Getting ready to take a trip and want to learn a few simple phrases before you go? Need a refresher on the French or German you learned in college? Know a teenager who could use a little extra help in their high school Spanish class?
Before you pay for access to an expensive language service, consider what you can get for free using your library card. Through our association with MELSA, a metropolitan library association, Washington County Library provides cardholders access to Transparent Language, an online language learning tool for all ages.
Whether you’re starting at the very beginning with a new alphabet or you’re an intermediate learner looking to enhance your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, Transparent Language is a resource that can help.
Transparent Language offers resources for more than 120 languages, including Spanish, Swedish, Somali, Chinese, Arabic, Dakota, Hmong and more. English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons are also available for native speakers of 28 different languages.
Transparent Language is packed with pronunciation practice and activities to improve grammar, writing, and vocabulary. Simple words, phrases, and conversation practice allow users to learn the basics of writing skills. Transparent Language also allows users to see and hear how they are learning the language via speech analysis – a process where users record words and phrases that are compared to native speech patterns. No extra software is needed – everything is available through the website.
The program is divided into a number of different courses depending on your needs:
Full-length alphabet courses are available for more than 18 languages, so you can learn new writing systems or practices with languages you already know.
Essentials courses guide you through language fundamentals, everything from meeting and greeting to dealing with money and asking for help.
Supplemental vocabulary courses offer topically-organized lists so you can learn new words and phrases using new, interactive activities. These courses help improve all four core language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Grammar reference materials provide both written and multimedia explanations of grammar rules and patterns for the language of your choice.
When you first access Transparent Language via the library website, you’ll need to create an account, which allows you to track your progress while learning a language.
First time users should click the “Sign Up” tab and enter a name, username, password and email address to set up the account. Because Transparent Language uses speech analysis as a language-learning tool, we recommend using a computer or device with a microphone.
You prefer to access Transparent Language on a mobile devices, the service has apps available for iOS, Android, and Kindle devices. In order to to connect your online account to a mobile app, you’ll need to use the username and mobile password provided on the Transparent Language site.
For more information on getting started with Transparent Language, click here for a PDF download of a starter guide, or check out this series of short introductory videos.