3 ways to use Twitter for language learning

March 1, 2015

What if I told you that you could improve and even learn a language by using Twitter?

Chances are you have a Twitter account. If you don't, head over to Twitter's main page and create an account. Even if you end up not using it for language learning believe me, it's a great source of news.

Millions of people have accounts and that number grows every day. Kids have them, young adults have them, but more importantly for you, teachers, companies and schools have accounts.

Are you taking advantage of the millions of 140 character tweets that are published every single day? If not here are 3 ways you can use Twitter for your language learning needs:
 

1. Vocabulary

Many users from language fanatics to teachers have twitter handles exclusively for the purpose of helping language learners expand their vocabulary. You can follow them and have them on your feed. This way you will have a daily delivery of words of the day with definitions and even expressions to use!

Try these users: @dailyvocab@vocabularycom

2. Reading comprehension & news

When readers and users are not helping you out with vocabulary and expressions they certainly are providing an endless amount of interesting articles to read about literally any topic you can think of. Yes, including English learning (any language). Articles vary from help papers on making the best out of your learning experience to articles on how important learning a new language is. 

If you didn't already know reading is one of the pillars of improving your language abilities. Take advantage of the incredible amount of shareable content in twitter to practice your foreign language reading. For example, this is an amazing article I found on Twitter about being bilingual: Who Gets "The Bilingual Advantage?" 

Try these users: @conorpwilliams@larryferlazzo

3. Reach out - Start the conversation

Start conversing

Twitter is used for so many different purposes - ranting, voicing opinions, informing, learning, etc. How about using it to ask for help regarding your language needs? You would be surprised how many people out there are willing and excited to help any way they can. Twitter is an enormous and excellent avenue to learn and reach out to subject matter experts - regardless of subject.

How to start the conversation:
- Reach out to people you follow (in your target language) about a mutual subject of interest, if nothing else to get a response. These responses can lead to fruitful conversations and building rapport. Additionally you get to practice "written" English.

- Ask question - relevant questions. If you are following an English/language teaching user pretty much any related question is welcome and answered! If you follow users in your target language with other interests ask relevant questions and wait for a response. You will not always get one depending on how many followers they have etc., but by doing this and reading their posts there is a lot to be learned.

Finally, you can use hashtags as a way to look for and participate in specific language related conversations. I typically use #esl or #bilingual to look for topics or chats of interest.

I hope you make full use of what Twitter has to offer in terms of helping you with your target language. If you have additional ideas on how to use the platform for language learning purposes or just feel like chatting please feel free to drop me a note below! 

Until next time!