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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.

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Comment by Gabe Morris on January 16, 2008 at 3:08pm
Thanks for the mention Daniel.

I actually use ChinesePod too. It's a quality product. The language learning podcasting space is quite crowded - but they seem to have done a good job by differentiating themselves through professionalism.

Overall, there's a gazillion other sites that have come out in the last year for language learners - myngle.com; mangolanguages.com; livemocha.com; myhappyplanet will be launching soon, friendsabroad.com has been around for a while; etc...
Comment by Daniel Leuck on January 15, 2008 at 12:40pm
Chinesepod.com looks very polished. Thank you for the link. I will have to give it a whirl.
Comment by Truman Leung on January 15, 2008 at 11:39am
I've been a long time listener of Chinesepod.com. More recently I've taken a look at their online learning tools and have been impressed.

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