Slowing Down Language CDs

Sun 22 August 2010

The rhythm and shape of a new language is strange at first. Not only don't I understand the words, I can't get my head around where each word begins and ends. My MP3 player lets me repeat, but doesn't slow down.

Pimsleur language courses teach new phrases in chunks. After the initial repetitions, a couple syllables of the phrase is given. It's repeated with more syllables added until the whole phrase is complete. I'm so sad that there's no Pimsleur set for Khmer.

I've found two tools to slow down MP3 playback without changing the pitch. The Amazing Slow Downer was handy for learning fiddle tunes by ear. Fiddlers play like lightning, and embellish the notes with ornamentation. ASD was invaluable for making tunes comprehensible.

QuickTime Player 7 exposes an A/V control panel which includes speed. These were removed in QuickTime Player X, which comes with Snow Leopard. However, you can have both installed. It's in the Optional Installs on the Snow Leopard installation disk, and available for download here. Use these sources. Other versions of Quicktime Player 7 will stop with an error message that a more recent version is installed.

Category: Languages

Tags: tools /