In short, I kinda like languages is a website with full free online introductory and basic language courses available without any need for registration or any catches! Our courses are made by volunteers and published after approval. Our current goal is having introductory courses of all the main European languages.
The main principles in which we believe are simplicity which means making the course material easily accesible and understandable by using techniques such as reduction, creative explanation and mnemonics, and production which means getting the learner to check their understanding and improve remembering of the information by asking to answer questions and construct phrases during the lessons.
You have three ways to use this site: go to the main page to learn a language, check out the labs to find all the behind-the-scenes content or start making a course yourself or go to the blog to read about my journeys, languages, and stuff.
For a longer version, here's the story of this site. I started it around the March of 2009 as a hobby site. I am a twenty-one year old Law student from Lithuania and I Kinda Like Languages. I speak six languages pretty well, can communicate basic things in some five more and I have done some learning of at least a dozen more. I started this website because I realized that languages were my true passion and that's what I wanted to write about.
The website started as an information site about languages with tips for learning them. Since I was writing about it anyway, I began visiting other language websites more often and reading accounts of people learning languages and I noticed a big problem: there weren't easy ways to start out learning languages. If you search online, you mostly find expensive books or courses, podcasts or tutorials which are not systematic enough to be relied upon as the primary source of learning and forums which are usually more about how fine it would be if you learned the language instead of learning it. Even if you could find websites with language courses, they would often require registration or they would rely on the academic-type of teaching, such as presenting you with grammar tables or using difficult terms (consonant shift in the negative compound past progressive, err...) which is clearly not for everyone. I wanted to fix this.
Before that, I had to ask myself why do you need language courses at all? Many people say, and I agree, that the best way to learn a language is practice: you have to hear it, speak it, read it and live it to learn it. I have never met anyone who has learned a language in a different way than that. I believe that you need language courses so that you can get to a level where you can practice the language! Some people would disagree: they say that you can practice it right away. Just turn on the TV and wait to pick the language up, they would say. Or just read childrens' books. Start small. I am not against doing all of those. I find it, however, that these are a lot more enjoyable and give you more results if you already have an idea of what you will be doing before you start. That way you learn faster, you are more confident and you have less trouble understanding the structure of the language because you don’t have to try to guess your way into it from scratch. In the worst case scenario, if you teach yourself the basics and even if you don’t get time to practice the language, you still know some which is way better than knowing none.
That was my answer for what I want from language courses: I want them to get me to a level where I can practice the language in reading, listening or speaking. That's the idea, the rest is implementation. I began implementing it. I had made a short course in Latin, which had questions implemented in it, an idea for which I got an inspiration for from other languages courses, mostly those of Michel Thomas. I decided that this short lesson format might be a good one to start with and I made the labs which was the place where anyone could easily sign up and post a lesson or a course. I soon got feedback with ways to improve it and I started posting courses and focusing the site on language courses.
The mission of I Kinda Like Languages is to change the way that we begin learning languages online. I want to encourage people to make and use simple courses and show that languages aren't just difficult grammatical structures which are almost impossible to learn as most academical courses would have you believe but that they are logical systems that can be broken apart and learned. This website also aims at introducing language learning to more people and providing them with ways to check out the languages they have been always interested in and helping them learn one or a few of those languages. I want to show people not only that they can learn languages, I also want to help provide them with the resources for doing it.
I will need your help! If you like the ideas of the site, I want you to join me in my quest by reading the website, taking lessons, giving your opinions to help improve courses, and even perhaps making courses yourself if you can. You will introduce yourself to new languages, learn new facts and see links between them and you will find new ways of learning them, as well as meeting people who share the passion for languages. I have a couple of important goals for the site that I am going to need help with:
In order to grow, we have to start somewhere and I have decided to focus on collecting Introductory courses for languages of Europe (by that I mean *the languages of the geographical European continent*, you can read more about them in the languages of Europe article at the Wikipedia. We will be focus on collecting introductory courses in all of these major languages first because these languages are usually the ones that attract the most English-speaking learners, almost all of them use the Latin alphabet which makes it easy to start learning them and they do not have tones which makes using text courses simpler.
Moreover, the European languages are among the most widespread languages in the world. Look at this map of the world with countries their official languages coming from Europe colored in blue:
This does not even include countries which have considerable minorities that speak one of the European languages. If we did, the map would also encompass most of Africa and a big part of Southern Asia.
This does not mean, however, that we will not have courses in other languages on the site. We already have a course of Japanese, an Arabic aphabet one, a Chinese writing course, a Vietnamese course and courses of some other non-European languages. It would be awesome if we can get more. The current focus on European languages just means that I, personally, will be working mostly on that but it does not mean that we will not encourage courses in other languages at the same time..
It is true that introductory courses are not long enough to get conversational basics. However, I decided it is the best strategy to focus on making them because they are the easiest to make, the most beneficial for people (because the first steps are the most important) and make for an easy time improving the courses. By focusing on introductory courses it is easy to find out which courses work and then we can extend them to Introductory Part 2, Part 3, etc. and eventually basic courses to truly achieve the goal of the site and help get you started learning each language!
This goal of introductory courses of the European languages is a goal to be extended in both quantity and quality once we achieve it.