| Choosing a Course | Help With Homework | Studying Away From Home | Resources |
It is important to choose a well structured language course. There are several options available, so consider each one and decide which you would prefer. No one style of course is better than another. Whatever you are likely to use rather than ignore is what will work best for you.
Would you prefer to do a home study course or be taught face to face?
For face to face learning: The easiest option is to find a local tutor, preferably one who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn. A more intensive option is taking a study course, which could include time abroad. There are hundreds of language schools to choose from. Click here for some examples.
For home study: There are some very good multi-media software and courses available online, with options suitable for people of any level. This is a fun way to learn. Many include little games, incentives and rewards which are great motivation. Most of the best can be found with a quick search at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The importance of selecting the most appropriate tool for the job cannot be emphasised enough here.
If you are only a beginner, then a small translation dictionary is all you need. Computers have become highly competent at translating simple words and phrases. You can choose from:
- Free online translation - quick, cheap and easy when you are near a computer.
- Translation Software - useful to have on your main computer.
- Pocket sized electronic dictionary - light weight and portable for added convenience.
- Simple paper translation dictionary - more affordable than the electronic version but also heavier and slower to use.
Once you progress beyond the basics, you will need a more comprehensive bi-lingual dictionary. Look for one written by speakers of both languages. For example, the Collins Robert French-English dictionary is a joint effort between the Collins English Dictionary and Le Robert, its French equivalent. Sadly, electronic versions cannot compete at this level.
Sooner or later you will want to continue your study out in the world where it's not possible to carry all your books and computer. This may just be at the library or park, but it could also be on a trip abroad to try out your linguistic skills! You will need a simple quick reference that is easily portable.
Take a look at what is on offer from Ectaco (a leader in clever translation gadgets). These dictionaries include not only words, but phrases, idioms, irregular verbs, linguistic games, grammar and high quality voice output in multiple languages. They are quick and easy to use. Even if you are only studying at home, these gadgets are a lot of fun.
If you are on a budget, get a paper version instead.
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