Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook cater to a generation that takes for granted the easy access offered by the internet. In the not-too-distant past, people who wanted to contact someone in another country had to, first of all, know someone in that country, then dial a ridiculously long number, deal with terrible connections, and finally, pay an arm and a leg for every minute they talked. It was either that or pen pals. Today, you can jump online and chat with someone halfway across the globe within seconds, provided you speak a common language. Lingomatch has filled a growing niche by merging social networking with the desire to connect on a global level.
Here’s what they offer: First and foremost, it is a Language Exchange Network, or a forum for people from around the globe to connect with others on the subject of language. Their slogan aptly offers, “Real People. Real Language Conversation.” In reality, Lingomatch offers a lot more. People who are learning another language (or languages) can post questions about words, phrases, slang, syntax, conjugation, or any number of topics that may be troubling them in their quest to attain fluency in a second language (or third, or fourth…). Further, they can search for others on the network that speak a certain language (or combination of languages) and contact them directly. It is an excellent tool for learning or practicing a new language and often, those who receive help are able to return it in kind, making this a truly symbiotic service.
It also presents an opportunity for those just learning a language to connect with native speakers, and in many cases, meet those who are living locally. Some people use it to start practice groups and recruit both learners and long-time speakers for immersive conversation (which is, after all, the best way to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom). Others seek or offer tutoring, while some, who may live outside their country of origin, are looking to connect with fellow countrymen in their new home. However, the vast majority of posts are written by people who are looking for a partner to practice with.
And the number of searchable languages listed is astonishing. Sadly, many of them produce no ads when searched stateside (it was easy enough to find Spanish and French speakers, but nothing for Afrikaans, Norwegian, or Xhosa, for example), but that is bound to change over time as the network continues to grow and expand. Just the fact that there are forty-four languages to choose from illuminates the intentions of the site. Lingomatch clearly hopes to fill all of those categories with both people who speak the language and those who are looking to learn it. Users can also search by different cities and countries in order to contact native speakers (finding people who speak both English and Portuguese is a lot easier when searching Rio De Janiero than New York City), so you may have to do a little digging to find what you’re looking for.
People are becoming more globally conscious by the day, and while linguistics is not a big part of life for most Americans (we do the two or three years required in high school and then forget all about it), many people from other parts of the world learn a handful of languages as a matter of course. It’s not uncommon for Europeans to be fluent in three to five languages. So Lingomatch is a great way to come in contact with others who share your passion for language, as well as an invaluable resource for language-learning.
Guest post by Alexis Montgomery, Alexis is a content writer for Online Colleges, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.
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