Would you like to learn another language? Have you spent the past few years talking about how you “really should sign up for a class?” Sometimes, it’s hard to find the time for continuing education.
Software programs like Mango and Rosetta Stone provide flexibility for people with busy schedules, but they are not cheap. However, free, convenient language learning programs are available through the magic of the Internet.
Here’s a round-up of some of the many places online where you can learn a language for free.
Open Culture has a list of free language learning resources on the Internet. These freebies include lessons in Spanish, Arabic, Irish, Hindi and even Luxembourgish. In all, 37 different languages are covered. The resources are mainly podcasts available from I-Tunes. Many of them provide only basic conversational instruction, but some are more in-depth.
The BBC website also has a great page with resources for beginner and intermediate-level speakers of several different languages from around the world. If you’d like to learn French, German or Italian, the BBC offers an email correspondence course with an assessment at the end. Audio and video courses are available for French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, German Portuguese and Chinese. You can also learn how to speak Welsh, Gaelic or Irish.
At MIT’s website, you can help yourself to free courses in Chinese, French, German and Spanish. Also, you can put the language you are learning into its cultural context by taking courses about foreign language literature and about different cultures. For the language learning classes, most or all of the reading material has been converted to PDF and is available as a free download. For literature courses, you do have to buy the textbooks.
If you live in the United States, you should also check out your local library’s website. Many public libraries provide free access to language courses from Mango or Rosetta Stone if you have a library card.
Internet access is also free at all United Kingdom libraries where you can research for information on learning languages. Your local librarian will be happy to help you get started.