Web+books+MP3, No pronunciation scores, Free, ★★★★★
Excellent site presents text and audio files for over 40 languages. You can press a triangle to hear each word or phrase as often as you want.
In the "Phrase book" section of each language there are 100 lessons. Each teaches 10-20 words. You can see or suppress the spelling in the target language. Many languages have 2 speakers say each word. Some languages have 1 speaker. These lessons do not have pictures or sound effects, so you depend on explanations in your own language to learn the target language. You can download these lessons as MP3 files to study off line.
The "Vocabulary" section of each language has 42 lessons. Each teaches 20-50 words. They show a picture, and the spelling in the target language.
They have separate lessons for English from the United States and England (none from India, Scotland, Australia, etc.). They have separate lessons for Portuguese from Brazil and Portugal.
Click your country on their home page, which determines the language of explanations. Then select the language you want to learn, and you will see a choice of Phrase book, Vocabulary, or downloads. Click Phrase book and Start with numbers (lesson 7) for initial pronunciation. Then choose any other topics which interest you.
If you can afford $30, you might do best to postpone Book2, and either buy "101 Languages" from Transparent, or subscribe to a month on Pronunciator (47 languages). Both those programs hear your voice and score your pronunciation, letting you repeat while you improve. Beginners do well to take advantage of this pronunciation scoring, so you build good habits. Bad pronunciation is hard to fix later and is a barrier to people ever understanding you. After learning a simple topic like numbers on either Book2 or Pronunciator, you can go on to any other topics which interest you. Transparent ($25-$40 for unlimited time in 76 languages), scores pronunciation in more detail than Pronunciator, though you cannot choose topics.
Book2 offers many topics; choose whatever motivates you. All audio is free. Printed text is free in Phrase book lessons 1-30 and Vocabulary lessons. Part of the text is free in lessons 31-100. Remaining text is free for a day or costs 6 euros for 3 years (one fee covers all lessons in all languages).
You can download audio files free, with:
- Just the target language. This download is recommended for review, after you know the meanings. (65-100 megabytes per language) OR:
- Phrases in your language first, then the target language.(65-100 megabytes per language)
- Listen to speaker 1 and speak with speaker 2, in languages with 2 speakers, like English and Spanish.
- Listen without pauses, and speak at the same time as the native speakers, at about the same volume, so you can compare your voice to the native speaker (shadowing, recommended by Arguelles). People learn songs this way, so try it for languages. Arguelles says to walk with good posture while speaking, so your voice is clear. At first you can only speak sporadically, until you hear phrases enough to say them with the native speaker, again like learning a song.
The Book2.de website is good, since you can click each phrase as often as you want. Downloads are also good, since they do not need a web connection, can be heard on the go, and can be shared with others. If you download, print the 1-page list of lesson titles from the "Phrase book" section of the website, so you know the topic each MP3 file covers. For example lesson 7 covers numbers (1-9) in both website and download.
You can also print the text of each lesson from the website, or for convenience you can buy the text of all 100 lessons for $10 per language. It also comes in Android and iPhone apps.
The site is a non-profit project of Goethe-Verlag, a German publisher, and they also provide contacts for many of the native speakers who recorded the lessons.