I’ve heard about Lang-8 for a while, but never actually looked it up until recently. As it turns out, this was a fantastic move. More on that in a moment.
So, what is Lang-8?
On the surface, it’s a journal that you post to with a community. However, it’s so much more than that. Lang-8 is a community with native speakers of over 190 languages for you to interact with.
An Overview of How it Works
Basically, as mentioned before, it is a journal that you post to, with a twist. When you sign up, it asks you for two things (aside from the standard information all sites ask for upon registration, like email): your native language and your target language(s). The twist is that all of your posts will be in the target language, not your native one. So for me, this means all my posts are in Japanese.
And now for the best part – Lang-8’s members can then view and make “corrections” to your article. So, this means that when I post a journal entry in Japanese, native speakers of Japanese can view and make corrections and post comments to my entry. This is huge because you now have the advantage of native speakers who can explain to you where you go wrong and how to fix it – and why.
Likewise, you can return the favor and correct posts by others made in your native language (which is their target language). So, for me, this means that I can help (predominately) Japanese speakers learn English. It’s a win-win.
They also have a system in place to make things fair. The more corrections you make, the higher your “rating” (based on corrections made in the last 3 days) gets. A higher rating means your posts get seen first.
Even better, you can make friends in Lang-8, connect through Skype (if you want) and message back and forth.
Lang-8: A sentence-mining goldmine
A newly-found friend of mine made an excellent point in one of her posts. She takes the corrected version(s) of her sentences from posts and saves them in Word. Why not take this a step further and add them to SRS?
Oh yeah, and it’s FREE. They do have a paid version, but I have yet to find a use for it.
At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not using Lang-8. Seriously though, they aren’t paying me (though that would be awesome).