The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #21 May / June 2016
Language Learning is for everyone!
by Gary McCann
May / June 2016 | 

A little bit of history...

Let me start by telling you I am not a polyglot and I am not an amazing language learner. I spent years dabbling in holiday Italian and I completely sucked at it. I had almost given up thinking I just wasn’t suited to that sort of thing.

Like many other failed language learners before me, I had tried throwing money at the problem. I had purchased many courses over the years but none had worked for me. What I hadn’t realized at the time was that I had been caught by a sales pitch; someone selling me a product that claimed, for the grand sum of x dollars, I would be speaking my target language in no time. I was completely sucked in and then assumed that the issue was mine and I just couldn’t do it.

Then in July last year I signed up to the Add1Challenge to learn Italian in 90 days and everything changed. Suddenly I was part of a community of like-minded language learners and I realised that I wasn’t dreadful at all. What I was lacking wasn’t ability but rather it was how I was learning that was the problem.

All I needed to succeed was a decent variety of resources, a consistent routine and a little bit of support.

After the challenge finished I decided that I would try to save others the same pain and, with the gentle encouragement of others, the Language Learning Library was born (

So what is the Language Learning Library?

The Language Learning Library is a site that allows users to find, share, rate and review language learning resources. OK so that’s the site tagline, let’s break that down a little.

It’s a language learning directory

Visitors can search the Language Learning Library to find materials in various languages - there are currently 59 languages listed on the site and this is growing every week.

For some of the more popular languages, like Spanish, simply selecting a language can return a large number of results.

To help with this, there are additional filters on the page that allow you to target resources that are suited to the level you are at and to narrow this down to specific types of materials.

So whether you are looking for an upper beginner grammar resource or a site with intermediate video content - you can easily find it!

It’s a review site

One of the problems I faced when starting out was finding good honest reviews of language learning products. Most of the time I landed on a sales page or a review that was written in order to drive sales through an affiliate link.

The Language Learning Library is different. Absolutely anyone can sign up to the site and leave a rating or review for any of the resources, both are then immediately available to everyone else. Star ratings show next to each item in the search results and all user submitted reviews are displayed at the bottom of the resource’s page.

Can this be exploited and succumb to ingenuine reviews by product owners - absolutely - in exactly the same way they can on any other review site. These do tend to be in the minority and, as long as you read the other reviews too, then it’s quite easy to spot these a mile off.

Product owners are free to post their own products and also review anyone else’s. Ingenuine reviews are definitely frowned upon and will be removed if discovered.

It’s a community site

Absolutely anyone can sign up to the site and post a resource that they have found. The site is designed to make this as quick and simple as possible.

Simply give it a title, a link and a short description, select a few check boxes and that’s it - the resource is then available for anyone else to find.

Absolutely anything can be listed on the site whether it be a website, blog, course, podcast, youtube channel, book or app. If it’s language learning related then it’s allowed.

Shortly after launching the site, I discovered that finding or posting resources is not always enough and it is much better to discuss these with friends. If you are like me and don’t have friends who love language learning like you do then we have also created a Facebook group for that purpose.

There you will find a large community of active and friendly members discussing all of their favorite (and not so favorite) resources and general chat. I am frequently active in the group and have already made a lot of new friends through it.

It is still evolving

When I started the site just over 2 months ago, it was a little pet project that I put together very very quickly. I thought a few people would visit and could maybe get some benefit from it.

I didn’t for a second expect the response that I got. Over 3000 people visited the site in the first month alone and this is steadily growing. This tells me that there is a definite need for it.

I am a web developer as my day job so I love doing this sort of thing. I already have a lot of ideas to make the site even better and have been discussing these openly with the group. I plan to keep the site in constant development and continually add new features.

It may sound really cheesy but I already feel like this is no longer just mine, it belongs to everyone in the community and to everyone contributing to the site. I am just the guy that writes the code to make it work.

And the beauty of it all - absolutely everyone is welcome. Whether you know ten languages or just one, it doesn’t matter; if you love language learning then I wholeheartedly invite you to come along and join both the site and the group.

We won’t ask you for any money, we won’t try to sell you anything. All we want is your opinion and your friendship - come join us!

Gary McCann is the founder of the Language Learning Library (, a community based site that allows you to find, share, rate and review language learning resources. Like us on our Facebook page or come join our group.

Parrot Time is always looking for guest writers, so if you are interested in writing for us or donating something you have written for your own blog, please contact us at We look forward to your contributions!

Language Learning is for everyone!
Writer: Gary McCann
Gary McCaan: LLL Logo
Petey: Word grid (title); Man with globe; Trio; Man at bookcase;

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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