Knowing a second language doesn’t just make traveling smoother, it keeps your mind young and gives you a constructive way to spend your time. Here are some of the best resources for learning a language (most of which are free!)
Dig out your library card. The public library has entered the 21st century with large online databases, e-books and other digital resources. Brush up on your Spanish with e-books written in the language. Or, find the perfect beginner’s language course as an e-audiobook.
Cost: Free, just have your library card
Ah the infamous owl. While the Duolingo owl’s reminders to study might seem vaguely threatening, the service itself is a great tool with over 20 languages on it to date including a few living indigenous languages.
This language learning app sports 70 different languages with the ability to learn and adapt to your learning style. The tool isn’t free, however they offer a simple way to find organizations near you that have a subscription to Mango. Type in your zip code and see if your local library or university has a subscription.
Cost: Free with library subscription
Open Culture has aggregated all of the free resources for language learning into one place, organized by language. Simply find the language you’re interested in and follow the links.
Explore hundreds of free study sets, flashcards and study guides. You can even create your own flashcards and quizzes to keep all of that new vocab fresh in your mind.
So, you know enough vocab to get by, but you really need to interact with the language on a daily basis to get there. The Readlang app or extension turns webpages and even entire digital novels into the target language. Then, as you’re reading, you can click on any word you don’t understand for a translation. You can also create flashcards of problem words. The free version includes unlimited flashcards and word translations and will translate 10 phrases per day. For $5 a month, the premium version includes the above and unlimited phrase translations.
Cost: Free for standard or $5 per month for premium
fluent in 3 months
Benny Lewis started teaching himself second languages in his 20s and now speaks 7 languages fluently. His immersion-type method isn’t always possible for learners, but his blog is a wonderful resource for all kinds of unique language quirks, tips, tricks and “hacks.”
You can read, you can write, but how are you supposed to pronounce all of the new words you just learned? Forvo is a pronunciation dictionary with thousands of words recorded by volunteer native speakers.
Polyglot Shannon Kennedy rounded up her favorite resources for learning languages on her blog. While the resources focus on European languages, the guide does a good job breaking down how she goes about learning a new language and sharing her top 5 resources for six languages.
The bane of many a language learner is properly conjugating those pesky verbs. If rote memorization is only getting you so far, try taking a helping hand from Cooljugator. The free resource provides conjugated verbs, examples, English translations, transcriptions and more for over 40 languages.