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Foreign Lang: recommendations for at-home learning options for an adult?

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What "learn a foreign language at home" options do you recommend (and the pros & of the program) for mostly learning to converse, but also with some ability to read the language? A friend of mine of is asking for suggestions, and wants to learn either Russian or German. Thanks in advance! Warmly, Lori D.

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Since she is just starting out, I would recommend she check with her library to find out if Mango is offered. It is a great introduction to languages (many!) and a good portion have programs that go well beyond "travel" language. Everything it presents orally is also taught in writing. Because of the different alphabet used in Russian, it would probably be easier to learn German with this. A friend's dc started with it for German and was able to transition easily into formal coursework later, I believe in German 2. If your friend's library doesn't offer Mango (and she really should check with the reference librarian, as library websites don't always list such resources in logical places), there may be another program offered, or she might be able to pay for it herself. I don't know what that cost would be or if it's worth it in comparison to other options.


Con: For the website to assess your pronunciation, you have to allow it access to your computer. You don't have to allow access for the program to work, but you won't be getting all the benefits.


Tell Me More does the pronunciation assessment, too, but since it's software you install, no outside entity has access to your computer. However, for conversation, it's slower moving. There is a lot of basic vocab that is learned first before getting into the conversational section (at least in Spanish, not sure about German).


Rosetta Stone... meh. Don't get me started. She should save her money.

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For Russian, this site has a huge amount of links and resources.


The Penguin Russian book is very thorough, we're using part of it this year. It ramps up the difficulty quite quickly, so we're taking it slowly.


We're also using RussianforEveryone which includes online grammar lessons and phrasing lessons. It's free.

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