Good news, everyone/ tout le monde / todo el mundo!
We’re very happy to now offer over 500 titles from Pimsleur, a well-respected authority in the language-learning industry. Exciting stuff! We’ve changed up our language learning section, so you can now browse our titles by individual languages. Whether you’re going on a trip to Italy, trying to talk to Japanese friends in a forum, or want to appreciate Tolstoy in the original tongue, audio books are a great tool to help you reach your goals.
Don’t believe me? Here’s three reasons why audio books can give you an edge over traditional print.
- Listening: One of the most difficult things about comprehending a new language is segmenting—that is, understanding where each syllable begins and ends and being able to distinguish between them in a string of speech. It’s part of why other languages sound so fast: our brain doesn’t know which sounds are significant, or how to break them up. Spending time listening to a new language being spoken out loud is the only way to start teaching your brain what to look for so you can actually have a functional conversation.
- Speaking: Pronunciation is absolutely critical. It can mean the difference between saying “I am happy”, “I used to be happy”, and “I, a woman, am happy.” Many languages, like Mandarin or Vietnamese, are tonal, meaning even the pitch of a word can change its meaning: “ma” can mean “mom”, “horse”, or “scold” depending on the rising and falling of your voice. Tone can be difficult for non-tonal language speakers to pick up on in adulthood, and especially hard to learn from a book.
- Frequency: A critical factor for success is frequency and consistency. Spending twenty minutes doing verb drills once a week might teach you how to say “I Sit” in every tense and mood, but that’s not exactly functional. The best route to success is to find a way to work in regular, frequent exposure to the language, and audio books let you take advantage of those little pockets of spare time you find throughout the day. Make a habit out of listening to “Intro to Arabic” every day on your commute to work, or play a Spanish-language title every night while you’re cooking dinner.
There’s nothing wrong with traditional printed language learning tools (in fact, I’m a big fan) but auditory learning is a sure-fire way to cement your learning and teach you valuable skills you can’t get any other way. So, go get started!