Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Learning languages on the Web

an article by Seth Kershner (public services librarian at Northwestern Connecticut Community College) published in College & Research Libraries News Volume 74 Number 2 (February 2013)

To anyone who has ever used or heard about Rosetta Stone or Mocha Languages, it is clear how advances in technology have revolutionised language learning. The days of poring over conjugation tables and sifting through flashcards are over. It is now possible for the driven student to chat with native speakers via Skype, or submit their pronunciation of Arabic to collective critique on You-Tube; in this way one can become proficient or even fluent in the target language — the language one is learning to speak — without ever setting foot in the country where that language is spoken.

Those who fork over the money for the more sophisticated, fee-based learning tools see them as quite affordable compared to the high cost of college and university language courses. But more affordable still are the free, but lesser known, learning tools found on the Web. The following pages contain a selective list of freely available Internet resources for students, scholars, and the general public.

Seth’s list (which may not be comprehensive but looks to me to cover most areas) covers:

Getting started
  • BBC Languages
  • Deutsche Welle, Learn German
  • Italica: Corso di lingua italiana
  • Miraflores
  • Russia Today, Learn Russian
Reference tools
  • Like a Spaniard
  • Slangopedia
  • Thesuri
  • UCLA Language Materials Project, Language Profiles
Broadcasts and podcasts
  • Amnistía International, Informative Semanal en audio
  • News in Slow Spanish
  • RFI, Learn French Online
TV as teacher
  • UngusTV
  • WebTV
Less commonly taught languages (LCTLs)
  • Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
  • Center for Language Technology and Instructional Enrichment (CeLTIE), Recorded Materials Archive
  • FSI Language Courses
Full details here (excellent descriptions)

© 2013 Seth Kershner

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