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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rocket Languages

Rocket Languages is our new language learning service and it is good! It recently received the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice award for best product in the language learning category. Rocket recently added voice recognition/comparison to all their language products. They’ve created an amazingly fun and effective way to learn a new language.

New users register on at our website, , with their library barcode number and email. Registration is completed by making up a password and accepting terms. It is that simple.

Pick the language you want to learn. The choices are Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, American Sign Language, Spanish, Rocket Eigo (English course for Japanese speakers), Rocket Ingles (English course for Spanish Speakers).

I picked French hoping to communicate with new friends from France. I was impressed by the short lessons that have lots of practice. I was assured that it was never too late to start learning something new. This was nice to hear.

Rocket has great memory tips. One tip was to think in your new language. For “I am hungry” think “J’ ai faim” The idea is that by having these conversations in your head you get lots of practice without an audience. Great tip!

They also give good learning advice. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes”

Reminds me of Miss Frizzle, the teacher from the ‘Magic School Bus’ television show. She advised her students to “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.”

Rocket offers social networking to enhance learning. It is called ‘My Community’. It lets you post questions and comments to teachers, native speakers, and other Rocket Language Learners.

My first lessons were on meeting, greeting and eating. The Rocket teachers warn that you might experience “…a strange tingling sensation when you hear your first French word.” Forwarned, I was not overpowered by the newness of the sounds.

The conversations were clear, fun and done at just the right pace. They were short and effective with a lot of responses called for on my part. Each conversation may be repeated as many times as you need to pick up the pronunciation.

After a few days practice I was hopeful that I would be able to at least great my friends from France. I greeted them with “Salut. Comment ça va?” After that my mind went blank. "C'est la vie." Paris was not built in a day. I will definitely keep practicing and thinking in my new language. And then I will “Take chances, make mistakes and get messy”

Mary Donne
Head of Information Services


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