Why do you study languages? If you were in no way obliged to do so, would you still do it? If I had to make a list of some not-so-practical reasons why one must study languages, I think the ability to read and watch more on the Internet would make the top of my list. For obvious reasons, it’s not a way to learn a language but it can still provide a nice incentive for practice.
Forums give you an opportunity to get some real-life knowledge about the language but in a pretty stress-free way – if virtual screaming doesn’t bother you, that is.
You can find a forum about anything under the sun. Surely you have an opinion about global warming, capital punishment or the importance of education. If the idea of such topics makes you shiver (as it happens to me sometimes) you can still read about bunny rabbits, football or marriages and lovers. No taboos!
Does forum-language represent the way people talk?
Well, there are some evident differences. Like, for instance, chatting on forums never reaches the speed of actual conversation. Also, in a face-to-face conversation one rarely feels the need to draw nice little smiling faces or vomiting faces or whatever it might be. Apart from this, the language of these writings is clearly a lot less regulated than, say, that of a novel so you can read something which is guaranteed to be contemporary.
Do people speak correctly in forums?
Sadly, the answer is a definite no. However, when you are not preparing for an exam, the misspellings you find can be positively amusing. Here are a few English examples for you (the source: YouTube comments):
• She should have got a sergeant. (meaning to say surrogate mother)
• He really has no hurt. (meaning: heart)
• No days it is safer. (meaning nowadays)
If nothing else, it gives you an opportunity to feel slightly superior if you can detect other people’s mistakes. Warning: Do not copy these sentences. It might irritate your teacher.
Are you ready to voice your opinion?
Then do it. That’s what forums are invented for. At the same time, do not be too surprised if you find yourself in the middle of a battle, fighting about the only correct time possible for walking one’s dog-no, I’m not joking! But be brave, it is worth it.
Being a naive person, I believe that in actual life, people would not attack each other screaming over such trivial matters. But even if they do, it’s all the more reason to join a forum. What better way to find out what people are really like?