Nowadays, thanks to technology advancement, we can access to learning materials all around the world, just by the Internet, especially the boom of online learning platform is one of the most beneficial advantages. We can learn everything, and one of my most favorable things is learning language online via some software. Language software are online programs that teach us another language. Some people use them to brush up on a language they already are somewhat familiar with, while others use them to learn a language from the ground up. Each of the language software companies we feature have different strengths, interfaces, and approaches to teaching. Choosing the right one depends on your personal goals. You travel, you go for business in another country or simply you relax by learning a new language, let’s this top 5 best language software below help you.
- Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is one of the most effective language learning software in the market today. It is currently being used by branches of the US military, government agencies, learning institutions and top businesses across the globe to help bridge language barriers. Rosetta Stone has 30 language courses which includes French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Rosetta Stone utilizes technology to complement its pattern-based learning method to enhance the learning process. Learning is divided into 5 levels which determine the content of each package. This includes CDs, voice recognition software, online coaches, mobile apps that provides students a wider choice of media to learn from. The complete course is available on CD but is also available as a digital download. It comes with a headset, microphone and voice recognition software that adds that extra touch to help polish your speech. Live Conversation sessions with native speakers help you refine your conversation skills.
The language software is available online through a subscription with its TOTALe offer. It includes interactive software similar to those found in CDs. Online-only features include group/ solo games and the ability to learn with others. It is supported in major computer operating formats (Windows, Mac) and comes with a free App (iPhone, Android) for online subscribers.
- Courses are divided in to 5 levels
- Upto Level 3 only available for Arabic, Dutch, Filipino, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portugese, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese)
- Courses available for Personal, Business, Public Sector, Education, Home schooling
- Online support/ coaches
- CD, DVD
- Mobile App
- Voice Recognition (Mic and headset)
Rosetta Stone’s language learning course mainly focuses on the connection between images and language. Unlike other language learning courses, Rosetta Stone is ideal for entry level or people who don’t have prior experience with the language. Learning is achieved through a steady stream of images, games and flashcards
Rosetta Stone’s methodology allows you to discover patterns. It starts by building a simple vocabulary that progress into phrases. The course feels light and easy with learning heavily reinforced by images. But it is highly structured and is designed to teach though a pattern of learning. There are five levels of learning. Level 1 contains basic conversational skills such as greetings and how to go around a new city. Your communication skills steadily progress until you reach Level 5 which by then has given you enough skills to reach native-speaker level and even live comfortably abroad.
Some may say that Rosetta Stone is pricier compared to other products. But some packages allow the program to be installed on two computers and access to 5 users. Rosetta Stone offers users a 30-day no-risk money back guarantee included with their CD ROM and Version 4 download products. This gives you a great overview of what the learning programs are all about and determine if this would work for you.
- $179 for level 1 and $299 for the complete set (level 1 to 5)
- TOTALe Online 36-month subscription ($499), 12-month subscription ($299), 6 month subscription ($239).
For me, Rosetta Stone is a language course that continues to deliver a simple yet effective way of teaching foreign languages for those with little or no prior experience. It is widely used by government agencies, educational institutions and large corporations for training. The method uses great use of images and interactive learning exercises that is so effective that could even be used to teach children. There’s a lot of drill-and-kill style teaching, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for new learners. Rosetta Stone exposes you to the same new words over and over again. Sometimes you’re asked to simply listen to them, sometimes to say them, sometimes to write them.
- Pimsleur – 20% Off Now
Another language software is Pimsleur developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a recognized expert in the field of linguistics and founding member of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). With 50 years of experience and 50 languages to teach, Pimsleur is one of the best language software in the market today.
This language software offers more than 50 languages which utilizes the “Pimsleur” way. They claim that “30 minutes a day” is all it takes to learn a new language. The program is primarily audio-based and users are advised to listen to these daily lessons which make up a complete course. There are 30 daily lessons per level and up to 5 levels in a complete course.
Pimsleur is based on four key principles developed by Dr. Pimsleur. It focuses on organic learning and how children acquire their communication skills. He developed a method of organizing materials of a language so it can be taught as a steady stream of speech to enter the student’s consciousness and absorbed by the brain.
Graduated Interval Recall – Build your memory
One of the most important aspects of learning a new language is to build your vocabulary. This is done by constantly memorizing new words in order to create phrases or sentences. Other languages such as Rosetta or Fluenz achieve this by correlating pictures with words but Pimsleur does this through a series of audio tracks.
New words are introduced gradually with increasing “intervals” to help them remember words longer that the previous time. This is done through a pre-determined interval to move these words from your short-term to permanent memory.
Principle of Anticipation – automatic brain response
Communication is enabled through automatic responses in the brain. Pimsleur tries to build these reactions making responses automatic. New brain connections are made through exercises. Learning is made through understanding, pausing for a response and reinforcing correct responses. This is done repeatedly until correct responses are given automatically.
Core Vocabulary – focused learning, limits on how much you learn at a given time
Pimsleur builds your vocabulary by introducing a set number of words within a pre-determined time. This steady stream of words is stored and reinforced to build a student’s core vocabulary. But words are carefully chosen, those which are determined to be most useful for communicating effectively. It does not try to force a huge number of words which only serves to frustrate a student.
Pimsleur does not put emphasis on the amount of time needed to learn a course. It is designed to work at a pace that a student is most comfortable with. This they believe gives the brain the time it needs to digest the information and create a working vocabulary.
Organic Learning – language is learned in a highly personalized manner rather through a structured method.
Pimsleur brings about teaching by presenting each lesson in a conversational manner. It does not provide a set path for learning. Instead it allows the student to formulate their own strategy based on how they interact in the conversation. Conversations are designed to help the student learn proper pronunciation and formulate responses automatically.
Pimsleur courses were traditionally based on lessons divided in 150 30-minute tracks. It was audio based, instructing students to take 150 30-min audio lessons daily. The Software comes with additional interactive tools to enhance the learning including more visual tools, review tools, access to Pimsleur Ambassador led live sessions, and cultural pointers. The complete course (Levels 1 to 5) in digital format (MP3) goes for $550, CDs at $1,190 and software for $450. We just can’t understand why packages in CD and MP3 format are priced so much higher compare to their software which was richer in terms of content. At $550 and $1,190, the MP3 and CD packages were too pricey. Their software package at $450 was also more expensive compared to more established language courses.
For me, if a language software like Rosetta Stone can’t satisfy you, let’s move to Pimsleur, an amazing way to start learning a new language. It is a nice way for students to grab their first bite.
- Speed Learning Languages
The Speed Learning Languages course is also a great choice of language software developed by the U.S. government to find the optimum method of teaching diplomats, government officials, and a foreign language.
The content is just fantastically in depth. This program contains a vast amount of language information, which the user can eventually learn to apply to pretty much any situation, giving them confidence when they come to use their new skills in a more real world setting. While this might be considered a negative aspect to the program (and if it were handled by an inferior company then it might be), having so much available information really helps you to feel as though you are in good hands.
There are over 90 hours of tuition in the form of audio lessons, with accompanying text for each section. There are four levels from beginner to advanced levels, with a very noticeable progression through them all. When they use the term “beginner”, however, this does not mean that they will go easy on you. As I will discuss a little further on, this is a very intense course. It can be a little daunting as a complete novice to a language, but however swamped you might feel with it, the thing to keep in mind is that you are working towards a goal that most language courses are not equipped to give you: fluency.
You can use this product on the go, and the audio files are transferrable to an mp3 player or electronic equivalent, but there is considerable use made of the text, so it’s perhaps not the best idea if you were thinking of learning while you travel. Being able to use these sorts of programs without a computer is more useful than it sounds, as I can’t recall how many times I have sat at my computer desk only to be distracted by something else I need to do. You need to give these lessons, and therefore the language you are learning, the time and respect that they deserve, or you will soon find yourself out of your depth.
In a slightly unrelated note, but one that could affect you purchasing this course, is that the technical support is flawless. I’ve rarely heard of people having problems with the software but on the few occasions that I have, they have had discs replaced easily. I think this is an excellent sign of it being a high quality product.
The lessons use a variety of audio drills – repetition, working through dialogue, etc – that are a little difficult to describe as they are like no other lesson plan I’ve ever come across. There doesn’t seem to be a method to the organization of the lessons, moving from one exercise that repeats words, to another that substitutes words, to another that corrects pronunciation. The pace is quick, though comprehensive, and while it may seem confusing or even pointless at some points, in actual fact, of course there is a great deal of organization here, and everything has been deliberately constructed to provide you with as efficient learning as possible.
The key to working your way through the exercises is gaining the confidence and ability to answer quickly, without using the pause button. This way you can begin to construct your own sentences and start to fully understand the language.
When engaging with this course, it is vitally important to keep in mind that however boring and repetitive it may seem, it isn’t some cheap course that has been shoddily put together. The more you stick rigidly to the program, the more effective it will be for you. The more time you spend working on it, the better you will get, and that’s honestly not something that can be said for all the courses out there. You find yourself picking up the language and phrases a lot quicker than with most other courses, so for me, that’s enough. I don’t need to know exactly how it works, it just works.
The great thing about this sort of course, and it does apply to this sort of course in general, is that you can progress at your own time and pace. This language software also lets you do that, but you should know that progress will happen exponentially slower, the longer you take to do the course. The various pieces of this intensive program are designed to fit together incredibly well, and taking your time with it, or choosing which bits to learn and which bits to leave, just doesn’t work quite as well as if you follow the set design for the course.
What is truly amazing here, and what I might love most about this course, is the fact that it is still so reasonably priced. Yes, it will still cost you a few hundred dollars, but it is nowhere near as ridiculously expensive as Rosetta Stone or Fluenz. For this market, this price tag still settles somewhere slightly above average, and when you consider all the benefits to this package, it is worth it ten times over. The money you are paying gets you government standard technology, not to mention the in-depth language science behind the methods.
For me, this is a fast-paced and highly effective learning tool for language. You will get frustrated, you will get a little confused, but every single person that I know that has finished one of these courses has come away with an excellent knowledge of the language that they have chosen to study. If this method really isn’t for you, if you know yourself to be more of a person who digests information slowly, then there are other excellent courses available, like Pimsleur.
Another choice of language software is Fluenz, an excellent package for those who are looking for something a little more serious than some of what is available at the moment as one of the most comprehensive tools for learning a foreign language on the market today.
There are some fantastically useful functions, like that of the subtitles. You will ordinarily listen three times to a sentence, with the option of subtitles, which really helps to get the language into your head. It is always much more useful to learn in a variety of ways, and even something so simple as having the words to read on screen while you associate them with an image and are speaking them yourself is the sort of thing that gives this course an edge.
The software recognizes voices very well and the playback function is also incredibly helpful in getting you to see exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie. To hear your own voice compared to that of the fluent speaker really highlights exactly where you’re going wrong. However, you will need to adjust the microphone to your computer, and if you’re using Windows then you will certainly have a little difficulty installing it. However, there are steps on Fluenz’s website as to how to deal with these problems.
Absolutely suitable for both beginners and those looking to brush up on their language skills, this language software takes a very different approach to a lot of language courses. Instead of simply working on vocabulary lists, or using picture association techniques, the emphasis is very clearly on a more cohesive approach. Choosing not to focus on these tried and tested means of language learning, Fluenz tries to give the learner the intellectual tools that they need in order to construct and deconstruct sentences, and therefore the language, themselves.
The variety of the exercises is refreshing, and gives the learner a welcome break from the tired old activities that they might have worked through in school. The multimedia aspect of this course gives the learner more control over how they learn to focus on those skills. Still, the videos are some of the clearest I’ve used, and most people that I know that have used this program either love the teacher (Sonia Gil) or hate her, with the emphasis being on the former. This sort of direct instructional tuition combined with more practical games than you might find elsewhere, for example the game where you try to type what you hear, is by far the most focused way to learn, instead of relying on wacky cartoons or flashy games that don’t really teach you anything.
For me, though this is a very stylish looking program, and one of the few products of this sort clearly geared up for more use on a Mac than a PC, Fluenz is a really great way to begin learning a language, which is perfect for beginners.
If you are looking for a free language software, it is big pity if you ignore Duolingo, a free language-learning program to rival expensive paid programs. The content is so good that Duolingo ranks among the best language software for learning a language overall, even when measured against paid programs.
Duolingo offers 20 language programs that are fully finished and mature, which is impressive for a completely free service. It has several more language programs in beta and other stages of development. If you’re looking to pick up a new language that is in the catalog, I highly recommend using Duolingo and its apps a few minutes every day. It’s great on its own or in conjunction with a class or another paid program.
Duolingo offers a wide array of language-learning courses for people with different native languages. Speakers of, say, French, have a different set of options than people who are native Spanish speakers. For the purpose of this review, I summarize the language options for English speakers only, noting their state of completion.
Duolingo has 20 fully developed courses: Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Welsh. These programs are considered very stable.
In addition to these languages, Duolingo has several programs that are in beta or “hatching.” Hatching means they are still being developed, and you can see their percent toward completion when you visit the site. As of this writing, the programs in beta are Hungarian and Swahili. The programs that are hatching for the web app are Czech, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, and the fictional language Klingon.
Whether you use it on its own or as a supplement to some other program or class, Duolingo is an essential addition to your tools for learning a language. This free program has tremendous features that work surprisingly well at getting you to regularly practice a language. And because it exposes you to interesting content and people, using it is actually fun. Among free language-learning tools, Duolingo is our top pick. Even if you’re already using another language-learning software program or taking a language class, you can always pair it with this free online program to strengthen your skills.
These above are top 6 most popular language software that you should consider and start your language learning. Each program will possess some pros and cons, choosing what is the best choice will depend on your own purposes and even budget.