(1/3) Dying Lang-8

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Jan 18, 2018 01:02
A few months ago, a friend of mine who was preparing for the TOFEL asked me if there was a good website to improve her English writing skills. I recommended Lang-8 but she found Lang-8 didn’t accept new registrations any more.

She had gotten a 110 out of 120 on the TOFEL. Though the score was already excellent, she still complained that she could never score above 24 in the writing section (the full mark is 30). I asked her to send me her essays to see if I could help. Truth be told, her essays were already very good, but there were still many typical mistakes Chinese students tend to make. I’m sure she would make huge progress if she were able to write entries and get corrections on here.

But, on the other hand, I doubt that her imperfect grammar was the reason why she couldn’t {break?/ score above} 24, because if I were to take the TOFEL and avoid those mistakes, I would probably not achieve higher. Therefore, I consoled her that perhaps grammar or writing like a native isn’t the most important thing on this exam, and logic matters more.

There are a couple of reasons why this website cannot thrive. For many members, Lang-8 is like a blog where you share your opinions and stories, and corrections are accompanying benefits. However, a user has to find interesting topics to post constantly. Not everyone here is a journalist who is sent to the forefront of breaking incidents or is assigned to dig into events for a report. Most users here are just ordinary folks who live mundane lives. If a user posts every day about what he eats or what he wears, even though the correctors aren’t disinterested, he himself will get bored and stop writing and thus leave the account dormant.

You may argue that there is a wide range of topics to write about, such as movie or book reviews and social problems. Then here comes the second point. It requires one to have a much better command of the foreign language to make his writing clear and “interesting.” One has to spend a considerable amount of time and energy studying and practicing to achieve that. If one’s level is not high enough, his writing will still stay pretty superficial and not “interesting” at all. Even if he challenges himself by writing profoundly, he will still end up producing awkward wording which not only deflates himself but also is too confusing for editors to correct.

[I haven't fully extended my viewpoint yet.]