For an aspiring polyglot its hard to find useful ressources of language learning materials online. I present you my personal collection of tools and sites that I used in the last couple of years to learn languages quick and easy. I had a lot of fun while doing it and actually met some very interesting people. Wether you want to learn French, Japanese, Korean or Spanish, these websites and ressources will help you tremendously to achieve your goal to speak a foreign language.
Pretty much everyone knows the expensive way to go: Rosetta Stone.
With a system of easy to learn short remembering games, the software tries to teach you the language by learning like a child. No Vocabulary or Textbooks required.
For a lot of us the price point is much too high so I will focus this article on free methods to develop some slick language skills.
More after the break
One beatuiful alternative to Rosetta Stone is Livemocha.
It provides several games and easy learning experiences which are very similar to Rosetta Stone.
They even pride themselves stating the following:
“Livemocha is the best online language program I have seen and used—vastly superior to Rosetta Stone in terms of cost and the variety of language functions it offers.”
Dr. Steven J. Sacco, Language Professor, San Diego State University
PhD in Foreign Language Education
I used Livemocha for months myself and can summarize it as follows: Simply amazing.
Not only is the learning experience so similar to Rosetta Stone (despite being free) that it may not even feel different but I’ve also met several nice people on there to improve on my Tagalog and Japanese skills. The community is very friendly and helpful. You can submit your own texts and livemocha-users will submit a correction oftentimes in less than hours. If you want to only check one or two of my recommendations, please try this one. Registration Required
Anki is a vocabulary-nerds dream come true. It uses a flash-card like system which you can customize to your likes easily. You can even download so called PreDecks by simply clicking File-> Download.
There you find basic Japanese Vocabulary, French irregular verbs and much much more. Download Required.
EduFire is basically teaching you languages in video form. Its as simple as that. The quality differs immensely but its very fun and worth checking out. Try to spend some time finding your favourite teacher and start learning. Most of the videos are offered in a podcast form so you can come back every time you want and keep on learning more. I very much appreciated the different Japanese courses but thats just me.
If you don’t want to download a program and don’t want to register on a website to learn your vocabulary, just use smart.fm.
It uses Flashcards to learn you everything you need. The content is user submitted and provides thousand sets in every language imaginable. Check the system out by just typing your preferred language in the top search bar and click START. Again, no registration required, just a simple and easy experience with native speakers guiding you through the whole learning process. I recommend smart.fm to anyone starting a language.
In a very similar way to livemocha, lang-8’s users help you correcting your submissions by providing help in chat-form also. With native speakers from over 180 countries, it is easily one of the richest websites out there. So if you want to learn a very rare language. Try your luck at lang-8.
Here are some sites which I highly recommend to you, if you want to go the old fashioned way of learning by reading a text-book or listen to a podcast. From Aramaic to Hmong, in these ressources you will find quite everything.
FSI Languages: These language courses are devloped by the United States government and are in public domain. So use your tax-dollars
The Open University The Open university is not only providing help in text-form but offers video courses as well. Highly recommended.
Free-Language: Freelanguage.org provides videos, textbooks, links to podcasts etc. pretty much everything you could ever want.
Italki: Italki provides hundres of partners to train your language skills on skype or just have a little chitchat.
BBC Languages: Very good audio and video language courses by the BBC
Google Translate: One of the most powerful translation tools online.
Do you have some more interesting ressources? Just leave a comment