The BEST Thing to Happen to Language Learning…Ever.

 

Lang-8

If you are on a journey to learn a new language and already speak one fluently…but have not tried Lang-8, then you are in for a revolution.  Debuting in 2007, Lang-8 took language learning to the highest, most user-friendly, international stratosphere (and that was three years ago!) …and it has never looked back.

  • The premise: Free Language Tutoring.
  • How: Users of Lang-8 (Infinite Languages) write journal entries in a foreign language. Then, other Lang-8 users who are native speakers of that language correct them.  In return, those users’ journal entries are corrected by other Lang-8 members.  What often happens is that 2 members who want to learn each others’ native language meet, and thereafter frequently correspond.  A simple way to bridge divides between nations, reduce miscommunication, and further world peace?  Its name is Lang-8.
  • History in Numbers: Conceived in 2007 in Kyoto, Japan, by a man by the name of 喜洋洋 or Yang , for short, Lang-8 quickly went from being a language exchange site of 20,000 members to a formidable 80,000 members from 70 countries and an interface translated into 14 languages two years later in November, 2009.  Today those numbers have skyrocketed: Lang-8 currently boasts a membership of over 200,000 from over 150 countries around the world (see CNET Japan).  Should this ever-increasing membership continue at its present rate, it will reach over 1 Million members by no later than Spring 2013!
  • Honors: The Lang-8 interface has already been recognized by several organizations in Japan as one of the top innovations of these past few years, out-placing even Twitter when it came in second in December 2009 at “The Ultimate Web” year-end party.  Even before the year-end competition, Lang-8 was stealing the show as it did in February 2009 at CNET Japan’s Tech Venture competition (Article: Japanese) 審査員で慶應義塾大学大学院メディアデザイン研究科教授の古川享氏は、ランゲートの受賞理由については

最初から国際展開を考えているサービスを提供した点と、ネットを経由したいじめや犯罪のニュースがある中、ネットを使ってユーザー同士がよりよいものを作っていくサービスを作りあげた点の2つを評価した

と語った。 When asked why Lang-8 was awarded the grand prize、judge and prestigious Keio University graduate student 古川享 responded

Firstly, we chose Lang-8 because from the very beginning it was was a service founded on international expansion.  Secondly, because whilst the internet these days is riddled with bullying and news of crime, Lang-8 came through as a breath of fresh air: a service that allows users to help each other improve.

Once again, it costs nothing to register and nothing to use the service.  It is, however, currently being run by only one man: Mr. Yang himself.  To keep Lang-8 open he offers a premium service without advertisements that helps pay for the rest of the site to stay open and available.  To promote internationalization, users  that know or are wishing to learn one of the less common languages on Lang-8 are highly encouraged to join.  The most common languages now are English, Japanese, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Thai, Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, Croatian, and Arabic.

  • To get started with Lang-8 right away and work your way towards world peace through learning click HERE.
  • To compare Lang-8 with another leading language learning site, click HERE.
  • For the most recent interview with Yangyang Xi (Who, as a matter of fact, lived in China until he was 4) click HERE

In his own words from an article from CNET: Japan:

喜洋洋氏:ランゲートの喜洋洋です。僕たちの会社は「IT×国際」がテーマで、積極的に世界に出ていこうということを目標にしています。

ランゲート代表取締役の喜洋洋氏 ランゲート代表取締役の喜洋洋氏

僕は中国人で4歳の時から日本に住んでいるんですが、あまり中国語がしゃべれなかったので、大学の時に1年間休学して上海に留学したんです。上海はすごく活気があって、その時に新しい世界へ出ていく面白さを感じました。

帰国すると日本でも学生のベンチャーなどが活発になっていて、いろいろな集まりに参加していくうちに起業したいと思うようになり、2007年の6 月に会社を設立しました。一緒にやっている取締役は大学を3カ月で辞めてカナダを自転車で横断するなどして世界一周をしてきた男で、僕も彼も海外志向なの でこれからどんどん世界へ出ていこうと思ってます。

具体的なサービスは相互添削型のSNSというもので、たとえば英語を勉強中の日本人が英語で日記を書き、日本語を勉強中のアメリカ人が日本語で日 記を書き、それをお互いがネイティブの感覚で直してあげる、というものですね。日本語、英語だけでなく、いろんな言語でやっているんですが、かなり集客力 はあるサービスだと思ってます。

 

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