The 5 best language learning websites that are almost free


Do you speak a foreign language? Would you be interested in learning a new language? Language learning websites make it easy to pick up new language skills at your own convenience. Take a look at a few websites that can help you master a new language.

The internet offers ample opportunities for enthusiasts, with a passion and the motivation to learn a new language. In today's world, learning a foreign language is easy and streamlined, with a number of online courses where anyone can pick up a foreign language, through easy tutorials, aimed at self-study.

You are actually spoilt for choice, with websites, online study communities, and e-books etc., at your disposal. All you need is a computing device with an internet connection and the right site, where you can learn, sharpen and master a new language skill.



Online portals can act as a significant asset for anyone wanting to learn a foreign language. But, there is so much of material available online and sifting through all of it to decide which one is the most suitable can be time-consuming.

To begin with, different sites offer different formats of learning, and not every form would suit all learners. Not everyone is drawn to the same form of learning. Your preference might be tilted towards a more relaxed style that involves learning through games and quizzes, and scores that help you track your learning. Someone else might fancy sleek graphics and visual aids. Some others would probably be looking to perfect their grammar and want lessons that could help them achieve that goal. There would be others who would want to work on their diction and opt for a listen and repeat method of learning.

To help you get started, I've reviewed five online language resources, so you can find one that fits what you are looking for. The best part is that most of these resources are free. You can master a language, at your convenience, and learn to speak like a native speaker. So, let's get started.

Busuu


The website offers lessons in 12 different languages, including Polish, Russian and Turkish. You register on the online portal to enjoy free access to its language lessons. There is a premium service on offer as well, which is a paid service and comes with added benefits including a vocabulary trainer, conversations with native speakers, grammar exercises and much more. The free course gives you access to the Flash Card section and is a good way to begin a beginner's language programme.

Plus points of Busuu


Busuu gives users a comprehensive methodology to language learning, with is all inclusive study options that include reading, writing, listening and speaking practice. The Busuu app, available on Google Play and App Store offers convenience, as lessons can be taken on the move, anytime, anywhere.

The platform is good for those having a basic understanding of the language they're interested in. I wanted to learn Spanish, but the free beginner's lesson didn't complete the basics of the language, such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. It introduced me to complete sentences and conversational dialogues.

Minus points of Busuu


Many of the features, such as printable PDF files are available only to Premium Membership holders, which is a paid membership. The membership fee is not high, and is worth the money, considering the features that come with it. However, all members receive a free week-long trial of the Premium Membership, upon registration.

Busuu Official Website

Duolingo


Duolingo was formerly an invite-only site, so, yes it comes with an elite status. It should give you an idea of the sites worthiness. Duolingo is easily among the most complete, language learning platform that is available to you for free. The lessons focus on vocabulary building and extend to the construction of simple sentences, which is a perfect choice for beginners.

The well-rounded study material includes reading and writing, as well as listening and speaking. The grammar tips that are provided, makes it perfect. Additionally, there is an 'immersion' section, which gives you reading material along with the translation if the learner chooses to opt for it.

Duolingo is good for anyone looking for a structured approach to learning a new language. There is a 'Tips' segment available with every section and it provides clear and concise grammar explanations. Furthermore, little grammar snippets keep popping up in between lessons, to call attention to new concepts of the language, such as articles, tenses, and conjunctions etc.

The plus points of Duolingo


The learning site has some awesome graphics that ensure that the learning is well-structured and keeps the learner motivated. The lessons are well organized in a flowchart format, so the new language learners can use this to go back and forth, to enhance their language skill. The site offers language learning lessons in 26 languages.

The minus points of Duolingo


The only minus point that I can think of is that the site doesn't offer lessons in all the world's languages.

Duolingo Website

Foreign Services Institute


There are more than 40 languages that can be learned from the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) website. The course material is free and available for download in audio as well as PDF formats. The complete study material available on the FSL website is created by professional linguist and is of exceptional quality. Learners can learn to understand the language of their choice and speak it fluently.

The lessons are best suited for those who want to understand the basics of grammar, before proceeding to the other aspects of a language. They provide the perfect grammatical foundation for foreign languages. Plus the audio versions are a good addition as they encourage listening, understanding and speaking.

The advantages of learning through FSI


There is a huge variety of languages that can be learned here, some of them that aren't frequently pursued, by non-native speakers. For instance, some African tongues like Shona and Igbo. Even though they are slightly incoherent, the audio versions are nicely formatted.

The disadvantages of FSI


In terms of presentation, the study material on FSI is quite basic, (read boring). It is what can be termed as bland, with staid black & white PDF texts – no graphics, no nothing. The lessons focus mainly on grammar and become monotonous after a while.

Foreign Services Institute Wesbite

Rosetta Stone


The lessons at Rosetta Stone split into separate skill sets. So, you'll find lessons in reading, speaking, writing and listening as separate units. The site follows an interesting teaching methodology, wherein the presentation of lessons is in a 'whole-part-whole' layout. What this means is that every lesson provides something new for the learner to grasp. The lessons are then broken down into smaller segments, followed by exercises that make the learner reconstruct these segments into a whole, so they get to practice the language.

The pros of Rosetta Stone


At Rosetta Stone learners of a foreign language have a choice of thirty languages including Pushto, Urdu, and Vietnamese. While the membership isn't free, the charges are actually quite nominal. And considering the benefits that learner's enjoyed, it sure is worth the price.

What are the cons of Rosetta Stone


The con is that it isn't free.

Rosetta Stone Website

Memrise


Memrise has a free and a paid version and lets you into the world of over 200 languages. The free version is of course very basic while the paid version gives you access to all the available features.

Memrise uses mnemonic flashcards (mems) which function as a wonderful learning tool. The learner's pre-existing understanding of the language is exploited through these flashcards, to make the learning of the new language easier. It is a simple yet effective way of grasping new vocabulary, of a foreign language.



For example, the flashcard in Portuguese for "Yo Quero" has a man saying "You care Oh", to the pleasant and friendly shop assistant. It makes it easier to associate and remember phrases.

How is Memrise helpful


The mem feature is truly the sites selling point. It is ingenious and novel and makes learning language fun. Members can upload their own imaginative mems, to benefit other members.

Are there any cons


Since the site allows members to upload their own mems, their quality lacks consistency.

Memrise Website

Learning a new language is always challenging, but these websites make the challenge easier. I hope you like this short compilation of some the language learning sites that I created. Feel free to add your favourite websites in the comments section.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: umesh13 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

A wonderful article illustrating the availability of many language learning sites in internet. Those who are interested in learning languages either for career or for hobby or for other interests will be immensely benefited by this article. Specially the pronunciation aspect is well taken in such places as audio is also available for hearing.

Coming to the learning of a language, one of the oldest options is through teaching yourself through books - this still prevails and that is one of the best options for those who want to learn the language leisurely and at ease. The hassles of internet connectivity and gadgets will also not be there. So that old option is still very powerful and can be attempted by the serious learners.

Author: Natarajan14 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Nice article for someone who has a passion to learn new languages. Learning a new language is something that improves knowledge and will always be useful. The author has highlighted the information overload on the internet and listed very useful learning websites. Will certainly try in my free time. I'm interested in learning French - do any of these sites offer online certificates of completion or the number of hours spent so that I can use it for exams if needed?

Author: Juana17 Nov 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

Umesh,
You state that learning through books to be one of the best options for learning a language. But, don’t you think books provide just limited knowledge. For instance, how can you master the correct diction through books? The language learning websites provide various learning tools and exercises that anyone interested in learning a new language would benefit from.

Today, the Internet is easily available, and anyone who is interested in learning a foreign language must surely have an internet connection. Moreover, most lessons are available in PDF and can be downloaded for easy access anytime. The video lessons can be downloaded too. With Smartphones and data packages becoming cheaper I do not see any serious problems for language learning enthusiasts.

Author: neelam joshi18 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

Are there any sites or apps for learning Korean language ( South Korean) as you have mentioned various languages but not Korean and I want to learn the Korean language. As I began to Watch Korean series and serial with subtitles I really liked the language and get inspired to learn this language and have learned few basic words of this language through these Drama series but I know I can't learn the whole language through this method so I definitely require one such platform to know all the nitty-gritty of all the language.



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