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Second Life offers more than Second Language Skills

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:16pm
Guest post written by Sarah Scrafford*


The human brain is arguably God’s greatest creation – it has the ability to continue growing in intelligence and sponging up knowledge for as long as you live. All you need are the catalysts called enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Though we are inundated with phrases, nuances, pronunciations and words from one or more languages from the time we’re born, there’s no doubt that if we up and moved to a different country where a totally new tongue is spoken, we’d learn the local lingo in just a couple of months.

Being a linguist offers various advantages – at work, you can interact with people from other cultures more freely, on vacation you can fit right in if you speak the language of the locals, and of course, generally speaking, you can show off your multiple tongues in the presence of the opposite sex.

The best way to pick up a new language is to be surrounded by people who speak only in that tongue at all times – desperation and a sense of survival force you to learn the lingo or be left out. But there’s no need to move to Rome in order to be able to speak fluent Italian, not with Second Life around. The virtual world has made headlines for various things, one of them being the ease with which foreign languages are taught and picked up by interested students.

The advantages to learning a new tongue on Second Life are many:

- The courses are more cost-effective than those offered in the real world. Some of them are even free of cost.
- There are instructional videos which teach you the right pronunciation and diction, things you would find hard to pick up from a book of phrases.
- Voice chat options allow you to correct your pronunciation.
- You can interact with other students and probably set up a study group so you can practice what you’ve learned using other members.
- And best of all, there are virtual cities that communicate entirely in foreign languages. So if you’re learning French, hang around a French community and practice what you’ve learned. It’s the next best thing to (and much more economical than) moving to France!

That Second Life has 5,000 language students and 1,000 instructors, numbers which are growing by the day, is itself a testimonial to how this application which began life as a virtual game, morphed into one of the best online, interactive educational tools of our time.

(*)Sarah Scrafford is an industry critic, as well as a regular contributor on the subject of Capella University review. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.
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