on 22 April 2001
OK, then. Who wants to learn to speak 101 languages? It may just be that you are planning a quick trip to Lesotho via Reykjavik, and want to gen up on the lingo before travelling. Then again, the new love of your life may find it romantic to be chatted up in Esperanto. It takes all sorts. The program does contain 101 languages - but beware, not all languages are treated equally. Of the 101, only 76 have actual spoken dialogue available, the other 25 are a series of flashcards. Of the 76, minority languages are given a more superficial treatment than their major Western European counterparts. The program does not offer fluency in any of the offered tongues; it is more of a survival phrase book, with emphasis on learning set dialogues, not on grammar, or explaining how to adapt the vocabulary to different situations/sentences/expressions. It will not take you much further than beginner in any of the languages. If you seek to develop skills and fluency in only one of the languages listed, then it may be worth considering purchasing a program dedicated solely to your cause. It is easy to find other programs if you want to learn German or French, but it may not be easy finding other programs dedicated to African languages and obscure dialects of W. Euoropean languages (such as Catalan). For someone who already has a fair understanding of grammar in general, and/or can speak another language, it serves as a great introduction for exploration of other tongues. For the uninitiated, it may prove daunting, as the grammar sections are sometimes non-existant for the lesser languages, and sometimes unclear for those graced with a help file. Once you are used to the fiddly interface, the various sections do prove to be fun. There is a games section, which offers a useful excuse for not cracking on with the project that should have been in yesterday, and useful practise in the various skills. All in all, a good product if you want to learn a little about a lot of languages, learn an obscure language, have only a passing interest in learning a few phrases for your holidays, want to try and impress the girls by introducing yourself in Lithuanian, or just want a brief introduction before taking your studies further.
on 28 August 2002
This is an excellent program. The languages offered are:
Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belorussian, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, Breton, Bulgarian, Canadian French, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, Flemish, Galician, Greek, Guarani, Haitian Creole, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Luganda, Luxembourgish, Malagasy, Malay, Norwegian, Pidgin English, Polish, Portuguese, Quechua, Romanian, Russian, Scottish Gaelic, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Somali, Sotho, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Thai, Tswana, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Wolof, Xhosa, Yiddish, Yoruba and Zulu.
Vocab flashcards are provided for Asturian, Aymara, Bemba, Blackfoot, Cebuano, Chamorro, Cornish, Ecuadorian Quechua, Faroese, Frisian, Inuktitut, Kongo, Macedonian, Maori, Maya, Mohawk, Nahuatl, Papago, Provencal, Romansch, Romany, Ruanda, Samoan, Sepedi, Shona, Sicilian, Sorbian, Swazi and Tongan.
You can also make your own flashcard sets up from any of the other languages in the program, which is really useful for drilling tricky words.
The languages aren't covered in huge depth, but for language-obsessives this program is the perfect chance to get a taste of more languages than anyone could possibly need to know.