How Instagram Is Being Used As A Language Learning Tool

How Instagram Is Being Used As A Language Learning Tool
Retail

Several Instagram accounts dedicated to teaching language have developed a passionate following

Ivanha Paz
  • 14 august 2017

As Rosetta Stone has shown us, a new language is best learned with the help of visuals and dynamic interaction. Lately, Instagram has been proving to be able to facilitate just that. Several Instagram users dedicated to teaching their native language (or a different one they have learned) have garnered a substantial following. The accounts take advantage of Instagram’s translate feature and use the social media network’s visual responsiveness as a tool to interact with and teach non-speakers basic vocabulary.

Isaac Demester, a Toronto native who has lived in Iqaluit Nunavut, an indigenous community in Canada, for the past seven years, runs @inuktitut_ilinniaqta. On Instagram he says he’s “basically sharing his homework” while he himself learns Inuktitut.

For Demester, Instagram has become a way to alleviate the frustration that comes with learning an obscure language. “One of the most frustrating parts of learning Inuktitut is the lack of decent resources available. Even the best grammar books are out of print, out of date or from other parts of the Arctic where the dialect is different,” he said. “I knew of many students that were experiencing these same frustrations. So one day, I set out to become the resource that was missing.” Instagram allows him to connect language and art to make a lasting impression. “When we have a visceral reaction to something, it stays with us and we are more likely to remember it and use it,” he said.

By request: check out how the infix -naq- changes an expression ᖁᕕᐊᓱᒃᑐᖅ / Quviasuktuq / He or she is happy ᖁᕕᐊᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Quvianaqtuq / It’s causes happiness, it’s joyful fun ᖁᕕᐊᓇᖅ! / Quvianaq! / A exclamation of joy or happiness; fun! 😀 ᑐᑭᓯᔪᖅ / Tukisijuq / He or she understands ᑐᑭᓯᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Tukisinaqtuq / It causes understanding, it’s understandable  ᑐᑭᓯᓇᖅᑲ? / Tukisinaqqa? / Is it understandable? ᑐᑭᓯᑦᓯᐊᕐᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Tukisitsiarnaqtuq / It’s very easy to understand ᑲᑉᐱᐊᓱᒃᑐᖅ / Kappiasuktuq / He or she is afraid ᑲᑉᐱᐊᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Kappianaqtuq / It’s causes fear, it’s something scary  ᑲᑉᐱᐊᓇᖅ! / Kappianaq! / An exclamation of fear; scary! 😱 ᑲᒪᔪᖅ / Kamajuq / He or she looks after s.o or s.t ᑲᒪᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Kamanaqtuq / It’s causes interest or fascination, a miracle or marvel ᑲᒪᓇᖅ! / Kamanaq! / An exclamation of amazement; amazing! 😧 ᒪᒥᐊᒍᓱᒃᑐᖅ / Mamiagusuktuq / He or she is sorry about something, has mild regret ᒪᒥᐊᓇᖅᑐᖅ / Mamianaqtuq / It causes sorrow, or mild regret ᒪᒥᐊᓇᖅ / Mamianaq! / An exclamation of regret; sorry! 😐 Photo credit: Eliza Naomi Eetoolook #learninginuktitut #Inuktitut #syllabics #inuit #inuitlanguage #language #qikiqtaaluk #baffinisland #iqaluit #nunavut #canada #nunagram #canadagram #explorecanada #myadventurecanada #tourcanada #parkscanada #canadasworld #huffpostcanada #discovernunavut #discovernu

A post shared by Inuktitut Ilinniaqta (@inuktitut_ilinniaqta) on

Other accounts tackle different languages: @ylanguageitalian teaches Italian, @frenchwords teaches French and @everysinglewordinicelandic teaches Icelandic. Every Single Word In Icelandic’s creator Eunsan Hu shares illustrations of symbols she makes to represent Icelandic words. “Being a visual person, illustrating these words was a natural next step. I chose to express them as icons because icons transcend language barriers,” she said. By using hashtags she hoped to reach members outside of his friend group and was able to amass 17,700 followers.

Besides being an Instagram teacher, Hu also uses the platform to learn French from other accounts. “It doesn’t really feel like studying. Of course this can’t replace sitting down with a grammar book, but I’m not disciplined enough to do that everyday,” she said. “Watching an Instagram story by a Parisian explaining the Metro in French, on the other hand, is a lot more enjoyable and entertaining.”

Julien Azarian has been teaching French on Instagram as @frenchwords since 2013 and today has 541,000 followers. Although he takes a different, less visual approach by posting the text of words and their translations, it works. According to Azarian, Instagram is a perfect place to share your ideas with others all over the globe. “I see Instagram as a social network, and an open window into the world, as it enables you to connect with people who share the same passions and interests,” he said.

Raffinée (masculine: raffiné) • Sophisticated • /ʁa.fi.ne/

A post shared by French Words (@frenchwords) on

@inuktitut_ilinniaqta | @everysinglewordinicelandic | @Frenchwords

As Rosetta Stone has shown us, a new language is best learned with the help of visuals and dynamic interaction. Lately, Instagram has been proving to be able to facilitate just that. Several Instagram users dedicated to teaching their native language (or a different one they have learned) have garnered a substantial following. The accounts take advantage of Instagram’s translate feature and use the social media network’s visual responsiveness as a tool to interact with and teach non-speakers basic vocabulary.

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