This is a blog post by Drea Knufken.
Scurrying to market yourself amidst stiff competition? Looking to gain new skills? Learning a new language will not only boost your resume, but will open you up to worlds of new contacts, prospects, and friends.
Luckily, the days of dragging yourself to night classes may be over. The Internet is full of free language resources whose multimedia features and social networking component make learning both fun and immersive. We scoured the Web for quality free sites, and came up with the seven websites below. Happy learning!
LiveMocha offers free lessons in 11 languages. Through a personal homepage, you access free language courses and build a community of foreign friends. Native speakers in your LiveMocha community help correct your lessons and chat live with you. Interactive, multimedia lessons make learning fun.
Busuu offers extensive courses for English, Spanish, German, and French students. The free version contains more than 150 image- and audio-based lessons. Their video chat application lets you connect with other students or native speakers online. You can gain access to more features, such as podcasts and PDF printouts, through a premium membership.
This Rosetta Stone community language exchange site lets you find penpals using custom search criteria, then exchange emails with your penpal in your language of choice. You can also chat live in the “Chat House,” a chat room allowing public and private language exchanges with native speakers.
This portal links to learning resources for more than 100 languages. Some language resources are more extensive than others (for example, it’s easier to load up on Spanish lessons than Swahili). Word2Word works best for those who need survival courses or are looking for obscure languages.
BBC Languages offers free audio and video courses, quizzes, games, phrases you can download to your mobile device, and a 12-week email course that earns you a BBC language certificate. They have lessons for fourteen different languages, and phrases for 36. An excellent resource for quick travel phrases.
Free Language is a portal that links to a wide variety of free language lessons, podcasts, video lessons, Wikibooks language pages, and other resources. You have to “do your homework,” so to speak, in order to put together a comprehensive learning system for yourself.
eLanguageSchool offers basic resources, including words, phrases, and grammar, for ten languages. Resources, such as video with subtitles, vary by language. A good place to refresh your knowledge of a language, or start learning one. If you want immersion, however, look elsewhere.
Drea Knufken is a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter and content strategist. Her work has appeared in national publications including WIRED, Computerworld, National Geographic, Minyanville, Backpacker Magazine and others. For more information, please visit www.DreaKnufken.com. You can also find Drea via her blog, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.