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Old 04-14-2005, 06:51 AM   #1
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Foreign Language Tapes?

Has anyone ever used tapes to learn a foreign language? I heard that they can be very thorough and give a good foundation in a foriegn language. I need to learn 2 for school and someone suggested this might be faster than taking 8 courses. Price isn't really a concern since the alternative - 8 college courses - ain't cheap.

I appreciate any info or opinions you have on it!

Thanks!!
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Old 04-14-2005, 09:19 AM   #2
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I have heard the Berlitz tapes are really good.
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
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Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:35 PM   #4
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The "Dummies" series has some foreign language CD-ROMs that are pretty good. It records what you're saying in whatever language you're learning, and it plays it back for you, lets you know if you pronounced it right or not, and gives quizzes. I use it to practice French, and its very helpful.
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:51 PM   #5
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A wise friend of mine once said this about Charles Berlitz: "The guy's a total hack by any scientific linguistic standards."

From my experience (I'm studying Linguistics, which by no means makes me an expert, and I had to attempt to learn Swahili from the Berlitz tapes) the problem with the Berlitz-type stuff is that it's not the way the brain learns a language (or maybe just my brain).
Do you have to learn anything more than a basic traveler's knowledge of the language? If you have to know much more than "where is the bathroom?" and "how much does this cost?" I definitely wouldn't recommend the "hear and repeat" type tapes, as you'll only really be memorizing phrases and not learning anything about the parts of sentences or basic vocabulary to build sentences that you'd need to actually be able to use a language.
Though of course there are probably other types of tapes/computer programs that are useful - a computer program would probably be better than a tape since it will obviously be more visual (even if you're not a big visual learner).
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:10 PM   #6
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^ What Ellen said! I listened to maybe 10 minutes total of the Swahili tape. Even the TAPE was confusing! Then the corrsponding phrase booklet fell out of my pocket into a pit latrine so it didn't matter in the end.

Language is not parroting phrases and you don't actually learn by going from English to the language. For example, in German we had to make these flash cards. But, instead of writing the English word on one side and the German word on the other, we drew the actual object on once side and wrote the German word on the other. German class was a bitch, but I think we learned it really well. I still think in German about 1/3 of the time! You'll never fully engage if you always have to translate for yourself. Does that make any sense?
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:34 PM   #7
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i have a klingon language tape













yes, i really do
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:43 PM   #8
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To be honest, I think they are useless.

The way to learn a language (I have learned 5 in my lifetime, still speak 3 fluently, the other two are iffy on a good day), is definitely NOT through phrases.

Conversing with other people is invaluable, which is why immersion is the best way to learn a language, although it's obviously not an option always. You're better off conversing with people than using the tapes, IMO.

They are also very weak on grammar, but I guess it depends on whether you are interested in fluency or just conversational ability.

Good luck!
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Old 04-15-2005, 08:45 AM   #9
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^my opinion
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:33 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone! Looks like I will be taking classes.

The requirement I have to meet is to either pass a reading/writing test or get a C or above in an Intermediate II course of the language. So I definitely need more than memorization of buzz phrases.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Conversing with other people is invaluable, which is why immersion is the best way to learn a language, although it's obviously not an option always. You're better off conversing with people than using the tapes, IMO.

Very, very true.

The tapes I've listened to in the past were good if you really dont have much of a chance to hear a native speak. They were also good just to listen to the language if you havent for a while. Other than that, I did not get much help from them.

That being said, try every single method available. You can definitely learn something from every possible approach, who's to say which will end up being the most effective for you. Good luck


By the way, what language are you planning on studying?
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Old 04-19-2005, 10:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by oliveu2cm
Thanks everyone! Looks like I will be taking classes.

The requirement I have to meet is to either pass a reading/writing test or get a C or above in an Intermediate II course of the language. So I definitely need more than memorization of buzz phrases.

which languages, Carrie?



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Old 04-20-2005, 07:21 AM   #13
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Typically English MAs require a romance language, and all PhD programs (where I want to end up) "prefer" to see French and German.

I'm going to take French first, definitely. After that... well I took 3 years of Spanish in high school, so that'd be nice to continue. I'd love to learn Italian since it is my heritage. But maybe I'll go with German to make the PhD people happy. I am doing this for literature purposes and to give me more tools to analyze and understand lit. So maybe German would be the best. I do know I see French all over texts, so it'd be really helpful to know it rather than having to babblefish phrases!

Doozer!

And thanks everyone for your inputs! You guys are invaluable!
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