General Question

citizenearth's avatar

What are the best language learning programs in the market currently?

Asked by citizenearth (781points) February 28th, 2012

I am interested in learning foreign languages and currently learning Italian, Thai and Japanese. So any great language learning program out there that is worth the money and effort to be multilingual?

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8 Answers

whitecarnations's avatar

Rosetta Stone. It works the portion of your brain that functions language so well.

lemming's avatar

I dissagree with @whitecarnations, I read a very long review against Rosetta Stone. But I’m sure it works for some people.

I’m not a language person but I’m learning French and I find that is really excellent and the videos are actually interesting – check it out! (They only do european languages and recently added chinese, so I think it may only help you with your Italian)

To be miltilingual? There is a book called language hacking guide by Benny Lewis…he claims to be able to become fluent in a language in three months by total immersion. I didn’t buy it because it was really dear, but I got some good tips off his website.

Gemma_rose's avatar

Best way to learn is immersion—living and working in the country, and forcing yourself to speak nothing but that language. You pick it up much more rapidly than you otherwise would, you learn nuance, you pick up idioms and slang that you otherwise wouldn’t, and you learn to stay away from saying things in ways that, while technically correct, sound odd to a native listener. If that’s not a practical option for you, I would look at Rosetta Stone. All my friends who’ve used it, found it very helpful.

AshlynM's avatar

Maybe watch a few movies in the language you’re learning.

KoleraHeliko's avatar

I highly recommend courses by Michel Thomas, I second Yabla, I give a tentative ‘eh’ to rosetta stone. Immersion is key, but you don’t need to be in the country to get immersion.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Is there a reason Rosetta Stone is getting the cold shoulder here? I’m following this question because I’ve wanted to pick up Rosetta Stone for a while, and I’m curious to hear others’ experiences.

KoleraHeliko's avatar

@dappled_leaves It’s just..odd. It tries to give an extremely simplistic view of a language. Teaching entirely through pictures in a target language is fine. But the exact same level of knowledge can be gained in a fraction of the time by simply stating “This inflection means this.”. I would use it in accessory to something else, but it’s certainly not worth anywhere near the price of rosetta stone, just to have a picture-based program for that purpose.

2davidc8's avatar

In addition to the excellent suggestions above (Rosetta Stone, Yabla, etc.), if you live in one of the larger metro areas, your cable TV operator may offer special packages of foreign language channels. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, you can get channels in Chinese, Italian, Russian, Greek, Hindu, German, Tagalog, and other languages. Of course, you need to know some of the language in order to start making sense of what’s being said, but the TV is good for supplementing your study and for a kind of pseudo-“immersion”. I find the news programs to be especially good because they are likely to be talking about current news stories that you already know something about. That helps you fill in the gaps.

@AshlynM‘s suggestion of movies is also excellent because they usually have subtitles, which can help you along, provided you don’t depend on them too much.

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