Foreign Language Learning Software

There are many ways to learn language & using foreign language learning software is just one. The best way for you can depend on many things including where you live, how much (if anything) you want to spend and how quickly you wish to learn. Moving Overseas Guide trys to give you unbiased information & advice on the different methods & where appropriate give you links to where you can find foreign language learning software, books, online courses & language exchange programs. Some of these are even free !

A combination of the following learning methods is likely suit you best. Click on the links below or Page Down to jump to that section:

Teach yourself

There are many different courses designed for self-study. These include textbooks, with or without cassettes or CDs, cassettes alone, videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs. Each type of course has its strengths and weaknesses which are discussed below.

Foreign Language Learning Software
This type of course provides pictures, sound & the written word. Usually more fun they can help make a language easier to learn. Various language courses are available on CD-ROMs and DVDs. Each is different but generally includes dialogues, audio, exercises and tests. Some include phrasebooks, dictionaries, videos, games and provide online and/or telephone support.

Foreign language learning software courses include:

  • Eurotalk interactive's foreign language learning software comprises Talk Now for beginners, World Talk for intermediate & Advanced Language for the advanced student. We bought our copy of Learn Turkish (Talk Now series) from Dream Direct who currently offer a discount & a free microphone. The impressive DVD Rom uses games & quizzes to help you absorb words without realising your are learning them.
  • Rosetta Stone -- foreign language learning software courses in 26 different languages from Arabic to Welsh. We have bought the Turkish course. The courses are entirely in the language you're learning, are an effective and fun way to study & in my opinion THE BEST WAY to learn a language. The free online demo offers an excellent insight into this course. If you're serious about learning a language, use this foreign language learning software. You will not regret it !
  • TeachMe! foreign language learning software series -- are available for most of the major and minor languages of Europe. These courses consist of a CD-ROM, a booklet of short stories and an audio CD. The CD-ROM features vocabulary and grammar lessons, a talking dictionary, short stories and an autolearn facility.

If you want to learn how to read and write a language and are not bothered about speaking it, then all you need is a good textbook, a grammar and a dictionary.

Examples of this type of textbook include Peter Jones' excellent Learn Ancient Greek, and Learn Russian by Ian Press.

Textbooks with cassettes or CDs
This type of course is probably the most popular and is designed to give you an all round knowledge of a language. Some focus more on colloquial language while others concentrate more on reading and writing. Most are intended for complete beginners or people with only minimal knowledge of the language. Intermediate and advanced level courses are available for some of the more popular languages, such as French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Examples of this type of course include the Teach Yourself series and the Routledge Colloquials series. The Teach Yourself courses tend to focus on fairly formal language and are available for a wide range of languages, while the Colloquials include more recorded material and focus more on informal spoken language.

All audio courses
As an alternative to foreign language learning software, this type of course usually consists solely of cassettes or CDs, though some include a limited amount of printed material. All dialogues, exercises, instructions and explanations are recorded and the focus of these courses is teaching you to understand and speak the language.

Pimsleur language courses are the best known audio courses. They are very good at teaching you authentic pronunciation and a manageable amount of vocabulary. They give you a good feel for the language you're learning. The Level 1 courses are suitable for complete beginners. More advanced courses are also available for some languages.

Before our trip to Greece, Lorraine & I used a free greek language course provided by Kypros-Net in collaboration with the CyBC to teach the modern Greek language online. A great way to get a taster for a language before going to a new country & can be accessed instantly from their website.

Audio magazines
Once you have got to grips with the basics of a language, a way to improve your reading comprehension and increase your vocabulary is to subscribe to one of the audio magazines produced by Champs-Elysées. These montly publications available in French, German, Italian and Spanish, consist of an hour-long programme on CD or cassette covering a wide range of topics, such as politics, current affairs, sports, travel, film, and literature. The accompanying magazine includes a full transcript of the programme plus vocabulary and notes. Optional study supplements are also available.

Classroom Learning  -- the traditional method.

The main advantage of classroom learning over foreign language learning software is that you'll have a teacher or tutor to provide you with instruction, support and feedback and with whom to practice your language. You will study with others who are at similar level so you can compare notes with them and help each other. Formal courses help you to structure your studies. I (Pete) am learning Turkish at a local schools evening class & find it very useful.

    Studying in your country
    If you can find a course in the language(s) you want to learn in your country this is quite a good way to study. A variety of courses are usually available, including part-time and full-time courses, short intensive courses and courses leading to qualifications. The first place to look is your local education authority.

    Studying abroad
    One option is to study a language in a country where it's spoken. There are numerous schools teaching English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, but far fewer teaching other languages. The main advantage of studying abroad is that you are totally immersed in the language, not just in class, but the rest of the time as well. As a result, you should make fairly rapid progress. Another benefit of studying abroad is that you get to try the local cusine, meet the locals and sample the culture.

    The main disadvantage of studying abroad is the cost, not just of your course, but also of your accommodation, food and travel. This can work out considerably more than you'd spend studying a language in your own country.

    Online courses
    If you cannot find a suitable taught course in your area and are unable to spare the time to study abroad, you could consider online courses. There are plenty to choose from in a wide range of languages. Many are free but some you have to pay for. Some of the paid ones provide support from tutors via email, chat programs, video conferencing, telephone or even face to face. Kwintessential, one such supplier of Online courses say "Online language lessons are revolutionising the language learning industry as e-learners continue to give positive feedback. Online language tuition is designed to offer the quality and attention of a face-to-face private language lessons yet offers learners the opportunity to do so in their own time."

Classroom learning is not for everyone however - some people don't feel comfortable in a classroom environment and prefer to study at their own pace and when it suits them. If this is the case with you, why not try using foreign language learning software ?

Language exchange

A good way to practice and improve your L2 is to find a language exchange partner. This is someone who speaks your L2 and wants to learn your L1. Language exchange works best when both partners have roughly an intermediate level in their L2.

Language exchange is also a great way to meet people and make new friends. Click on the links below to help you find a language echange partner.

Polyglot - find a language exchange partner to practise what you've learned using foreign language learning software

My Language Exchange - A Language exchange community

Friends Abroad - helps people interested in learning languages get in touch with others with similar interests all over the world:

Language Buddy - helps you find language exchange partners or penpals to enhance the use of your foreign language learning software

Learn by osmosis  - become immersed in the language.

Some people pick up foreign languages without studying or using foreign language learning software, by being immersed in an environment where nobody speaks your 1st language. This is a bit like being thrown in at the deep end. Unless you also use other methods as described above, you may well sink instead of swimming !

Other Useful Resources
(These will be added to as we find more, so subscribe to our Newsletter or to our RSS feed to keep updated on additions)
Turkish Dictionary

Manisa Turkish -- This free site provides all you need to know about learning to speak Turkish. An ideal resource to supplement whatever other method you are using to learn Turkish. Explore it thoroughly - you will not be disappointed !

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