Twitter: 5 Steps to a Better L2


Love it or hate it, it’s playing a big role all over the internetz right now.  This is a short post about 5 ways you can use Twitter to get better at your L2.  Any of you language learners who already have a Twitter account are most likely already doing some of these things, but you should read it anyway. Then get back to your L2.


If you have a Twitter account, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you follow other Twitterers(?).  Try replacing the native language users you follow with similar users in your L2.  This should be no problem for popular websites or companies such as Nintendo or Sega.

Since I am learning Japanese, I try to follow users who tweet in Japanese.

Some personal examples include Wired and Kotaku.

P.S. I’m a gamer.

2. Grammar search/Funfunreibun

I’m actually working my way through a textbook, taking things that interest me and putting them in my SRS.  I have found that Twitter is the perfect place to see little grammar tidbits and vocabulary in action. The best thing about using Twitter to find example sentences is that they are not simplified, stale, or strange.  You know it’s something a native would say because, well, a native said it.  However I do take whatever sentence I use and make sure it makes sense to me.  Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Also take a second to imagine you were learning your native language through Twitter.  Yeah. Grain of salt and all that.

3. Free Conversation/Creeper Method

Guess what.  You’re a creep.  But that’s okay.  The internet does that to everyone.  Now just use it to your advantage and learn something.  Just type in something you like(for example, I would type in モンスターハンター) and search for conversations about your term.  This is a great way to see online conversation in its natural habitat.  It sure beats textbook conversations between Dashing Japanese Dude and Giggling Gaijin Girl.  Those tend to range from topics such as figuring out the time to going to the store. 全然面白くねぇだろ。

4. Trending Topics

More free reading.  Change your location to Tokyo(or somewhere where your L2 is spoken, if possible) and go to town.  It’s that simple.

5. Inspiration/Fellow Learners

Okay, this one won’t directly make you better at your L2.  But with a little luck you can get access to more sources via others who are learning your L2.  It’s also a great way to share your own sources with others and make a few friends in the process.  I know if I didn’t have a twitter account I would have never found about the game Danganronpa, which is easily my favorite PSP game ever.* I also wouldn’t have been able to meet awesome people who are always talking about amazing games/manga and making me want to play/read them.

Also, without a Twitter account, I wouldn’t be able to take part in certain Awesome Extensive Reading Contests, which is also how I met so many other learners of Japanese.

So the next time someone asks you why you have a Twitter account, you can just say something along the lines of ペラペラになるぞ!(or your less ridiculous L2 equivalent)




*Well, it’s tied with the 2000+ hours of Monster Hunter I have logged.  And Dig-Dug.

Author: Koyami

I'm Koyami. I am a freelance Japanese-English Translator and I enjoy learning new skills and reading in my spare time. Current pursuits include juggling, piano, and collecting all of the 十二国記 books. Follow me on Twitter and Google+ for blog updates, my Japanese word of the day, and more!