I found a really neat language-learning tool today. It's a site which has vocabulary pages for nine languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew, Mandarin and Japanese). For each language there are about sixty individual pages, each organized by topic (greetings, weather, time, plants, etc); in some cases, the topics cluster into categories, so you get several pages on animals (mammals, reptiles, pets), several more on rooms (bedroom, dining room, kitchen), and so forth. On each page there are pictures of 10 or more items. If you move your cursor over the item, a recording of a native speaker saying the item's name plays; at the same time, the written version of the word pops up (in pinyan as well as characters for Chinese; just in the Hebrew alphabet for Hebrew). A marvelous tool for learning vocabulary. Check it out:
The site only works properly in Mozilla browser (Netscape or Firefox) -- at least on the Mac. Don't let this stop you; it's a neat page.
(Also, they need volunteers, apparently, so if you're a native speaker of one of those languages, you might consider donating a bit of time. Or, if you're rich, a bit of money.)