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).


Allons-y! To the Foreign Language Books!

Did you know the Cheshire library has a wonderful collection of books printed in foreign languages? From Histoire de la Mafia by Gaetano 20130522-140621.jpgFalzone, to Charlotte Link’s Das Haus der Schwestern, there is a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction books in French, German, and Spanish. These are located in a special area of the upstairs Moss Room; just ask and we’ll be happy to open it for you.

In the children’s room, there are beginning storybooks and alphabet books in Russian, Spanish, Latin, French, and Chinese. We are also able to request books in Russian, Polish, and more from surrounding libraries.


If listening to language is more your style, check out an audiobook to learn a new language or improve your skills in Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Hebrew, and more (Dewey number 468). Are you a foreign speaker trying to learn English? We have discs for that as well. There are audiobook language sets geared for children, too. Prefer an online approach where no one can hear you stumble? Check out the free on-line language programs on our website.

Grab your dictionary, dust off your skills, and with a little practice, you’ll be ready to take on our foreign films without subtitles!