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December 2014

Top (Affordable) Christmas Gifts for your Language-Learning Loved Ones

Find the perfect gift for your beloved language student!

A visit to the bookstore or a quick browse of popular software is all it takes to realize that learning resources are costly. From textbooks priced the same as some smartphones to applications that charge as much as netbooks, it’s difficult to find the perfect gift for friends or family attempting to learn a new language. Even still, language learning resources are the perfect gift, as they foster education and are immensely useful to the recipient. Today we’ll take a look at some of the better (and yet affordable) gift options for loved ones who are on the path to learning a new language.

Livemocha Credits

Livemocha, once dubbed the “Rosetta Stone killer” and now owned by the same software giant, is a free site that offers benefits to those who have credits to spend. Let your loved ones unlock new exercises and site specials with Livemocha credits. While the site doesn’t seem to offer a gifting option, third-party services like GiftRocket make it relatively easy. Gift coupons can either be emailed to the recipient or printed out yourself, making it a simple (and also very green) Christmas gift option.

Periodical Subscriptions

While it’s not cheap to subscribe to print magazines or newspapers from a foreign country, it’s still relatively cheaper than buying many language texts. It’s also a unique and culturally stimulating gift that many overlook. Even better, many countries feature foreign language periodicals printed within the countries themselves. For example, Sing Tao Daily, Hong Kong's second-largest newspaper, is also available in 16 other countries. This means you’re more likely to get a subscription at a reasonable price.

When choosing a periodical, it’s good to consider the tastes of the recipient. (It goes without saying that you would not want to give a hardware enthusiast a year-long subscription to Cat Fancy.) For newspapers, browse the websites of each periodical and select the one that appeals most to you.

Dual Language Books

Dual language books are a smart and affordable gift for language learners. Priced the same as novels, these normally paperback books offer both foreign text and native text in a side-by-side format for easy reference. Because dual language books are so affordable, you could pick up several as a gift. Opting for short stories might bode better if you’re not entirely sure what sort of books your recipient prefers. Collections of short stories also offer a greater range of exposure to different sets of vocabulary, a very important feature for the aspiring student.

Audio Books and Audio Learning

While language learning software often carries a hefty price tag, its audio equivalent tends to run much cheaper. Audio books are fairly ubiquitous and can be purchased on multiple websites online. Pairing audio books with the actual book is also a great idea as the gift recipient would be able to refer back to text for language reference.

Audio learning programs like those created by the Michel Thomas Method start at relatively low price points for beginners. Even complete collections cost just a fraction of what many full-fledged applications are asking for.

What is your favourite gift for language learners? Let us know on Facebook and be sure to “like” TELC English for more tips on learning new languages!

Foto: © JiSign