A university degree is not what it used to be. Nowadays, everyone who applies to a job seems to have one. Therefore, you need to be able to separate yourself from the other candidates who are applying to the same job; learning a second language is an excellent way to do this.
When it comes to learning a language online, there is no need to spend a dime. There are many free online courses which you can use to help you learn the language of your choice. While it is true that paying for an online language course tends to be the better option, thanks to the many tools and resources at your disposal which can quicken the rate you can learn at, many people simply can’t afford this option.
However, the good news is that a few high quality courses can still be found.
Where to Learn a Language Online
1. BBC Languages
The BBC’s online courses are some of the most popular on the internet. Through video and audio courses, you can learn German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Chinese. If you simply want to learn a few common phrases to prepare yourself for your vacation, you can do so. There are also a plethora of resources and worksheets which can help you master both pronunciation and grammar.
The beginner language courses last for a total of 12 weeks, although you are able to learn at your own pace. Once you have completed a 12 week course, you will even be able to proudly show off your new BBC certificate.
2. Digital Dialects
Some people are able to learn a language online at a faster rate through a game-oriented approach. If this sounds like you, then you will love Digital Dialects.
Over 60 languages are featured in which verb conjugation, phrases and basic vocabulary can be learnt through fun interactive quiz-style games and audio clips. However, keep in mind that not all the vocabulary lessons are featured as audio clips so you might struggle with the pronunciation every now and again.
3. Education Portal
The great thing about Education Portal is that it provides links to free online courses from some very well respected universities. For example, you will have access to “school-oriented” courses from universities such as, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Utah State University and US Institute of Languages to name just a few.
4. Internet Polygot
The great advantage in using Internet Polygot is that not only can you choose from numerous languages to learn, but you can also choose your starting language. For example, learn from German-French, English-French, Spanish-French or countless other combinations.
Internet Polygot offers a very intuitive and easy to navigate interface for those wanting to learn a new language, with vast audio pronunciation guides and vocabulary lists available.
5. Live Mocha
Live Mocha offers both free and paid courses online. You have the ability to learn over 30 languages taught through structured lessons. You can also talk to other people around the world, who are also learning the language you are learning, or who are already fluent in the language.
Thanks to the large community, learning a new language is certainly made easier as users often submit helpful flashcards, correct each other’s assignments, and provide other useful teaching content. A feedback system also exists so you know who the best users to get help from are.
A drawback to using Live Mocha is that if you are planning to learn a language like Mandarin or Korean, you will not be able to do so. This is because Live Mocha does not support the writing system used in these languages.
Babbel is similar to Live Mocha in the way that learning a language online is community driven. However, Babbel only offers 11 languages and is not as easy to use as LiveMocha.
While Babbel offers a limited set of grammar lessons and writing exercises, its strength lies in teaching vocabulary. It would be difficult to find another free online course which is as thorough as Babbel when it comes to vocabulary. Users can learn words in ten different ways, including a “Slideshow” and “Listen & Match” option.
A forum is available so you can interact with other users while you learn. Chat rooms are also available in the language you are learning.
6. Rocket Languages
For those who are completely new to a language; want to learn a few useful phrases for travelling; or who prefer to be taught in a way that puts more of a focus on audio, story based learning – Rocket Languages is the best choice.
While you have to pay to obtain access to all the features – Premium (Level 1) $99.95; Premium Plus (Level 2) $149.95; Platinum (Level 3) $149.95; or a 20-disc CD Rom set -$299.99, a free 6 day trial is available to see if you like the course. All you have to do is enter your name and email address to get free access to a selection of premium interactive audio lessons as well as language and culture lessons.
It is worth noting that Rocket Languages is certainly a popular choice as they have helped over 800,00 people learn new languages, but like anything else, you will have to see if their style of teaching is suitable for you.
7. Foreign Services Institute
The Foreign Services Institute offers courses which were created by the Government of the United States. All courses come with either a large number of audio lessons or a scanned textbook, or even both. Several of the most popular languages, such as French and Spanish, come with a workbook as well.
If you are not too concerned with the social aspect of learning , such as what LiveMocha and Babbel offers, you can’t go wrong with Foreign Services Institute.
Another great way to learn a language online is to take full advantage of social media sites by making friends with users who are native speaker’s of the language you want to learn.
There is no need to just stick to online courses and social media sites though. There are a couple of other resources at your fingertips such as DVD’s (change the language or put subtitles on), and foreign newspapers, which should both be used in combination with these free online language learning courses.