Confession time: If there’s such a thing as a language-learning gene, I lack it. Some of my closest relatives have taught foreign languages, but I’ve always considered myself a hopeless case. In school, I took multiple years of French, German, and Latin; I was mediocre at the time, and almost everything I did learn long ago departed my noggin.
Strangely enough, I haven’t given up hope. So I’m intrigued by Livemocha, a language-learning service that’s launching some online courses in the U.S. today after mostly doing business in other countries until now. The company is going up against Rosetta Stone–the 800-pound gorille of computer-assisted language learning. Unlike the CD-ROM-based Rosetta, though, Livemocha is a Web-based service. And it has cool community features: You can chat with native speakers and record lessons for their feedback.