A Lagoon for Linguistic Lovers

I’ve spent the time between this post and the last one debating on what to write about…  This morning I discovered a “new” (new to this blog) subject upon which to tell you about.  🙂

Drum roll please….  the subject of this post is… Livemocha.com!  🙂

In June of 2011, a good friend of mine introduced me to this site.  She told me that she knew of a useful language site, and sent me the link.  Being an avid studier of languages and enjoying interactions with people of many cultures, I checked it out and made an account.  Then I began looking around.

My journey started under their “Courses” section.  Under “Enroll in a course” I was struck by the sheer number of languages they offered.  Over 38! (including English)  Sure, most of what was offered is only the basics, but still, to someone who has a passion for every language she can get her hands on this is a wonderful treasure!  I immediately signed up for their free beginners courses in Russian and German.

After enrolling I started the first Russian lesson.  Each language they offer (the free ones) are split into groups of ____ 101 , ___ 102, ____ 201, and ___ 202.  Within each group (let’s take Russian 101 as an example) you have 3 Units.  Within each unit you have 5 to 6 lessons.  Each lesson is comprised of an audio/visual lesson which teaches you 40 new words/phrases, a quiz, an optional writing exercise, and an optional speaking exercise.  It is not dissimilar to the Rosetta Stone form of language study.  You see a picture, hear the word spoken in the foreign language, read it in that language, and read the translation in your own language.

My favorite part of the lessons are the exercises.  In a speaking exercise it gives you some sentences (or a paragraph) with words you just studied in the lesson and asks you to record yourself saying it.  Then, once you have submitted it, other members of the site who are native to that language (or are friends of yours on the site) may grade you and write reviews of your submission.  The writing exercise is similar, but this time they give you a topic to write about (example shown below):

Some members of the site are better reviewers than others, but you can learn over time who gives the best reviews and ask them specifically to review each exercise you submit.

On a side note, the site encourages people to review by giving the reviewer 20-30 tokens for each review (depending if your review is the first or not).  Tokens are used for different things on the website, such as buying downloads of each lesson.  You may also purchase tokens.

Another bonus of this website is the section “Flashcards”.  In this area you can make your own flashcards with pictures, writing, and even sound if you choose.  At the end of every lesson it gives you the option to save the new words and phrases you learned into a new set of flashcards, the added bonus of doing this is that you get a picture, the words, AND sound which is much harder to come up when making your own set.

As mentioned above, you have the option of adding friends who you meet on this site.  For your profile you can put whatever information you wish, from almost no info to your city/town, age, fav. music, and many other details.  Anyone can view your profile.  As a member you have the option of adding cultural pictures or stories about where you live, so that other members can view/read about your homeland.

The last thing I’d like to inform you of is the option to chat.  When this function works (and it frequently chooses not to on my computer) it is quite nice, and even equips you with a translator on the right hand side of the chat room, so that you can quickly understand everything your friend is saying.  Many members use Skype to communicate, since it is more reliable.  Skype is optional though, and not everyone uses it or gives out their username to people over livemocha.

One warning to you, the only downside I have found to this site is what you will find on any social networking site.  Some people out there are simply looking for a quick relationship and are not there to study languages at all.  If you have no interest in a short-term relationship with someone you don’t know over the internet I’d strongly counsel you to put “Not looking for a girlfriend/boyfriend” or something along those lines.

After this I’ll be quiet…  If you decide to join the site and would like to add me as a friend post a comment below with your username.  I’m very happy and willing to help anyone who wants to learn English, however I am NOT looking for a boyfriend, so don’t even ask!  Thanks!

~Myrh

Yes, yes, I know… I said I would stop talking… but I forgot one small thing!  On livemocha.com you have a sort of e-mail service, for sending messages between members online.  This can be a helpful tool in asking language teachers questions.