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Hot Apps: 101 Languages of the World

The advent of CD-ROMs made many uses of a computer possible and practical. One of them was learning a foreign language, which previously required disk space that most of us could only dream about. Soon thereafter -- about a decade ago -- you could choose among quality products of three or four software publishers. How the world of language learning has changed since then.

For many who need total immersion in computer language training, the obvious choice is one of the many Web-based courses. But for others, learning at our own speed and focusing on personal goals is key. CD-ROMs still excel at this, and these days one top-dog publisher remains in the ring: Transparent Language.

The company offers a variety of products, and you’ll want to visit its Web site to find the one that best fits your needs. For example, in-depth learning of any of several languages is well met by the publisher’s Complete Language Learning Suites.

But Transparent Language also offers the unique, inexpensive, four-CD set, 101 Languages of the World, which is available for Windows (which I tested) and Mac operating systems. While the claim of truly learning more than 100 languages may be a bit of the stretch, the software can be as entertaining as it is helpful if you travel to far-flung locales or simply want an introduction to several languages. Depending on a selected language, at best you’ll learn only a few thousand words and a few hundred sentences -- not enough to become close to fluent. With a microphone (not supplied) you can compare your speech with proper pronunciation through various interactive and tutorial content.

Crossword puzzles add fun to the learning of foreign languages in the 101 Languages of the World set.
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