Hardly anybody does without English nowadays, especially when dealing with tech stuff, and it's therefore quite a good idea to at least keep it up or possibly even elevate your current language skills if you're not lucky enough to be a native English speaker. While some ways of learning the language may be obsolete and boring, the ones I try to present you with tend to be extraordinary in some way so that learning then actually becomes a catchy activity you want to come back to. Allow me to introduce a few such ways now.
This website is simply AWESOME. I've only registered recently and had the opportunity to only talk to several people for a short time but so far I've loved the way this service works. It aims at throwing people with the same desire of improving their language abilities together and allowing them to quickly and easily establish a communication channel for practicing it. The sweet thing about this service is that the website runs on highly developed Flash mainframe with tabbed interface and the communication with others takes place immediately without the need to install any kind of VoIP software. The only thing required for participation in voice chat is allowing the Flash applet to access the audio HW of your computer (either for current session only or permanently for this website) through a classic Shockwave dialog that appears while the voice channel is being set up. That is, after a quick registration where you fill in your profile and state the languages you know or want to learn plus the approximate level of your knowledge to enable the others to decide whether they feel like talking to you or preferably someone else. There are some additional functions too, like adding people you like to your "Network", sending and receiving private messages and searching for an ideal language partner to share the experience with.
Featuring 113 languages in all, not only English (though, it is the most common indeed).
Frankly, this particular site does not appear too sophisticated at the first sight but the content's what matters most and that's what cought my attention in this case. Transcribing dictations in real time is what's being dealth with here and I should say their system works better than I had expected at the beginning. You can use the embedded player to listen to the whole dictation or rather the other one below it which only plays a short part of it while you're typing in the words you hear. That's where it actually starts to be interesting. The system is pretty smart and it checks the typed-in words immediately to either auto-complete them or correct your mistakes in real time. Moreover, it repeats this small chunk of audio over and over until the text written by you matches what's being said, consequently switching to the following chunk in an automated manner. The level of English in these listening exercises differs which is indicated by a number below each of them, thus making it easier to pick the one matching your abilities. RSS feeds for those exercises are available to keep you up to date as well. Some advanced statistics and features like performance diagrams are available after the registration. With the hope for slightly improving this site's appearance to make it more catchy, I myself consider it a keeper.
I'm consent about the general public being aware of various language courses broadcast by BBC, largely through the TV network. But did you know it offered a well-organized and comprehensive online course as well? With daily updated sources of grammar explanations, emphasized vocabulary in articles, audio/video stories, quizzes and thorough summary of idioms and phrases, it becomes a valuable vault of resources related to English in every way. Grab the RSS feed to have the upcoming lessons delivered as soon as they come out.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.