Transparent Languages – Save 15%

The sun is out, the spring is here – time to plan your holidays and more importantly time to brush up on your language skills!

To help you we have a special offer from Transparent Languages to purchase one of their language learning software courses:

Save 15% on any order. Use LANGUAGE15 at checkout. Expires 05/31/2010

For those of you in the UK:

Save 15% on any order at the Transparent Language UK Store – use UKLANG15 at checkout. Expires 05/31/2010

Transparent Language is a leading provider of best-practice language learning software for consumers, government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses. Since 1991, Transparent Language has helped millions of individuals learn new languages quickly, easily, and effectively. More than 12,000 schools and universities, as well as top government language schools, such as the Foreign Service Institute and the Defense Language Institute, use our products. Working with distinguished language acquisition experts and thousands of native speakers around the world, Transparent Language is committed to producing language learning solutions of the highest quality at reasonable prices.

Paris Or Guadeloupe … What’s It To Be?

Learn French with our intensive French language courses in Canada and FranceFrom chic Paris to beautiful Aix-en-Provence to the exotic beaches of Guadeloupe, we offer a variety of French courses to suit all needs and budgets. You can take a standard language course from as little as one week, or add a little joie de vivre with an activity such as cooking, surfing, golf or wine tasting.   You’ll spend your morning studying the French language [Read more…]

Language Fun In The Sun!

learn a language for your summer holiday

The holiday season  is here again. If you are jetting off somewhere nice, you’ll get more from your time away if you learn a bit of the local language. We’ve selected the best and most innovative quick holiday language courses for beginners.   Heard of pay as you go?   This is learn as you go! [Read more…]

Language Guides

Our Language Advantage Guides give you all the help you need to start learning a language.

Keep up-to-date  with the latest advice on the best and most innovative language courses for your current or next learning level by reviewing our Language Advantage Guides.

I want to learn a language … for my summer holiday

More soon!

I want to learn a language … for business

I want to learn a language … for kids

I want to learn a language … for beginners

I want to learn a language … for intermediate learners

I want to learn a language … for advanced learners

Sweden Takes Over The EU Presidency

Gunnar Seijbold/Regeringskansliet

©Gunnar Seijbold / Regeringskansliet

On 1 July 2009, Sweden takes over the presidency of the European Union and its first request is that the governments of the EU tackle climate change head on. However, with the current economic climate, this will be quite a challenge.

If you’ll be attending many of the planned events in Sweden or following the proceedings, you needn’t worry about the language.   [Read more…]

ipod & mp3 Earworms Rapid French Volumes 1 & 2

audible-earworms-rapid-frenchI tried out Volumes 1 & 2 of The Earworms Rapid French language courses – and downloaded them to my mp3 player.   This is a new learning experience for me – both having the French course on my mp3 player, as well as learning a language through the use of music. [Read more…]


An independent language course review by Andrea Martinsaudible-earworms-rapid-french

Now this is a new learning experience for me: learning a language through the use of music. This is an interesting concept and something that Earworms calls an   ‘accelerated learning technique’. The idea behind it is to listen to words and phrases in a rhythmic way  set to melodic music .  You feel at ease as you listen and somehow the phrases become catchy and easy to recall.

I tried volume one of the Earworms Rapid French language course. It is just over an hour long and covers subjects that you might encounter whilst you are abroad such as ordering things, asking for things, asking directions, telling the time, numbers, days of the week, greetings and other useful expressions. You also cover verbs such as to eat, to order, to buy, to rent as well as asking questions such as ‘do you like?’, ‘what’s this?’ and ‘how much is it?’.

The first track deals with ‘je voudrais’ – I would like. Before you know it you are ordering drinks, as well as saying other expressions such as ‘parfait’, ‘de rien’ and ‘merci’ – all good conversation fillers and useful pleasantries!

Each sentence is repeated at least three to four times, but each time it is said at a slightly different pace and with a slightly different intonation. The sentence is then broken down into parts. So, for example ‘I would like to eat something’ is broken down into its components and then the word order is compared to English:   ‘I would like’, then ‘to eat’, then ‘something’ then ‘to eat’ again and then ‘something’ again and then the whole sentence is said in full once more. This idea of breaking up an expression and reconstructing it reminds me vaguely of the Michel Thomas method. But the Earworms method uses music and rhythmic repetition to great language learning effect!

The music varies from techno to funky jazz, guitar and ‘lift’ music (musak)! Each type of music denotes a different chapter so learning doesn’t become monotonous and allows you to associate certain language with certain music. At the end of each chapter track, a challenge is set for us, although the male English language speaker answers the questions. The female French speaker asks us ‘how do you say…..?’ with something that we have just covered in the chapter. It’s a good exercise and nothing too challenging.

In fact, this is what I enjoyed most about the Earworms Rapid French; I found the whole experience not too challenging or exhausting and yet I remembered quite a bit of the French. This particular course comes with a useful downloadable booklet. It gives more information into what the accelerated learning technique is about. It also lists all the phrases and words found in the course. This is useful for those (like me!) that like to see the written language and associate it with hearing the language at the same time. You even get a list of the English, the French (along with the audio of the sound) and its ‘memory hook’ – something which helps you associate the French to a visual memory and familiar words in English.

Overall, I thought that this course was fun, entertaining and I was under no pressure to memorise words. I later found myself humming one of the tunes and remembering the repetition of the French words! This method really does seem to work! C’est parfait!

Learn a language on your iPod ® with Earworms Rapid French Volume 1 [UK and Europe]>>

to find out more or to buy an Earworms language course>>

Get the French language advantage with Earworms Rapid French. Claim your competitive advantage!

Semana Santa In Spain

cactus_semana_santaSemana Santa is Holy Week in Spain and is celebrated this year from 5 to 12 April 2009 – from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.   It is a week of religious activity – from joyful fiestas to solemn processions, with highlights on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday depending on which city or village you’re in.   Crosses, lanterns and candles [Read more…]


teach-yourself-greek-one-dayAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

The Teach Yourself One-day language series is great if you are off on holiday and don’t want to learn the full ins and outs of a language. It’s a 75-minute CD with a small vocabulary booklet for back up containing the 50 most needed words for your trip. With One-day Greek, the help of characters Liz and Andy and the vocab booklet, you can learn the basics of holiday lingo in just over an hour.

There are 10 sections on the CD and each of them has vital vocabulary lists which are also available in the booklet. I found that the CD would be especially useful for holiday-makers, as the series took me back to the days when learning how to ask for something in a shop was a chore and directions seemed so confusing.

When I first started the CD, as a complete beginner to Greek, I found it daunting. In the first section, Liz asked Andy about Greek words he already knew. This made me feel slightly apprehensive, as I had assumed the course would be for pure beginners and not beginners with a prior knowledge of the language. It turned out that the words he knew were only words he would have picked up from holidaying in Greece once – such as hello! Apart from this he was actually a pure beginner.

Towards the middle of the CD, Liz begins to introduce the sections with everyday role play situations. These are very fast and difficult to understand at first, but the good thing with this is that you can hear Greek at a proper speed and adjust to a real Greek accent. Liz then goes on to explain exactly what was said and how you would pronounce it. I found that I had to repeat the CD a number of times in order to hear the pronunciation and really take it in.

The format of the CD is effective, but some of the scripts seem to be forced and it was often hard to answer the questions as Andy’s answer was often said straight away. It is therefore a good idea to pause the CD once Liz has asked the question, think of the answer yourself, say it out loud and then check it against the answer that Andy gives on the CD.

At the end of the CD, there is a recap section going back over the whole course or the “one-day Greek challenge” (which sounds a lot more fun than recapping!). I found this a great way of actually discovering what I had learnt in Greek and what I had managed to remember. The challenge works in a way that makes it easy for you to skip back to the relevant section if you have forgetten any of the words. So you can keep revising and repeating the course until you can do the challenge standing on your head.

I found the vocabulary easier to remember by doing the series over a few hours rather than cramming it in to just one 75 minute session. For me to listen to Liz and Andy continuously for 75 minutes would have been a slight drag, but with breaks it is bearable and you can actually get the corny ‘gag’ that Andy has said out of your head!

This CD is a fab way of learning the local language and maybe even managing to socialise, having a conversation with the locals and jumping onto a bus and knowing what you have to say.

Bearing all this in mind, this CD is a fab way of learning the local language and maybe even managing to socialise by having a conversation with the locals and jumping onto a bus and knowing what you have to say. It is also excellent value for money as it only costs £6.99 in the UK.

The only thing left for me to do now is go holidaying in Greece and really put this learning CD to the test.


to buy Teach Yourself One-Day Greek [UK]>>
to buy Teach Yourself One-Day Greek [USA]>>
to find out more about Teach Yourself language courses>>

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teach-yourself-japanese-conversationAn independent language course review by Sarah Maddocks

Teach yourself Japanese Conversation is a 3-hour, 3 CD, all-audio language course which is aimed at complete beginners or people who want to refresh their Japanese. Don’t even think about trying to do the course all in one go – it would be near impossible not to mention brain frazzling!

The CDs follow a couple called Chris and Sarah (I know, original names!) whilst visiting an ex-colleague in Japan. The idea of the CD is to learn the language through 20 conversations that Chris & Sarah have with native speakers. The course is accompanied by a booklet containing transcripts of the conversations; the key vocabulary is in bold.

The content of the CDs differ. CD1 & CD2 have 10 real-life conversations about things that you’d be doing on a weekend break or a short holiday or business visit to the country. For each conversation, there are two dialogues in three sections: the first section is listen and repeat, the second section is using the language in context and the final section is practising the conversation again. The CD3 is a recap session and gives you lots more real-life conversations.

When I first started listening to CD1, the first thought that sprang into my mind was ‘why on earth had I decided to even attempt to learn Japanese’. I stupidly (stupidly as in for future reference don’t do this) made the mistake of opening the booklet before I pressed play and thought I was way out of my depth. Still, I carried on and am glad I did. From the start I knew I had made the right decision with this course. The narrator is not irritatingly bland like on some courses – in fact quite the opposite as she is reassuring and easy to listen to.

The fab thing about the CDs is they are repetitive (in a good way) and the narrator often advises you to pause the CD which is easy to do. Throughout the sections some basic grammar rules are explained, as well as when to use and when not to use certain constructions.

CD2 continues on from CD1 and the level remains the same throughout, which is great as it doesn’t progress too fast or too slow (in other words just right).

CD3 is what would be called the revision CD. All the conversations in the booklet are replayed at normal speed and then a different version is played, with a kind of question time at the start. I found this a great way of recapping and actually testing what I had learnt (seeing as in the past I think I have mastered a self-study tape but in actual fact I really have no idea about the language!).

The booklet offers explanations of what to do in certain cultural situations. This is particularly handy if you go to Japan. The last thing you’d want to do is blow your nose, offend the whole room and have no idea why!

This 3-hour course is absolutely fabulous (excuse the quote from the television programme!). To me it seemed like a great 3-hour exam preparation course. Instead of boring me slightly (GCSE German memories flooding back!), it was very entertaining and made me feel that I would be able to handle myself in any one of the situations played out in the conversations and more importantly understand what was being said back to me.

I especially recommend this to people who have done language courses before and found them dull and uninteresting, as this is completely different. You actually come out of this course with a real sense of achievement.

I would recommend this to everyone who wants to learn a more adventurous language and who isn’t scared of challenges along the way. I especially recommend this to people who have done language courses before and found them dull and uninteresting, as this is completely different. You actually come out of this course with a real sense of achievement and a feeling that you could now go to Japan and find the train station, and more importantly order a beer and a sake!!!

to buy Teach Yourself Japanese Conversation [UK]>>
to buy Teach Yourself Japanese Conversation [USA]>>
to find out more about Teach Yourself language courses>>

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