Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Spanish is The Loving Tongue

~ Hola! Como se llama usted?

In my entry for July 7 (Never To Old To Live And Learn) I wrote that I had signed up for a ten week Spanish for Fun and Travel course at the WEA, an adult learning institution here in Adelaide.

I’m now two weeks into the course, and desperately trying to remember and practise everything I’m learning. The hardest part is not having anyone to talk to, or practise with. So with that in mind, I went searching for language classes online to see if I could find a site to supplement my classes.

As you might imagine there are literally hundreds if not thousands of websites that offer language courses either for free or for a fee. The best of them provide some lessons free to get you started, and a ‘premium’ service for a fee.

After conducting several hours of research and trying some of the sites, I have settled on a great online resource that is proving to be a treasure trove of help for language learners like myself.

The site is the Radio Lingua Network.

On the Radio Lingua Network you can listen to, and download audio files for at least 18 languages. These include the obvious ones like French, Spanish, Italian, and German, but also less obvious languages such as Catalan, Gaelic and Irish, Luxembourgish, Polish and Russian, Danish and Norwegian, Greek and Turkish, and others.

The downloadable resources for Spanish alone run to 80 audio lessons of between 15 and 20 minutes each. And these Coffee Break Spanish lessons are free!

If you opt to pay for the Premium lessons, here’s what you get:

  • 15-20 minute enhanced audio lesson which includes flashcards for iPhone/iPod Touch and other iPod models

  • Printable lesson guide which outlines all the words and phrases covered in the lesson, additional vocabulary and notes

  • Bonus listening material: 8-10 minutes of extra listening which helps to consolidate the language covered in the main lesson

  • All materials available via a one-click download through iTunes

  • Platinum content for level 1 and 2 which includes wordlists, review exercises and key

So why am I paying for a language class when I can listen online and download lessons for free?

Because there is nothing quite as good as being in a room filled with other students practising and using the language as it is intended to be used – in conversation between real people. I also have the benefit of getting help and feedback from my teacher, and the added ability to ask questions, clarify pronunciation, and gain confidence using my new language skills.

However, the benefits of using the audio lessons on the Radio Lingua Network are that I can have them playing on my computer (as I write this for instance), which helps reinforce what I have already learnt, and prepares me for the lessons to come.

By the way, if you are a member of Twitter, you can follow the Network and sign up for language specific ‘tweets’ every time a new lesson for your chosen language has been added to the RLN site.

I would like to point out that I am not associated with the Radio Lingua Network, either as an affiliate, subscriber to their services (although I should be), or in any other way. I just happen to think they are providing an incredibly valuable service (especially the free lessons), and think too that more people should know about and support them.

PS: The opening Spanish paragraph reads: Hello! What is your name?

1 comment:

  1. In our daily check of what people are saying about our shows I came across your blog. We're always delighted to read about how learners are using our materials and it sounds like you've combined the Coffee Break Spanish materials with a 'live class' perfectly. That way you can make progress more quickly and put it into use with your fellow learners.

    All the very best for your continued study!


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