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Online programs/sources for academic-level foreign language?

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Hi all,

I'm applying for next fall so I know I'm ahead of myself on this, but hopefully people will still have some useful info. I took 8 years of German from middle school until college, but really did not enjoy it by the end. Additionally, once I narrowed down my research interests, I quickly discovered German did not help me in my MA research at all, and French would be far more useful. Because of this, for my PhD, I'm interested in using French to fulfill the language requirement. I'd like to get ahead a bit after apps are submitted, and I was hoping for recommendations on online subscriptions or programs (paid or unpaid) that are geared more towards academic uses. I've used Duolingo pretty extensively, and don't find it super useful because of how random the vocabulary is. I'd like to start more with sentence structure, alphabet, etc. Any tips would be helpful! 

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My experience finding resources like this is as follows:

When I was studying German I found this: http://coerll.utexas.edu/dib/index.php; DW also offered a free online program; Goethe offered free A1 exam material and they had lists of the words you were expected to know for each level.

When I was brushing up on my Italian I found some courses on Edx and Coursera. As well as used online grammar exercises.

I'd imagine you can find something similar for French. I would start with the vocabulary lists for whichever level you're at in the EU framework and go from there. I also think MOOCs are the best bet. Depending on your level (https://www.coursera.org/learn/etudier-en-france) starts in 4 days. There also tend to be lots of lectures on YouTube to supplement your own work if you can find an online textbook and be an autodidact. One key thing I would absolutely recommend if you are taking this seriously is have a tutor like once a week for 30 minutes you can pay on like iTalki or some other similar site to get practice speaking and ask any questions to.

I think Duolingo is pretty unhelpful as well mostly because I do not get a lot out of it. However, I would not give up on finding good free resources. At this point any major language is easy enough to learn for free online.

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  • 2 months later...

I also took German, which I love, but it’s not really helpful to my research. I just downloaded duolingo to start learning Spanish and so far I like it a lot. However, I took several years of Spanish as a kid so it might be more helpful to me as I’m mostly brushing up at this point.

I’ve also thought about taking a spring or summer quarter of Spanish at a JC, since it’s pretty cheap here. Maybe that would be an option?

Viel Glück!

Edited by kendalldinniene
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On 10/25/2018 at 2:38 AM, Matthew3957 said:

I'd imagine you can find something similar for French.

As a matter of fact, there is something VERY similar for French, also offered by UT Austin (hook 'em): http://www.laits.utexas.edu/fi/

When I started taking French in undergrad, this was the main teaching tool we used.

As for learning another language during graduate school—on my apps that asked explicitly what my plans were, I said that I intend to enroll in undergraduate language classes in addition to my grad seminars for my second non-English modern language. But I'm sort of assuming that everyone in the cohort will be figuring language plans out together and not really worrying about it until that point.

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