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Thursday, June 14, 2012

7 Good Resources for Learning a New Language

Yesterday, after publishing my post about BBC Quick Fix, I received a few emails asking me for other resources that can be used to learn a new language. Those emails prompted me to round up a selection of the language learning resources that I have reviewed over the years. What follows is a list of 7 good resources for learning a new language.

Learn a Language offers flashcards and games for learning eight different languages. Learn a Language offers activities in Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, French, Japanese, Chinese, and English. The format for Learn a Language is the same for all eight languages. Users select a language then choose if they want to study individual words or phrases. Whichever they choose the format that follows is the same. Users can study flashcards then play a game called Lingo Dingo. Lingo Dingo requires players to accurately type a word or phrase before it disappears. The object of the game is to construct a dingo by earning points for correctly typed words and phrases.

iMendi is a nice little site for practicing vocabulary in the languages you're trying to learn. iMendi offers support for nine languages. You can now practice vocabulary in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Russian, Arabic, and Czech. To use iMendi just select the language you speak and select the language you want to learn. iMendi then gives you the choice of choosing a lesson (level 1, level 2, etc) or trying a randomly chosen lesson. The "lessons" are really just simple vocabulary matching exercises with a score and the correct answers revealed at the end.

Hello World provides games and activities for students to develop their knowledge of foreign languages. Hello World has games and activities in nine languages including Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese. Not all of the games and activities are free, but enough of them are free to warrant listing as a good place for free learning activities.

Verbs Online provides foreign language students with a good selection of activities for practicing verb conjugations. Practice activities are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The practice activities deal with the past, present, and future tenses of regular and irregular verbs. Students can choose to do the activities in sets of ten through fifty practice items.

LangMedia, produced by Five Colleges Incorporated, provides resources for learning languages less-commonly offered by high schools and colleges in the US. Some of the languages for which LangMedia offers educational resources are Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Thai, and Urdu. For these languages LangMedia provides course outlines, practice dialogues, and lists of resources necessary for completing the requirements of each course. In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

Study Stream is a service for learning to read and speak Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Study Stream takes an interesting approach to helping people learn these languages. The centerpiece of the Study Stream system is a collection of videos and articles in the language that you're trying to learn. The videos and articles are accompanied by side-by-side translations to help you follow along. From each video or article you can select words and phrases that you want to study through the study exercises provided by Study Stream.

BBC Quick Fix offers a selection of essential phrases for forty languages. The list of phrases varies slightly for each language, but they all include greetings and other essential polite phrases like "I'm sorry I don't speak Icelandic." All lists can be printed. You can also hear all of the phrases pronounced. The pronunciations can be downloaded as MP3 files to take with you on your iPod or phone.

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