Michaelene Malan (column mug)ENE

Did you know that there are roughly 7,100 spoken languages in the world?

According to International Language Services, Inc., there are also 573 known extinct languages. What makes them extinct? No one studies or speaks them anymore. In fact, they list that there are only about 1,000 speakers left in ⅓ of the world’s languages. Thinking about the history of language, that’s a lot of different languages, different cultures, and different ways to connect to think about!

So, what if you’re interested in learning a new language?

Now, you can at the library! And while it’s not 7,100 of them, you can try out over 110, and it’s free with your Enid Public Library card.

This past week, the library welcomed back Transparent Language Online to its available online learning resources. The database includes different dialects in some languages as well as materials for ESL learners. Soon, they will also offer American Sign Language and Cherokee.

When I was in high school, I took Spanish, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t use it enough to keep it fresh in my mind. I recently started my own language-learning journey, and I’m delighted by how easy it is to navigate Transparent Language Online. I dove back into Latin American Spanish (the dialect of Mexico), but they also have Castilian Spanish (the dialect of Spain). There are different lessons ranging from hearing Spanish-speakers say the words, to speaking them yourself using the computer’s microphone, to typing out the words using two keyboard options.

It’s a fully comprehensive course designed to help you practice hearing, speaking and writing in the new language.

If you haven’t taken the course in a while, you can also refresh with vocabulary words you previously learned. I love that you don’t have to go in order, either. If you just want to brush up on common phrases or pronunciation practice for an upcoming trip, you can do that. If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, they have lessons for intermediate learners. You can also download a transcript of your learned activities.

A great bonus is the kid’s content with KidSpeak. If you have a young learner, they can try out Chinese, English, French, German, Italian or Spanish. It’s all kid-friendly content with fun animations to walk them through the language. KidSpeak is perfect for students in grades K-2.

Some languages offered are Dutch, French, Japanese, Italian and Scottish Gaelic. There are also indigenous languages such as Dakota, Obijwe and Hmong.

Check it out on the library’s website at enid.okpls.org/learn-a-language. If accessing from home, enter in ENID followed by your six-digit library card number (example: ENID222222). Create a username and password, and you’re ready to learn.

There’s also a free Transparent Language Online app so you can learn 24/7 from anywhere.

Happy learning!

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