Saturday, September 20, 2008

Using Microblogging to help learn Chinese

As I posted previously social networks can be useful for language learning. I think that micro-blogs are a terrifically useful resource. Micro blogging platforms usually allow users to make short (140 character) posts, these posts are generally public, like blog posts anybody can read them. The short nature of the posts means that there is lot of fairly general conversation style writing. Reading micro-blog posts in Chinese has been a terrific way to practice learning reading and character recognition in addition to picking up some new vocabulary. Making regular short posts in Chinese is also a low stress way to experiment with writing.

You can find a number of foreign language posts in the the popular Twitter platform and in the the increasingly popular Identica, however the best solution is probably to find a micro-blogging platform that is popular in the language you are learning. For Chinese Fanfou appears to be the most popular.

You can follow people in all sorts of ways, RSS feeds can be good way, reading sentances that normally wouldn't be interesting from strangers can take on a different spin when in a language you are learning, you can read them OK. For example 世界上最安全的食品是土豆 以后我尽量多吃土豆 (the worlds safest foodstuff is the potato, as far as possible I will eat more potatoes). Sentences that are hard to read or require a dictionary can be saved for later consumption (I like to use Google Notebook for this kind of thing).

Of course with all this Web2.0 stuff and web api's there are many ways to mix this up, here you can see posts to fanfou appearing in "almost" realtime with their geographical location on a Google map.

This post will be a small part of the background to my Bathcamp presentation Bathcamp presentation Twine(in progress).


Anonymous said...

hi,amazed at your continuous efforts learning mandarin.I'm Chinese,majoring in teaching Chinese as a second language.I like to make friends with mandarin learners. you can contact me if you need help. my

Anonymous said...


Joel said...

I have also found micro-blogging to be a useful Mandarin study tool in the past. I do not know if you are aware, but there are a number of Chinese microblogging sites out there. One I have used in the past is

Keith said...

I'm still waiting for your next post! I guess you are preparing one for your 3rd anniversary?

learn chinese Faster said...

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