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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    151

    Learning a new language?

    I was wondering if anyone could recommend a program (cds & books) for learning a new language. Right now I'm working out of an old spanish textbook, and I have the strong feeling that my speaking skills are pretty lousy. The languages I'm interested in learning are French, Spanish & Italian. I'm the most interested in Italian, but I do remember a fair bit of French & Spanish from high school, so I'm not ruling them out.

    I was also wondering, and this might be a bit of a stretch but I'll give it a try, if anyone reads the Canadian Globe & Mail and remembers an article from last year about a language teacher & learning centre. Apparently this guy teaches all the movie stars when they have to learn a new language, and he recently put out some tapes & books that were highly recommended. I cut the article out, but do you think I can find it?!

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,563
    Conversational or reading comprehension?

    For conversational I think your best bet would be a community college class (cheaper, but just as good as an university one) and then joining a conversation group (look on craigslist or the bulletin board at your local coffee shop). There is nothing like using a language with real people in a real conversation to learn the language (well, you know, short of immersion).

    For reading comprehension I recommend French for Reading and German for Reading Knowledge (sorry, I've only studied French and German for translation purposes - both of these books are worth every penny). These books and college level courses on translation helped me pass my translation exams (for history you need to pass at least two translation exams - translating several pages of academic text in your field - accurately and quickly).

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    330
    I'm teaching myself Spanish using Pimsler. It's a series of cassette or CDs that you listen and talk back to.

    I like them because they teach you phrases right away-where's the bathroom, can I have the check, ask for directions-instead of learning all the verb tenses of words you probably won't use anyway.

    I lived in the Caribbean for 8 months and conversed in, admittedly not the best, Spanish that I learned from Pimsler.

    Also, see if you can get subtitles for your tv. Back when I owned a tv I would watch a program in English with Spanish subtitles and vice versa. That helps too.

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    75
    Pimsleur is a great way to learn different languages. I was doing the French course for quite a while, but for some reason or another I stopped using it, actually thanks to you I think I'm going to start using it again. The courses are quite pricey but you can download them for free. If you send me a message to remind me, the next time I'm at my mothers house I can email you the French course and I can check and see what other language courses I have on her computer.

  6. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    151
    Thanks everyone!

    Although I know taking a university class would be the best and probably the quickest way to learn a language, the insanity of my schedule just won't allow it in the coming semester. I do a lot of walking, so I thought that something I could put on my ipod would be great and then I could work on the books when I got home. Pimsleur sounds great, and FauxChina, if you could email that to me, I'd be forever grateful! I'll pm you with my email addy.

    Putting the subtitles on tv shows is a great idea. I have the Gilmore Girls dvds, and I've watched a few episodes in Spanish, but the speed of the talking along with all the insane references make for a rather confusing show.

    Brdgt, that French book looks really good. Currently I'm working out of my mom's old translation books. She majored in languages and wanted to be a translator for the UN, and luckily kept all her old school books for reference. Actually, the copyright date is pretty old so maybe she has that one hidden somewhere. If not, I think I'll ask for it for Christmas. Thanks!

  7. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    6
    I took a French class at the local community college two summers ago. There, we used the French In Action series to learn. This series uses a workbook, audio CDs, and videos. We the visual, auditary and written forms of the language. The videos were the most helpful. It was a great way for me to learn.

    They have this series for other languages - Spanish In Action, Italian In Action etc...

    My local library carries this series and I have been able to borrow the videos and CDs (burned these) to use and study on my own. Maybe you can check you library and see if this series or a similar series is available.

    dd

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    151
    Thanks, Dillydally. I'll see if my library carries those books. Most of the language resources at our libraries are sadly outdated. My husband had to write the Language Proficiency (in english) exam in order to get his job, and the only study guide that the library carried was from 1985. And it of course had all the answers written in.

    Oh, and I love your screen-name.

  9. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    8
    I listened to both the Fodors and the Berlitz rush hour Italian cd's before I took a big trip to Italy. The Berlitz was really sweet, it presents it in a story format and does it through really annoying songs that one gets constantly stuck in one's head. However, this makes them stick. That vocab really stuck with me. The Fodor's one covered more, I think, but I had trouble remembering it.

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    29
    I use Learn Italian Now (software) from Transparent Language. They have a bunch of online resources. I think this was pretty cheap software (under $20). The class I took at the university (designed for continuing education - called "evening college") uses a book series called Italianissimo, which came with tapes too. I'm sure any college bookstore online would sell it.

    In the class we used Graded Italian Reader, which, though pricey, is great. It starts as "See dick and jane..." type of thing, and moves you through the language, getting harder & harder as you go - but it's designed for novices, so all the words are at the bottoms of each page, so you can read along without looking them up.

    It was a huge help on the last trip I took to Italy, and I still use the CDs, tapes and books to sort of bone up on things. Transparent Language sends me Word of the day emails every day too - for free. So i get a new word and a sentance every day.

    AnnS.

  11. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Central Coast of California
    Posts
    80
    I am also using the Pimsleur method to learn Spanish and love it! I chose Spanish but they offer languages I've never even heard of. There CD's are expensive but I got some from my library. Then my library told me about

    www.netlibrary.com

    and I just downloaded entire books (including Pimsleur) for free for about a month. If your local library isn't listed, just pick one and register. Enjoy!


 
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