In the modern era it just makes sense to use your computer to learn your new language, so what is the best language learning software?
There are 2 main types of language software, either the flash card type or those that use multimedia on your computer to help you learn a specific language.
Language Software for Specific Languages
Probably the best-known brand in this arean is Rosseta Stone. They’re not my favorite recommendation though, for a number of reasons:
They now seem to be online only, useless if you’re offline
The online software is subscription-based, meaning you’re renting it!
They DON’T have the easiest language to learn, which is Malay!
Expensive. Price are around $170 for 3 month’s rental
The good news is they promise “live” 1-2-1 sessions with other pupils and even a tutor, sort of, presuming you have a mega-fast internet connection and you’re in the same time zone as your ‘native language’ tutor – so it’s useless for you or me then!
You will also find that other than the big and obvious French, German and Spanish and so on, they are known for their other courses being a bit sparse. OK for a holiday where you want to impress the locals by asking “How much that?”, not so good if you’re serious about actually speaking the language.
I once wrote to Rosetta Stone about 6 or 7 years ago, asking about Malaysian. I got a confirmation thing but they didn’t even bother to reply to my email. So no, I DO NOT recommend them. They get a mention because they used to be very popular but today there are many other choices to look at.
Tell Me More “Software”
This is another rent-it-online-and-pay-every-month “product”.
They have a reputation for extremely good in-depth content but, as you would expect by attempting to do things online, the speech input fails so frequently as to be hopeless.
Not recommended unless you have a great PC and net connection.
Byki uses the flash card approach and does it very well, better than any of the free flashcard programs I’ve found (which are all surprisingly horrible for some reason?)
It also has… drumroll please… Malay!
The Malay is not very advanced though. Perhaps worth investing in a more in-depth program if you want to actually chat and converse, impressing the heck out of your friends rather than stuttering a few phrases?
Well the name is certainly racy…
Once again this product range suffers from an extreme lack of Malay.
They don’t even have that usual standby of Indonesian, which is 90% the same (some say 95%). That’s a shame because they have great reviews for all their other languages – and I guess Malay isn’t for everyone Livemocha
This is a very interactive kind of thing, where you help others learn your language, earning points to spend learning the language of your choice.
Livemocha Language software online
I found plenty of flashcards but not much else for Malay. Again you will almost certainly find the options expand once you step away from the Malay!
As far as I can tell livemocha is free, though you instead “spend” a lot of time and effort helping others. I guess that’s an option if you have a language software budget of zero