The last one year, I suffer from a disease that is called “ learning German”. Ok, that was a little bit dramatic, but learning a new language –and especially German- can end up being a full time job.
However, it is a full time job that costs a lot. So to make it “cheaper”, I am always trying to find interesting, updated and fun sites –or apps- that give someone the opportunity to learn a new language (well, in my case, German that is) or to practice what he/she already knows. So here is my list of what I have already found, while searching the online world. Enjoy!
Maybe the most famous and –personally- my favorite site to learn a language. The format is very simple, minimalistic and it feels like playing a game. Basically it is a game. One is moving slowly levels, only if he/she does not make many mistakes and has enough ‘lives’. It is really fun and can be addictive. One must repeat occasionally what he/she already learned in order to keep high scores. It is available also as a –free- application, so one can use it also on the go. In a way, it makes learning a new language a game and it is actually surprising how effective it is.
Another site that offers free online courses is Busuu. Busuu has the same format of the many available for sale software products that give the opportunity to users to learn a language at home (like for example Rosetta Stone). It is much more precise, has a biggest amount of courses and information. The courses are divided according to the level of the user (A1,A2, B1, B2, travel course). However, to unlock some courses it may be needed to have a premium account and that always costs.
More or less it offers a big amount of courses totally for free – usually exercises tend to request a premium account-. I think Busuu is more helpful for people who already have a basic knowledge of a language, because the site is more complicated and has more details. Nonetheless in order to practice in a higher level, it is not obligatory for someone to have already completed previous learning levels. Busuu’s app belongs also to the premium accounts’ benefits.
This is a last discovery of mine that in a way is a combination of the two above sites. It is funny and in a way one can learn German – or any other foreign language- without noticing that he/she is actually making an effort. It is also the best way/site to learn new words. The idea is simple: one reads a given text according to his/her level, and he/she marks the unknown words. After marking them, a translation of the words is given in the native language of the user.
Later one can always practice and test how he/she memorizes the new words. In a way the goal is to learn as much as possible new words. Another great aspect of LingQ is that learners are becoming tutors of their mother language. Mostly through Skype sessions, members of LingQ can teach other members how to speak correctly a language and make notes of suggestions for improvement.
Easy Languages, https://www.youtube.com/user/magauchsein/videos
Even though learning a new language is a difficult task itself, it is even more difficult to actually learn a language as native speakers use it. To make a long story short, no one ever teaches Slang (in English), Argo (in French) or Umgangssprache (in German) at schools. As a result, even after learning a foreign language for years, the act of actually speaking the language in its local environment is stressful, sometimes unsuccessful or even devastating.
A YouTube channel, which purpose is to spread and support the love of learning new languages is focused actually on solving this problem: viewers learn a language while they hear it used from native speakers on the street. At first ‘Easy Languages’ was an amateur YouTube channel, which was producing videos about ways and tips on how to learn more effective and properly a foreign language. Today it has contributors from all around the world, and one can learn on their channel even Hindi or Korean.
In the Internet era, learning a language can turn to a hobby that only requires an Internet connection and a laptop (which you both probably have, if you are able to read these lines). Try to find the site/way/application that suits the best the style of the learner you are and then, have fun while studying!
Last but not least, I would like to also notice the first site that ever introduced me to the world of learning online and free foreign languages. That site is livemocha.com , but sadly, it is permanently closed.