I want to learn to speak Elvish

Well, Korean. It’s kind of the same thing.

I have this book but it’s clearly a college textbook which on page 4 assumes you already know Hangul. Uh, NO. So I’m looking for the best available computer-assisted program.

Any suggestions? This is a serious request!

Rosetta Stone used to be the best, back in the day when I worked software sales. It isn’t cheap, though.

Rosetta Stone is a good program, but as noted, expensive.

Have you considered just enrolling in a language course at your nearest university? Most state schools offer most of the bigger national languages, so I’d expect Korean to be fairly easy to find. I’d suggest taking a “Conversational Korean” course rather than a reading/writing course. Unless, of course, you want to learn to read and write it.

Galadriel, the Lady of the Bi Bim Bap. Sounds more like Dwarvish, to me.

I have a friend who really liked Rosetta for learning Chinese, he highly recommended the software.

Wait, what?

Which MMO is this for? :)

I thought it was pretty public knowldege that he works for NCSoft currently.

Yeah, and I do a lot of work with the Korean HQ, along with some expats here, and the language barrier is frequently an issue.

I’m under no illusion that it would ever HELP with this, but I’d like to at least make the effort, plus working for NC since 2006 has given me a lot of second-hand exposure to the culture already. There are also a few other MMO projects from Korea!

I checked the University of Texas (the local university here) but the only Korean coursework I could find was post-grad stuff which assumed fluency.

I’ve seen Rosetta Stone dissed a lot online, mainly that “it’s geared to stupid lazy people and you don’t actually learn anything!”. However it’s also the only interactive language software I’ve seen, so that’s a mark in its favor. Even if it would just help with learning Hangul and a stupid-basic vocabulary it would be worth the price I think.

I actually forgot they were Korean.

Liv Tyler is fluent in Tolkien Elvish… for real. Maybe you can get personal lessons from her? Skip Korean.

You’d think if it wasn’t cheap that they be able to afford a website that works. Every time I go there it changes “.com” to “.au” which isn’t a valid domain… I even went to their Aussie version “.com.au” and it does the same thing when you click on anything.

Be a little cautious about this. Lots of language courses, especially for Asian languages, are taught by native speakers of that language. Native speakers are often not very good language teachers (because the language is easy and intuitive for them). Also, conversational level courses are often advanced courses for people who’ve already studied the language. There’s also some risk that lots of the class will be sort of native speakers (people who immigrated as children, or grew up speaking both languages) either trying to improve their grammar or get easy As, which makes the course tougher than otherwise.

I’m not saying that any or all of these things will be the case, just that they are risks to be aware of, and you should do a little research before signing up for college language courses, especially in Asian languages.

Does your local library have any language software you can access? For a long time the Phoenix area libraries had a license for a web based version of Rosetta Stone. I think they replaced it recently with some other language software but it’s still free and works decently from the reviews I have read.

If you do come across something good please let us know. I would really like to be other than monolingual as well.

Do you mean taking a regular class at UT or some sorta night class? There are accelerated and normal first-year undergrad courses every semester. Austin has a pretty large Korean community. I’d imagine there’s a lot of tutoring/study language groups.

Oh, nevermind. I forgot the courses go First-year I in the fall then First-year II in the Spring.

I’ve used Rosetta Stone for Arabic and found it wonderful. My ex-wife swears by it as she has used it to become conversationally proficient in: Hebrew, Arabic and Portuguese.

For Arabic, it uses a lot of visual lessons that teaches you to read at the same time you learn to speak.

Try Mango Languages. You can subscribe as an individual or go to libraries that have it and use it for free.

Two of my kids are taking Korean at school. The school uses Livemocha to supplement the classes instead of Rosetta Stone, as it is far cheaper & allows you interaction with native speakers at the higher lesson levels. Haven’t tried it myself, but the basic lessons are free, and I would like to brush up on my German.

What? Native speakers generally make the best language teachers. They are able to perfectly illustrate the accent, intonation, and rhythm of the language. Non-native speakers almost never get those things 100% right… and those are precisely the things you need most from a language instructor.

The mechanical rules of the language can be easily learned from any decent language textbook.

This might be true if you are trying to achieve something like a native level competence with the language, but otherwise I totally disagree. The subtle nuances of accent, intonation, and rhythm are things you are only ever going to pick up once you’ve reached a fairly high level of competency. It’s hard to reach that starting with teachers who can’t clearly explain grammar, or the basics of pronunciation, or word meaning.

Your experience may be different, but it’s much easier for most people to learn from teachers than from books. People often need things explained in a number of different ways, and books generally can’t do that as well as teachers, nor can they address each of our own idiosyncratic issues. That’s one of the reasons why classes continue to exist.

People in general have a tough time articulating what is intuitive or easy to them, especially if they learned to do it when they were a kid. Native speakers learned their languages as a kid, and speaking is easy and intuitive for them.

I’m sure there are plenty of good teachers of their own native language. But they are likely to be less common than good teachers of foreign languages. This not only fits my theoretical view of learning and teaching, but also my experience (and that of the people I know who have learned and taught languages). I’ve taken 26 semesters of foreign languages, and every native speaker teacher I had was worse than any non-native speaker teacher I had. Similarly, when I taught English overseas, the Americans were generally worse teachers than the teachers who had learned english as a second language.

Hangeul, despite looking a bit intimidating at first, is dead easy. Way easier than learning Japanese or (god help you) Chinese writing. Any introductory textbook will do; I bet you can have it 70% learned in one afternoon and the whole thing down cold in a week, if you do a little practice. Order yourself a book online and in the meantime just print off the characters from a website somewhere and stick them up in your bathroom/livingroom/next to your desk or somewhere else you’ll see them often.

Here’s a good one, if a little small:

Here’s another one:

The language itself is, of course, a bit more challenging. But learning to read and write hangeul is quick and fun and will give you some confidence going into the next stage…