How to learn a language online for free

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How to learn a foreign language

Some people find learning a language easy, others struggle. Some prefer to learn in a formal class while others would rather work at it in private.

Language study is not a one-size-fits-all hobby, and no single style of learning will appeal to all learners. Some prefer lots of visual aids and sleek graphics to hold their interest. Some like the motivation of quizzes, scores, and games so they can track their learning and compete with themselves. Some are drawn to grammar, while others prefer listen-and-repeat exercises.

There are many online language learning resources available. Some are free, some are not. Whatever your style of learning, you should find some great free, online language learning resources here.

Five free online language learning resources

  • Busuu

    • Busuu is best for: Learners with some understanding of the language already.
  • Duolingo

    • Duolingo is best for: Learners who need a bit of structure in their lessons.
  • Livemocha

    • Livemocha is best for: Learners who want networking options for their studies.
  • Memrise

    • Memrise is best for: Visual learners, who will be naturals at the mem (mnemonic flashcards) method.

For comparisons on these five sites, please read more here.

Foreign language articles

There is an extensive archive on this site relating to languages, including posts on bilingualism and multilingualism. Listed below are some general articles on language learning.

Other free language learning ideas


Take a look at online newspapers written in your chosen language. They are up-to-date and relevant and you can use the pictures as clues to aid comprehension. Following a specific story over a few days can help build and confirm vocabulary.

Song lyrics

Music taps into a deeper memory bank than the spoken word, meaning that song lyrics can help you remember languages quicker and easier. Whether you choose popular music (“Gangnam Style”!?) or classical (“Silent Night” in German is my only achievement here) is up to you. But worth a try.

TV and films

Most satellite TVs give some foreign language channels where you can learn while watching. Alternatively, select a different language option on your favourite film DVD. Makes for interesting and fun viewing and is a great tool for helping your kids learn a language.


Games for Language make learning and practising fun and effective.

More resources you may find useful

Language Learning Wiki

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