Language Learning Software for Free!

I’m sure you would agree with me that being bi-lingual gains you a huge advantage over others who aren’t. In today’s tough and struggling economy and I clearly don’t mean just the United States, being able to speak another foreign language looks very good on your resume and makes you a lot more desirable than say another individual who has the same skill sets as yourself. Besides work related, isn’t it just cool to tell others that you can speak two or more languages?! You can communicate with a whole new bunch of people that wouldn’t have been possible before unless you had a personal translator (or some sort of smart phone app but that wouldn’t fun). But of course you probably all know this and don’t need me repeating it. However, learning a new language has always been difficult and a very taunting task for many. Were not learning how to add and subtract here. We are talking about learning a completely new communication language. Wouldn’t you agree that in order to conquer such a difficult task we should learn to break that task into smaller, more manageable parts? Just about every language learning software or method usually starts you off with the basics and then move on to the more difficult and advanced parts. With BYKI Express, we are able to do just that and should you want more, you’ll be glad to know that the price for the deluxe version wouldn’t make a huge dent in your wallet. Our economy is struggling, remember?

Learning a new language is difficult, we get that. There are definitely a number of language learning software you can choose from to help guide you to your goal. However, what usually separates one software from another (besides price) is in the method used to actually teach you your language of choice. Let’s face it. A huge part of how you’ll learn a new language is due to memory commitment. That’s why you’ve probably heard or read that the best time to learn a new language is during your childhood where it’s much easier to commit things to memory. Many language software incorporates different techniques to help you in this respect. If one doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to try something else. Just recently, I’ve discovered a language teaching software that has a free edition along with a paid version. This is very important because like I’ve said above, not every teaching method will work for you. Therefore, what’s better than being able to try out the software via the free (express) version before making the commitment? This way, I’ll get to see firsthand if the software is right for me or not.

I’m sorry, I had to do it. Whenever someone hears about learning to speak a new language, Rosetta Stone immediately pops up. Come on, admit it. I bet you had that same thought earlier on. Well, if you have ever used Rosetta Stone before, a whole lot of you will understand what I’m about to say: Do Not Waste Money on Rosetta Stone! It’s a complete ripoff where money is concerned and worst of all, it is not effective. Their method of using multiple pictures is poorly done and can be very confusing to some. Not to mention, having the narrator speak to you as if you already know the language doesn’t help one bit! Pictures are useful but the way Rosetta Stone actually teach you words and phrases is just confusing and not fun at all. Trust me, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Now, I’m 100% sure that there are also a lot of people out there that found success with this product but it just didn’t work for me or pretty much all the other people I’ve met. Rosetta Stone is actually used by the U.S. military to train students and soldiers but for the many I have talked to, a majority of them didn’t like it one bit. You’ve been warned.

BYKI

When I first heard about BYKI, I was thinking what the heck did it stood for. Well, it stands for Before You Know It. Basically, “before you know it”, you’ll be speaking a different language. Very clever. But does it work? Well, that’s something you have to find out for yourself. Luckily though, BYKI includes several different editions for purchase for each language and one edition completely free! This express edition allows you to taste a small sample of what BYKI is about before putting your money down.

BYKI Express uses a unique system called “lists” that comes pre-installed by default. These default lists are only a sample of what the full version will include. However, other users within the BYKI community can create and distribute custom lists for others to download and use. This allows you to get the most out of the program. These lists are usually “flash-card” based with picture and audio pronunciation. There’s actually a lot more activities, games and features to BYKI as a whole to help you learn your language but you’ll need to be a premium/deluxe member to take advantage of it. I’m not said premium member but judging from the free edition, it looks very promising.

BYKI, from my personal opinion, should not be considered a language software you would want to use to completely master a given language. I really don’t think that’s the intention of the software. What BYKI will do is get you to memorize many of the most used words and phrases for any of its offered languages. In my opinion, BYKI is a very good program to use if you are just starting out in your language journey. Want to learn Korean but not sure how tough it is? Well, download the express edition and find out for yourself!

You can download your BYKI language express edition from here. The download here is not the actual software download but just the front piece. Once you initiate the program, BYKI will then begin downloading and installing the actual language version you have selected from their servers. Also, one thing I don’t like about BYKI is the deception to get you to enter your personal email address. It states that the download link will be sent to your email but that’s not true at all. Once you enter in the information (whether using a real or fake email), you’re prompted to choose whether you want the Windows or Mac version of the software in your browser and the download proceeds all without having to check your email for the download link.
  1. You’ll be asked to create a user account to help keep track of your own progress.
  2. To get started, you’ll need to pick a individual list to work with in BYKI. Each list contains anywhere from 8-16 words and phrases. Each list is catered to a specific category, scenario or situation. For example, there are lists to learn specific words and phrases when trying to communicate directions, a list for greetings and so forth.
  3. Once you’ve selected a list, you’ll go through 3 steps/processes for each one. The first step is the “preview” step. Here you’ll get to read and hear the actual words and phrases. Some words actually have a picture to accommodate it and this actually helps you commit it into your memory. The best part is being able to slow down the audio by pressing the small turtle icon. This allows you to more clearly hear every pronunciation and syllable as best possible.  In the second step known as “recognize it”, BYKI provides the words and phrases in the language you’re trying to learn and you’ll get to to translate them back into English. In the final step known as “produce it”, BYKI will provide the definition in English while you have to translate them into the language being learned. This is the opposite of step two.
  4. Once you’re done with the default lists, you can actually download additional custom lists created by other BYKI users all for free! You can take a look at these lists here. Once you’ve found a list that you want, simply download the .b4u file. Back in BYKI, select the List drop-down menu at the top and then the Import List option. Browse to your downloaded .b4u file to import it. Once that’s done, simply select the list from your vault.

While costing you nothing, BYKI Express edition still offers a lot. I was actually surprised that they allowed even the express edition users to import custom lists downloaded through the Internet! This clearly could have been a premium only feature and include only 5-6 default lists for the express users.

I still firmly believe that BYKI is an excellent introduction for users wanting to learn a new language. The flash card based system is simple and effective. Also, the best feature in my opinion is being able to slow the audio pronunciation. Just remember that learning a new language by yourself is a very difficult task no matter what software you use. It’s to your advantage if you find one in which the teaching system and methods work for you. If you don’t like BYKI, that’s mighty fine as well. As long as you try it, there’s no harm being done. Good luck!

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