language. Using the basic function of instant messaging (typing), you develop written and reading skills, by using the audio function you develop understanding skills, by using the video component you develop both speaking and understanding skills. The media functions (audio and video) facilitate the observation of pronunciation, thus they allow the “teacher” to offer proper feedback. What is even best about using instant messaging as a foreign language learning tool is that it’s a way of communicating in real-time. Unlike e-mailing which gives you the possibility to build your messages thoroughly, instant message is a mirror of your skills to use the language you are learning “right here, right now”. It allows you to constantly assess your capability of managing in real situations. Last, but not least, instant messaging is a quick way of getting an insight on the targeted language’s slang and even of studying cultural aspects associated with that language.

On the other hand, when going for the use of instant messaging as a tool of learning a foreign language, you should keep in mind that what you get might not be exactly the standardized form of that language, nor the most accurate from grammar point of view. Instant messaging is not a grammar or correctitude driven tool, but rather a good way of acquiring the necessary skills to manage real-time communication with a speaker of the targeted language. For accuracy and grammar proficiency, always combine instant messaging with lessons and study on the standard-language.

Experience the effectiveness of instant messaging as a foreign language learning tool by joining Fluent Future. Learn a language for free, meeting native speakers of the language you are seeking to learn, or pay rated teachers for individual lessons.

Irina Ivan is a web content author with expertise in writing articles on business, society and self-development related topics. Irina’s background includes over 6 years of professional experience in Media, PR, Communication, Marketing and Customer Relationship Management fields.