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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Old Dog Learning New Tricks

In this case I'm the old dog, and the trick I am trying to learn is to learn a new language at the ripe old age of almost 40( I still have another month or so!)

Experts always warn that the best time to learn a second language is before the age of five or so. But, I don't think my parents ever had any reason to think I would need to learn Haitian Creole.

One of my favorite language programs is Rosetta Stone, but unfortunately, they don't have a Haitian Creole program. Unfortunately, not many of the bigger named programs do.

I did find Logos Language Institute which offers several languages all reasonably priced. I am happy with my purchase and the method which is a book and CD. But at this time they only have the introductory level available which is very, very, basic.

Yesterday, I was very pleased to find byki which offers FREE downloads of several languages. I tried it right away and was VERY impressed! If you are interested in learning another language, or are a homeschooler looking for a basic program for your children, check this one out!

The free download is a series of word and phrase lists on flash cards. After you have time to review them, there is a variety of ways to learn them. Front and back of cards, then they flash the word in English and you write it in the language you are learning, in my case Haitian Creole. A little easier is the word flashed in Haitian and you write it in English. My only complaint about this part is it is VERY picky about how you write it, including capital letters and punctuation. But there is a way around this. If you have the word right but didn't include a period or whatever, and they tell you it is wrong, they give you three options, to accept your answer this one time, to always accept this answer, or....oh gosh, I forgot what the third was, but I usually opt for the second option.

There is an extended version you can purchase for around forty dollars, which I may do as money permits. The free version is good enough to get started on for any beginner to a language and you can always buy the extended version later.

I would like to start my school aged children on the Spanish version soon, and am curious to see if it will allow me to download two free versions or not. I will let you know, as I know there are many homeschoolers that have many children who each may want to learn different second languages.

Overall, especially considering the price, I give this one high marks! In my case, not only the price, but the fact it is one of the few programs out there offering Haitian Creole, it gets even higher marks!


appleleaf said...

Good on you! You're amazing and I'm sure your enthusiasm is a model for your boys.

Rabscuttle said...

Hi there! You can definitely download Spanish Byki for free as well, there's no limit on how many of the 70+ free downloads you can sample. Which is really neat if you're just CURIOUS about a language (Icelandic, for example).

Also, make sure to check out the Community tab on There are more free lists there, some provided by Transparent, but many created by our user community itself, which includes many teachers.

Have a wonderful day!

- Lorien
(I work at Transparent Language)

PS - free foreign language eCards to be had at Check them out, they are BEAUTIFUL if I do say so myself. :)

Evan Quinlan said...

You should be able to turn on "Ignore Capitals and Punctuation" in Byki's main menu... right? Is that option there?

Tara B. said...

Evan, THANKS! Didn't even know that option was there. That makes it so much nicer.
Tara B