Review: Living Language

To be honest, I have a real love for languages but no real time to learn them. I can say a few things in a few languages, but nothing would really get me by if I found myself in a foreign country. I took Italian in high school, and while I'm not fluent, I can figure out quite a bit of the rest of the Romance languages if I'm reading something…very helpful when I'm trying to enter homestay information!

Within the last few years I developed an obsession with learning German, so I decided to try it on my own. I bought the German Complete Course by Living Language, and I was really pleased with the amount of information I was given for the price. The set comes with three audio CDs, a German coursebook to follow along with the audio and a German-English / English-German dictionary. Because I am on public transportation for long stretches of time, I transferred the CDs to my iPod, and I carried the coursebook with me in my schoolbag.
(iTunes has versions to buy for your iPod. Just check out the audiobooks.)

School sort of got in the way, so I've only gotten through the first disc so far; I have to say, though, that the whole process has been really fun and easy. I looked a little crazy mouthing along to the German speakers on the bus, but I really felt like I was learning German. The "teachers" on the discs have great German accents, and I was able to mimic their pronunciations of words and phrases while reading them in the coursebook.

All in all, I think this set is a great buy. Living Language offers similar sets in lots of other languages, like Arabic, Spanish and Italian, and they also offer versions for learning languages in your car.

It's obviously not the same as learning a language in a country where it's spoken, but I think these sets are great for learning a few basics before heading abroad. You'll definitely feel more confident having learned a few more words / phrases in your target language, and hearing how they speak on the CDs might help prevent any misunderstandings with native speakers.

I'll post again next month with my progress!

Comments are closed.