At the Library: Online Language Courses

Hola, amigos! Comment allez-vous? Rydw i’n iawn diolch.

Wait a minute! Rydw i’n iawn diolch? Yes. That’s Welsh for “I am fine.”

Welcome to Transparent Language Online, a language-learning service with over 80 language options including English for speakers of other languages.French

Accessed via the Cheshire Public Library website, library (“la bibliothèque” in French) cardholders can learn everything from Afrikaans to Zulu. Transparent Language Online features listening, reading, speaking, and writing exercises, as well as pronunciation analysis, vocabulary exercises, conversational language courses, and video grammar lessons. C’est vrai!

It has great features like Quick Start. Here, you’ll find a series of 10 simple lessons that will teach you 100 of the most useful words and phrases that form the foundation of your chosen language. The program will automatically track your progress, so you can start and stop any time without losing your place. This section is really useful. Kan du hjälpa mig? (“Can you help me?” in Swedish.) Molim te. (“Please” in Croatian.) An bheori. (“Beer” in Irish.)

And then there’s Vocabulary. The list in the sidebar shows the many subjects you have to choose from such as Asking for Directions, At the Hotel, and the all-important Bathroom. One of my favorite vocab lists? Dessert! Ah, what I wouldn’t give for some il cioccolato right now!

Reference. This is an assortment of useful tools to help you learn more about your language of choice: Grammar Tips, a Quick-Help Grammar Reference list, and History, which has interesting tidbits about the language. If you are studying Latin, you will discover that much of English vocabulary comes from ancient Rome, and our everyday communications are peppered with Latin phrases like et cetera and per capita.

ItalianLearned Items. Here, you can keep track of the vocabulary terms you’ve mastered and refresh your memory of learned items that you have not recently practiced. Each learned item is classified as “fresh” (meaning that you have practiced it recently or mastered it through repeated practice) or “stale” (meaning that it may be at risk of being forgotten). And let me tell you, being fluent in a language beats carrying around a kamusi (“dictionary” in Swahili).

Ciao.

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