I have recently discoved quite a nice bunch of language learning goodies, and have been meaning to share some reviews, so here is a special delivery of mini reviews for you!
10 Minutes a Day
The "In 10 minutes a day" book series is a Teach Yourself product and ticks many boxes for learners. It's available in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
The Good: The writing is accessible and weaves new words into English. The books contain readymade flashcards and even vocab stickers, making it really easy to play with learning methods and immerse yourself. It also comes with a CD, but doesn't neglect the written word.
Be Aware: There is a focus on travel vocabulary over more particular cultural or daily life topics. The books are pragmatic, and so a little short on grammar and in-depth tuition, but for a beginner I think they will work great!
(Available on Amazon or Book Depository)
L'Affaire du Coffret
The podcast "L'Affaire du Coffret" by Radio France International introduces you to Lucas, a British journalist who wakes up in Paris unable to remember recent events and has a mysterious Nadya email him tapes.
The Good: The podcast is free and well-written, with an engaging storyline. I found myself wanting to follow it along. The French audio is original and great for practice and Lucas is very likeable.
Be Aware: The series is not really a French course in itself, rather a fun way of practicing what you have already learnt. Use it alongside another resource.
Learn Direct: Talk Now
UK-based skills website Learn Direct offers courses at various levels in over 100 languages. The courses are available online, optimised for IE or Firefox.
The Good: The basics course covers vocabulary from a decent range of topics and allows learners to practice using a bunch of games. It invites you to record yourself. All audio is available from a male and female speaker, adding to clarity. The very simple approach could be great for anyone feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Be Aware: One template applies to all languages, so no space for getting to know about culture. It is short on grammar and vocabulary in context. Odd vocabulary choices in places. I didn't find this particularly useful if I want to speak a language rather than throw words at people at random.
(Available on LearnDirect - I tried the Russian version)
Mini Review of Fluency Made Achievable
Of course I have to mention that I have also written some great materials to help you start feeling more confident in your language learning journey. My first book Fluency Made Achievable is available as an audiobook and ebook here on Fluent.
The Good: Eleni Gotsis, an Italian language student from Australia, has called Fluency Made Achievable a clear, easy and very helpful read. When I was chatting to her recently, she was particularly excited about the audiobook production with a professional voice artist. She said that being able to listen to the tips in Fluency Made Achievable anywhere really helped her make progress.
Be Aware: Fluency Made Achievable is a practical book and comes with a downloadable guide for you to make your own plan, but of course even this great book doesn't do all the work for you.
Go here to find out more about the Combo Pack with audiobook and ebook in one and use the code COMBOMEUP for a cool 25% discount.