Technology has made life a lot easier when it comes to many things today. Think about it: In the past, you would have to flip through a thick street directory to find out how to navigate to a new place. Today, you just have to key in the address into a map app and it will plot the route for you, even giving you turn-by-turn directions.
The convenience applies to language learning as well! While in the past you would have to carry around a dictionary or phrasebook when learning a language, today, you can just search up any new terms you see on the go using your phone.
Let’s take learning the Chinese language as an example, and find out how technology can help you accelerate your learning process by leaps and bounds!
1. Tech makes things efficient
The example in the introduction already highlights how tech makes language learning easier and more efficient. Dictionary apps are a lifesaver for any new language learner, and these days, there are even apps that allow you to translate text in images – so, you don’t even have to know how to read or type it to be able to search it up!
Not only do these resources help you translate or define words, some also offer you pronunciation guides and example pronunciations. You can say that this makes tech even more superior to physical dictionaries. No longer do you have to lug around heavy tomes – technology helps you streamline your language learning!
2. Tech helps you reach out to other speakers
Let’s say you have a relative or friend overseas who is a fluent speaker of Chinese. Technology allows you to connect with them easily so that you can converse with them anytime, whether through video-call or instant messaging.
Conversing with a fluent Chinese speaker will do your learning good in more ways than one. The conversations you have with them will likely involve everyday words, so you can get used to common vocabulary much quicker through practice. In addition, you get to be exposed to the pronunciation of a fluent speaker, which hones your own pronunciation.
3. You can find materials that interest you
Language learning shouldn’t be all about worksheets and memorisation. So, by finding TV shows, music, webcomics, or anything that interests you online in the language you are trying to learn, you can enhance your experience through immersing in something you enjoy.
When it is something you love, you will be more motivated, which gives you the impetus to persevere through even if you don’t understand half of what is going on. Of course, you probably also can find translations or subtitles online – so you won’t be totally lost if you are a beginner at the language.
4. Tech makes up for where you’re lacking
You might not be fluent in writing in Mandarin yet, but tech is awesome because it helps you look like you know what you are doing. We all know how difficult it is to remember the thousands of Chinese characters, but recognising them by sight is arguably easier than remembering how to write them out.
Hanyu pinyin input methods help you get to the Chinese characters you want without you having to know how to write the word from scratch. You do need to know roughly what they look like, though, to select the right character eventually.
Other functions like auto-suggestions and grammar checkers can be very helpful tools as well. They may not always work perfectly, but they are great at offering suggestions and reminders when it comes to common phrases and mistakes.
Indeed, you can learn the Chinese language – or any other language – much more conveniently with the help of tech. That’s not to say that formal lessons are not useful anymore. They are – and formal language instruction is still one of the best ways to pick up a language due to its structure and professional guidance. However, tech serves as a useful supplement and tool to aid learning.
So, embrace tech and learn how to use it to your advantage! You’ll be surprised at where you are in learning the language just a few months down the road!