Guest Post by Helene Schmidt
They say love is the universal language, but when you’re in a Chinese market trying to haggle over a fake Rolex, love probably won’t help you get the deal done. With all the resources freely available, there’s no reason to not at least brush up on the native language of a country you’ll be visiting or to simply expand your horizons. A few years back we brought you a list of 101 online tools for learning any foreign language on the arm. We thought it was time for a tune-up. Andale!
Put yourself in the hands of experienced educators with these gratis online courses.
- BBC Greek:This option from the BBC is the full package, with videos, games, exercises, and audio to make it all Greek to you.
- Espacios publicos:Very quickly into the 20 hours of introductory Spanish course material, you’ll discover this means “public spaces.”
- Beginners’ Chinese:Mandarin Chinese is presented here in more than six hours of material for people with absolutely no prior experience with the language.
- French 101:Fifteen introductory French video lessons from Carnegie Mellon University are at your disposal, and you can save your work if you create an account.
- Introduction to Portuguese:Start studying now and you’ll be ready for Carnival in February 2013.
- BBC German:With tabs for beginners, school German, vocab, and video tutorials, the BBC has you covered.
- Learn How to Speak Japanese:More than 40 instructional videos are bolstered by instruction in grammar, Japanese history, and the country’s culture.
- American Sign Language:With videos and a lengthy glossary complete with pictures and descriptions, Lifeprint.com gets a thumbs up for learning sign language.
- Getting Started on Classical Latin:In 10 hours you’ll learn how engrained Latin is in English and get a good grip on sentence structure and pronunciation.
- The Big Welsh Challenge:Can you learn Welsh? The BBC brings you all the tools you need with this free course.
- Elementary Russian:Learn Russian by watching the BBC series Goodbye Summer and working through the 70+ exercises.
- Farsi 1:This brief intro to Farsi, or Persian, comes courtesy of Wikiversity and a $0 price tag.
- Learn English Online:For non-native speakers, this is a great intro to the basics of an often-confusing language.
- BBC Italian:Converse with your local pizza shop owner after studying up on this beginner’s course.
- Learn How to Speak Russian:The ELanguageSchool delivers this set of grammar, vocab, and 18 video lessons for learning Russian.
- Kenyan Sign Language:This unique form of communication can be easily picked up, thanks to this free course by the Peace Corps.
- Chinese I:MIT’s much-copied OpenCourseWare is the home of this free course on introductory Chinese, which comes with online texts and multimedia content.
- Lernu:This is a great site for learning the universal language of Esperanto for free.
- Intermediate German:This free courseware from the Open University helps you practice your German by studying its culture and families.
- Conversa Brasileira:Intermediate-level students can watch 35 unscripted conversations between native Portuguese speakers here, with subtitles and pop-up audio commentary.
- Old Norse for Beginners:Learn how to talk like a Viking with this course, plus play rune puzzles and do exercises.
Just watch and learn.
- Cantocourse:Learn Cantonese through skits involving live cattle, public security officers, and “dating tips for plonkers.”
- OMGmeiyu:In these short videos, English idioms and slang are translated into Mandarin by a perky American host.
- Swahili Lessons:Get a short intro to this African language with this collection of videos.
- Let’s Speak Korean:And how shall we speak it? By watching these 60 video tutorials, of course.
- Latinum:The guy behind the informative podcast has made the switch to YouTube. Different channel but same great Latin help.
- Maori:The indigenous people of New Zealand speak Maori, and you can too with the help of this 13-part video series.
- Yabla French:This is an exceptional video-teaching website for French instruction, with captions in multiple languages, integrated dictionaries, and more, in both free and paid iterations.
If you’re an auditory learner, we have good news for you.
- English as a Second Language:This site makes ESL learning even easier by including learning guides with transcripts with every podcast.
- Arabic in Jordan:These lessons from the Peace Corps will teach you Arabic as it’s spoken in Jordan.
- Chinese Lessons:Instructor Serge Melnyk offers 30 audio lessons for beginner Mandarin for free, with the option to pay for more if you choose.
- GermanPod101:Create a free account and edge them toward 200 million free German lessons delivered.
- Learn Romanian Magazine:The archived podcasts on this site are a good resource for conquering the Romanian language.
- Beginners’ Chinese:The Open University brings you 46 audio lessons for building a knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.
- Learn French by Podcast:This highly rated series will have you “Oui oui”-ing in no time.
- Radio Verda:Immerse yourself in the language of Esperanto with international news and talk on this podcast.
- Learn Italian:Get your word of the day, audio lessons, and video tutorials through this helpful podcast.
- Special Finnish:Translate the home page then jump right into the Finnish-speaking podcasts.
- DutchPod101:There are 28 videos to get you well into learning Dutch, and you can head to their website for more instruction after that.
- Learn Hindi:Start from the beginning with the Hindi alphabet via this podcast.
- Cody’s Cuentos:Nursery rhymes worked for teaching you English, now use them to learn basic Spanish with these audio files.
- Ta Falado:From the University of Texas comes this series of podcasts in Portuguese pronunciation and grammar.
- Hebrew Podcasts:Conversational Hebrew is taught with transcripts, translations, exercises, and more with this podcast.
- One Minute Catalan:Check out this podcast for free Catalan instruction. You can spare a minute, can’t you?
- Le Journal en Francais Facile:French news is presented in an accessible way for learners of a wide range of skill.
- ArabicPod:The best Arabic-learning podcast is a member of the “Pod” family and brings you 30 lessons free on iTunes.
- Russian Literature:Improve your Russian listening comprehension by downloading UCLA’s free podcasts of Russian writings.
- Bambara in Mali:The lingua franca in Mali, Bambara is yours to absorb with these podcasts from the Peace Corps.
- Japancast:Tokyo transplant Hitomi teaches you Japanese through anime and everyday conversation examples.
Finally, free textbooks. Take that, campus bookstore!
- Portuguese:There’s content for beginners and intermediate speakers, as well as the Portuguese spoken in both Brazil and Portugal.
- Scottish Gaelic:This Wikibook has Gaelic phrases, sentence structure, pronunciation help, and even a chapter on the sustainability of the language.
- Albanian:Learn “Shqip” with the help of this Albanian textbook.
- Polish:Lessons range from basic grammar to more advanced topics like declension and tenses.
- An Abbreviated Dictionary of Ch’orti’ Maya:Headed to Camotán, Chiquimula? Check out this book on the language of the area Mayans.
- Russian:Russian names and cursive are some of the cool bonuses for this language’s Wikibook.
- Irish:This books gets it done in three lessons, starting with history and ending with vocab.
- Textkit:You should be able to find what you need regarding Greek or Latin education with this site’s 180+ textbooks.
- Yiddish:There are two Wikibooks on Yiddish of varying states of completion, one on Yeshivah Bachurim and one on conversational Yiddish.
- French:The French Wikibook comes with add-ons like news stories, famous excerpts, and national anthems.
- German:This book is under development but can still serve as a handy guide to your German instruction.
- Abaza Grammar:Fewer than 50,000 people in the world speak this language of the Caucasus Mountain region, so you’ll be in an exclusive club if you learn it with the help of this book.
- Afrikaans:Work your way through the South African language with this free textbook.
- Belorusian:Join the 9 million or so people who speak Belorusian by reading up on the language with this textbook.
- Albanian Basic Course Vol. I:The scan could be better quality, but this is the first of 10 volumes for sinking your teeth into the language of Albania.
- Arabic:If you’re interested in this geopolitically important language, learn the pronouns, definite articles, descriptors, and more, here.
Use them as a supplement to your studies or just type a word in and memorize what comes out.
- Free-Translator :The text box has room for your Twitter character limit and then some for easy translation into scores of languages.
- Xanadu:This site’s made for traveling, with a currency converter and text translation accompanying the glossaries and reference materials for six different languages.
- Google Translate:It’s quick, clean, and efficient for translating dozens of languages to and from English.
- Freelang:Choose from 265 bilingual dictionaries and get your human translation here.
- Bing Translator:Formerly Babbel Fish, this is Microsoft’s text and web translator for the Google haters.
Harness the power in numbers by connecting with other language learners.
- Livemocha:Through this language site’s community you can have exercises reviewed by other users, practice your conversation, and more.
- italki:Have your questions answered, your writing corrected, and above all, communicate on this global language network.
- Lingopass:Jump into group discussions or start up a one-on-one in a chat room through this site.
- UniLang:“Uniting language lovers,” UniLang’s forums are a great place to practice that new tongue you’ve been learning.
- My Language Exchange:Join the community of more than 1 million users from more than 130 countries and practice a foreign language with a native speaker.
- Palabea:The Facebook of language networking, Palabea lets you upload video and audio, record, translate, and of course, dialogue.
- Skype Community Language Learning:The popular video-calling software has a section for users to ask and answer questions and make connections for conversations.
- The Mixxer:Similar to My Language Exchange, Mixxer is Dickinson College’s platform for language learners to be both teachers and students.
- My Happy Planet:Members can create their own lessons for others or just communicate with them directly on this learning community site.
These high-tech resources will streamline your language learning experience.
- Babbel:Take the old flash card method digital for learning 11 languages through Babbel, including Swedish and Turkish.
- Rikai:The entire web becomes a Japanese learning tool with this site’s URL filter.
- Byki:Available as a free download or paid upgrade, Byki is a solid bit of language-learning, flash card-based software.
- Lingro:Lingro is a slick tool that works like Rikai except it works with 12 languages, making any word on a web page clickable to see its definition.
- ProVoc:ProVoc ups the ante on flash card learning with features like variable difficulty and the ability to create your own cards.
- One World Dictionary:This program by Ascendo works on Macs to bring you 100,000 translations into Spanish, French, Italian, and German.
Follow these links for the best language learning on the go.
- Learn Turkish with Babbel:This is the Turkish version of Babbel’s excellent learning software for smartphones, but all the languages the site offers are also available for mobile.
- Learn German with busuu:The popular language site created this free app for vocab words, learning units, and exams on Android phones.
- Ho-Chunk:Get acquainted with this unique Native American language through this iPad app.
- 50 Languages:Yep, you guessed it: the makers of this app want to help you learn 50 languages with this free app.
- Mindsnacks Learn French:Also available for several other languages, this app helps you learn Francais through fun gameplay.
- Hello-Hello Spanish:This highly-rated iPad app helps you practice Spanish pronunciation and vocab based on conversational lessons.
- TrainBrain:Practice words in German, Czech, and more languages to follow with this handy app.
- Cuebrain!:Quiz yourself on nearly two dozen languages with this gameplay-based Android app.
- myLanguage Free Translator:Nearly 60 languages are available for helping you navigate your way through a foreign land.
- Conjugate Spanish Verbs:Take the pain out of verb conjugation, with 17 coverage for 17 tenses.
- Vocre:Using speech recognition technology powered by Nuance, Vocre becomes your take-anywhere translator for enabling conversation.
- eTeacher Hebrew Lessons:Instructor Shira Cohen Regev guides you through the Hebrew alphabet and into basics like days of the week, counting, and beginning vocab.
- Hiragana Lite:This free version features basic Japanese Hiragana characters in simple flash card format.
- Skype for iPad:Dial up another country and strike up a convo from your iPad.
- Learn English- PhotoFlashcards:This amazing app by language leaning company Voxy lets English learners photograph any item and receive an English definition for that item.
- Pronunciation Checker:Check your pronunciation against 6,000 words in five languages.
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