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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Using Technology to Learn Lithuanian


Learning a new language is never easy. Studies have shown that kids have the ability to learn a new language quicker than adults. A child’s brain is able to create a different speech center in their brain for every language that he learns. The adult learner, unfortunately, does not have this linguistic talent. What came naturally once is now a bit of a challenge for the adult learner.

What makes learning a new language for an adult more difficult is if the language he is attempting to learn is not spoken by a majority of the people in the world. Why? Because the resources for learning a language that is spoken only in one small section of the globe is sometimes not at par (or even not as accessible) with the resources for languages that are more ‘popular.’

Take Spanish, Italian, and German for instance. There are countless books, CDs, DVDs, online tools, schools and language centers that teach these languages. Even for languages perceived as difficult to learn like Chinese, Japanese and Korean, the bookstores and the World Wide Web are populated with learning tools for these languages.

But what about a language like Lithuanian. The native speakers of Lithuanian are roughly around 2.96 million. These are individuals living in and around the country. Outside of Lithuania, only an estimated 170,000 people speak Lithuanian. So, it is not expected to find language centers in cities all over the globe with Lithuanian in their course offerings. Where does one turn to in order to learn the official language of Lithuania?

If your local bookstore does not carry quality books, CDs or DVDs that teach Lithuanian, go on the Web. That’s where you will find what you need. A simple search for books and other resource materials will already give you a list of websites where you can order these resources.

But if you are not willing to spend money, at least for the time being, on Lithuanian language resources there’s another option. Download podcasts for free! You can find “Lithuanian Out Loud” on Apple iTunes. It is a series of audio podcasts created by Raminta, an author who hails from Lithuania, and Jack, Raminta’s North-American husband.

Lithuanian Out Loud” is aimed for Lithuanian language students. It is a fun podcast that teaches students not only the language in three levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced, but also the history and culture of Lietuva or Lithuania. This podcast series is entertaining, engaging and not boring at all. Best of all, it’s free!

If the podcasts are not enough, there are other ways to learn Lithuanian over the Web. Go to YouTube. This mega-video upload site has quite a number of videos that attempt to teach the language. Although the videos are not as structured as the more professional language videos you can purchase, you can still learn a Lithuanian phrase or two for free.

So when you decide to learn Lithuanian, use the online resources at your fingertips. Podcasts and online videos are free for you to listen to and watch. Don’t limit yourself to books or Lithuanian language classes. Augment your quest of learning Lithuanian with other tools which can make the process of learning more fun and easier for you.

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