I recently discovered two interesting new sites for natural language learning. The first was presented by TechHui member Gabe Morris at Unconferenz last Saturday. Gabe demoed Yabla, a site that offers video content in Spanish and French from television and film sources. The video content is subtitled in the source language and English. All the words in the source language are hyperlinked to their definition. I found this to be an excellent way to learn from native speakers. Probably the most useful feature is the ability to slow down the video without affecting the pitch, and the ability to quickly trigger rewinds using the mouse or keyboard.
The second site was recently covered on TechCrunch. It’s a site called Babbel that combines a social network with language learning. In addition to the lessons provided by the company, community members can upload new words and phrases accompanied by audio and images. Members can message each other and work on lessons together. This site is also notable from a technology perspective because the entire site is done in Flex. They seem to have made good use of the technology. Pages load quickly and the UI is a pleasure to use.