How The Lab Can Help You
The Language Lab can really help you not only succeed but excel. We understand that learning a new language requires a lot of investment, but it is always well worth the effort. Since everyone has their own learning style, the Language Lab offers a variety of learning materials, including computer programs, videos, CDs, and other materials like books and maps.
Example Materials You Can Use
- Computer Applications - We offer a variety of computer programs to assist in learning. Modern software is often brilliantly designed, and can really help you grasp concepts quickly. These programs are often fun to use as well.
- Video Materials - The Language Laboratory has a huge collection of video titles from around the world. Our video library includes critically-acclaimed moves from a variety of nations, documentaries, cultural guides, and language practice lessons, including the noted Destinos video series in Spanish. We also have some American favorites/classics which have been translated to other languages (such as The Wizard of OZ in French, or Star Wars in German).
- Audio Materials & Self-study Guides - We have a massive library of traditional audio material, covering most of the languages taught at Texas Tech. These can help you in a number of ways, from helping to train your ear, to refining your pronunciation, to learning new vocabulary.
- Printed Ancillaries - To round out our collection, we have dictionaries, books, maps, print magazines and even newspapers, representing a wide array of countries and languages from around the world. You are free to use these as much as you like while you are in the Lab.
Learning a language can be broken down into various skill components, and the Language Lab can help you with any of them. This is especially true if a particular skill is difficult for you. Don't forget something very important: Look for ways to make it fun. Just because something is fun doesn't mean it loses value or isn't serious. (People love to have fun, and people love to communicate. Perfect mix for languages!)
Let's take a look at some of the components:
- Alphabet - This may seem like the simplest thing in the world, but it is also the most basic. Of course, many world languages have some strong commonalities in their alphabets, and many may be completely different for you. If you are a beginner, acquainting yourself with the alphabet is the obvious starting point and shouldn't be overlooked (even if a lot of it seems familiar).
- Pronunciation - Pronunciation is linked to and from the alphabet, of course, then becomes more complex as you practice speaking. Pronunciation can be as simple as modifying the way a vowel sounds (in comparison to your own language), or it can take a lot of practice to correctly form new sounds. But, like any skill, practice really pays off, and building good pronunciation will help you immensely and underpins speaking.
- Listening - Comprehending what you hear in a spoken language is crucial, and takes practice. Different languages are spoken with different rhythms and intonations, and getting accustomed to these is a great start. Practicing is easy to do in today's world, and it doesn't have to be dull or boring... music, specially prepared material (like we have in the Lab), and audio tracks of all sorts are helpful. The more you practice and train your ear, the faster your development will go.
- Vocabulary - Learning vocabulary is where you may first feel you are really gaining ground in your studies. Learning actual words instantly enables you to start communicating. As your vocabulary grows, so will your confidence and your overall understanding. Like pronunciation, vocabulary can take practice, and with our variety of materials, there should be something that will click with your learning style.
- Grammar - Grammar is the connective fabric that ties all of the above together. It allows you to begin chaining together the proper words—your thoughts—in the right ways, and to understand others. Grammar can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be something you learn all at once. Allow yourself to start with simple concepts, and give yourself time to study and practice. Before long you will be amazed at how it will start to become "second nature."