Set up your very own language lab

Self learning is in, even in the vast field of language learning. Shop shelves are filled with resources for learning language skills at your own pace

To master the English language, a student must master all four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. While there are many English language training centres in the city and some colleges have full-fledged English language laboratories, some useful learning materials can be picked up at bookshops that can aid in developing your very own language lab.These resources could be vocabulary books, books on grammar practice, on idioms and phrasal verbs, dictionaries and even some structured courses which come with audio and video support to help a student of the language in self paced learning. In fact, most of the materials for learning the English language are now in the self learning mode, where all the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking can be self taught by a learner to himself at a time and place he finds comfortable, says K. Rajeevan, Chief Publishing Manager of Foundation Books Private Limited.In fact the trend that is catching up in English language learning resources publishing is self help, self paced books with innovative interactive features to help learn not just the language, but also enjoy the rich nuances of the words, their usage in different contexts to finally refine the way you speak.Here are some of the resources from Cambridge University PressLanguage in Use by Adrain Doff and Christopher Jones is a four level beginner to upper intermediate course, which comes in self-study work books, with creative tasks that stimulate learning. A typical set for example the beginner's set comes with a Classroom Book (Rs.195), A self-study workbook (Rs.125), A Teacher's Book (Rs.695), A Class Cassette Set (2 audio cassettes), a self-study cassette (Rs. 75) and a video CD.

Instant dictionary

Do you often wish that the moment you hit upon a difficult word, the dictionary just pops up the right meaning? Well here it is, the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary comes with a CD, compatible with word documents as well as with Internet Explorer. So if you are reading an important paper in the word format, all you have to do is insert the dictionary CD in too and place your cursor near the word you find difficult to crack and look at a small dialogue box of the dictionary, there you have it, the meaning of the word, right there. And what's more, this word is hyperlinked to a string of similar words through a thesaurus option, so what you have is a rich understanding as you go along with the lines of the book. In addition to the 80,000 words and other features, this CD has a whole lot of exercises with words, including picture words that help you grasp the nuances of the English language even faster. Another interesting feature is the pronunciation key, which helps you to listen to any word and practice it by repeating it. You can also record your pronunciation and match it with the correct one to see any mismatch.

Vocabulary builder

`English Vocabulary in Use' is another such self-paced learning resource that comes in four versions from the elementary to the advanced with 100 easy-to-use units. These units are arranged in themes with words pertaining to relationships all bunched together, words defining environment clustered together. The wealth of innovative learning activities packed in these books makes understand the nuances of this language.


Idioms can add fun, depth and of course style to your communication. `English Idioms in Use' by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O'Dell is a good vocabulary book, which contains 60 two-page units. Idioms are presented on the left-hand page and practice exercises on the right hand of the page. This is priced at Rs. 150.


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