Not Quite Fluent

Free online resources blitz

I am now thoroughly convinced that it is possible to learn anything on the internet… for free. And lucklily for me, that includes languages. In the past I’ve bought paper resources for my language learning pursuits, but I’m starting to discover how awesome the Internet is at this sort of thing. Here are my nine favorite FREE online language learning sites and resources.
Duolingo
This really deserves to be put first. I have finished two courses on this site, and I’m midway through another one, and I love it. This game-based site is one of the most famous ones out there and is uber motivating. It’s available in quite a few languages, and others can be learned backwards.

 

LanguagePod101
Although I was turned off by the premium aspect of this at first, the free podcasts have proven to be very helpful. I’m currently working through CantoneseClass101 on my phone for free, and there are several different levels and styles available. Fun, informal, and accessible.

 

Memrise
One of my first loves, Memrise actually helped me skip a year of Spanish in school—which says a lot for this site! It’s a lot like Anki, using Spaced Repetition to boost memory, but it is really user-friendly and has a competitive edge too. I went back to a course that I had taken a year ago and I still remembered the majority of the words!

 

Quizlet
Another vocab site, this is great for drilling those words into your head. I use this one a lot for school and less for languages, but I do have some Italian lists. Lists are easy to make and there are games you can use to study them. You can also share lists and keep track of your progress.

 

Google Translate
Working on Cantonese, I am totally lost without Google Translate. Although it is not good at all for grammar, it has the awesome feature of showing you multiple translations of a word, frequencies, and example sentences. You can listen, too.

 

Forvo
This is basically Google Translate but by real people. Basically you can listen to native speakers’ recordings of words in your target language to get a non-robotic pronunciation.

iTalki

You can pay professional teachers on this site, but so far I’ve only used it to find language exchange partners. The site also has a notebook that you can write in regularly to practice your target language(s) and have real corrections by native speakers.

Lang-8
This site is iTalki’s notebook feature on steroids. You post a document/journal in your target language with a translation, and native speakers correct it word by word. I alternate using this and iTalki every couple days.

 

And the grand finale….

Games for Language
I literally just found this ten minutes ago, and it inspired me to write this post. Available in a few major European languages, this course teaches the basics through fun games that break down the phrases into small parts. It doesn’t seem to be a really big company, and the courses are still in progress, but I started the Italian I course and it is fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

Be sure to check back on the blog often for more useful sources and sites. Got any good ones? Share in the comments! I never get tired of finding them, and you can help too! As always, share with your linguistic-minded friends, and keep on learning.

Sydney Sauer • August 20, 2015


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