Education: Parlez for Less
Oct. 17, 2005 issue - Want to learn a foreign language but don't have the
time or cash to spend on weekly courses? The right resources can make it
easy and affordable to apprendre le francais or Deutsch zu lernen.
Practice makes perfectí¬but you need someone to practice with. Find a
language study partner by visiting an exchange site like
mylanguageexchange.com. Users can create a free profile asking members
from more than 100 countries to contact them and become e-mail, VoIP or
online chat buddies.
Turn travel time into study time by downloading language audiobooks onto
your portable MP3 player. iTunes users can download popular tapes such as
"In Flight Spanish" ($8.95; itunes.com).
Those who survived high-school language classes but still dream of being
fluent can tune in to foreign-language news shows or radio programs. For
example, you can listen to world news in French by logging on to Radio
France Internationale (rfi.fr). "Listening is very important to acquire
oral competence," says Dr. Eva Nunez-Mendez, assistant professor of
Spanish linguistics at Portland State University. "Learners first
understand better than they can speak." And to really incorporate the
language into your daily routine, try this: watch your favorite DVDs in
another language with English subtitles. Knowing the movie makes it easier
to not miss the punch lines.