Saturday, April 4, 2015

Learn a Foreign Language

Good morning. Bonjour. Buongiorno. Buenos dias. .صباح الخير. בוקר טוב

Do you enjoy learning languages?  Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language?

Perhaps the best way to learn a foreign language is by total immersion in the culture of a country where the language is spoken, surrounded by native speakers of that language.

Nothing can take the place of firsthand experience with native speakers of a foreign language, but a good language course can help you learn basic grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking and listening skills.  Since travel to foreign countries is not always practical (or cheap), there are many online resources to consider.

You have probably already heard of Rosetta StonePimsleur or Berlitz. Have you heard of the Michel Thomas Method, Speed Learning Languages, or Fluenz?  There is also Learn to SpeakTell Me More, Instant Immersion, and Rocket Languages.  All of these may be helpful tools, but they are not free.

Believe it or not, there are also free online language learning tools.  You may have heard of Duo Lingo or Livemocha.  There is also Busuu, Babbel, and Memrise.  For translation, you can try iHandy Translator or Google Translate.  In addition to these, there has been a recent proliferation of MOOC's (Massive Open Online Courses), including online courses with Coursera and edX.

In the not too distant past I worked for Middlebury Interactive Languages, a company that specializes in online language instruction.  I was recruited to help build a Gale PowerSpeak online Italian course, but I also helped edit several other courses.  Naturally, I am partial to these courses, but there are many avenues to explore for learning a foreign language.  You might even try watching your favorite movies, TV shows or YouTube videos in a foreign language.  

It can take a lifetime to truly master a foreign language, but hopefully these websites will at least kindle the desire to get started.  Enjoy!


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