The cost of language learning.

Language learning need not be expensive. We only need access to the language, interesting and meaningful content,  a knowledge of how to learn, and some friendly native speakers. This can be done in many ways today.

Since I got keen on learning Cantonese less than ten years ago, we have seen the Minidisc player, MP3 player, podcasts and blogs, social networking, and now the iPad. Universities are reacting to the new learning world in different ways. Simon Fraser University in Vancouver charges $4,200 for their three month “immersion” classes, on the basis of 25 hours a week. I think that is a poor investment of money. On the other hand the University of Texas at Austin puts its course material, and some excellent language content, up on the internet for people to download. Their mission “to develop instructional technology – especially multimedia course materials – to be used in language instruction on the UT campus and shared with other institutions and the public at large.” I think this is wonderful. They have even allowed LingQ to use some of their Spanish and Portuguese content in our Library.

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