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9 Free Language Learning Online Methods You Can’t Miss!

9 Free Language Learning Online Methods You Can’t Miss!

Learning a second language has all kinds of benefits. If you travel, you’ll be able to talk to people in places that you travel. Studies have shown that learning a second language helps your brain work better. It’s even fun learning a second language with your friends or significant other so you can communicate among yourselves. Here are some free tools you can use to learn a second language.

1. Duolingo

free language learning online

    Pros:
    • Totally free resource.
    • Support for the big languages (German, Spanish, French) along with some others.
    • Full-featured mobile apps on iOS and Android so you can learn on the go.
    • You can sign up and log in using Facebook and Google+ which makes it easy to just jump in and go.

    Cons:

    • Not as comprehensive as others.
    • If you’re looking for stuff like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Farsi, Hindi, and others, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

    Special Features: A full mobile experience lets you use this on a tablet or phone for on-the-go learning. The learning experience is formatted to be like a game to help make the learning process more fun. To try out Duolingo, go to their website.

    2. Busuu

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    free language learning online

      Pros:
      • Free features include study options for reading, writing, and speaking.
      • Free languages include Chinese and Russian along with many others including the usual ones.
      • You can sign up and log in with Facebook and Google+.
      • Mobile apps available for Android and iOS for learning on the go.

      Cons:

      • You don’t get everything in the free version. You must pay to get grammar worksheets and an official certificate of completion.
      • Still missing big languages, including pretty much all Middle Eastern languages.

      Special features: The mobile apps are a nice touch and both of them are rated fairly well on their respective platforms. More languages than most. It allows you to set goals so you can work toward them instead of being free form like others. If you want to try it out, check out the official website.

      3. Foreign Services Institute

      free language learning online

        Pros:
        • Supports a metric ton of languages including African and Middle Eastern tongues.
        • Courses are crafted by professional linguists so they are extremely comprehensive.
        • Audio recordings available for listening.
        • Study materials are PDFs and downloaded audio files which means learning offline is easy and you can put these materials on any smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc and learn from anywhere online or offline.

        Cons:

        • All the lessons are in PDF format and (slightly fuzzy) audio files. There are no fancy graphics, goals, mobile apps, or other features.
        • Lesson plans focus on repetition and some people don’t learn well that way.

        Special features: This is professional learning materials and among the most comprehensive available for free. The PDF format and (slightly fuzzy) audio files are a tad primitive but their portability is unmatched anywhere. This is for serious learners. If you want to check it out, go to FSI’s official website.

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        4. Livemocha

        free language learning online

          Pros:
          • Uses a unique “live learning” technique where learners can observe and learn rather than the usual learning style of repetition and lessons. Don’t worry, they still have classic lessons too.
          • Live instructor-led classes is something unique on this list.
          • You can meet other people learning the same language you are and you can become study buddies, thus adding a social aspect.
          • A doubly unique system allows you to register using your native language. You then grade the work of other people who are learning that language. This allows you to earn points. You use points to unlock more lesson plans. Thus, you must give to get and help others learn in order to learn. Awesome!

          Cons:

          • It’s very social so if you don’t want a social learning environment then this isn’t for you.
          • It’s very possible to run out of points before you purchase your next lesson and you may have to grind to get enough for the next lesson.
          • People who don’t care and don’t want to take it seriously will probably give good greats just to get points quickly. If you don’t plan to commit, you shouldn’t join.

          Special features: The give-and-get dynamic is something truly special here. Help others learn and others will help you learn! Still has the traditional lessons as a base line. Live instructors are essential. If you want to check it out, look at the LiveMocha’s website.

          5. Memrise

          free language learning online

            Pros:
            • Uses “mems” which are essentially mnemonic flash cards to help you learn new vocabulary based on the vocabulary you already know.
            • Facebook log in makes it easy to start up and get started.
            • Community generated which means the content is ever increasing.
            • Great for visual learners!

            Cons:

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            • May not be comprehensive enough for advanced learners.
            • The mem cards and courses are user generated which means the quality varies.

            Special features: The community driven nature of this method means there are new things to learn all the time. The mem cards are unique and offer a much more visually stimulating way to learn.

            6. Internet Polyglot

            free language learning online

              Pros:
              • Flash card style lessons are great for visual learners.
              • You can actually use this without signing up for anything for a while but signing up for an account is easy.
              • Mobile apps let you learn on the fly.
              • Support for a lot of languages.

              Cons:

              • Not very comprehensive so serious learners will need additional tools.
              • The mobile apps haven’t been updated in over a year so if they don’t work for you, you’re out of luck.
              • The website lacks the polish of these other websites.

              Special features: Very simple flash card games are great if you only have a few minutes to learn stuff. Even if they are old, the mobile apps are present and if they work, they’re alright. If you’re up for trying it out, check out the official website.

              7. Lang-8

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              free language learning online

                Pros:
                • Like Livemocha, Lang-8 is social based where other people grade and help you learn while you grade and help other people learn.
                • You keep a journal of the stuff you learn which is a fun way to look back and see how far you’ve come.
                • Unlike most sites, this focuses more on written language. The stuff you post is reviewed by people who speak the language and they correct your errors so you learn.

                Cons:

                • This is for people who either already speak the language or have other tools that are teaching them. Lang-8 itself doesn’t actually have things like lesson plans or anything like that. It’s more of a trial-by-fire type of learning.
                • Signing up for an account is liking signing up for a social media account. It’s very tedious.
                • No speaking tutorials at all.

                Special features: The social media aspect is actually quite fascinating. You post things in your native language and speakers of other languages will correct it so that it reads the same thing in another language. This is an amazing tool for learning sentence structure and how to write in other languages. To check it out, head to the official website.

                8. Anki

                free language learning online

                  Pros:
                  • Downloaded and installed on the computer rather than a web interface so it works offline.
                  • It’s cross platform and you can sync your cards across multiple devices which is nice.
                  • It’s actually not just for languages. You can create custom flash card sets to learn anything from math to people’s faces. The sky is the limit.
                  • Can reportedly handle flash card decks with over 100,000 flash cards. That means you can learn pretty much anything except counting to 100,001.
                  • Supports images, audio, and video flash cards.

                  Cons:

                  • They’re flash cards which means memorization. If you’re not good with that kind of learning then you probably won’t find this much help.
                  • If the language you want to learn isn’t supported, you’ll have to create your own custom flash card set which can be tedious but it’ll help you learn the language better!

                  Special features: This is the best flash card system out there. It’s been around for years, is highly optimized, cross-platform, and you can use it for things other than learning a language. It’s tried and true and that’s what counts! Check out their official website for more details.

                  Like we said earlier, there are so many benefits for your brain and memory and you’ll be able to talk and interact with a whole new culture of people. There’s nothing left to do but pick your poison, dig in, and get started. N’attendez pas commencer!

                  Featured photo credit: Meme Generator via 4.bp.blogspot.com

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                  Joseph Hindy

                  A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                  Last Updated on May 14, 2019

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                  1. Zoho Notebook
                    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                  2. Evernote
                    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                  3. Net Notes
                    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                  4. i-Lighter
                    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                  5. Clipmarks
                    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                  6. UberNote
                    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                  7. iLeonardo
                    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                  8. Zotero
                    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                  I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                  In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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