Ciao! Hujambo! Aadaab arrz! If you’re intrigued by other languages, you’ll want to explore Byki Online for Education (Byki is an acronym for “Before You Know It.”). This online resource from Transparent Language features instruction in 70 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.
Byki Online is available to current members of the MIT community courtesy of the MIT Libraries. Foreign Languages and Literatures Librarian Patsy Baudoin, who spent a year evaluating online language products, recommended Byki for its winning combination of quality, affordability and accessibility, including a mobile option.
Byki’s approach helped seal the deal: The service is based on learning phrases as they are spoken by native speakers, rather than focusing on grammar (although each language has a "grammar" tab where you can learn the basics). Byki uses flash cards in a variety of ways to fix phrases in memory. There’s also a “slow sound” button that lets you hear how each syllable in a phrase is pronounced.
Baudoin notes that Byki’s pragmatic flash card/spoken phrase approach works especially well at a place like MIT, where people often learn languages because they plan to study or work in another country.
Wherever you are, you can take a tour of Byki Online.
Resources: here, there and everywhere
Byki Online is tuned into the busy pace of many language learners and offers several options for building language skills on the fly.
- Byki Mobile provides apps for Android and Apple devices, so you can learn a language of interest on the go. To find out how to get started with Byki Mobile, read the MIT Libraries News post “Learn a language with Byki Mobile. ¿Entiendes?”
- Word of the Day. Byki offers a Word of the Day in several languages. You can access this feature in various ways – from bookmarking the Word of the Day page to signing up for a daily email to getting the word in your Facebook or Twitter feed.
- Language and Culture Blogs. Transparent Language’s 25 language blogs are usually written in English but include more than a smattering of the featured foreign language. Posts may tackle language questions or give you an insider’s look at a country’s culture (e.g., “Norwegians Know Good Bread”). As with the Word of the Day, you can access the blogs in many ways.
- Online Communities. Byki and social media make a perfect match. The Facebook page for a given language features the Word of the Day and articles from the language blog; you can also ask questions and share content, such as vocabulary lists, with other learners and with language experts. If you prefer, you can follow a language on Twitter.
Do you like Byki? Not a fan? Either way, just say the word. While the Libraries get usage statistics from Transparent Language, they are looking for feedback on the service: take a minute to tell them what works, what could be improved, and whether you find the service valuable. Send those comments to Patsy Baudoin.
Sampai jumpa lagi! Da svidaniya! La revedere!