Language Lessons

In the movie 'Better Off Dead', the thing that got Lane Meyer( John Cusack ) down the K12, ahead of the ski captain and away from the paperboy all while on one ski, was language lessons. And while Monique's( Diane Franklin ) brand of language lessons are probably worth writing about, that is not what this post is about. Instead, this post is a follow up to my post a few weeks ago called the Power of Language. ...

In my previous post I wrote about how it would be good for us to become multilingual. Being multilingual has many benefits and the only thing stopping many people ( other than lack of desire ) is a knowledge of how to start learning. So I decided to put together a list of ways I have found to study French( what I am currently learning ) and talk about how you can go about finding information on whatever interest you.

  1. Library - I am a big proponent of everyone having a library card. A ton of free reference, as well as other, reading material all indexed and catalog much better than the internet. If your library has one, check out the media section. You'll probably be able to find learn by cd or cassette tape versions of the language you are interested in. This is great for long drives. I did this when I had weekly trips between Wilmington and Louisville ( 12 hours each direction ).
  2. Podcasts - You don't need to have an IPod to listen to a podcast. Any MP3 player will do. Just google up the language you want to learn and podcast and you should be good to go. I googled up 'French Podcast' and I came across frenchpodclass.com. It is more than just someone teaching french. Each week Sebastien puts together a lesson plan based on a bi-weekly topic. Along with that he intersperses french music, movies and television so that you can learn the language from real uses of it. There are plenty of these out there for many languages so you can try a few and find one you like. By the way, if you do have an IPod and use ITunes, it is really easy to find these. All you have to do is, from the store select Podcasts. Then in Categories select Education. They should be in some of the top ones on that list but you can then select Language Courses under more education. Then it is very easy to sync your IPod as a podcast you subscribe to is updated.
  3. Learner.org - This is actually a resource for educators but as a parent and/or student you can use this as well. On this site I have found video on demand for programs that teach french, spanish and german. There is quite a lot of other stuff that you may find yourself interested in watching as well. Especially if you are as much of a nerd as me. For learning french I find an episode of 'French In Action' is very nice( of course Valerie Allain as Mireille makes it pretty easy to watch ).
  4. Foreign Service Institute - This is something very interesting I found online. The foreign service institute is trains people who go into foreign service. Since the language courses are created by the US government, they are in the public domain. With this knowledge, a group of people have put together a website trying to get as many different language programs available to people as they can. The website is www.fsi-language-courses.com and they have lots of different language options to learn. Not all languages have all the modules, but this is how the professionals learn so even partial programs are worth your time.
  5. DVDs - This isn't a huge deal but many DVDs have language tracks that you can listen to and/or subtitles in different languages. Some educational DVDs our kids have actually have slightly different content based on language chosen. So pop in your DVD and change the language options. It's time to watch Harry Potter in spanish with french subtitles!

I hope the these options give you some ideas on how to proceed in your language lessons. Unfortunately, none of them point to language lessons in the language of love that Monique and Lane get to experience in Better Off Dead. Oh well, there's plenty of research you can do on that. Enjoy.

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