If you love American pop culture and enjoy communicating with students from around the world, English, baby is a great place to help you learn English online. You can have fun while you practice communicating and will learn a lot about movies and celebrities in the process. This site requires at least some previous knowledge of the English language, but you can change the language on the site itself from English to Chinese, Spanish or Japanese.
Unlike its top competitors, English, baby doesn't offer a guided lesson curriculum to take you from a beginning student to an advanced student who is ready to pass standardized tests or apply for an English-speaking job. Instead, every day you get a new lesson about a cultural topic. These are available in two levels.
The first level has streaming audio and an accompanying transcript of the dialogue so you can practice reading while you listen. Then, you get a list of vocabulary words and their definitions. In the second level, you get a vocabulary quiz, a grammar lesson and opportunity for discussion. These offerings are very minimal compared to the competition. Nevertheless, we were pleased that the vocabulary tests give good contextual cues to help you choose the correct answer. This way, you can learn while you measure your progress. Unfortunately, only a few of these formal lessons include video content. The site also lacks certified teachers and the opportunity for one-on-one instruction.
Even though English, baby shone in every other category, we felt that it isn't stellar when it comes to the specialized classes it offers. While there are classes on every pop-culture topic imaginable, there is no specialized instruction for accent reduction, nor does it offer any other courses that would help students get jobs or write resumes.
As a language learner, you can simply take these specialized courses elsewhere. We firmly believe that anyone wanting to learn English thoroughly would really enjoy being involved with the active forums and blogs on the English, baby website. Participating in these activities will improve your English speaking and listening abilities.
When it came to the variety of options, we really found many on English, baby. Students can see the newest movies and read the latest books, and then they have an opportunity to discuss the stories with teachers and other students. This is a great way to internalize the English language.
English, baby also has everything you'll need to make language learning easy. It has flashcards, vocabulary lists and games – although we wish there were more games.
For cultural study, however, English, baby doesn't dwell on history or classic art or anything like that. We wish the service would add more topics on culture, but we do recognize that culture is much more than history and the classics. Current events are very important and will teach you a lot about how to use the language. When you know the culture behind a language, you have the opportunity to understand not just the words people utter, but also the thoughts behind the utterances, and that's what really makes you fluent in a language.
English, baby is the most fun you can have learning English online. If you're looking for a pen pal from another country, you'll find one with no problem because everyone on the site seems to be looking for someone to converse with. There are pictures and everything, so it's easy to make friends.
If you're more interested in topical conversations, there are live discussions on just about every topic you can think of. People are talking and having a great time using their newly acquired English skills. English students will also enjoy browsing the recent member activity sidebar. There, on the side of many of the site's pages, you'll see photos of the people who have been contributing to the forums. Go ahead and participate, and you'll be listed there too.
Then, there's lesson uploading. Students can upload lessons they have prepared. This may sound cheesy, but the result is that many really funny videos are posted. Luckily, many of them seem to make for really good learning material. On the other hand, a few of the lessons aren't so great, but as a student, you'll have to decide which ones are worth your time and which ones are not. By having amateurs upload what appeals to them, students learn the way English speakers really talk and behave. This is an advantage for English learners who may not have the chance to visit an English-speaking country.
Another great feature you will find at English, baby is its comment sections. Each lesson has one. There, students ask questions and make comments about each lesson. You can learn a lot by reading through the virtual discussions. Then, you have access to a free newsletter. These mostly have to do with the latest news in movies and television. You can read what people are saying about the next movie you want to see and learn to speak better English at the same time. Finally, you get access to a chatroom. Here, an online instant messaging component enables you to talk to the other students in real time.
It's easy to find and use all the features available with English, baby as long as you already have some control of the language. If you only read and speak in your native language, however, it may take awhile to learn how to navigate around the site because only the tab buttons will display in your native tongue.
The search tool for English, baby lessons works well. You can add criteria to each search such as keyword, category, grammar poing, lesson theme, author and date.
English, baby is a website you should check out if you're serious about language learning or if you simply want a friend with whom you can practice English. The service's approach is novel and goes along with current linguistic theory, which states that using a language is the most important part of becoming proficient in that language.
One of the most impressive aspects of the website is that it permits students to have their own blogs. They might not conjugate every verb correctly, but they're practicing writing in English, and when their blog followers don't understand their prose, they will naturally need to edit it, which also helps with the learning process.
Go to English, baby because there is no doubt you'll have tons of fun with the English language there. We do wish the service would offer a few more things such as business English, resume help and TOEFL training, but you can also go to other learn English websites to get everything you want that this service lacks.
English, baby is a fun, inexpensive web service with discussions and content about current news and entertainment topics.
This English learning service doesn't offer a progressive curriculum of lessons.
English, baby is a good site to explore English pop culture, but it is not a complete product for learning English.