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And if you're opposed to those programs, I'd recommend giving Fluenz or Pimsleur a whirl. Languages Offered Living Language has several different types of courses. If you count them all, it offers 61 languages that English speakers can learn not counting the fictional language Dothraki. Not all of these languages come with full online courses, however. The best courses for beginners are Comprehensive, Essential, and Complete.
Each lesson takes around 30 minutes to complete, and even if you do one lesson per day, there's enough content to keep you busy for months. Some people complain that Rosetta Stone is repetitive and a little dry, but the deductive learning method it uses stands out as being much more memorable than other programs that use, say, flashcards as their primary teaching method. The interface is also gorgeous.
Rosetta Stone keeps track of your progress, scores you as you complete exercises, and repeats important ideas to keep them fresh in your mind. It incorporates reading, writing, speaking, and listening equally.
You can pay extra to add private or group e-tutoring sessions via a video call. Rosetta Stone offers language learning programs for businesses, too, such as Rosetta Stone Catalyst. These spin-off programs are extremely similar to the consumer version of the app.
The business version also comes with the ability to generate reports so that administrators can see how much progress a person or department has made with the language.
The Best Program With a Virtual Teacher Language-learning software programs are self-paced and sometimes even self-directed. Not everyone thrives in such an independent learning environment, however. If you like to have a teacher who explains the language to you, Fluenz is a wonderful option. Fluenz uses video lessons to present material and follows them with more standard interactive exercises where you practice what you learned.
When you're first starting out with a language, seeing another human being speak it, watching their facial movements and seeing their smile, can make it feel less intimidating. As Fluenz progresses, the instructor walks you through lessons in not only pronunciation and grammar, but culture, too.
If you learn best when you see a familiar face, Fluenz is a great program to pick. The company also sells an enticing Spanish immersion program , in case you needed an excuse to stay in a mansion in Mexico City for a week. The Best Language App for Brushing Up If you've studied a language before and find that most language-learning apps are too easy, try Yabla.
Imagine a streaming service that lets you easily find videos in the language you're learning, with options to show both closed captioning in the native language and English subtitles. That, in a nutshell, is Yabla.
The app incorporates exercises, too, but the videos are the hook. Many of the videos were not produced specifically for language learners: They're real video footage with native speakers using a natural pace and accent. The Best Language App for Audio Learners If you're the kind of person who can get immersed in podcasts and audiobooks, you might consider an audio-focused language learning program. Two that stand out are Pimsleur and Michel Thomas. Each is named after the person who created the learning technique used in the program.
Both were once sold as tapes, then CDs, and now in apps. Pimsleur , named for Dr. Paul Pimsleur, uses a method that focuses on the amount of time that has elapsed from when you last used a word to when you must recall it. Each lesson takes about 30 minutes, and you're supposed to do exactly one lesson per day.
In testing Living Language over the years, I've used Spanish and Japanese, and dabbled in a few other languages. To get a fresh look this time, I perused some of the Dutch course. No matter what language you choose, the exercises, interface, and user experience are nearly identical.
The material is divided by level of experience: essential, intermediate, and advanced. You can jump around at will. Flashcards Exposure to new vocabulary mostly comes through flashcards. Typically, you see a word in the language you're learning paired with an image on a card. You press a play button to hear the word spoken. Then you click to flip the card, and it reveals the English translation.
For languages with a different writing system than the Roman alphabet, you can choose to see transliterated text on the front of the flashcard beneath the native writing.
That's okay, but in the past when I tried it with Hebrew, it wasn't enough for me to feel like I was really learning and retaining anything. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend Living Language Comprehensive if you're trying to read and write a language with a writing system that's unfamiliar to you.
For that, Transparent Language Online is a better program. It teaches you the names of new letters or characters and how to pronounce them very early in the course. The flashcards in Living Language works fine if the writing system and sounds are already familiar. Then, you can speed through the deck and move onto other exercises. When you have memorized a flashcard, you mark it "mastered. It's a dry system, and not very engaging.
Exercises Living Language is modular. In addition to flashcards, it has interactive sentence building, fill-in-the-blank exercises, listening sections, games, and reading material filled with grammar lessons, cultural notes, and other content.
If you use mobile apps regularly or play video games, the design and interactivity in Living Language will seem dated. One of the exercises has you translate a sentence from English into the language you're learning by choosing words from a word bank and dragging them into place.
It looks and feels like interactivity circa the early s at best. All the exercises do.
The games are just as lackluster. In one, bubbles containing words in both English and the language you're learning appear on screen. You have to click on the words with the same meaning to pop the bubbles.
Another game is just like the card game Memory, only with vocabulary. Again, you match up words in the foreign language with words in English.
It's fantastically boring and didn't help me remember new words at all. Forums Online forums connect Living Language learners to one another. You might see discussions about grammar, idioms, or using the program.
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