By Rose Jensen
101 Tools to Learn ANY Foreign Language for Free
In today’s global economy, it’s more important than ever for students to be fluent in more than one language. Whether you are a student in a bachelor’s degree program or trying to earn your MBA, knowing more than one language is always helpful and extremely beneficial in the professional world. Doing so will open you up to more opportunities and a chance to work around the world. Here, you’ll find 101 tools that can help you learn a new language without spending a dime on tuition. While the following links take you to free resources, students who want to expand their language education further may wish to complete traditional or online master’s degree programs in Spanish, Japanese, or Korean Studies to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, history, and literature associated with these languages.
We’ve updated this list for 2012 with more free resources for learning dozens of languages.
With these tools, you’ll find translation and dictionaries.
- Xanadu: Get a free all-in-one translation wizard on your PC with Xanadu.
- Google Language Tools: Search across languages, translate text, and more using Google’s tools.
- Freelang: Check out Freelang for free dictionaries, human translation, fonts, and more.
- Free Online Dictionaries: Make use of these dictionaries to learn more about different languages.
- DictSearch: Access 265 online dictionaries using this one simple interface.
- Yahoo! Babel Fish: Yahoo!’s Babel Fish will translate text or a web page for you.
Follow these courses to get a full education in language.
- French I: Follow this course for an introduction to the French language and culture.
- American Sign Language: Here you’ll find lesson plans, information on deaf culture, and vocabulary.
- German I: Acquire an understanding of German through active communication.
- BBC Greek: The BBC’s Greek resource offers a quick fix for learning the language.
- Beginning Japanese I: Use this course’s interactive study materials to learn beginner Japanese.
- Introduction to Portuguese: Use this course to get started learning the Portuguese language.
- Learn to Speak Korean: These video courses offer a convenient way to learn Korean.
- Intermediate Japanese: Improve your fluency and learn Kanji characters in this course.
- BBC Portuguese: BBC’s Portuguese course offers an introduction to the language in 10 short parts.
- Farsi: Follow this beginner’s course to get an introduction to vocabulary, sentences, and basic phrases in Farsi.
- Advanced Japanese I: With the help of this course, you’ll become an expert in Japanese.
- Learn to Speak Russian: You can improve your Russian vocabulary and grammar using these courses.
- Kenyan Sign Language: You can learn about Kenyan Sign Language using this illustrated course.
- BBC Chinese: Get a taste for the Chinese language with BBC’s slideshows, quizzes, and more.
- Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Learn about the language and culture of Europe and Latin America through this literature course.
- Spanish I: Watch this course’s videos to learn authentic Spanish and all about its cultural diversity.
- First Year Chinese: You’ll get an understanding of the basic Chinese speaking and writing principles from this course.
- BBC Italian: Improve your Italian skills using these resources from the BBC.
- Oral Communication in Spanish: Get an understanding of Hispanic culture with the help of this course.
- Communicating Across Cultures: With the help of this course, you’ll learn how to converse with people outside of your culture.
- BBC German: Learn grammar, vocabulary, and more in this German Quick Fix.
- Spanish Conversation and Composition: Improve your speaking and writing in Spanish with the help of this course.
- Learning German: Find four courses in the German language here.
- Learn to Speak Japanese: Take these Japanese lessons, and you’ll improve your vocabulary and pronunciation.
- Chinese I (Regular): MIT offers a full series of Chinese language learning.
- Spanish for Bilingual Students: Students who are bilingual in Spanish and English can improve their Spanish skills with this course.
- Learning the basics of French: This beginning course offers a look at verb tenses, grammatical structures, and simple vocabulary.
- BBC French: You can find resources for French learners from beginners to intermediates here.
- English grammar in context: Learn about speech and writing in English using this course.
- The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism: This course will help you better understand bilingualism.
- Chinese I (Streamlined): This collection of Chinese courses is designed for students who grew up in a Chinese speaking environment.
- BBC Spanish: Get access to Spanish TV, radio, and other resources here.
Through these communities, you’ll be able to meet other people learning a new language and find partners to practice with.
- Livemocha: Connect with language partners around the world for social language learning.
- My Language Exchange: Make friends and learn a new language on My Language Exchange.
- Skype Community: On this board, you can connect with others that want to learn your language, and share theirs.
- LingoPass: In this language learning bartering system, you’ll teach and learn new languages.
- Palabea: Palabea is a social networking site for communicating in foreign languages.
- UniLang: You can learn languages with these free language resources, as well as learn, discuss, and practice languages in this community.
- italki: Use this add-on for Skype to find other users to learn languages with.
Follow these podcasts, and you’ll find regular entries that will have you speaking a new language in no time.
- English as a Second Language Podcast: Check out this podcast for more than 100 ESL lessons.
- Chinese Learn Online: Chinese Learn Online offers an introduction to Mandarin Chinese.
- French for Beginners: Get started with these lessons for French beginners.
- Learn Japanese Symbols: With this podcast, you’ll learn how to use Japanese symbols.
- Arabic Language Lessons: Through this service of the US Peace Corps, you’ll find lessons that teach you the Arabic language.
- Bulgarian Survival Phrases: With the help of this podcast, you’ll learn enough Bulgarian to get around.
- Latinum: Latinum offers language learning in podcast form from London.
- English for Spanish Speakers: Check out this podcast to learn English from Spanish.
- Le Journal en francais facile: Hear nightly news slowed down for comprehension.
- Maori: You can learn the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people with this video podcast site.
- Chinese Lessons with Serge Melnyk: With Serge Melnyk, you’ll get weekly lessons in Mandarin.
- Esperanto: Use these lessons to become familiar with Esperanto.
- Ta Falado: You’ll find Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation for Spanish speakers in this podcast.
- Hebrew Vocab Pronunciations: Find out how to pronounce words in Hebrew using this podcast.
- GermanPod 101: Find materials for German learners from beginners to advanced in this podcast.
- Learn Romanian: This podcast offers survival phrases for Romania.
- ArabicPod: Here you’ll get access to mp3 podcasts as well as transcripts of learning Arabic.
- I Speak Hindi: With this podcast, you’ll learn essential words and phrases for Indian travel.
- A Taste of Russian: Find real, every day life chats to learn with this podcast.
- Dar to Danish: Learn dirty Danish words and other daring parts of the Danish language with this podcast.
- Special Finnish: This podcast slows down the language to make understanding easier.
- Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies: You’ll have fun learning Hindi with this podcast.
- Russian Literature: This literature podcast can help you improve your comprehension and vocabulary with Russian classics.
- German Grammar: These German grammar podcasts are designed for American students.
- One Minute Catalan: Get quick learning for Catalan using this resource.
- Let’s Speak Italian: Break Italian down into manageable 5 minute podcasts here.
- Cody’s Cuentos: Learn Spanish by listening to these classic fairy tales and legends.
- Survival Phrases Arabic: With this podcast, you’ll learn the essentials of getting around in Arabic.
- Laura Speaks Dutch: Prepare for travel to Holland with the help of Laura’s podcast.
- Insta Spanish Lessons: Students of all levels will enjoy this Spanish grammar podcast.
- Easy French Poetry Podcast: This podcast uses poetry as a topic for French language learning discussion.
- Japancast: You’ll learn from anime and everyday conversation using this podcast.
- LoMasTv: LoMasTv offers language immersion for Spanish.
- Yabla French: With Yabla French, you’ll get captioned videos, integrated dictionaries, and more.
Here, you’ll find tools made just for language learning.
- Mango: Use Mango’s online language learning system, and you’ll build your conversation skills in any language.
- Babbel: Learn a language with the help of flash cards on Babbel.
- Lingro: On this useful site, you’ll find study tools, online translation, games, vocabulary lists, and much more.
- Tibetan Language Tools: Here you’ll find resources for the basic alphabet, vowels, and more in Tibetan.
- Busuu: Get writing and speaking practice with the help of Busuu.
- Byki: You can download language learning software, follow lessons online, and more, even on your iPhone.
Use these online textbooks in your foreign language studies.
- German: Make use of this Wikibook to learn German, or take the bite-sized German course.
- Belorusian: Learn the Belarusian alphabet and beyond in this textbook.
- Afrikaans: Check out this Wikibook to find pronunciation, lessons, and much more for Afrikaans.
- Scottish Gaelic: Find pronunciation, sentence structure, and grammar from this book.
- Polish: With the help of this Wikibook, you’ll be able to learn the basics of the Polish language.
- Irish: Learn the old language of Irish Gaelic using this Wikibook.
- Arabic: This Arabic workbook shares the Romanization system, alphabet, definite articles, and beyond.
- Portugese: Choose between European and Brazilian Portuguese on this Wikibook.
- Yiddish: This book covers Yiddish for Yeshiva Bachurium as well as conversational Yiddish.
- French: Check out this excellent French Wikibook for French language learning.
- Russian: This Wikibook presents Russian for English speakers.
- Albanian: Learn about the unified version of Albanian here.
- Textkit: You’ll find books, readers, and more for Greek and Latin learning on Textkit.