"To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world." -Chinese Proverb
While at times frustrating and difficult, learning a new language is a fantastic experience that everyone should go through at least once in their life. By learning a foreign tongue, we develop attractive qualities such as humility, compassion, and empathy. After acquiring fluency in a new language, we see the world through a different lens, and we create friendships with people that we never thought were previously possible.
Nonetheless, with approximately more than 7,000 spoken languages in the world today, it may seem quite overwhelming to decide upon which foreign tongue to learn. What about Italian? Spoken by millions of people worldwide, Italian is a romantic language that is quite straightforward for English natives to learn.
So, it's decided you'll learn Italian! As a new language learner, one of the best things you can do is join a language learning community to share your experience with others and acquire new tips and tricks along the way.
Without further ado, we shall analyse the essential details of online language learning communities. Let's get studying!
What is a Language Learning Community?
To understand what exactly a language learning community is, it is important to recognise the definition of the word: community. What does it mean? According to a definition from Wikipedia, a community is a group of living people that share the same environment and usually have similar interests. Many people in the community have the same beliefs and needs, which can affect their identity.
Therefore, we could say that an online language learning community is a virtual place, typically a website, where language learners meet up and discuss the challenges and positive experiences they have faced; it is usually a troupe of people who speak or acquire fluency in the same tongue. They may cover material together, discuss study methods, or chat with native speakers.
Language learning communities' goal is always the same: get better at speaking, reading, writing, and listening in the target language.
Also, it is worth stating that there are many "physical" language learning communities that conduct sessions or meetings in-person. However, for Italian enthusiasts in the United Kingdom it is much more likely to join an online language learning community or club.
Podcasts are great resources when trying to learn Italian like a boss!
What are the Advantages of Language Learning Communities?
Of all things we have learnt about ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one resounding truth that has resonated with everyone: we need people around us. Humans are social beings that thrive when around like-minded individuals.
Talking, laughing, debating, and even learning together was something that many people missed in the early stages of the pandemic.
To get close to people, individuals join groups or communities, whether in-person or virtually. With what purpose? To communicate with others and strive to forge a bond. Nonetheless, what are the benefits of joining online language learning communities? Read the following advantages to find out more:
- Teamwork is Promoted: at first, everything about learning a new language is fun and exciting; nonetheless, after a few weeks, the novelty starts to wear off, and you realise that you're alone in the learning process. Is there a solution? Joining a language learning community. By connecting with like-minded Italian learners, a sense of great comfort is experienced since you recognise that the challenges you're facing are normal and not that bad compared to other people's issues.
- Friendships are Created: even though a lot of the contact on language forums is invisible and primarily started through comments on posts, it is possible to create friendships with kindred spirits. Like athletes and thespians cheer each other on and work together towards a similar goal, the same is true with language learners in virtual communities. Connections are created, and mutual respect thrives since you actually want others to succeed. Who knows, you might even meet your online friends face-to-face one day!
- Contact With Native Speakers: to the surprise of many Italian students, native speakers often make appearances on language communities and forums to answer questions that learners may have. While not all native Italian speakers have a Bachelor's in linguistics, their insight on aspects such as cultural references, commonly-used expressions, and difficult grammar is invaluable. Also, in some close-knit language communities, there are interviews or lectures from native Italian teachers. And, on some occasions, you might find a language exchange partner with an Italian native who wants to learn English.
- The Latest Information: by staying connected on forums and online communities, you are kept up to date on the latest advice about resources, learning techniques, and cultural events that are taking place in Italian. Remember that if you aren't sure about the information, ask a question; someone is bound to answer you and keep you in the loop.
In all honesty, we could go on and on about the benefits of joining an online Italian learning community; there are so many pros that the cons pale in comparison.
Before concluding this section, it is important to mention that members recognise that their language fluency goals are achieved when everyone works together in unity by being involved in a community, group, or forum!
Another way to feel part of a learning community is by watching YouTube channels with relevant information in your target language.
Locating the Best Language Learning Communities for Italian Students
Since the internet is absolutely jam-packed with forums and communities showcasing others' opinions, some well-intentioned and others not so much, it is quite nice to receive guidance from trusted individuals. Such as? Your friends at Superprof!
We have searched far and wide to find the best online tutoring communities on the web. We are confident that the subsequent options will connect you with like-minded Italian students from across Europe and other continents.
Recommended by various reputable outlets and language students, Italki is the cream of the crop for online learning communities that focus on foreign languages. With over 3 million members from around the world, you are bound to find a group of Italian learners to chat with.
Some of the remarkable features enjoyed by members of the Italki community include the following:
- Find a language exchange partner that you feel comfortable using specific filters such as age, gender, language, etc.
- Receive fantastic tips and tricks from Italian language experts,
- Read articles and blog posts that offer practical suggestions,
- Join forum conversations about topics that interest you.
Also, it's worth stating that while yes Italki does offer Italian classes with professional tutors, the best instructors working today are found on Superprof!
One of the most widely used and adored websites on the planet, Reddit has literally everything you could want and more. But did you think it was possible to join an online language learning community on Reddit? Probably not.
Nonetheless, Reddit has an amazing list of subreddits that feature forums and communities for those currently learning Italian. Every type of learner, including newcomers, intermediates, and advanced students, is welcome since there are plenty of queries submitted daily.
On subreddits for language learners, you are destined to find like-minded Italian enthusiasts interested in the same specific topics as you. Don't be afraid to ask and answer questions because the Reddit community's appeal is that there is always someone more outrageous than you!
Recommended by various language learners, Linguaholic is not as sought-after as Italki; however, it has been rising in popularity in the past few years and has more than 5,000 users. A lot of the users who contribute to the community visit the website regularly to share content.
Community members of Linguaholic can participate in forums that discuss aspects of a foreign language such as literature, idioms, vocabulary, grammar, and finding helpful online resources that facilitate learning Italian or other foreign tongues.
Many observers have credited Linguaholic as a place where community members actually care about what's going on in the forums and which questions merit specific attention.
Known for its excellent resources and proven success, Busuu is a brilliant website for language learners who want to be part of something bigger and get expert advice. There are currently over 80 million international members studying languages from French to Russia and Portuguese to Mandarin Chinese.
It is important to state that not all of Busuu's content is free; therefore, users who like the format and want to participate more must pay a monthly fee to access all the tools from the Busuu community.
We highly recommend looking at the informative blog posts and the Busuu user stories to get a little inspiration to join the club!
Of all the online language learning communities, we are sure that no other website offers a more diverse variety of foreign tongues. For instance, there are North American indigenous, Creole, and Pidgin language communities with great content.
It is important to state that the Unilang site isn't as appealing to the eyes as other similar forums. Yet, once you start digging, you'll be impressed by everything available in your target language. The Italian learning community has a lot of interesting questions that are answered.,
Some impressive resources highlighted on Unilang may include videos, courses, podcasts, dictionaries, scripts, vocabulary lists, games, and other interactive exercises.
In conclusion, we are confident that as an Italian student, you will find all the information you need in at least one of the previously mentioned language learning communities; all these options are trusted, vetted, and used by hundreds of thousands of learners. Nonetheless, we completely understand if you decide to venture off and find your own learning forum, be careful; the internet is a crazy place!