Before you start making things up in your mind, I will have to disappoint you: no, Putin did not teach me Russian himself. I am referring to video’s on YouTube that allow people to learn a new language or improve their language skills, which is the case for me. For my bachelors I learn Russian, but I never expected websites, such as YouTube, to become so useful in improving my Russian language skills. Many different websites, apps and videos exist nowadays to help you with learning a language and they are incredibly useful.
Tandem, Billingua and other apps
Tandem is an app designed for those interested in foreign languages and who do not only want to learn a language, but are also open to teaching others the languages they know. The concept of the application is actually very simple. You first register in the app, and give them information on the languages you speak and what your current level is. After these two steps you let the app know which languages you would like to learn or improve and what your current level is. With this information the app shows you other Tandem users who are interested in learning the language(s) you already speak and who can help you further develop your skills with their language knowledge. Apps such as Tandem are a great opportunity to not only learn new languages, but also to extent your network, and we all know: the best way to learn a language is by speaking it.
Other apps like this exist as well. Billingua, for example, works almost the same as Tandem, but this app tries to match you up with someone who shares the same interests as you have! The app Idyoma tries to find native speakers of a language you are trying to learn in your area, so you can easily meet up and practice. However, if you would like a professional to teach you a language, there are also apps out there that offer you the possibility to find you a language teacher via the application.
As I mentioned earlier, I use YouTube to increase my Russian language skills. Now we all know that there are plenty of vocabulary and grammar explanation videos out there on YouTube. They are very useful and personally have helped me trying to get a grip on Russian grammar (believe me it’s difficult). However, another thing that has helped me out are Putin’s speeches. Some language teachers on YouTube put English and Russian subtitles underneath videos of Putin’s speeches and it is a great way to learn Russian listening and pronunciation through actual real-life content (and not the boring slow-rate audios provided by most language books). Check out this speech by Putin during the COVID-19 pandemic:
All in all, I think the internet and applications can help us a lot in learning a language. Whether it might be learning the alphabet on YouTube or watching the speeches of a president, or trying to find native speakers online. In my case, YouTube has helped me out quite a bit!