Skip directly to content

‘Five places’ shares tips on language learning

San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, 2009
By Susan Fornoff

This article was originally posted at

Judging from comments on last Sunday’s “Five Places” list of oceanfront hotels, readers want cheap options. “Outside of a campground for not-so-rich weirdos, where can you stay by the ocean for under $79 a night?” one asked. Another reader commented: “I know a really good seaside place that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but I’m not telling you where it is. So there.”

Now children. Please share – that’s what readers of Spud Hilton’s extensive package of information on learning language are doing; some of their many comments and e-mails appear below.

For another look at the stories and more comments, visit

– “Find a local restaurant where the target language is spoken by native-speakers.”
– “The public library has lots of language learning resources, books, audios, etc.”
– “Local evening schools. Italingua has a great series of Italian classes (including one for pre-vacation, ‘postcards from Italy’). Alliance Francaise likewise does wonderful French. I’ve heard that the Goethe-Institut is great for German.”
– “Absolutely nothing beats two weeks at www. reginacoe”
– “The best way to learn is to take language classes in the country you are visiting.”
– “Centro Latino in the East Bay (Berkeley) is a great place to learn Spanish. Small to very small classes and excellent native speaker instructors (also Portuguese).”
– “The best method for adult learners working on their own is the Pimsleur series of audio CDs, based on drills and prompted recall, with repeated review of previously learned material.”
– “Live, online native speaker tutors with video conferencing, which is almost like being in the same room as the tutor, but at a much lower price… All you need is a Webcam and a headset (or microphone and speakers).” (Recommended: and