Not bad, Internet. You’ve made something useful (riddled by porn and available on iOS only for now, which may just prove my point). It’s new, it’s much-hyped, and may just change the way people do lots of stuff. Learning languages with Vine? Here’s how and why.
Vhat’s Vine anyvay?
Vine is an app that allows you to create and share six-second looping videos, complete with sound. That’s it. No more than six seconds. No bells or whistles. Hold your smartphone up, press on the screen when you want to record, and enjoy the montage. Hey, let your friends enjoy it too: Vines can be easily shared on Twitter and Facebook. Check out some examples on the official blog.
Reason 1: Sweet, sweet styles
This one is about learning styles. And before you tell me that they haven’t been scientifically proven – yes, I know that already. And I don’t believe that one should focus on just one way of remembering / recalling things when learning a language.
Which is precise why Vines are so powerful. Sound, sight and movement meet in six intensive seconds. It’s a lot more than cramming in pages of a book, or listening to a lecture. If learning styles are your thing – you’ll love the Vine-powered language learning. And if you’re sceptical, like me – you’ll appreciate the way these tiny videos can etch themselves into your memory.
Reason 2: Immersion, little and often
I could ask my friend to send me a blog post every week, describing ten or twelve Thai phrases and their meanings. Or to create a set of flashcards with Thai vocabulary which I could later revise. Heck, I could join a Thai class here in London.
The thing I would miss is kind of a big deal in today’s language learning: immersion. It means, basically, allowing a foreign language to surround you. Does Vine provide that? Yes and no.
There are two benefits to immersion, in my opinion: the long-term perks of being totally used to a language being all around you, and the short-term, intensive benefit of experiencing a phrase, word or sentence “there and then” – in its everyday, rich context. Vine can’t do a lot about the long-term (although it may – see below). It can work wonders for the short term, though.
Imagine my friend sharing two or three Vines from a Thai marketplace. Or a semi-candid clip from a railway station announcement. It’s all there: the visuals, the movement, the chaos, the language which you would have to disentangle, savour and instantly devour.
Reason 3: Passing the Vine around
Vine is owned by Twitter.
Which means that it’s probably quite socially-oriented.
Which means that your classmates, language exchange partners, communities, colleagues, tribes – everyone you care to get in touch with – can get on Twitter or Facebook and share 6 seconds of language-filled joy with you, instead of 140 bland characters or 3 Farmville requests. And if you keep doing this every day and take care to share (hashtags work, remember?), in no time you’ll have a pretty impressive video library of language-intensive, context-rich resources that cost you almost nothing. Guerrilla Language Learner’s dream!
What would you use Vine for? How would you change it (Vine for Android, yeah, I know)? Let us know!
Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in more – why not sign up for my newsletter? There are many reasons to subscribe (here are four of them), but in short: you will get the full VIP treatment: sneak previews of new content, exclusive materials for language learners – and a free one-page guide to learning any language to start you off!