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Library Powers Rocket-Fast Learning

Shelling out hundreds of dollars to learn a foreign language is a thing of the past. At the Westport Public Library, anyone with a library card can learn a foreign language for free with the new Rocket Languages program, said Tilly Dutta, technology manager at the library.

These interactive audio courses, which can be accessed from the library homepage, are available in 10 languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and American Sign Language.

"I think they will be very popular," Dutta said. "There are a lot of people who travel in this community, and the programs offer cultural lessons as well."

Though the programs are ideal for travelers, they are perfect for anyone looking to learn a new language regardless of skill level, Dutta said.

"The courses give an overview of the language and help you identify common words and phrases while having fun at the same time," she said. "You can take the lessons at your own pace, and because it's online, you can pick up where you left off at any time."

The courses are divided into different subject chapters, ranging from greetings and meetings, money and travel. The courses also are divided into different stages to accommodate different levels of learning.

The programs also offer quizzes and interactive games.

"The courses are very user-friendly and very well done," Dutta said. "You can learn key words and phrases while having fun at the same time."

The programs are audio-intensive and require users to speak aloud, Dutta said, so it's best to take the lessons by yourself where you can speak freely. Users can also download lessons as an MP3 and take them on the go.

To access the Rocket Languages, visit the library homepage and click the Learn a Language link.

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