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Language 2.0

January 29, 2010

There’s no doubt that language is an important human tool as well as an institution. After all, we use it to communicate with one another, teach, learn, tell stories and so forth.

Language is also an evolving tool. Just compare the English text found in William Shakespeare’s works to that of Dan Brown’s.

The way in which humans learn language appears to be evolving too. It used to be that the most popular way in which to learn a language was to take a class. Now, it seems that the internet is quickly becoming a popular medium in which to learn a foreign language.

One of the advantages the internet offers that traditional courses cannot is total immersion in the language (Except in the case where you move to the country and study the language there, but that’s expensive!). Where else, other than being in the same country, would you have access to so many native speakers? Programs such as Skype allow you to make real-time calls to people across the globe. Having problems thinking of a word or phrase? You can always look it up online or ask your friend in Germany.

Since I am not an expert when it comes to applied linguistics, I will not advocate one way of learning a language over another, but there are certainly more options available. You can take a traditional class, learn on your computer via software programs or online, or move to the country and really immerse yourself! However, as things evolve, the ones that usually survive are the ones that are best at adapting.

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