The Best Free Ways to Learn a New Language
Posted on 02/24/2014
Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to casually say charming French phrases while shopping on the Champs-Élysées? Or at the very least, know how to pronounce bruschetta (broo-shet-uh? broo-skayt-eh? bruh-shet-ay?) when ordering at the local Italian restaurant? Learning a foreign language is a fun and glamorous thing, but unfortunately several of the most popular language learning methods can be incredibly expensive.
The good news is that you’re not out of fortuna. There are many language instruction services that are easy, fun and (best of all) free. Here are some of the best websites and apps for expanding your linguistic horizons:
- Duolingo. This is one of the best language apps/websites out there. Duolingo has you work through different levels, starting with basic vocabulary and gradually incorporating those words into important phrases. You can listen to pronunciations from a native speaker, and, if your device is enabled with a microphone, you can practice your pronunciation as well. It also provides you with the option to set time goals for each day, allowing you to customize your desired level of engagement. The coolest part, however, is that you can put your new language skills to use by translating web articles (Buzzfeed, Wikipedia, etc.) from the language you’re studying into English. Other users approve your translations and provide feedback. Not only are you learning, you’re also making information more accessible to others.
- Busuu. This language website/app also offers interactive lessons, over 150 day-to-day topics and group forums. And unlike Duolingo, it includes non-European languages. It also uses crowdsourcing as a part of its system. As you progress, you’ll be able to start writing and answering questions that will be checked by native speakers. The free profile is more limited, but users can try a free 7-day trial of the premium upgrade.
- Fluent in 3 Months. This website is a fantastic resource for anyone attempting to learn one or more new languages. Described as “Unconventional Language Advice from Benny the Irish Polyglot,” Fluent in 3 Months provides language hacks, community discussions and incredibly important tips for attaining and maintaining fluency.