5 free language learning resources to help you reach fluency faster
Let our experts guide you in learning a new language.
Learning a new language is one of the most beneficial things a person can do. Travel becomes easier. Plus, brain function is improved as cognitive function is regularly challenged. To get started, as well as help along the way, here are four incredible (and costless) language learning services. Take a look at these ways to learn 130 languages for free.
I selected these four services from the masses based on how interactive the lessons are, ability to progress consistently, and how quick they help learners reach a basic level of communication in the language.
Anyone who’s done a Google search knows that the web is full of options for language learners. While these platforms are free, I absolutely encourage anyone looking to learn a new language to consider immersive lessons, whether via Skype or in-person. Nothing beats person-to-person interaction and regular conversation. But for the cost-conscious learner, these are the cream of the crop.
Live Lingua Project
Live Lingua is an online immersive language learning platform. Their services are based on Skype lessons in just about any language you can think of. But that’s not all they offer. The Live Lingua Project, the brain child of co-founders Ray and Laura Blakney, offers free downloadable audio and ebook language learning tools in over 130 languages.
The Live Lingua Project offers direct links to the resources for each language. Their tools are a collection of public domain works from a variety of sources. Simply click on the language you are wanting to learn and browse the available options.
More specifically, the Live Lingua Project is broken down into three main categories:
- Peace Corps Language archive- the biggest collection of resources, offering tools for over 100 languages including many obscure languages such as Ibatan and Kwanyama.
- FSI Language Courses- A collection of tools created by the U.S. State Department for international diplomats.
- DLI Language Courses- Tools built for military and law enforcement personnel working in international situations.
The Live Lingua Project is perhaps the web’s most complete collection of free language resources, compiled by a top language school. Before signing up for any language lessons, check out this incredible resource.
The Mezzofanti Guild
The web is full of language bloggers, but The Mezzofanti Guild is the only one I’ve found that’s truly objective and actually provides you with hacks — for a number of different languages — without any type of corny sales pitch at the end. Donovan Nagel, the founder, is among the world’s most impressive polyglots — he essentially moves around the world learning the language of different places, and compiles the tools and tricks he used to learn each one onto his website. He also curates a great blog, featuring advice from other top polyglots and reviews of many of the web’s most popular language learning services.
The DuoLingo app, which you can download on your phone for free, turns the art of language learning into an interactive game. Their popular mobile and desktop apps take learners through lessons and quizzes based on ability level. Performance is graded and analyzed, with feedback tied to specific needs and progress happening at the pace of the leaner.
23 languages are offered. Users set a goal and time commitment, and the program provides daily lessons that help the learner progress into basic conversation and then more in-depth language knowledge. Already know a bit of a language but want to master it? Take the placement tests and jump to exactly where you need to be.
Busuu just might be the quickest way to get to a conversational point in a new language. Their mobile apps operate without an internet connection, allowing users to practice wherever they are without draining data. Lessons in 12 languages are available.
Their service is very social, very interactive, and always engaging. Basics including vocabulary, grammar, and simple sentences and questions are taught in an interactive and fun manner. Busuu uses fill-in-the-blank drills along with questions and quizzes. But perhaps the coolest thing about their service is the ability to have writing exercises reviewed by fluent speakers of the language. This is an incredible way to receive actual feedback beyond an app marking an answer as right or wrong. A premium option is available as well, for those willing to pay.
Memorize.com allows users to tailor their language learning process to be specific to what they need or want to learn. Users have the ability to create their own lessons and share them with others. Learning happens as the pages are integrated into the website’s system of instructors and professionals. The goal is to help learners memorize the information by making it as useful as possible to their specific situation.
The instructors and professionals provide the learning material. Students create pages to help them learn and memorize the information. The system is unlike anything else available – a truly valuable resource for interactive language learning.
All five of these resources are valuable on their own, but I always suggest trying them all to find the best one for your situation and learning style. Even if you plan to take lessons eventually, these resources are a great start for foundational language learning.