Who says it’s difficult to learn a new language? You may be surprised to know that almost everyone says it. (Or maybe you already knew that from experience.) Whether it’s to expand your horizons and visit a foreign land or you just need to get through second year Spanish, acquiring a new language can be difficult yet fulfilling at the same time. It couldn’t be easier now to get started on the right track with the tools available online. Yeah I know you’ve heard all of this before but with a few fancy mouse clicks and a little dedication you could be bilingual in no time. Check out some of these resources.
Join the community of avid language learners from around the world. Livemocha is a social learning site in which the user completes both written and speaking lessons and is then graded and critiqued by native speakers. Sign up for free and get started right away. With over 8.5 million users and growing, Livemocha just might be the new Rosetta Stone. You can use the site for free but there are also some pay services such as private teachers and extra courses but hey, you already speak English right? Why not sign up and get paid to help others learn a language that you’ve spoken your entire life? Seems like a no brainer. Just remember, give as much help as you receive on the site. I mean, we’re all friends here on the internet. Right?
Instant Messenging Software
With all of the friends you’ve made online, keep in touch and have a genuine conversation with them. This is the only real way to learn the language. Immerse yourself in it. Have real conversations about things that you would talk about with your friends, not those lame sentences and scenarios you read in your high school French book. Now, if you haven’t used Skype yet, you should join us in the year 2011 and go download it. With text chat, voice calling, and video calling to anyone with a Skype account around the world, it’s almost like having a private tutor at all times. We English natives are lucky in that millions of people from all over the globe are itching to learn our language. There is no shortage of people willing to share their language and culture with you in exchange for a real English conversation that they can’t find in books. Tap into some of the other messenger services like Yahoo!, MSN, and AIM as well. Get out there and be social!
Turn those subtitles on!
Before you hit play on the complete first season of Glee on DVD, slide over to the setup menu and check for subtitles or audio in other languages. Most discs released in the United States have at least Spanish subtitles. If this is your language of choice, you’re in luck. If it’s not, then dry those tears now because many people will do the translations and post the subtitles online. American movies are watched worldwide and so you can always find subtitles for the most popular movies in many languages. Windows Media Player and VLC media player both have the option of displaying them, once downloaded, while you watch the DVD on your computer. Although this learning method alone won’t prepare you to translate for the United Nations, it will help you to associate the written words with the spoken words. It couldn’t be any more free and easy. Or could it?
YouTube is still free to use (hopefully it stays that was) and there are thousands of videos posted daily. Try typing “Learn Spanish” in the search bar and feast your eyes on the results. Try any language you want and you’ll see pages of videos. Watch them. Learn from them. Enjoy them!
It’s safe to say that the companies selling expensive language software are in trouble. There are too many free services and resources online to consider using before buying expensive online courses. I learned Portuguese in 1 year by using these tools and was able to spend a month in Brazil during Carnaval last February. It may not work for everyone but why not give it a shot. It’s all free to use so consider sending some of that money you saved my way. Or keep it and go rent a foreign film with English subtitles. Ready! Set! GO!