Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Stream Languages In


Sometimes it is easy to forget how much easier it is to for most of us to learn languages than it would have been many decades ago. With computers and the Internet it is very easy to stream radio and TV from many different countries. Before this technology a person who could live in a foreign country wasn't at a disadvantage if they wanted to learn the language of that country (exposure is there if they want it). A person who was exposed to many foreigners in their own country could also decide to learn that language. What was very hard would be to pick a language at random and then get exposure almost immediately (leaving the worrying about when and how you are going to speak it with natives until later). Go back further and the practicalities of ever going to the country where many languages were spoken meant that although someone may learn some of a language to help them go on and whilst on a pilgrimage (or similar great adventure) I doubt that many people would have learned a language and then gone on a pilgrimage to practice it.

Recently it is even easier, with an Ipod touch and wireless network, or with an android phone I can stream video and audio content anywhere, any when, and in many languages whenever I feel the need.


TVUPlayer is a peer2peer video application that streams a whole host of TV channels(and pseudo tv channels) from all over the world. There are a number of mainstream channels from some countries (China for example) and a lot of smaller (often stranger channels). Being peer2peer the connection may start off weak but usually picks up.

I have used the player on PC and Ipod there is a small charge for the Ipod and Android versions but you can download a free version (limited to a couple of minutes at a time). Be aware that the player uses a lot data transfer, which is a drain on the battery of your device, also possibly expensive (I only use it over wireless).

There are many, many languages represented, I find the easiest thing to do is to just add a bunch of channels to 'favourites' and filter out the ones I don't like (the channels have little country flags next to them that usually match the language).

I don't use the player for organised learning, just occasionally for when I want to listen to some Chinese, Thai or German. There is a much better choice of Chinese channels than Thai and a couple of the Thai channels I have found are poor quality but still enough to be useful.

If you are learning multiple languages, this application is particularly useful.

TuneIn radio

For streaming radio, I have used the TuneIn radio application on both the Ipod and Android. I think there was a small charge for the Ipod version but the Android version was free (but you don't seem to be able to record on the Android version yet).

You can start your search for stations by language :) there are many types of radio stations including talk show and story channels.


Language is there waiting for you to watch an listen, a significant aid to your language learning and particularly when you consider that many of the native speakers you may want to talk to could have listened to and watched similiar material whilst learning their mother tongue. I have two cousins who grew up without television, probably and advantage in many respects, but one thing they told me is that even as adults they often don't understand cultural references in English conversation because they never experienced them on the TV.

I watch hardly any TV in my own language these days, but in other peoples languages, that is a different matter, even trashy TV ;).

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