Online chat on LingQ - what do you think?


I have been dabbling in a few chat rooms of my target language of late and it’s proved to be quite rewarding. You can “join in” to the current conversation or simply lay back and read the commentary as a silent participant.

Would a chat room be something that would work here on LingQ? I think it has a lot of potential, since:

  • A chat room is fairly trivial to set-up from a server point of view. Many browser, activex, flash and java-based chat’s available (plug-in style). Also, perhaps there isn’t even any need to do anything technical, just simply people announcing their msn/skype group chat link in a forum would work. But having a built-in chat on the site for various languages may work rather well as we can always “see” people in the chat room to encourage conversation.

  • You have time to formulate your sentences. If you decide you want to say something, none of the other participants need to wait for you to say it… you can construct your sentence anonymously and edit / change it until you are satisfied with its form/structure, then hit “enter” and you’ve posted it! Less stress, less pressure to perform, all those things. Many times I have found myself writing something, then realising it was a mess, and simply refrained from completing the sentence. This easy “opt out” failsafe feature in an online chat really makes it attractive to (I believe) the intermediates.

  • May be a wonderful bridge between writing and skype/voice chat. For those who aren’t ready to speak in a language (or who lack confidence) may find online chatting builds a bridge of confidence and allows people to become aware of their gaps without the pressure of feeling the need to perform.

What do other people think? In any case, if you haven’t tried chatting in your target language you may try googling for a few chat rooms. There are quite a few and you may find it works well for you. The only thing with public chat rooms are the subject matter, level of slang/short-cuts can be rather strange.


I agree. In theory it seems promising. It might be a great addition to LingQ. I think we could start by arranging a text chat in Language X in Skype. If it works maybe the participants can agree to split the cost of submission as a writing, or just submit it individually to benefit individually from the feedback.

I am up for one in French sometime around 6-7 am Pacific any day of the week.

That is a brilliant idea dooo! Submitting the transcript as actual source material… with (perhaps) corrections by a tutor. This could fast-track the building of content on the site and, as the popular saying goes, “snowball” into a bigger and bigger source in and of itself.


On the first place where I learned English at the Internet, we had a chat room with writing AND sound.
You could write or you could “take” the mic. Sometimes it was really interesting but sometimes it was a little boring too, depend from the people they were in the room.

I think this is an idea which we can test here in the forum: we can start a thread where we chat in. We can start now. No one says, that we couldn’t do that :wink:

A problem is to make the corrections. To do corrections is a lot of work. So in my opinion this could cause some problems. Maybe you learn wrong phrases from other learners.

I wold vote against it, or at least I would make this feature a lower priority on the to-do list, for the following reasons:

  • there are many chat rooms on the web already
  • there are other higher priority work items already, which are not provided by other websites. And I think those unique features, when implemented, would be more beneficial to the learners and eventually make LingQ more profitable.

It would be nice to have a way to see who is online now and to chat but, as Edwin says, there are other things that have to happen first. For the moment, as Irene suggested, you can have a form of chat in the Forum. Then, you can submit your comments for correction directly.

…Sorry…I meant, as Vera suggested…:wink:

I would be interested in a LingQ chat room, because I find the idea of chatting a bit scary and I’d rather do so in a LingQ-only environment :slight_smile: but don’t make it high priority on my account. Next year would be fine.

VeraI: I think there are some (small, but troublesome) problems with using a forum to chat. The “instant messenger” instant gratification of having your response answered almost immediately is lacking. I don’t know if the other person(s) is/are online… so I may type something and perhaps wait for tens of minutes, hours… DAYS… before I get a response.

Also, to differentiate chat from the forum, a chat is more laid back, more colloquial, less formal. You don’t really ask people “how have you been today?” as idle chatter on a forum - especially here on LingQ, whereas on a chat room I’m sure people would feel almost compelled to do so. Just out of sheer politeness.

The messages on chat also, by their function, are shorter, more concise… whereas a forum-based reply, we shove sentence after sentence (as I am doing right now) to get as much useful information out there because it could be a while before we receive a response. Thus, forums are fantastic for continuing conversations of a deeper meaning stretched over many many days or weeks. Chat is suited to shallower topics in real-time. I guess we can try to use the forum as a “chat”, but a forum is a forum… and it can’t really “be” a chat, and vice versa.

I do however agree that “organising” chats via msn or skype at certain times would be a great use for the forum. I’d say out of simplicities sake we chose a certain time, eg Greenwhich meridian +/-0 GMT as we can always be sure what time it is. For instance, dooo mentioned he’s available for French chat 6-7 pacific… I’m not familiar with that, so I don’t know exactly “when” that is on my time.


Whatever may be the merits of having “instant messenger” chats, I find this Forum chat to be an excellent addition to our activities at LingQ. Personally I am more interested in the longer, more carefully thought out discussions that I see here at the Forum, and would have little interest in SMS type short messages with abbreviations etc.

I recognize that this might just be a sign of my age, and encourage the SMS chat keeners to organize something more to their liking in whatever form they choose. However, I hope this Forum chat activity will continue in various languages.

I agree more with Steves position. So I can read the next day, what people are write, when I slept :slight_smile: This is really nice.

Also I’m not a fan of SMS. It seems to me, if people are in a hurry.

And one great argument is that so the chance of the involvement of more members is greater, because we all live in different timezones, what is fascinating but also a handicap for chatting with other members.

Hmmm… ok. The responses are very interesting. just a few things to note:

  1. Chat and Forums are not mutually exclusive systems. They can and do co-exist and compliment each other, depending on what the online audience wishes to do at the time.

  2. The whole concept of “SMS” and Chat do not go hand-in-hand either. That is a purely personal choice. You can chat using proper sentences and phrasing just like on the forums here.

Just to clear things up.


I’m a frequent user of both systems (I think I write just as much text in online forums as on MSN each day).

Instant messaging is “live” and thus requires “active” skills - good. Drawback - the messages are usually quite short, so it’s easier to “get around” problematic structures (that’s my experience).

Forums (emails et.c.) is less stressing for most people, you can use a dictionary to a greater extent in order to produce “good” language. But paradoxically, if your messages are particularly long, your mistakes are more likely to show up - which doesn’t have to be the case in a chat session, despite the “live setting”.

Hi Jeff- the irony! I actually was addicted to irc chat in my uni days, but for the past umpteen years I loath online chatting for purely social reasons. I am rediscovering the power of chat to aid language learning in the sense of “conversational” language as it is very similar to the language you would use during social chatting of the real-world kind. A lot of the expressions and exclamations come out during chat and I find that it makes up a language/expression/style/culture/social gap that I find lacking on the forums here. That’s not to say it will replace the forum either! That was not intended at any stage or at any level :slight_smile: but I’ve actually discovered something with chat that I did not discover while writing on the forums and it’s, I think, pushed me “over” the hill towards considering myself “fluent” in the target lang.

I won’t go into it in detail so as not to derail the thread, but I guess with chat, that ability to build up a sentence quickly as you type it, then realise it’s not going anywhere, scrub it and start a new sentence, I realise that we all do this even in our native language. I’d be speaking english and I’d start a sentence… then I’d get half way through a sentence, then throw a “thinking” word like “you know… ummm…” and the next part of the sentence is actually disjointed. It’s a completely new sentence, yet it still flows. As soon as I realised that I was doing this in english and the problem with (my french in this case) was I would go to the ends of the earth mentally to try and complete every single sentence that I begin perfectly to the end… when I stopped doing that and just allows myself to say “ummm… errr…” then just throw that sentence away and start afresh… all of a sudden, quite literally overnight, I was going from speaking in 20 syllable “glops” to a ramble of 5 minutes or more… very interesting!


I like the idea.