How to Learn a Language with Thousands of Helpers on Tumblr

Today's post comes from a language learner I've known for about a year. Maria is based in Newcastle and first talked to me during the 50 Calls Project. I love her enthusiasm and her awesome perspectives on language learning. Recently she contacted me to offer a guest post on language learning on Tumblr - I'm not a Tumblr user myself so I jumped at the chance.

Enjoy Maria's post!


Never heard of Tumblr?

The magical world of Tumblr might be new to you. In this case, here's a definition I saw on Yahoo Answers, where they describe Tumblr like this:

A place to "effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML.

So in essence, Tumblr another social media platform. But what separates this one from other social networks is that once you have an account, you can create numerous blogs and join a multitude of intriguing communities, from Doctor Who to interior design.

It's also different because in general on the website, people don't tend to know each other. You don't add your friends or family, but create a family of the people who share your interests! The example I'm going to talk about is, of course, the language learning community on Tumblr!

Start with a Tag


Sound confusing? It's really not. Anyone, any age, anywhere can join a community they like or search for whatever they like. My favourite tag is the 'polyglot' tag but I wouldn't dare call myself a polyglot at all! You don't even need to be fluent in another language. It's just a good bit of fun for people who are interested, while acting as a serious study aid - it certainly helped me get through my Spanish GCSE!

You don't even have to have an account to see the grand world of Tumblr. The website is easy to navigate and you learn more as you go on, building your page and gaining followers. Like Twitter, you can reblog (retweet) and like (favourite) different posts, adding your own comments too! You can directly 'ask' people questions and follow blogs. You can search for a tag to see all the posts under that tag, and that's where the community you want to join will be found!

For languages, you want to be looking at tags like #polyglot, #foreignlanguage, #langblr or of the language you want to see, for example #esperanto.

Tags Give You Everything

From playful jokes to help with confusing grammar from native speakers, the sky is the limit over on Tumblr. There are videos, text posts, photos, and links to other websites. You'll find a lot of relatable posts made by other people in the same position as you, which are bound make you laugh. I can't count the times I've read a post and in my head I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this person is me!'.

Here are a few good examples:

Supportive Community at the Touch of a Button

But Tumblr is not just for jokes. It can be a serious resource. Users post important grammar points, language tips and expert knowledge on any language.

On one occasion, I looked at a post that finally helped me grasp how to use the cases in Latin, and the next post along I picked up some Argentinian slang. You can directly message people and ask them about your own challenges too and they're more than happy to share their expertise. They might come asking you too.

The people in Tumblr's communities offer support if, for instance, you post about having a tricky patch in a language. Everyone is super friendly! And if you've hit a bit of a barrier recently with your learning, there is motivation left, right and centre on Tumblr. All it takes is a quick scroll down a tag and you see something new and it sparks off the relationship between you and your language again! You can find weekly challenges and search for a language exchange partner, creating global friendships while learning and teaching a language.

But what if I'm learning a really obscure language?

If there's a language, there's a tag. Someone somewhere is learning that language and is posting about it on Tumblr! You might find tips about your target language or resources you've never seen before. They come in heaps, seriously. I've seen list after list of free websites to help you learn French, or specific YouTube accounts for Portuguese. These people have spent their time searching so you don't have to! And it's all at the click of a button!

You can post in foreign languages yourself and ask for corrections, or communicate with people in the community in their language. The ways to stimulate learning are endless, and a lot of the time you're doing it subconsciously as you scroll down the page. There are thousands of people in the community from all corners of the world, and to think so few people know about this language learning gold mine!

If you want to have a peek at the magical language learning world on Tumblr, start with the #langblr tag and enjoy your journey down the rabbit hole..

Okay, as I was editing this post I got pumped up. Maria, I'm on Tumblr too now! Joining the masses! Getting into the community! Are you on Tumblr too? Leave your opinion in the comments and share your favourite Blogs and Tags with us!