Living Language "Generations"

All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
Speakeasy
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:33 pm

Deleted.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:37 pm

Living Language: Different Brand Names
I am quite sure that I am not the only person to have noticed this, but I thought that it might be worthwhile adding the following comments to the archival record of Living Language on this forum, most particularly as an advice to collectors of vintage language-learning materials who might be lured by the prospect of acquiring a unique product that differs from the original in terms of content. The 1950’s-1960’s Living Language courses, produced by Crown Publishers, Inc., as boxed-sets of 10” x 33-1/3 rpm LP vinyl records with accompanying course booklets, were marketed under numerous brand names. The booklets and the audio recordings of all of the variants were identical as to content. The vinyl record labels bore the name of the different brand names. The presence of the individually-packaged sets (1 record x four), which were offered for sale by American newspapers and retailers, leads me to believe these courses may have been sold on an installment or subscription basis. Qui sait?

Labelled: Living Language
Living Language (two 10” LP vinyl records)
Living Language Advanced (two 10” LP vinyl records)
Living Language Complete (four 10” LP vinyl records)


Other Labels: (either one 10” LP vinyl record x four packages or four 10” LP vinyl record in one packagage)
Arkansas Gazette
Charlotte Observer
Chicago Daily News
Cleveland Press
Columbia Citizen Journal
Columbus Citizen Journal
Crown Publishers
Daily Express Language Courses
Daily Oklahoman
Dayton Daily News
Denver Standard
Detroit Press
Fort Wayne News Sentinel
Hartford Courant
Learn-A-Language
Los Angeles Times
Miami News
Milwaukee Journal
Montgomery Ward
New York Post
Odhams Records
Oklahoma City Times
Pickwick International
Philadelphia Daily News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Polyglophone CCC
Reinforced Learning
Rocky Mountain News
Sears, Roebuck & Company
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Toledo Blade


It is quite possible that the list above is incomplete and that other brands existed. The question remains: why did the publisher, Crown Publishers, Inc., go to all this bother? Putting aside matters of production, inventory management, order-fulfillment, et cetera, were they not diluting their own brand name?

EDITED:
Images of two different "brands"
Attachments
Living Language Advanced image.JPG
Living Language Advanced image.JPG (74.74 KiB) Viewed 460 times
Living Language Cleveland Press image.JPG
Living Language Cleveland Press image.JPG (70.55 KiB) Viewed 460 times
Last edited by Speakeasy on Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:39 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:16 pm

Computer-assisted Language Learning
Although Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) had its origins in the 1960’s, it was not until the mid-1990’s that major and minor publishing houses began introducing language-learning programmes using the increasingly available and lower-priced CD-ROM technology. CALL offered, and continues to offer, some very interesting possibilities for generating stimuli and measuring student responses, provided there is a sound pedagogical basis supporting the approach. Many well-known publishers of language-learning materials, in their haste to appear “ahead of the curve” followed the latest technological trend. Living Language was among them.

Living Language Triple Play Plus!
In the latter half of the 1990’s, Crown Publishers, Inc., publisher of the Living Language line of products, introduced the “Living Language Triple Play Plus!” series of CD-ROM-based introductory language courses. The staple languages of Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and English for Spanish-speakers were offered.

Promotional announcements informed the would-be language-learner: “Now you can use all the exciting capabilities of CD-ROM technology to make learning a language not only easy but also fun. Designed for ages 8 through adult, this is the first language-instruction program to feature Automatic Speech Recognition: your computer actually lets you know when your pronunciation is correct!” and...

“Winner of both the Newsweek Editors' Choice and Home PC Editor's Choice Awards, this unique multimedia immersion method starts you speaking (language) right away! The program teaches more than 1,000 vocabulary words and phrases, with over 30 colorful games like Concentration, Bingo and Jigsaw Puzzles. Easy-to-use menu and game interfaces let you explore three skill levels and join in conversations with onscreen characters. Instead of drills and memorization, TriplePlay Plus! uses full-color interactive multimedia to engage, entertain and teach. The focus is on everyday topics: people, food, clothing, home and office, activities, places, transportation, numbers. The mix of fun and challenge will keep the entire family playing, practicing and learning. The exclusive, patented speech recognition technology rewards correct pronunciation with instant feedback. Record/playback lets you hear yourself side-by-side with native speakers. A bonus CD-ROM for (language) adds 16 video grammar lessons to the games format, dramatizing the material in whimsical vignettes, and also includes a multimedia glossary of 2200 words. Plus, the main menu screen features an express link to Language Connect (TM) for travel and cultural resources on the World Wide Web.”

Commercial Success and Changing Technologies
Although there are a few positive Customer Reviews on Amazon.com, I have no information on the commercial success of the “Living Language Triple Play Plus!” series of language programmes. Nevertheless, all of the publishers, including Living Language, Routledge and many others, were faced with the rapid obsolesce of their physical products, primarily due to changes in the operating systems (it would appear that available inventories of new/used copies do not operate on versions of Windows higher than XP). None of the publishers made serious attempts at issuing successively updated versions of their CD-ROM courses and simply ceased offering these products.

Available Inventories
The very reason why I decided to mention this line of products was that I came across numerous offers on the Internet for new/used copies of the CD-ROM courses. Quite frankly, I am disappointed that the sellers continue to make such offers in light of the fact that they will not work on most of today’s computers and that, while it might be possible to develop a work-around solution enabling some level of functionality, doing so would be difficult and success would not be guaranteed.

Collectors of Vintage Language Courses?
I would advise against it.
Attachments
TriplePay Plus Japanese image.JPG
TriplePay Plus Japanese image.JPG (46.91 KiB) Viewed 393 times
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dampingwire
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby dampingwire » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:02 am

Speakeasy wrote:The very reason why I decided to mention this line of products was that I came across numerous offers on the Internet for new/used copies of the CD-ROM courses. Quite frankly, I am disappointed that the sellers continue to make such offers in light of the fact that they will not work on most of today’s computers and that, while it might be possible to develop a work-around solution enabling some level of functionality, doing so would be difficult and success would not be guaranteed.


If you do want to run one of these programs for historical interest, then spinning up a copy of Windows XP in a VM should be easy enough. When I've done this in the past (for old education software rather than language learning software) I've generally found it to be not worth the (minimal) effort: I could usually find something better available for free these days. But if you do want to see one of these programs in action, it's almost certainly not that hard to do.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:53 pm

@Dampingwire: Thank you very much for the technical advice. I heartily agree with you that installing an older version of an operating system is often “not worth the (minimal) effort”; nevertheless, the argument of obsolescence carries little weight with a collector. As an example, I had good reason to question the pedagogical worth of “The Modern Way with Two 2-Speed Miracle Records” that I reviewed in this forum not long ago. Even though I had serious doubts as to the technological “miracle” of pressing two different speeds onto a vinyl record, I was drawn to it out of an appreciation of its quirkiness. To a large extent, this applies to the majority of vintage language courses or to vintage anything else, for that matter. Quirkiness ...

1925 Doble E-20 Steam Car - Jay Leno's Garage - YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUg_ukBwsyo

EDITED:
Link to Jay Leno's Steam Car.
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aravinda
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby aravinda » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:27 am

Speakeasy wrote:... The ‘Spoken World’ courses used exactly the same approach as the ‘Ultimate’ courses, which, in passing, was originally published as ‘All The Way’. The only significant difference between the two series was that the Spoken World series was somewhat more concise than the Ultimate series, it was accompanied by 6 CDs as opposed to the 8 CDs, a second volume containing more advanced materials was not published and, whereas the Ultimate Series covered a few of the “more commonly studied” languages, the Spoken World series covered a few of the “less frequently studied” ones...
(bold mine)

Hello Speakeasy, I have a couple of queries for you.
I own few Ultimate courses for the most studied European languages and Russian. I also have a Hindi course which doesn't seem to belong to any of the Living Language series mentioned. When I did an Amazon search I found All the Way courses for French, German, Italian, Spanish (all had a second, advanced course too), Japanese, Russian and English (for Spanish speakers). But the Spoken World series seem to include an entirely different set of languages (Farsi, Korean, Dutch, Tagalog, Croatian, Irish, Swahili etc) and they apparently don't have follow-up volumes. These two series don't seem to be related in that way. Am I missing something here?
I understand that they have the same approach as the Ultimate courses. But are they using the same content as the Ultimate courses (when both series have same languages)?
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Speakeasy
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:18 am

Hello, Aravinda. Great observations!

The Living Language "All The Way" series was renamed the "Ultimate" series, I believe, somewhere in the early 1990's. From the copies that I have in my collection (German, Spanish, Portuguese Italian, French) the only significant differences between the two series would be (a) the presentation of monetary terms in Euros in the successor series as opposed to the local currencies in the the original, (b) spelling reforms, where applicable, and (c) the series title. As a "nice touch", Random House, the publisher, even left the typesetting errors uncorrected from the original series!

As you noted, the Living Language "Spoken World" series adopted the same approach as the "All The Way / Ultimate" series. The course manuals were marginally slimmer and the audio recordings were provided on six (6) CDs as opposed to the eight (8) CDs in the series on which it was modelled. The "Spoken World" series covered an entirely different collection of languages than did the "Ultimate" series and there is no over-lap between the two, either as to the languages covered or as to the content. I suspect that your copy of Living Language Hindi was published as part of the "Spoken World" series.

There is a degree of over-lap between the Living Language "Complete" series and those named above as to the languages covered only; however, the approach of the "Complete" series is quite different from the above and there is no over-lap as to content.
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aravinda
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby aravinda » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:52 am

Thank you, Speakeasy. Very much appreciated. Now I understand. My initial confusion was due to my misunderstanding of your completely clear sentence "The ‘Spoken World’ courses used exactly the same approach as the ‘Ultimate’ courses, which, in passing, was originally published as ‘All The Way’." For some reason, I thought "which" referred to the "Spoken World series". Sorry about that.
Speakeasy wrote: As a "nice touch", Random House, the publisher, even left the typesetting errors uncorrected from the original series!
How thoughtful of them! I remember some other publishers doing the same thing despite people repeatedly pointing out the errors to them. Amazing.
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Speakeasy
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Languages: English (N), French (C2). Studying: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian; all with widely varying degrees of application, enthusiasm, and success.
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:12 am

aravinda wrote: your completely clear sentence...
Perhaps not so clear, after all. I should have payed more attention during my Tenth Grade "English Composition" classes!
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Seneca
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Re: Living Language "Generations"

Postby Seneca » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:56 pm

It is a shame the Japanese: All the Way course was not republished with CD as it was for some (all?) of the other languages:
https://www.amazon.com/Living-Language- ... 00050/ref=

But if it is as quality as its reputation seems to be for the other languages offered in this line, it may still be worth the trouble. Or was this course likely reprinted later as well under a new name on lower quality paper and with CD? I figure speakeasy knows all on these sorts of things :lol:
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