Posted on May 9th, 2017
Learning languages nowadays is much easier than it was even two decades ago. “Why?” you may ask. Because of the advent of the Internet era! With all the apps, websites, groups, learning communities, online translators and online resources, learning new language became much easier. The greatest advantage that this type of learning offers is diversity. Diversity is very important in terms of providing different learning styles. Some people perceive information better while listening to it while others need visual aids and graphics. And there are also those who would rather play a game than study a language. Diversity that the modern online language learning community can offer is able to satisfy all kinds of learners. Let’s look at top five online resources that you can use to study languages.
This resource offers new phrases and vocabulary, audio recordings, writing exercises, and networking opportunities, which means that you can communicate with other people who learn the language and even native speakers to enhance your knowledge of the language.
- Advantages: Comprehensive approach to learning languages, plenty of educational materials, an app to take lesson on the go.
- Disadvantages: Several useful features are only available with premium membership, which is not free. You can take a 7-day trial in order to decide if you need these features or not.
- Best Use: Busuu is great for those who already have some basic understanding of the language. For beginners, it might be difficult.
It is one of the best resources that you can use for studying languages for free. It allows users to learn new words and build simple sentences through writing, speaking, listening and reading. Lessons are supported by the useful grammar tips.
Advantages: Great intuitive graphics, lesson presented in a form of a flow chart, “tips” section that gives brief grammar advice.
Disadvantages: Duolingo only offers study materials for six European languages.
Best Use: This resource will be of the best use for those who require some structure in their studies.
Foreign Services Institute
FSI offers a lot of learning materials for free. Although the website may look primitive, materials offered there are created by professional linguists and are of high quality.
- Advantages: One of the best resources for languages that are not so popular (for instance, African languages like Shona or Igbo), has a well-organized collection of audio recordings.
- Disadvantages: Outdated website design, black-and-white documents, lessons organized around repetition and grammar.
- Best Use: FSI is best for people who prefer grammar-based study.
Lessons of this resource are divided into target skills, with writing, reading, listening and speaking units.
- Advantages: Lessons in more than 35 languages, ability to get credits by tutoring other learners.
- Disadvantages: Some features are unlocked only with premium membership; you may be bombarded with friend and tutoring requests.
- Best Use: Livemocha is suitable for those who prefer networking options to enhance their studies.
It uses ‘mems’ to help you remember new vocabulary.
- Advantages: Offers easy and efficient method to learn new words; users can upload their own mems.
- Disadvantages: Not all mems are of high quality.
- Best Purpose: Memrise is best for visual learners.