Learning a language is perhaps one of the most sought-after learning activities on the web. This is clearly demonstrated by famous paid services like Rosetta Stone for example, that have expanded their offers to the web. However, with time, several free language learning websites have appeared that offer some great tools to learn your favorite languages online.
In past entries, we have already taken an in-depth look at Duolingo. This time, let’s have an overview of three other such services that, while perhaps not as popular, are just as great on their own.
Without a doubt, Memrise was the online learning language tool that I was most pleasantly surprised with. This is because it steps outside of the mold to offer a learning experience that is quite convenient and very didactic.
Memrise’s focus lies on providing a very visual learning experience abound with cues that help you absorb the language you learn in very familiar ways. A great example of this is their “meme” approach, which shows you different ways in which the website and its users find it easier to learn and which allows you to “flag” your favorite ones to fix the basic terms and concepts in your mind.
It is also worth mentioning that Memrise has a free iPhone app to take your leaning on the go, as well as being completely free. It also supports Facebook signups, so it can take only a few clicks to start learning your language of choice.
Touted as the world’s largest online language learning community, Livemocha is definitely the place to go if you like to learn with the help of other language enthusiasts just like you.
After creating a free account, you have to select the language you wish to learn and the level of proficiency you have with that language for your lessons to be tailored to your needs.
As mentioned above, the most interesting aspect of Livemocha is the importance they place on community collaboration. You are assigned a set of points that you can redeem in order to gain access to more lessons and, if you want to get more points for free, you have to do so by helping others learning your native tongue by providing feedback on their progress. Pretty neat if you ask me.
Listening and reading simultaneously to improve the learning of Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese or English: That is the basic premise of Instreamia, which it combines quite successfully with the feedback and support other members of the website provide.
One of the most original aspects of Instreamia is that it uses some of the most popular songs in their target languages to teach. The result are lessons that are short, catchy, easy to remember and that can be taken in just a few minutes a day. But don’t think that you just listen to songs and read at some lyrics. What the system does, in fact, is to match the audio of the songs to the lyrics and its meaning, offering also different explanations and vocabulary exercises along the way.
Perhaps Instreamia will not seem the most user friendly website out there, but its short, free lessons definitely carry a lot of value.
And there you have them. Three great online tools that allow you to learn any of the most popular languages for free and in quite unique and original ways. Now, go choose your language and start learning!