Come for the languages, stay for the neighbors.
There is only one place I know of where you can hear Hungarian, Malayalam, Lao, Breton and even Gothic all within the same neighborhood. It isn’t New York, London, Hong Kong or Prague.
It’s not a physical place at all, but it’s almost as good.
Parleremo is a free online language learning community that invites intrepid travelers to settle down and take up residence in a lovely little town of the same name by finding a home and exploring their neighborhood on a quest to acquire a new language.
Users can choose from an extraordinarily diverse list of languages that range from Akkadian to Spanish, and then pursue a wide variety of activities and exercises to help practice, teach and meet with other learners or speakers.
The town is broken up by quarters. districts and streets according to language family, specific language and then individual street names respectively. For example I currently live at улица Лермонтова 7 in the Russian district of the Slavic quarter.
Come say hi!
Once settled in, learners have the ability to explore their neighborhood. A small map of the local area shows numerous locations one can visit such as the post office, hotel or pharmacy. Each location allows us to learn from a list of words that pertain to that particular establishment.
Parleremo comes with many more fantastic features, some familiar and others not so much. I’ve highlighted six tools the site has to offer that I find to be the most useful.
Memrise or Duolingo users will be happy to see the familiar multiple choice format offered by Parleremo. It’s tried and true and a great way to accumulate new vocabulary at a relatively rapid rate.
2. Journals and Language Logs
These tools allow learners to keep track of their progress, create notes and write down any thoughts or stories that they may have about or in their target language. These journals can be shared with community members looking for advice, assistance, or just a good read. It’s sort of like a mini language blog.
It even includes a small virtual keyboard that allows you to type using the writing system you’re learning – a really great thing to have for those of us without Bengali or Balinese keyboards.
3. TV and Radio
This is by far one of the most useful features a language learning site can have, and I may have to steal the idea! Parleremo actually has huge lists of television channels and radio stations that broadcast in the language you’re learning. You can stream these channels right from your computer or mobile device making this an extraordinarily useful resource. If you don’t use Parleremo for anything else – this is certainly worth registering.
4. Forums and Community
Parleremo has a great forum section where learners can connect with one another, ask questions and communicate with the administrators and developer directly. The site is constantly being improved and more content is added all the time, both by the developer and the community itself via the uploading of custom Anki decks and audio recordings.
5. Parrot Time Magazine
This town has it all – including its very own monthly newspaper. This electronic publication covers a wide range of language related articles. You can check out Parrot Time Magazine here. Parleremo is also accepting article submissions from those interested in being published in the magazine – a great opportunity for language bloggers at any level.
This month’s edition is all about the Faroe Islands’ history, culture and of course, the Faroese language.
Parleremo supports several different chat systems including IRC, Skype and AJAX. Actual conversation between speakers is the best way to learn a language – hands down – and no language learning website would be complete without facilitating easy communication between real people.
So what are you waiting for?
This fantastic community is still small, but with a little assistance from you there’s no reason why it can’t blossom into a thriving metropolis of language learners. These features and more make Parleremo one of the best free language learning tools on the Web. It’s simple to use and touches on a wide range of language resources to fit the needs of each learner.
So, are you going to go check out Parleremo? You absolutely should! Leave a comment letting us know what you think!
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