These courses shun rote learning of vocabulary and grammar in favour of a more holistic approach. The software demands interaction by, for example, matching words with images, while speech-recognition tools help you to improve your pronunciation. Audio courses mean you can continue learning away from your computer. There are nearly 30 languages available with three levels. Each level takes about 40 to 50 hours to complete. Available from www.rosettastone.com from US$279 (Dh1,026), plus shipping.
This website offers exercises and tutorials in 35 languages, but its online community is what sets it apart. It has more than 11 million members who have all specified languages they know and languages they would like to learn. By matching up learners and speakers, the website helps you get feedback from "languages partners" who are native or fluent in the language you want to learn. "Gold key" access to all materials on www.livemocha.com is available from $133.50 (Dh491) for 12 months.
The 2.0 on the end says it all: as well as a book and a CD-ROM, these guides provide access to a website called Berlitz Hotspot, which provides a wide range of digital content and a community of fellow language learners. This blended approach means you can develop ways of learning that suit your strengths, whether you prefer reading a book or listening to a podcast. Courses are available in French, Spanish, German, Italian and English. Available from www.amazon.com from $22.79 (Dh84), plus shipping.