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Social media and languages

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 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
Senior Member
Joined 2719 days ago

991 posts - 1893 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 Message 1 of 11
2013 December 06 at 4:43pm | IP Logged 
Apologies if this topic has been raised before, but a quick search didn't give any results.

Anyway, my purpose of starting this thread is not about using social media for language learning as such, but using your languages on social media in general. I recently signed up to Facebook (I never thought I would see the day that happened, but there you are), I've joined goodreads and I've signed up to, three very different kind of "fora".

So here is my point: On facebook, I have "friends" from quite a number of countries, so I have to make a choice of which language to use. If I want something to be understood by almost everyone, I choose English. If what I post is targeted to my family and friends in Norway, Norwegian. For my French connections, French etc. So far nobody has reacted to it, although I am concerned that some people will think I am showing off, when in fact I have good reasons for picking one or the other language. Apart from that, you can also "like" any kind of pages in any kind of language, for instance newspapers and magazines who have their own facebook page, or whatever you fancy. This means I get "updates" in almost all the languages I know or I'm learning.

Going on to goodreads, the fascinating thing here is that you can join groups and discuss books in a number of different languages (e.g. groups on Latin American literature in Spanish, or on German literature in German etc.), or you can post reviews in any language you want. For example, I looked up a book of French author Amin Maalouf, and there were reviews in Arabic, French, English, Turkish and Spanish. A great way to practise your languages if you are into literature.

Finally, This is an interactive site where you can play chess live with people anywhere in the world, exchange about chess tactics etc. The language of the site and its forum is English, but from time to time people do communicate in other languages, I've seen examples of Russian, Hindi and Japanese. And of course, you can connect with other members to play against and communicate one-to-one with them in your language of choice.

Having been rather reluctant to engage with social media until now, I must admit I have become a convert, if not for any other reason than its amazing potential as a way of communicating in multiple languages and the ability to be in a virtual multilingual environment which can feed my language nerdery.

So I'd like to hear your experience and take on this: How do you engage with social media when it comes to practising languages and getting input in different languages?

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Via Diva
Senior Member
Russian Federation users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2314 days ago

1109 posts - 1427 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: German, Italian, French, Swedish, Esperanto, Czech, Greek

 Message 2 of 11
2013 December 06 at 5:51pm | IP Logged 
My first social media service that gave me a level up to English-speaking world was (and is) - link on the left will lead you there.
Then I got a lot of help from Twitter, and on Facebook I had quite successful chatting sessions.
Now Facebook is pretty much abandoned, but I'm still present in Twitter and and I can be caught somewhere in Google+, thanks to my YouTube account.
InterPals hasn't been that good for me yet, and I still don't know what to think about lang-8.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3846 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 Message 3 of 11
2013 December 06 at 7:36pm | IP Logged 
I remember one instance on facebook where somebody commented about a post I made as 'her native language is not Japanese, but this is obviously intended to be kept from a person who doesn't understand Japanese' ... in which he was partly right; but I could have just filtered it like I usually do. Just didn't feel like it at that time; crude, simple Japanese seemed to fit better with my mood.
One of my roommates tells me 'you posted in English - again!' expressing a weird mix of feeling excluded or forced to read it even though he's not that comfortable with English. (If he does that again I'll stop telling him 'It's alright, if it's something important I will tell you.' and switch to 'It's not like this was intended for you in the first place.')

In other cases it's quite interesting. I can read some Catalan, Dutch and Scandi, but can't write any of them. So sometimes I comment in Spanish or English, when that seems okay-ish. But oftentimes I feel like something is not meant for me when it's in somebody's native language and we don't usually communicate in that language.
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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3471 days ago

739 posts - 1312 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish, Irish

 Message 4 of 11
2013 December 06 at 9:41pm | IP Logged 
You can organize your contact list into language groups and when you post anything you
can set it to appear for just that group if you don't want to clutter up people's feeds
with stuff they can't read (of course, they can just click on translate and get a rough
idea of what was posted).

Something that makes your Facebook feed more useful is to like pages that produce content
you're interested in. For your languages, like pages for news, celebrities, videos,
sports, etc. Your feed will be full of content in languages you're interested in! This is
also a good tip for those who are sick of mundane content from their friends and family.
3 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 4677 days ago

9753 posts - 15775 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 Message 5 of 11
2013 December 06 at 9:52pm | IP Logged 
This. ^^
My own rule is also not sending friend requests to unfamiliar people if they don't speak any interesting language :P
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Senior Member
Joined 2524 days ago

747 posts - 1122 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 6 of 11
2013 December 06 at 10:39pm | IP Logged 
I have posted messages in English & Chinese. It is usually not for practicing a language for the sake of learning
words & phrases. When I come across a specific topic I'd contribute my opinions. I know some people would
exchange messages saying I want to learn Chinese, French, German or whatever. If you are interested in learning
English I can help you that sort of thing.

Once I came across a video posted by Chinese students in America about their experiences and posted a
comment. Someone from China replied and we got the conversation going until he decided to end the discussion
for fear of breaking some kind of government censorship policy (the Great Firewall of China).
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5236 days ago

4228 posts - 8254 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 Message 7 of 11
2013 December 06 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
I've posted for some time more often in a language other than English - usually Finnish, Polish or Slovak.

One of my polyglot friends commented at least half-jokingly that I'm showing off but frankly I don't get too bothered since I have enough friends on Facebook who are native speakers of the languages in which I post. There's always an audience. Another trait is for about the last year or so I don't post more often than once every two weeks or so. I find that it reeks almost of insecurity when I see someone's posts on my News Feed turning up every day or two being mere observations of the weather or items that are hallmarks of everyday life (e.g. "off to the gym!", "up since 4am - screaming baby"), or reposts of trite/canned motivational phrases. On the subject of posting in languages not understood by a large section of your friends, I think that it'd be irksome if I were to post in a language that very few or none of my friends on Facebook could understand. That seems needy to me since friends then could post comments asking me what's up, which then gives me the chance to vent. If I regularly posted or shared stuff in Inari Saami, I have to admit that that'd be pretty douchebaggy/needy because none of my friends understands Saamic languages.

I do admit that sometimes I do wonder what kind of impression I give off to those friends on Facebook who've known me for many years. Friends and acquaintances know that I've been interested in foreign languages for a long time but if you were to ask me or them when we were in high school about how far I would take my interest, no one (not even I) would have guessed that I would have gone this far.

See Interesting FB profiles for how a few of us incorporate FB with our linguistic pursuits.
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Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3287 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 Message 8 of 11
2013 December 09 at 11:10am | IP Logged 
I also like to find Facebook pages in target languages; I started a thread about them although it didn't get many replies. That way I get little bits of target language and links to articles when I'm scrolling down my news feed. I've found a lot of good stuff in Italian, mostly just from seeing what Italian friends are following and posting, but not as much in French. And of course I have plenty Italian friends and a few French ones who usually post in their native language on Facebook.

I generally avoid actually posting in another language, since I don't see the point in writing something that 98% of my friends aren't going to understand. Although I do share the odd target-language song. But sometimes I'll write a post in English and someone will comment in another language, and I'll bite!

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