“It’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with” is a quote we have heard time and again. This could also be taken to mean that the people in each place are what truly make a place special.
When we travel, if we can’t communicate with the people in the places we go, we are missing out on a huge piece of their culture, because, after all, the people of the place are the ones who created it. Here are 6 places that you can learn a language online for free, so you can connect deeper with the people in your destinations:
Duolingo is a free language course that starts from the basics and works its way up to more complex grammatical structures and vocabulary. There are a number of additional resources on the site, including materials like articles in your language of choice and self-quizzing options. The structure of the site is also very organized, allowing you to track your own progress. Duolingo currently offers six European languages.
Memrise makes use of mnemonic flashcards to help users learn new vocabulary. “Mems” on this site are user-generated, and you can upload your own, so as you learn more you can create the mems that work best for you. On the downside, some mems are inaccurate, so when using this site, sometimes it’s necessary to verify the accuracy using a translation tool. Also, Memrise’s approach of assimilating foreign words to similar-sounding phrases in English may be confusing for some users.
Busuu also offers a community-based approach to language learning, while providing content from expert educators, such as writing exercises and recordings. The site offers a wider variety of languages than LiveMocha, including Polish, Japanese, Turkish, and Portuguese. What’s more, you can access Busuu on both Andriod and iOS devices, allowing you to practice no matter where you are.
Lingualia is the third site in this list that incorporates a social aspect to help users learn a language. Like Duolingo, Lingualia makes it easy to monitor your language-learning progress. It also includes a wide variety of tools, like audio files, flashcards, exercises, and customized lessons that fit both your personal learning style and schedule.
Byki takes a very similar approach to Memrise by focusing on memorization of vocabulary and phrases rather than on grammar alone. Byki offers the widest variety of languages of any site in the list, with 74. They offer mobile apps in addition to their desktop software and claim they are the “the fastest possible way to lock foreign words into your long-term memory.” Try combining Byki with another, more traditional-style language learning program, such as Duolingo, in order to expedite your learning.
By far the most unconventional method on the list, but surprisingly effective, Youtube offers a huge expanse of instructional videos in a wide variety of languages for a wide variety of skill levels. Many videos on Youtube are made by native speakers, as opposed to some automated audio recordings from other programs, which allows for better learning of pronunciation.
In addition to enhancing your travels, learning a language is a critical skill that could put you ahead it today’s competitive job market. With so many free resources available, there’s no excuse not to!
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com