- Education and Science
The Top 5 Websites That Teach You A Language For Free (Including Spanish, French and more)
How To Learn A Language For Free
Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Hallo!
I love languages and love the idea that I can speak differently to other natives and speakers. It adds another dimension to my life as I can also learn about other countries and cultures.
Learning a language can be quite difficult especially all the new vocabulary and grammar. However, learning a language can be highly interesting and is rewarding for any individual. I, myself am currently learning Spanish right now and I am doing it through some textbooks and free online websites. I have come across many websites in my quest which I have deemed to be of an excellent standard. In this guide, you will learn about these websites and you should be on your way to learning a language pretty soon!
Quick Facts About Duolingo
Spanish | French | English | German | Portuguese
Beautiful website layout
I have become fluent in basic Spanish.
You strengthen your writing, reading, speaking and translation.
After a few lessons, major vocabulary should be stored in your long term memory.
A little tedious to do one lesson; expect to work at least twenty minutes a day.
Duolingo is one of my favourite websites for learning a language. It is completely free and has many advanced features that any paid software would have (such as Rosetta Stone). It uses the immersion method that Rosetta Stone uses, which has been proven to have great results for any language learner.
My first impression of Duolingo was the beautiful website layout. The overall feel of the atmosphere is very modern and fresh. You will need to set up an account to use Duolingo. Once you do, you will start learning the basics of your chosen language such as basic phrases, objects and important verbs. One thing I like about what they teach you is the fact that you learn how to compose sentences from scratch, one verb and one noun. It isn't a rote learning course, you are taught the vocabulary and then you will learn how to compose sentences out of the vocabulary you have learned.
Result: After a couple of lessons with Duolingo, I had already seen an impact. I could name various objects in my home, such as furniture and food and I could make sentences out of them. I also know enough phrases to have a short conversation with someone in Spanish.
Would you like to learn a new language?
If so, what language?
How do they teach you? Each lesson begins with some images and the vocabulary beside them. You learn a couple of these words and then they begin asking you to repeat, translate and write these words as well as composing sentences out of what you know. You may asked to:
- Speak into your computer microphone and try to pronounce the words.
- Translate English words to the other language or vice versa.
- Compose sentences out of your already learned vocab
After each question, I have gained more and more confidence. Even if I was a complete beginner at my chosen language, Duolingo have effectively created lessons which start from the very basics up until me confidently speaking the language.
There is also another handy feature with Duolingo that you don't get with other websites: Word Practice. After you learn a group of words, you will earn Word Strength which means that you know those words very well. After a week or two, your Word Strength for those words will decrease because you may be forgetting them. You simply have to do the questions again and you will remember the words again. After to or three more times, these words should be in your long-term memory...for good. This is what I like most, that at least I know that I am keeping on top of my vocabulary and that those words will soon be in my long-term memory.
You have to progress from one "skill" or section to the next. Each section will contain typically three lessons. After each lesson you earn skill points and these skill points will help you unlock the next section. The way Duolingo is structured is done in a very scientific manner which helps you get those words into your brain and luckily, into your long-term memory. To help you keep on top of your lessons, Duolingo have many rewards for your completion of lessons. If you complete a lesson, you will earn lingots which are like virtual coins. These coins can be spent in the Virtual Shop where you can buy all sorts of trinkets including potions and more.
Duolingo In ActionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Final Verdict: Duolingo is an amazing website all for free which is structured in such a way that by the end of it, you will be almost fluent in your language. The website is very appealing and the way lessons are structured always motivate me.
Recommend? Yes, I definitely recommend this website for any of you reading that wants to learn a new language. You will not be disappointed let me tell you! I have to say, however, that you will need to give at least fifteen minutes to half an hour a day at this as the lessons can be slightly long. Other than that, it is perfect. Good luck! Bonne chance!
Rating: I would give Duolingo a 4.8 out of 5.
You get a lot more languages with busuu!
Busuu is a language learning website similar to Duolingo. It teaches you vocabulary similar to Duolingo and then tests you on it in a fun and appealing manner. There are five main sections for each unit:
- Vocabulary - Learn the vocab needed for that unit. Each word is accompanied by an image. I have found this particularly useful as I am a visual learner so I can remember images more quickly and the words associated with them.
- Dialogue - Listen and read a short conversation/comprehension and answer the questions that follow.
- Writing - You have to write a couple of sentences to a paragraph based on the question they ask you. Other members that are fluent in that language will correct you.
- Talk - If you want, you can chat with other users in that language. This is optional.
- Review - You then have to take a short test or review of what you have learned so far.
The more you practise and learn, the more busuu berries you receive. These are similar to lingots in Duolingo and show other users how active you are on the busuu.com community.
I think that Duolingo is slightly more advanced than busuu and I have learned slightly more from Dulingo than I have with busuu. However, different websites suit different tastes so busuu could be for you.
Busuu In ActionClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Images are associated with each word so you can remember them easily.
- You can access notes and other extras with the premium version.
- The site is more social and you can chat and interact with other users. You can also be "friends" with other users if you wish.
- Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people have joined busuu so it has a lot of publicity and many people to be friends with.
- The website is a little older looking than Duolingo.
- Busuu is more social and you will have to chat with others to get to the next level. You will have to correct others usually and I think that the site can be a little "too" social at times. I prefer to just learn my stuff and forget about chatting but others prefer the interactivity.
- To access special features, you will need to upgrade to the Premium version.
Verdict: Overall, I think that Busuu is another great website for lerning a language and it has some very cool features that other sites don't have. It is very motivating and is good if you want to learn Asian languages (not offered with Duolingo).
Recommend? Yes, I recommend this for people that want to start basic. If you are an online chatter or very social person, you will love the interactivity with other users.
4. Mi Vida Loca
For any of you that want to learn Spanish, Mi Vida Loca is one of the best ways to do so. It is a video series which involves you. You were supposed to go to Madrid with you friend but instead she dropped out, leaving you on your own. She gives you the keys to her flat and the address. You must navigate around Madrid to get there and you will encounter some mysteries and surprises when you enter her flat. This series is designed for you to learn basic Spanish but twisted with a mystery too. The videos are highly interactive and give you a chance to hear real Spanish, see Madrid (and other parts of Spain) as well as the cultures of Spain.
The filming is just brilliant (BBC do it again!) and the mysteries you uncover lead you to the next video. Each video is also accompanied by notes covering the essentials in each video and the vocabulary you need. You can also get a lesson after the video explaining major grammar essentials and ways to learn your vocab.
Result? After watching these series, I have greatly improved my speaking and listening skills in Spanish and I have learned a lot about all sorts of Spanish customs (siestas, fiestas and so forth).
Recommend? Yes, I highly recommend this series. You will thoroughly enjoy the drama and the mystery whilst learning your Spanish on the side.
5. HubPages Café
Yes! There are some excellent tutorials on HubPages which have helped me to learn Spanish. Whilst learning Spanish on Duolingo and busuu.com were very worthwhile for me I have found some very well written lessons on HubPages which form part of a series. These series have been written with the learner in mind and I have had great fun learning Spanish thanks to them. I couldn't resist adding them to the list! Here they are.
Learn Spanish At HubPages Café: Oana Writer has written an excellent series which teach you Spanish in a fun and light way through something new called HubPages Café. The lessons begin with the very basics and you will learn how to have a conversation with someone. Right down from How Are You? to Good-Bye, this series has got it covered. The lessons are new, modern and up to date and progress in series. After the third lesson, I have greatly improved my Spanish speaking skills and I am sure I would be able to have a conversation with someone in Spanish.
Oana writes in a light and refreshing tone which has kept my interest right through to the end. She also includes a little information on Spanish culture itself especially on their food and coffee. Reading each lesson is like 'one to one' tutoring, I have felt like she was right there beside me explaining everything the whole time. She has been very supportive of my learning, I even got to practise! I highly recommend this series, for a fun way to learn Spanish, give it a go!
Wow, this teen can speak over 20 languages!
About The Author
Susan W. is an avid language learner and is fluent in French and Irish as well as her native language, English. She is currently on a quest to learn Spanish and hopes to be fluent in Spanish over the coming year. Favourite language? Spanish, definitely. She might give Japanese a try too some day.
Adios amigos! Au revior mes amis!
If you have any comments, suggestions, ratings or suggestions, please let Susan know below. She will be delighted to answer you and always appreciates comments on her hubs.
© 2014 Susan W