Learn a Language for Free Through JMRL

Written by Erica Younglove, Reference Librarian at Central Library

You’ve been meaning to learn a new language, right? Or maybe just brush up on that Spanish you took in school but haven’t thought of in years. But don’t pay hundreds of dollars for some commercial product to learn one language when you can learn plenty for free with JMRL’s wonderful database Transparent Language Online.

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Transparent Language Online offers instruction in over 80 languages for people who wish to learn another language. It also has ESL programs for speakers of many other languages. The program teaches patrons to speak, hear, and write almost any language using flashcard-type instruction to teach words and phrases.

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After navigating to the databases part of JMRL’s website, it can be found under the “language” section. It’s the only database listed in that section.

New users will have to create an account. This is required so your progress can be tracked as you work to complete the levels. Enter a username, password, and email address and you’re all set. Returning users simply sign in with their username and password. Outside the library, patrons will need to enter a last name and library card number before setting up an account. The first time you login you will be greeted with a welcome pop up explaining how it works. This can be disabled on future logins. This includes the options for a very helpful and informative guided tour video.

Choose your language from the drop down menu and begin learning. Under the “learn” section you will be able to choose from a variety of courses including: Alphabet, Essentials (which focuses on conversational language), Quick Start, Vocabulary (common nouns and adjectives), or Reference (which provides information and tips about the language like history and grammar). Under the “explore” section you will find a fun word of the day, as well as communities about the language you are learning.

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In even more great news, there is an app! Search in the app store on your Android or Apple device for Transparent Languages. It is free. After it has been downloaded it will ask you for a username and password. These are not the same as your online account but can be obtained by logging in to your account online and clicking on the “go mobile” button at the top right part of the page. Once logged into the app you will have a list of languages to choose from. Select one and begin (or resume) your lessons. It doesn’t, unfortunately, connect progress in your account to the app, but it’s pretty easy to find where you were and keep working.

Click here to go to the JMRL databases page.

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