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Rocket Languages dot com


Also see Sarah Lorenz’



3/1/11 -- my thanks to Wendy Sherman at for this resource
German Professor is an educational Web site designed to help learners become fluent in German quickly and easily, and have fun while they're at it! The site was created by our German conversation group. We are students from all different fields of study brought together by a common love for the German language. At first we would just get together every Tuesday in the student lounge, but our numbers grew quickly so we’ve moved the meetings over to this cool Viennese café near the city center.

We meet up regularly for what’s called a Stammtisch, where the point is to talk about basically anything, as long as we speak in German. A few months ago we were hanging out at the café, sipping espresso and munching on éclairs, when the conversation turned to the topic of the German language itself. Why do some people think it’s so hard to learn? We discussed many possible reasons, including many of the fears we had when starting out. Fears that turned out to be myths. Like the notion that German is so hard to pronounce, the grammar is inscrutable, the vocabulary insurmountable, etc. In the end we realized that these lessons were really easy for most of us to master. It's not that we're geniuses or anything, it's just that German is really simple to learn if you know how to do it.


Radio Lingua Network


A Translator Tool With a Human Touch -- from
At I.B.M., a team of nearly 100, including mathematicians and software developers, is working on a project to create an automatic translation tool, so-called machine translation, that has the speed and accuracy to be used in instant-messaging between speakers of two different languages.

New iPhone app translates English into Spanish as you speak -- from
A new app for the iPhone translates English into Spanish instantly as you speak. The app, costing $25, is like having an interpreter at your side.

How to Thrive (or Survive) -- from
PHILADELPHIA -- Sessions at the Modern Language Association's annual meeting are planned so far in advance that some word choices may seem out of date by the time the meeting takes place. That was the case here Monday for a gathering of foreign language chairs and professors to consider "how departments can thrive in difficult times."

Dawn Bratsch-Prince, an associate dean at Iowa State University who formerly led the foreign languages department there, started off her talk by acknowledging that the title might be "overly optimistic," saying that "we may be talking about how departments can survive." This is of course the year that the job market in foreign languages and English collapsed, and a number of language departments have seen programs eliminated.

But in an odd way, this may have been one of the more optimistic sessions at this year's meeting -- at least among panels devoted to the economic crisis facing higher education. At many sessions here (and in hallway conversations), the gloom of the recession is all-encompassing, with people talking about canceled job searches, adjuncts unsure how they will pay their bills next semester, the university press editor who couldn't afford to come visit with authors, and so forth.

From DSC:
Though this article has different perspectives concerning solutions than I propose/discuss, it brings up the point that we need to be ready to embrace change. We need to create the future we want.


Translation Takes Center Stage -- from
Translation is essential to allow most people to appreciate the literature that is produced in languages other than their own. But translation is rarely the focus of attention. This year's annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, which starts Sunday, will attempt to change that, with more than 50 sessions on translation. The topics vary widely, with some focusing on specific languages, others on translations of particular authors (Chaucer, Kafka and Borges, for example), others on the role of translation and translators (exploring questions of how visible translators should be, or when new translations should be done).


Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education -- from 2009 Pre-conference Keynote for the K12 Online Conference 2009

Tools for Learning: Trends and Implications to Language Education -- from Teemu Arina


Transliteration goes global -- from Google
Most of us use a keyboard to enter text; it's one of the most basic activities we perform on a computer. However even this simple activity can be cumbersome in many parts of the world. If you've ever tried to type in a non-Roman script using a Roman keyboard, you know that it can be difficult to do. Many of us at Google's Bangalore office experienced this problem firsthand. Roman keyboards are the norm in India, making it difficult to type in Indian languages. We decided to tackle this problem by making it very easy to type phonetically using Roman characters and we launched this service as Google Transliteration.


Use Google For Text-to-Speech Translations in the Browser -- from Webmonkey by Scott Gilbertson

Professors push foreign language to the next level - Alexa Sykes, the Pendulum -- item and quote below from Ray Schroeder
Imagine having the luxury of traveling to another country and experiencing the language and culture without the hassle of purchasing a plane ticket or checking luggage. This ideal situation is now possible with Digital Game-Based Learning and is helping foreign language students at Elon University experience the countries of the languages they are studying without ever leaving their computer chairs. According to David Neville, assistant professor of German and director of language learning technologies, Elon is the only university in the entire country that has begun to integrate DGBL into its foreign language curriculum.

Digital Dialects - Activities for Learning 55+ Languages -- from Free Technology for Teachers


Book Reflection: Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching -- from Miguel Guhlin


Blended Learning -- book by Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett
The ideal companion for any teacher interested in the use of technology in the language classroom, Blended Learning provides a practical overview of current technology. It combines basic information for the technological novice with sophisticated ideas for using technology in the classroom. Blended learning offers practical ideas and suggestions for ways to use technology to enhance and support students' learning. Pete and Barney also examine the implications of the use of technology for language teaching methodology in general. Blended Learning is ideal for:

  • Teachers already interested in using technology who want to discover new and innovative ways to use it
  • Teachers with little experience of technology and/or feel unsure about implementing it in their classrooms.

From DSC:
I like the way Macmillan is attempting to keep this "book" updated.


100 Tips & Tools to Teach Your Child a Second Language -- from

11/13/09 -- my thanks to William Overbeeke in the T&L Digital Studio for this resource
Listen to the entire Bible in Dutch, read aloud to you by everyday Dutch people. You can also download sections of the Bible to use in iTunes or another music library. This is a great site if you are trying to immerse yourself in the Dutch language. If you are already familiar with the Bible in English or your native language, this is a good way to take those familiar words and translate them to Dutch.


100 Open Courses to Learn Any New Language -- from Online


How a new online learning approach aims to revolutionise language learning - the Independent -- from Online Learning Update by Ray Schroeder
The Open School for Languages (provisionally called MYLO), a £5.4m online learning project, is one of the main initiatives being unveiled next year to support teenagers learning a key language. Aimed at harnessing the best of new technology and the interest that most young people have in online as well as face-to-face learning, the open school is designed to provide 11 to 16-year-olds with a new range of online materials relevant to their world, as well as new resources for teachers. The scheme will begin with French, German, Spanish and Mandarin, but more languages will be added if initial results are positive. The first modules will focus on the basics and preliminary skills for Key Stage 3, while the later modules will be for GCSE students.


Learn a new language with ELLA -- from Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day by Jane Hart
ELLA offers online courses in 5 languages: English, Spanish, German, French, and Dutch.

* Plunge into realistic videos and animations
* Widen your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation
* Reinforce your grammar with more than 5,000 rules and exercises
* Follow your progress in real time



Blending Learning in a Web 2.0 World -- from iJETS
Authors: Gary Motteram and Pete Sharma
This article explores the role that Web 2.0 technologies can play in enhancing language learning development in a blended world. It will argue that technologies are not enough on their own to make a difference, but that teachers bring a particular understanding of language and the needs of their learners to the creation of suitable activities. It will show that the use of technologies is also changing our understanding of the profession of language education and that sociocultural theory can help us understand why this is occurring. Blended learning as a type of classroom activity will be explored showing how different definitions may be interpreted in the classroom context. The types of blended activities that can be used are illustrated through three vignettes.
Keywords: Blended learning – Web 2.0 – sociocultural theory – teacher decision-making



iPod/iPhone apps for education -- from iRead


Ideas for teachers/professors teaching various languages -- from Daniel Laninga, T&L Digital Studio

Beeline TV
Have students access and try to interpret languages from online-based TV stations from around the world.

Use the International Children's Digital Foundations Library to have students read "entry-level"/basic books that are written in other languages. “The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.  Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children’s literature from the world community.”



20. Online Language Learning (Opener #10): Have you ever wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, Russian, or Farsi? Millions of people are using resources such as Livemocha, ChinesePod, SpanishPod, Mixxer, KanTalk, ECpod, and dozens of other online resources to learn or teach languages. Much of this is free. One company, Livemocha, has gone from start-up to 3 million users in less than 2 years. At the same time, free podcasts from ChinesePod, a product of Praxis Language, are downloaded around 300,000 times per month. These free podcasts are available at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

-- from Curt Bonk


Forvo - Hear Words Pronounced by Native Speakers -- from Free Technology for Teachers
Forvo can best be described as an audio wiki for word pronunciations. One of the problems with learning to speak a language that is not phonetic is trying to figure out how to pronounce the words. Forvo hosts hundreds of recordings of word pronunciations by native speakers. Currently there are nearly 200 languages supported on Forvo. Along with word pronunciations, Forvo provides some basic demographic information about each language. Forvo's content is user supported and user generated so new pronunciations are added every day.


Raptivity Visual enables language interactivity -- from elearnity
Harbinger Knowledge Products announced the release of Raptivity Visual. Raptivity Visual includes a selection of instructionally-sound, primarily-visual interaction models that are ideal for users who wish to create interactions in international languages. Raptivity Visual provides users the ability to create visually appealing, instructionally sound and meaningful interactivity for eLearning, without any programming. Users can select interaction models that best meet their needs from a selection of interactions.

From Jane Hart's E-Learning Pick of the Day


Het Gesprek (Dutch for “The Conversation” or “The Discussion”) -- from William Overbeeke in the T&L Digital Studio a 24/7 online broadcast of a Dutch cable news channel, including many unique talk shows where Dutch artists, authors, celebrities, politicians, and a wide variety of others are interviewed. There are some subtitled English shows that English-speakers and Americans may recognize. This is a great site for Dutch-language learners because you can listen to native Dutch speakers. You may not be able to translate it all (depending on your level), but listening to good, deep conversations about Dutch culture and more is definitely a good way to learn both the language and the culture.


Top 100 Language Blogs 2009 – Nominated Blogs: Language Technology -- original link from iLearn Technology


Cell phones help students in rural areas of India learn English.


My thanks to Niko Solihin in the T&L Digital Studio for this link.


The Master List of Free Language Learning Resources -- from

Link from Open Culture
Looking to learn a new language this summer? Then give this list a good look. The folks at have created “The Master List of Free Language Learning Resources,” which pulls together materials found across a range of different media. Here, you’ll find podcasts, open courses, iphone apps, and more. And the list notably includes our ever-popular collection of Free Foreign Language Lesson Podcasts, which will teach you about 40 different languages. Just download the podcasts to your computer or mp3 player and you’ll be learning new languages on the go, at no cost.


New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education

Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry (editors), New technologies, new pedagogies: Mobile learning in higher education, Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, 2009, 138p.
ISBN: 978-1-74128-169-9 (online). Complete book available here.

Relevant items from the Table of Contents

1 - Introduction: Using mobile technologies to develop new ways of teaching and learning, Jan Herrington, Anthony Herrington, Jessica Mantei, Ian Olney and Brian Ferry

6 - Information technology education: Incorporating mobile technologies within constructivist-based curriculum resources, Anthony Herrington

7 - Language and literacy education: Using iPods to capture professional dialogue between early career teachers to enrich reflective practice, Jessica Mantei and Lisa Kervin


Wiley Faculty Network


Translate Word Documents -- from Techie Buzz by Keith Dsouza

...was built to help people create a daily learning habit. The ethos is simple - once you become a member of Learn10 you’ll automatically be sent short, daily learning tasks - such as 10 new words in a foreign language. We use the range of current web technology so you’ll see your content on Facebook, Twitter, in your email, it’s RSSable, can be plugged in to any blog or web page, it’s iPhone friendly and mostly free. You can use the Learn10 widget to learn, revise, record, test & compete with your friends. Additional (premium) services include a virtual teacher, windows screensaver and content via SMS.

Languages include:
Danish | Czech | German | Polish | Portuguese | French | English | Spanish | Japanese | Chinese | Hindi | Arabic | Turkish | Norwegian | Italian | Dutch | Korean | Swedish | Russian | Welsh



When Startups monetize! Babbel switches on paid courses -- from TechCrunch by Mike Butcher


Babbel - the language learning site emanating from Germany - releases it’s first premium product tomorrow. It’s the first sign of their business model and begins their monetization. I’m told the objective is to establish a “freemium” model with a free basic version and payed premium products on top.

So far the site has around 250,000 registered users since launch in January 2008 and is growing mainly in Europe and North Africa. Babbel offers 5 languages that can be used both as reference and learning languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian and German.


Archive Watch: Rare Spanish Songs Go Online -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Over 41,000 Spanish-language songs that go back to the early 1900s were placed online this week by the Chicano Studies Center, a research unit at the University of California at Los Angeles.

NACFLA Study Abroad Programs


How To Automatically Translate A Full Web Site In Multiple Languages: Best Web Site Translation Tools -- from Robin Good's Latest News by Robin Good


Auto-Translation for YouTube Captions -- from Google Blogoscoped -- my thanks for Daniel Laninga in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
"This is a site to learn how to write Chinese, not just read it. It is free right now during beta, but you may have to pay for it later down the road. Looks helpful at developing Chinese writing skills."

Spanish-related sites -- my thanks to Melissa Winegar in the T&L Digital Studio for these links
"The following two sites are Spanish-related website that could be useful for students or teachers. They include great explanations of grammar concepts and lots of exercises including interactive exercises on the internet and printer friendly exercises to use in class."

SPAnish LEarn ONline --

Spanish CALL Project


Online Classes Help Preserve the Navajo Language -- from by Chris Colin
A virtual high school lets students study a tongue that has a dwindling pool of teachers -- and speakers.


Free Online Language Translation: Best Services To Translate Your Documents - Mini-Guide -- from Robin Good

Free Online Language Translation

Google Translating 98% of the Internet's Languages
-- from WebProNews Feed by Chris Crum

Google says it can now translate between the languages read by 98% of Internet users with Google Translate. The total of languages is up to 41. The most recent additions include:

- Turkish
- Thai
- Hungarian
- Estonian
- Albanian
- Maltese
- Galician



CLEAR -- from Michigan State University
CLEAR was established in 1996 as a Language Resource Center (LRC) through a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. As an LRC, CLEAR strives to promote and support the teaching and learning of foreign languages in the United States through its various projects and outreach activities.

Resources from CLEAR at MSU -- for teaching and learning languages

An Online Language Portfolio Approach to the Development of Speaking and Listening Proficiency
July 9–11

Rich Internet Applications for Language Learning: Introductory Techniques
July 13–15

Rich Internet Applications for Language Learning: Advanced Techniques
July 16–18

The Second “C”: Culture Teaching in the Language Classroom
July 20–22

Teaching Writing in the Foreign Language Classroom
July 23–25

Revisiting, Reinventing, and Restarting a Language Program: A Step-by-Step Approach
July 27–29

2/6/09 -- link from Joe Girolamo, in the T&L Digital Studio


SpanishPod -- link from Joe Girolamo, in the T&L Digital Studio
Also see FrenchPod and ChinesePod.


Spanish Language and Culture -- link from Joe Girolamo, in the T&L Digital Studio

Spanish Language & Culture


2/2/09 -- link from Teach Web 2.0 blog



From 10 Online Learning Tools for Students:



Learning a Language on a Mobile Device -- from mLearnopedia
Much of the recent activity in mobile learning has been in language training. Just this week Nokia announced a large initiative in China to tap into English lessons, test-prep training, and other courses from New Oriental Education Technology Group, ( a leading Chinese educational company. The idea of mobile learning is that it will allow students of all ages to access course materials through a mobile phone, maximizing time by providing learning on the go...

The iPhone Could Be The Ultimate Study Machine -- from elearningpost
I completely agree with Jason Kincaid on this observation. The current crop of apps are just pushing content and quizzes. I've been searching for a simple Chinese learning app for my five year old daughter but can't seem to find anything that is useful and that matches the excitement of the games she prefers to play on the phone. I wish I could have a SnapTell like app that could take pictures of everyday objects and then translate it to Chinese (or any other language) and show me the way it is pronounced or written. Now, that would make me learn new languages. So there is a world of new opportunities out there but it looks like only 'traditional eyes' are looking at it.


Ten Excellent Language Translators And Resources -- from, by Allen Stern are 10 tools to translate content and interact with others who speak German:

  • Nice Translator describes its service as "a fast, easy to use online translator designed with simplicity and functionality in mind." What makes Nice Translator special is that it translates what you type on the fly and can translate into multiple languages at the same time. I was able to translate from English to Dutch, German, and Russian at the same time. There are reports that the Russian translation isn't perfect but Russian appears to be one of the hardest languages for the translators to work with.
  • TalkBean provides a live video chat service with about 100 tutors in a variety of languages. You can schedule lessons or pick a tutor showing real-time availability. Each tutor has an about page with current reviews. Pricing varies based on a variety of factors.
  • MyLanguageExchange boasts more than 1 million worldwide members practicing over 100 languages. There is a pen-pal service to connect users in different languages and practice their grammar and writing. Other content on MyLanguageExchange includes games, lesson plans, message boards, and text/voice chat.
  • Babbel offers a very rich language learning environment. There are lessons, exercises, message boards, and chat. Babbel also offers a social network where you can find others who can mentor you and people who will "co-train" with you on your language learning.
  • iTalki lets you find partners to practice using the iTalki voice chat and text tool. The service offers over 100 languages and a strong file library. ITalki also offers a Q&A section which works similar to Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Answers but with language options.
  • Novlet has a pretty interesting concept where you help collaborate on stories written in different languages. Users create passages which continue the story written by others. Reminds me of the books where you select choice a or choice b and then proceed to the appropriate page to continue the story.
  • Engoi offers vocabulary exercises in a variety of languages setup in a flashcard format. Not as robust as some of the other resources but does one thing very well. It's a good place to practice terms and phrases.
  • Internet Polygot offers flashcards and lessons in about 30 languages including some Eastern European languages I haven't seen on many of the other flashcard sites. It makes it clear that the service shouldn't be the only source of language learning, but the flashcards application is well designed. The tests include slide shows, guessing games, typing games, matching games, and a randomizer option.
  • xLingo provides a tutor finder to help you locate people who speak the language you want. Once you have connected with a tutor, xLingo provides a variety of ways to interact, including flashcards, chat, and forums.
  • Google Translate, Microsoft LiveTranslator, and Yahoo Babel Fish all provide translation services for text and Web pages. The Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) LiveTranslator is pretty neat as it provides both the original and translated Web pages along with sentence highlighting on the screen for easy viewing.


Writing the Web’s Future in Numerous Languages -- from the New York Times, but Daniel Sorid


Revising and Defending the Foreign Language Major -- from
SAN FRANCISCO — An increasing number of foreign language programs are undergoing serious reviews of their offerings, requirements and missions — and the process is producing considerable excitement and innovation. At the same time, many foreign language professors are worried that administrators do not understand the value of their programs, which could be vulnerable to elimination the way the University of Southern California killed off German.


Below links are from the NDLR Modern Languages’ Community of Practice

Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom -- from Joe Dale; may be more for K-12
Joe offers practical tips and advice on using ICT to enhance the teaching of modern foreign languages.


Free Desktop Language Translator -- from Techie Buzz by Keith Dsouza
At times you may come across a text or a file, which is written in a language you do not understand and would require to convert it to a language you understand. In such cases online services come in pretty handy, however a desktop tool to translate languages would definitely come in handy.


The Word and the World: Technology Aids English-Language Learners -- from
A growing number of software programs and Web tools help educators teach academic English.

12/8/08 -- link from Tim Wang
Welcome to, the simplest way to learn Chinese language online. provides free course materials to train learners in all four language skills: listening to Chinese, speaking Chinese, reading Chinese and writing Chinese. The course contents are designed to teach you Chinese language in a more speedily fashion. Every lesson uses rich media based learning resources to make the Language learning experience more fun and effective! Most importantly, all of the contents on this web site are free! So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and let's learn some Mandarin Chinese!

From DSC: No offense, but I'm not sure learning Chinese can ever be simple. That goes for learning English as well!

Call for Proposals: Language and Culture: Finding, Assessing, and Exploiting Online and Media Resources for Language Teaching -- from Liberal Education Today, by Bryan Alexander
NITLE is currently accepting proposals for “Language and Culture: Finding, Assessing, and Exploiting Online and Media Resources for Language Teaching.” This conference (Grinnell College, March 13-15, 2008) will address the challenges of locating, evaluating, and manipulating electronic and media resources for teaching culture in the language classroom. Both technical and pedagogical issues will be addressed; workshop sessions will teach skills at both a beginning and intermediate level.


Practice your Spanish using iTunes U -- from Apple

Now you can study Spanish on iTunes U


Learn How To Pronounce Foreign Names Correctly -- from Digital Inspiration, by Amit Agarwal


BBC Languages -- my thanks to William Overbeeke in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
Learn French, German, Spanish, and Italian (major languages on site); also learn phrases in other languages (minor languages also on this site) -- my thanks to William Overbeeke in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
Dutch language learning site with videos with double-subtitles in several languages so you can watch pop culture videos and learn Dutch.

5 Translation Tools That Serve as Fantastic Resources for Students Who Are ELL, Foreign Language, and Struggling Readers -- from The Innovative Eductor blog


Incredible Website Launches Today! from Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day... by Larry Ferlazzo
U.S.A Learns is an incredible website to help users learn English, and it just launched today.


Do You Want To Learn Arabic? -- from Zaidlearn


Transparent Language
... has helped more than one million people worldwide to learn a new language using their home computer. Our products are used in over 12,000 civilian and government educational institutions, including major universities and government facilities such as the Defense Language institute and Foreign Service Institute.

For language professors/educators, click on the image below to access some nice resources:

Transparent Languages



Center for Language Education and Research -- from Michigan State University
Also see:




In-flight movies
These short videos (between 3-5 minutes long) contain images and scenes from a country or city and provide students will simple narration in the target language. They are particularly useful for "fantasy trips" - show them on the "plane" during the "flight"!



ChinesePod & FrenchPod -- links from Dave's Whiteboard

ChinesePod FrenchPod


FlexDex -- from Daniel Laninga
Gapminder is a non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.

Daniel mentions, "This could be useful for professors teaching linguistics, anthropology, international development studies, and statistics. The cool thing is that you can not only see other people's data, but also create your own graphs pertaining to life expectancy, income, and many other things. A great, creative, informative tool."

Enduring Voices Saving Disappearing Languages -- from the National Geographic Society, link from Daniel Laninga
Nearly 80 percent of the world's population speaks only one percent of its languages. When the last speaker of a language dies, the world loses the knowledge that was contained in that language. The goal of the Enduring Voices Project is to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction by identifying the most crucial areas where languages are endangered and embarking on expeditions to...

Enduring Voices

Google’s Translation Service for iPhone Users -- from iThinkEd (August 16, 2008)
Here’s another iPhone app that might be useful for teaching and learning...

Google's Translation Service for iPhone Users


Learn languages online

Have your class do a VoiceThread in the language that they are practicing -- 9/2008
Talk about WORLDWIDE collaboration...AND the use of digital audio, video, etc. Go to VoiceThread > Browse > and search for various topics; better yet, create your own VoiceThreads.

Worldwide communication and collaboration -- and the use of engaging digital audio and video.