Sunday, November 30, 2008

Native-speaker tutors via video chat

I did a quick Google search today to see what I could come up with for getting native-speaker tutors via video chat, and eduFire.com appears to really nail it, provided you have a few bucks to shell out. Tutors on eduFire explain what they can tutor in and set their own price in the profiles, and you just drop by, pick your tutor, arrange a time to meet with them via Skype video chat or whatever other method works for the two of you, and you're learning. The prices are all over the place, ranging from $10/hour for one native-English tutor I saw to $70/hour for one law-school graduate tutor (as a fellow law school grad, I'm glad to hear it).

The one recommendation I'd have for them is to set up a language exchange service, whereby you can teach your language to someone and they would teach their language to you, all free of any payments. It appears that in any case this can happen unofficially, but it'd be nice if they could make it an outright part of the package.

Update: After I put up the initial post, I noted an ad for Myngle on my blog. I clicked through to find what appears to be a direct competitor of eduFire. Sooner or later I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison of the two, but for now if any of you have done so I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NYT/USA Today: Record number of U.S. students studying abroad

"Language ability" and "American" are not two things that are often thought of as being linked, but in a sign that bodes well for America's linguistic future the New York TImes and USA Today are reporting that a record number of U.S. students are studying abroad in a wide variety of places. CNN reports on the reverse of that: foreigners are coming to study in the U.S. in record numbers as well, topped off by India and China. So whether it's immersion abroad or a native-speaker tutor at home, it appears that linguistic experiences are becoming easier to get.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What is this blog about?

I've been studying languages for about sixteen years, and in that time I've managed to learn eight of them to the point when I can say that I "speak" those languages. When you speak eight languages, you're always getting asked how you did it, and I'm currently in the process of writing a book - entitled, as you may have guessed, Street-Smart Language Learning. As I've been writing the book, I've been coming across a lot of things that I think could be of use to language learners, and this blog is my forum to share them all with you, and ultimately will become the companion site for the book itself.