In much of the rest of the world, children grow up learning at least one other language besides their native tongue. Not so in the United States. Unless your family has a recent immigrant background, odds are that English – and only English – is spoken regularly in your home. But possessing at least a basic understanding of at least one other language provides you with a significant advantage in an increasingly global economy. In fact, many jobs require it. If you have a computer with Internet access or a smartphone, along with a headset, you can learn nearly any language of your choosing – for absolutely no cost.
This online portal features lessons, entire courses and conversations with native speakers. Choose from any one of more than 35 languages, including Arabic, Esperanto Japanese, Korean, Finnish, and Chinese. There are also languages you might have studied in high school such as French, Spanish and German.
LiveMocha features a learning model it labels “Whole Part Whole” – learners listen to a language segment spoken by native speakers, then listen to the entire segment broken down into smaller components, then finally interact with the segment, both listening and practicing. Create a profile through the LiveMocha website, and then you’re ready to begin with the language of your choice.
2. Mango Languages
Do you have a valid public library card? If so, chances are you have access to Mango’s free online language learning portal. With more than 50 languages available for English speakers, you are almost certain to find at least one language that is of interest to you. There are also English language lessons available for foreign speakers.
Enter your email address and zip code or city and state on the online portal to determine if Mango is available through your public library. If so, you will be prompted to provide account information from your local library to unlock the language courses. You can also learn on the go on your tablet or smartphone.
If you are an English speaker interested in learning French, Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese, Duolingo provides a fun, easy way to learn vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. Duolingo also provides lessons for non-English speakers a broad variety of languages, including French, German, Turkish, Portuguese, Polish and Indonesian. Native language speakers also volunteer to create classes called “incubators” for a broader variety of languages. Like Mango, you can learn on the go with Duolingo, with apps for both iOS and Android.
Linguim offers online language instruction for English speakers in Spanish, French, Portuguese and Latin. Spanish speakers can learn English, French, Portuguese and Latin. Linguim not only provides language instruction, but connects learners with one another, providing the opportunity to converse with native speakers in their own language – and in yours.
5. Deutsche Welle
Along with news, information and live streaming of its DW television station, the Deutsche Welle website offers free instruction in German through several online courses, interactive lessons with a hip-hop band, an entertaining online soap opera called JoJo and a lively online community of fellow German learners. Deutsche Welle makes its German instruction available to speakers of a broad variety of languages – not just English.
Other Online Portals To Learn A New Language
The OpenCulture and Word2Word websites do not offer language lessons. Instead, they provide a library of links to online portals for language instruction. Lessons are available in a dizzying variety of languages, both popular and obscure – and nearly all for free. Through these sites along with the portals listed above, you no longer have any excuse. Apprendre une langue nouvelle aujourd’hui!
Images Courtesy – Sylvia McFadden
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