"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" - St Ambrose; Perhaps the best application of this saying would be in the field of language learning. When you go to a country either on travel, to stay, or on business, it makes perfect sense to learn the language of that place or country. Some might ask, "What is the use, I'm only going to stay there for a month, and will never go back!" Well you may or may not go back, but at least the one month that you stay there should be the best one month that you have had. To ensure that, the first step is to make sure you learn the language. As for students who go abroad to study or work, learning the language is a must. They are going to be living there for quite some time. Apart from just travel, however, learning a foreign language has got many advantages: you never know when it might come in useful, and people are going to look at you with respect if you know multiple languages, and you could even teach others if you are good enough and earn some money as well. All advantages aside, learning a new language is a good thing to do, and everyone should make it a point to learn at least one more language apart from their mother tongue.
Once you've decided you want to learn a new language, how do you go about it? Many places now have language-teaching centers, and for a nominal fee, you can join them. Beware, however, of bogus institutes, as many of these are only interested in the money and not the teaching. They either do not have qualified faculty or the necessary equipment and will most likely ditch you once the money has been paid. The best way to select a good language-learning institute is to talk to people who have already been there. Never judge and decide based on advertisements, as they will be misleading at most times. This is one way of learning a new language. There are many other ways too, for instance you could learn from a friend, a family member, or someone you know. Alternatively, you could learn on your own from a book. Whatever the source, it's the learning that counts, and it is essential that you choose the most correct and reliable source.
There is another, much easier, and just as reliable way of learning a new language. That is by using language learning software. Language learning software is one of the most effective ways to learn a language, as it teaches with the help of videos, audio clips, and pictures, thus creating the perfect ambiance to learn in. The best part, you can do all this right from the comfort of your home by just spending a little time each day in front of the computer for a few weeks. While there remains no actual substitute for live teaching, software has come very close to achieving it. Choosing the software that works best for you is a task that needs to be looked into carefully. Generally, there are specific software for individual languages, and it would be best if you did a little searching on the internet to find out which software is the best for you. By reading user reviews on places other than the official site you can gauge a specific product or by inquiring with people who have actually used that software before.
Once you've decided you want to learn the language using language learning software, the next step is to search the internet for a list of the best software available. It is recommended to refer to a trusted review site, as more than a few websites may be biased and may not provide accurate information.
Now, let's look into the things that make up great language learning software:
First, you should look into the company's history and how long it has been around. This is because a company that has been around for quite some time is more likely to cater to your needs in an efficient manner because it has the necessary experience in dealing with individual requirements. Though the new start-up in your neighborhood may boast of big names on the faculty, nothing beats actual, hands-on experience when it comes to teaching a language. The main reason behind looking for an experienced company is because different people have different learning requirements. The longer you are in the business, the better equipped you are to understand this fact.
Second, look for the diversity in courses offered by the company. If a company has been around for about 20 years and offers just one language course, and if that is the language that you want to learn, then be sure to check it out, as they are probably the best in the business at what they do. It is not necessarily true that a company that offers scores of languages is a good one. Most new companies do that so they can attract more customers and extract more money from them. So this is a factor too while choosing the best language learning software for yourself.
Third, and one of the most important things, is to look at the technology used by the software in particular, and the company in general. Modern language learning software features speech recognition, pronunciation stress, and vocabulary checking. Checking out the technology is essential because when you pay for it, you expect the best. And speech recognition records your speech, and checks it for correct pronunciation, and tells you if there are any mistakes, and how to correct them. Such features are common place nowadays and thus should be included in your language learning software.
Fourth, the software should have a trustworthy and reliable customer support backup. Preferably, the company should have an employee from each nationality, who can speak the native language and assist you in case of any difficulty. It would be of no use if a German wants to learn English and in the event of trouble, calls up the customer service only to discover that they speak only English. Thus having a support team is a must for any language learning software, and this will come in handy at times.
Fifth, look for the user interface. Software thrives on how easy it is to be used and a good interface is what you should be looking for. Software that has loads of features but does not know how to present them is of no use. The first impression that you will get on the software will depend on the user interface, and the easier and more comprehensive it is, the greater the chance of you using it successfully is. Thus the user interface is an important factor. Check for screen-shots in review websites to see if the interface is appealing to you. Also be sure to read the reviews about the interface, and if there’s a demo version of the software available, then try it out, and see for yourself.
We have thus seen at the essential things to be looked into while choosing language learning software, so keep in mind these tips and march your way into learning a new language! Good luck!
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.