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Language Learning Resources

Effective Living > Communications

Summary. The Language Learning Resource Group provides information about: software, services, media, technologies, organizations, tools, equipment, and educational resources for language learning. Because Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) can expedite the process of Language Acquisition, many of the tools here are computer based. While our emphasis is on free and open-source public resources, we also have information about resources that are commercially available for sale.

Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). “Computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is an approach to language teaching and learning in which computer technology is used as an aid to the presentation, reinforcement and assessment of material to be learned, usually including a substantial interactive element.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Language Acquisition. “Language acquisition is the process by which the language capability develops in a human. First language acquisition concerns the development of language in children, while second language acquisition focuses on language development in adults as well. Historically, theories and theorists may have emphasized either nature or nurture (see Nature versus nurture) as the most important explanatory factor for acquisition. Most researchers, however, acknowledge the importance of both biology and environment. One hotly debated issue is whether the biological contribution includes language-specific capacities, often described as Universal Grammar. For fifty years linguists Noam Chomsky and the late Eric Lenneberg argued for the hypothesis that children have innate, language-specific abilities that facilitate and constrain language learning.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Benefits. There are many benefits of language learning:

  • The learning of other languages and cultures helps create opportunities for dialog and unity among people.
  • Language provides a context, framework, and system for understanding the world around us. Understanding the methodology of various language systems can help expand a person’s mental acuity and understanding of the world around them.
  • Knowledge of languages can open up a door of understanding. For example, it is common for the names of places to have meanings. The Chinese city of Shanghai (上海) combines the chinese characters for on or above (上) and sea (海). Having an understanding of languages can help a person correctly pronounce the names of people and places.

Online Language Learning. Here are some online learning resources.

Organizations. Here are some organizations and companies that offer language learning resources. Where provided, descriptive quotes are from the organization’s website.

  • Berlitz – “With 128 years of experience, more than 450 centers in over 60 countries, and millions of satisfied graduates, Berlitz is the only source you need for effective language instruction, whether for business or personal enrichment.” [ Berlitz.us ]
  • CALICO – Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium – “CALICO, the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium is a professional organization that serves a membership involved in both education and technology. CALICO has an emphasis on language teaching and learning but reaches out to all areas that employ the languages of the world to instruct and to learn. CALICO is a recognized international clearinghouse and leader in computer assisted learning and instruction. It is a premier global association dedicated to computer-assisted language learning (CALL).” [ Main Site | About ]
  • CaminoBarcelona.com – “Are you looking for a Spanish language school in Barcelona? Would you prefer to learn Spanish at a school located in the very centre of Barcelona, on a high quality Spanish course, with fully qualified native teachers and small class sizes? If so, then Camino Barcelona Spanish language school is the perfect choice for you!”
  • EuroCALL – “The European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning (EUROCALL) is an association of language teaching professionals from Europe and world-wide.”
  • Galapagos Spanish School – “The GALAPAGOS SPANISH SCHOOL is known throughout the city as a serious and professional school. We have fifteen years of experience in teaching Spanish as a second language. People of all ages and nationalities who want to learn Spanish are welcome, whether it be for academic, business, job or tourist reasons.”
  • Language Learning Technology – “Language Learning & Technology is a refereed journal which began publication in July 1997. The journal seeks to disseminate research to foreign and second language educators in the US and around the world on issues related to technology and language education.”
  • Language-Learning.net – “With over 10,000 language schools teaching 88 languages in 115 countries, www.language-learning.net is the largest online directory of language courses and language schools worldwide.”
  • MastersinTESOL.net is a US Based organization which features a wealth of TESOL/ESL degree information for Graduate level students. This comprehensive site covers all aspects of what you want to know about getting your master’s in TESOL/ESL, including schools, careers, TESOL programs in each state, salaries and more.
  • Pimsleur Direct – “The Pimsleur System is built around our natural language learning capabilities. When we were children, we seemed to absorb language; as we age, that learning process tends to becomes more difficult. Dr. Pimsleur studied the way that language skills are developed as we grow up and applied those techniques to his revolutionary system. What is the secret of the Pimsleur programs that makes this happen? Pimsleur takes advantage of the way the human brain acquires language as speech and creates its methodology around the single fact that there is a central way everyone acquires the ability to communicate in any language.”
  • Rosetta Stone – “We introduced our first Rosetta Stone language-learning program in 1993. Today, Fairfield Language Technologies, headquartered in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is the world’s leading language software company, with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. We offer programs in 30 different languages spoken by over 90% of the world’s population. The diversity of our offerings and the effectiveness of our method have made Rosetta Stone the program of choice for corporations, government agencies, and educational and community organizations, as well as individual users.”
  • SIL International– “Founded over 70 years ago, SIL International is a faith-based organization that studies, documents, and assists in developing the world’s lesser-known languages. SIL’s staff shares a Christian commitment to service, academic excellence, and professional engagement through literacy, linguistics, translation, and other academic disciplines. SIL makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race, or ethnic background. SIL (initially known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) has grown from a small summer linguistics training program with two students in 1934 to a staff of over 5,000 coming from over 60 countries. SIL’s linguistic investigation exceeds 1,800 languages spoken by over 1.2 billion people in more than 70 countries. Language learning in SIL focuses on developing the ability to communicate in a second language, with special emphasis on languages for which there are few or no written or recorded resources.” [ About | Main Site | Language Learning Site | Resources Page ]
  • Silent Communications Resource Group – “It was once assumed that sign language was use exclusively by people within the deaf community. However, sign language is quickly being adopted by hearing people as a preferred method of communications. … We’ve listed over 30 examples of how ASL can be used to improve your communications!”
  • The Language Travel Company – “We believe that the best way to learn a language is to visit a country where the language is spoken. You can then fully immerse yourself in the language, as you will use it on a daily basis and you’ll hear locals speaking the language. Language schools which are based in that particular country, which specialize in teaching that particular language, are the natural choice if you want to learn the language. Learn from native teachers, who grew up speaking the language and know it better than anybody!”
  • Transparent Language – “Transparent Language provides language-learning solutions in over 100 languages to the consumer, education, government, and corporate markets. Since 1991, Transparent Language has helped more than one million people worldwide learn new languages quickly, easily, and effectively. Transparent Language’s products are also used in more than 12,000 civilian and government educational institutions, including major universities and government facilities, such as the Defense Language Institute and Foreign Service Institute.” [ Main Site | Games ]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com