For my fellow language nuts…

2 12 2008

Hej! I found the most wonderful FREE software last night!

Allow me to introduce Byki!  It’s free to download and is available in over 70 languages.

I picked Swedish…why not, right?  But there are many other languages available – Afrikaans, Luxembourgish, Dutch, Chinese, Turkish…and of course popular ones like French, German, Italian, Spanish, and even English.

The concept: Flashcards with three different types of practice.

There are different sets of flaschards, organized by theme in manageable sections of 8-13 cards.

  1. First, you preview the cards by looking at the English or [target language] phrase.  (The best part about it is that you hear audio of the foreign language so that you can pronounce it correctly!)
  2. It gives you the target language side of the flashcard and you type in the English equivalent.
  3. It gives you the English side of the flashcard.  You must type the phrase or word in the target language.

It’s all about repetition – seeing it and writing it back, hearing it and saying it back.  That is essential for learning any language!  The program tracks your progress, has a good way of checking your answers to ensure that you really are learning the material, and it allows you to review whenever necessary.  It’s like having a set of virtual flashcards!

If you want to start learning a new language, consider starting here! This is a fantastic program that can at least give you some basic vocabulary and phrases.  There are a few downsides – it seems to be targeted to Americans (or at least native anglophones).  (I haven’t checked, but perhaps it allows you to download it in a different language if you’re not an anglophone…it may be worth checking out.) Another downside is that it does not give any grammatical support.  However, I believe it can be extremely helpful for understanding initial words, phrases and pronunciation.

Best of all?  It’s absolutely free. There is a deluxe version that you can download for a fee, but the free version is wonderful.

Hej då.


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