Chairman Wow!

September 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 8:50 am

The Internet is full of well-meaning, but essentially useless, language learning websites. I mean, if you are looking for bad, animated clip art and the correct pronunciation of “Hola” you might be in luck, but for those of us really trying to learn a language…


…What’s that? Alas, banished to the Barnes & Noble “Foreign Languages” section no longer! is an easily-navigable website that provides totally free German language MP3 downloads for three learning levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Paid memberships are also available, and allow users access to study guides and written transcripts. The topics covered in the MP3s vary widely, but share one common trait: they’re all practical. And, as many academic foreign language learners know, classroom language is often much different from the vernacular. From ordering vegetarian pizza to mourning break-ups to purchasing pieces of the Berlin Wall, covers it all.

Each 10-12 minute MP3 begins with two or more actors engaging in a normal-speed German conversation. The voice actors then repeat the conversation more slowly. The conversation is then spoken a third time, with line-by-line English translations. After the dialogue, the actors (native Germans) provide listeners with useful cultural and linguistic information essential in understanding the dialogue. More fun than sitting in a classroom and more useful than anything Berlitz ever churned out, Germanpod101 MP3s is like having a group of patient German friends, willing to sit down and casually explain to you all the intricacies of their mother tongue.

Ja. Sehr kool, for sure.


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