The following is a guest post from Bekah at Motherhood Moment. Her blog is full of great tips for saving both time and money, so be sure to check it out! Please stop at Northern Cheapskate tomorrow for a great post by Bekah on how you can use purchasing power to save on your grocery bill!
No one will deny the fact that learning a foreign language can be useful and beneficial. But if you aren’t in school, and can’t afford community education or college classes, what resources are there?
There are actually a wide variety of good online language learning resources for free. I have checked out several of these sites, both as a licensed language teacher (German) and as a language learner (Norwegian and Swedish). Not all of the sites listed below have all languages, but for the more common languages, you will have many options.
First of all, check to see if your local library has access to Rosetta Stone. This is a very powerful and well-known language program. It does have drawbacks, as any programs will, but is great for vocabulary and useful words. Ask at your local library branch to find out if they have a subscription. For example, I can access Minneapolis Public Library’s version from home, as long as I sign in with my library card.
For Spanish only, check out Study Spanish. It has many basic free vocabulary and grammar resources, as well as the option for a premium subscription for more access.
BBC Languages offers language lessons tailored to travel vocabulary (introductions, directions, eating out, etc) in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and more. The activities are intuitive, but the amount of language isn’t very deep. It will, however, be enough for a trip to the target country.
Mango Languages also offers both free and subscription services. It presents learning in the context of native speakers, and also offers an online translator. Handy tools include vocabulary review and a phrasebook review.
Finally, Livemocha is a unique language-learning platform that combines lessons with chat and community features. Not only can you learn a language, but you can practice with other real people. You can also strengthen your own English skills by helping correct other users who are learning English.
There are many more good services out there, and also many that aren’t very complete or intuitive. These are the ones that I have found most helpful to me as both a language learner and tutor.
~ Bekah @ Motherhood Moment
Excellent list! I really enjoy BBC’s lessons. Have you tried any of the podcasts on iTunes? They are totally free and there is over 30 languages to choose from. When in the iTunes store, click on Podcasts, then Audio Podcasts, then Language Courses. I found it very helpful.