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The Language Learning Advisor Newsletter, Issue #005
September 26, 2007
Welcome to Issue #005, or maybe I should call this the Back-to-School Issue! I can always tell when school starts because of the sudden spike in traffic on some of my pages (the spanish cognates page comes to mind).

All of us are students whether we are in school, taking one class, or just studying a language from books, audio and software on our own. You are a special class of people all by yourselves - not just people learning a language, but intrepid language learners who are taking their learning seriously, and who are looking for information under every rock to improve your language learning. For this you should be congratulated.

Whats new in this issue? Well the big story this time around is the Visitors Center. This is a new addition to the site that really brings in you, the visitor, and allows you to contribute your experiences to the site!

Of course there is the usual assortment of new resources and other new additions to the site including two new language pages.

I've included something a little unusual this issue. Klingon is near and dear to the heart of any Star Trek fan. It is actually a fully and properly designed constructed language (or conlang), complete with writings, music and even a Klingon Language Institute!

And of course, we have the Language Learning Tip of the Month. This time we're talking about combining language learning methods. Enjoy!

The Visitors Center

The Visitors Center is the place where visitors to can contribute their own experiences learning and using languages. You, the bold adventurous language learner can take over and add your own learning tips, techniques, reviews and experiences from your language adventures.

That's really what the site is built upon anyway - the experiences of other language learners before me and you.

This idea grew out of a desire to expand on the success of the survey pages. Nearly 2000 people have contributed, demonstrating that visitors to the site have a desire to share their experiences with other language learners. Now, with the Visitors Center, you can share your experiences learning languages or write a review of your favorite products, websites, books or podcasts. You can share your best language learning tips or tell a story about your foreign language experiences.

Anything that you contribute will be turned into its own page on, complete with a comments tag so that others can comment on and talk about your contributions.

More visitor pages will be upcoming. If you have something you would like to add to the site, but you don't see a category that fits yet, don't worry. Just choose the one that's closest and I'll add a new category for your contribution.

So, take a few minutes of your time and share some of your language learning experience. Add a little something to the site and help other language learners get a little closer to their goal of speaking another language!

New Resources

I've long been a fan of, a site where US Government-produced language courses can be downloaded for free. I have found another site contributing this service as well. also provides downloads of FSI courses as well as some other language resources. These downloads are legal, free and with no strings attached.

Shtooka Project This is an interesting site. This project has amassed a great library of audio for several languages and provides the software to use these libraries and even contribute more material. There are several projects similar to this one on the internet , but usually they only put together a library of a few hundred words. Shtooka has a library of many thousands of words (with audio and linguistic/grammar info) for French, Chinese, Russian, Dutch and Swedish.

Check this out and see if there is anything here that can help you out, or even if you can contribute something. If a project like this one becomes really successful, we could have a tremendous database for not only common languages, but maybe someday all languages.


Conlang - Constructed Language. There are numerous invented languages designed for many different purposes. Besides Klingon, some others are Esperanto, Volapuk, Interlingua and J.R.R Tolkiens Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin.
Yes, there is a Klingon language. It's not just a few guttural sounds actors on Star Trek blurt out to sound menacing. It's a fully constructed language created by linguist Marc Okrand.

Okrand was recruited to create some authentic sounding Vulcan dialog for a Star Trek movie. When the time came for some Klingon, he was hired again. In the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien, Okrand didn't just write some dialog, he developed a whole language based on their harsh culture and a few bits of Klingon already created by James Doohan (Scotty).

Star Trek fans are known for taking their hobbies to an extreme. The Klingon language is no exception. Trekkies have taken to Klingon as their second or third language of choice, writing and creating music in the Klingon language.

Which, of course brings us to a few resources to learn Klingon.

The Klingon Language Institute This is the center for all learning of the Klingon language. There are lessons, a pronunciation guide with some audio and a free email/postal course.

Pojwi For Windows Upgradeable shareware utility for learning and using Klingon.

New Additions

New Languages
I try not to be too biased in favor of European languages, but for the most part, those are the ones with the most and best resources. I am making more of a conscious effort to include minority languages and ones outside of Europe and the Americas. In that light, I have added pages for two Asian languages, Farsi and Vietnamese.

Review of Living Language Basic Complete
Pound for pound, this is probably the best value language learning product available in stores. With an ample coursebook, a dictionary and 2 audio cd's, it is a great foundation for learning a language. For under $25, I haven't yet found anything to compete with it. Read my full Review of Living Language Basic Complete

Language Learning Tip of the Month
Mix Your Methods

Beginning self-study language learners make one mistake more than any other. It is a mistake often fatal to their motivation and their language learning goals - they use one method and expect to achieve fluency with it.

Of course, anyone with even a little experience trying to learn a language knows that fluency does not come that easy. A beginning language learner could easily be misled by the marketing and shiny packaging of all those published language learning products. They make them sound so great.

More experienced language learners know that to get a more complete language education (especially when you are doing it on your own), you must have as many sources to learn from as you can. And, of course, you have to do lots of work yourself. The method won't do it for you. You can't just plug it into your head and download a language.

Ideally, you find a language method that does everything. I haven't seen one yet, and I don't know if any has been created. The next best choice is to find two very complementary methods and use them side by side. Maybe even throw in a few good supplements. It will cost more than just one method, but you will get a much more sound foundation in your target language. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts in this case.

Some methods employ more than one medium to teach. Book/Audio combos like Living Language or Teach Yourself are common. Rosetta Stone, Transparent Language and other software publishers use a combination of text, images, audio and video to teach. Pimsleur uses audio to focus on conversation ability.

Pick one method that you feel comfortable with. Then, add to it or complete it with another complementary method, then add a few supplements like verb books, a dictionary, some websites, music and podcasts. With just one method you will have the basics covered. But if you use two complementary methods and a few choice supplements, you will be amazed at what you can achieve in your target language.

Read Language Learning Methods and Language Learning Tips to get a rundown of what kind of methods are available and how to combine them for your study routine.

Until Next Time

Continuing on with the visitor contributions, I will keep adding new pages. I invite all of you adventurous language learners to offer something and post a learning tip, technique or story about your language experiences for the greater good of all language enthusiasts.

Au Revoir!

"Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born - the beneficiary in as much as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things."

- Aldous Huxley

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