Language learning programs offer tools from audio CDs and flashcards to smartphone apps and videos. World travelers, business people and anyone looking to learn a second language can practice at home, at work, in their cars or at the park whenever they have the time. Benefits of learning a second language include improved job opportunities and enhanced critical thinking and creativity skills. The best language-learning system for you depends on your individual learning style and commitment.
Dr. Paul Pimsleur developed a language learning methodology that uses repetition and the gradual introduction of new terms and phrases. A popular version of this system is Simon and Schuster’s Pimsleur programs offered in about 50 different languages. Buy the whole program or a few lessons at a time. Simon and Schuster also offers Pimsleur Unlimited, a desktop application that combines the traditional audio courses and cultural study with digital flashcards, interactive games and chat rooms for social interaction. Compatibility with mobile devices means you can take the program with you wherever you go.
Another program is Rosetta Stone, teaching 30 languages through interactive computer exercises. Rosetta offers programs for Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian and other non-English speakers, as well. Unlike Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone’s program does not rely on memory recall of vocabulary terms. Instead, Rosetta Stone serves learners around the world by presenting images with the spoken word or phrase and prompting them to repeat it. Learn not only to speak but to read and write in another language. Rosetta Stone offers programs for personal, business, public sector and educational audiences. The mobile apps make your learning available on your Internet-connected smartphone or tablet computer.
Rocket Languages provides lessons in many world languages as well as sign language using audio, games and a message forum for interaction with other students. Like Rosetta Stone, Rocket Languages offers Rocket Record to analyze and provide feedback on your pronunciation. Like most language programs, it also offers cultural study along with language development. You can take the course online or order the full language CD set that includes all audio, PDF and other materials but not Rocket Record or other online tools.
Living Language Platinum
Living Language Platinum uses a methodology similar to Pimsleur programs, introducing essential key phrases and gradually introducing new vocabulary. Living Language teaches students to speak, read and write in almost 30 languages using books, online courses, mobile apps, online games, flashcards and message forums. Choose to purchase the whole language program, smaller packaged on-the-go audio courses or the online course. At the time of publication, Living Language also offers free resources including PDF versions of its iKnow, eTickets and other phrase books.