Can YouTube help us learn a foreign language?
It’s a website that everyone has heard of. Perhaps most people even use it on a daily basis, and it’s a form of both entertainment and social media. But can we use YouTube to help us learn a foreign language?
Of course there are channels which produce video classes dedicated to helping us learn, but what about the standard daily vlog or clothes haul videos? Can they be valuable learning resources too?
In my opinion, they’re a way of being able to experience the way in which real people talk. This can make a good change from the listening exercises we hear in class, which aren’t always authentic. For example, many English speakers have different accents or use lots of colloquial words and phrases – have you ever heard them say ‘all right, guys’ as a greeting in a listening clip? Some English learners don't have the chance to talk to native speakers in person, so surely YouTube videos can offer an invaluable alternative.
To add to this, there is more to learning a language than simply words, phrases and grammar. It’s also about the culture of the language’s speakers. As YouTube increases in popularity, it also offers an insight into popular culture. As well as the channels themselves that are popular, through watching them we can learn about a country’s fashion trends, popular video games and simply how people spend their daily lives.
However, some people would argue that listening to YouTubers will only make us fall into bad habits. Not only do they often use colloquial words, but sometimes their speech is even grammatically incorrect. Why would we want to risk learning to speak in a way that isn’t even right? Then again, others say that this is the way that people really talk, so we should get used to it.
It is debatable whether YouTube can help with language learning. But one thing for certain is that it can be a great source of entertainment!