Free and Low-Cost Ways to Learn a New Language

It's never too late to learn a new language, and linguistic diversity is becoming increasingly more important as our global society continues to develop. In fact, International Mother Language Day, which was started back in the year 2000, is observed every year in February, to help promote multilingualism and cultural diversity.

Whether you took a foreign language in school and you'd like to refresh your memory or you want to learn a whole new language, there are many ways to learn remotely. It's no longer necessary to enroll in a traditional class to learn a new language: You can learn in the comfort of your home or from almost anywhere at any time. Some language learning tools are free to use online or download to your computer or mobile device, and others involve a small charge. Using technological tools to learn a language has never been easier or more convenient.

Mobile Apps for Learning Languages

At one time, language learning programs were expensive, and the teaching methods involved learning a language by interacting with that language in created settings with a limited language learning software on a computer. However, the latest language learning courses have changed in recent years with language learning apps as one of the best ways to learn a language for free in most cases. Many apps have reasonable low prices or monthly or annual subscription fees, but often have free basic access so you can save money while you learn. These latest language apps are one of the best ways to learn a language for free.

Another top benefit of these inexpensive mobile apps is the ability to try different ones without risk before you settle on a specific product. It's very simple to try different apps to find one that fits your learning style. When you find an app you like, you may find that the app offers tiered instruction, with some courses and features available for free and others requiring a fee. Another advantage of language courses in app form is the ability to practice from anywhere at any time. One of the most popular language apps is Duolingo - an app that suits all ages and skill-levels. And with some other apps and learning programs, like HelloTalk, older students and adults can practice speaking with native speakers around the world.

Self-Study Online Language Courses While language learning apps are helpful, they usually aren't all-inclusive when you want to learn a new language. Enrolling in an online course is an effective way to learn a language at your own pace and from virtually anywhere. These virtual classes have a planned curriculum that you can use as it fits your schedule.

One of the first and most respected online language courses is from Rosetta Stone which has been around for 30 years. The Rosetta Stone language learning princess helps you succeed by introducing new language skills at your perfect pace, offering feedback and opportunities to practice key words and phrases in different contexts or scenarios.

Online Tutors and Language Communities

Hiring an online tutor can be a personalized way to learn a new language. Rates will vary depending on each teacher's experience and credentials. Don't automatically discount a tutor who offers instruction at low rates: Expensive tutors are not always the best fit for every student. Some instructors hold online classes via Skype or Zoom, with prices based on the number of hours of instruction and the number of people taking the course at one time. Some tutors may even pair you with a conversation partner in your class to enable you to practice your verbal skills. There are plenty of “MOOC” courses (MOOC = massive open online course) to tap into, and academic and instructional site as one of the top destinations for open online language learning courses. The Udemy courses are often uploaded by field experts (many are even professional teachers) and are usually relatively inexpensive and an easy way to start learning a new language relatively quickly with expert guidance. Additionally, you can often save money with Udemy coupons during checkout to further reduce any cost. Coursera is also another great option for online language courses with courses offered by and developed by universities from around the world. Want to learn Chinese? Sign up for a free course in Chinese for Beginners taught by a professor at Peking University!

Other Resources: Foreign Movies, Videos, Books, More

Immersing yourself in a new language is an ideal way to learn. YouTube contains many videos that can help you figure out new pronunciations and learn unfamiliar words. Reading books in your new language can also be an effective way to pick up phrases and concepts. Many libraries have books in other languages, or you might purchase e-books online. Streaming services such as Netflix also feature movies and television shows in other languages: Watching foreign movies with the subtitles turned on can help you really connect what you hear with its meaning and is one of the top ways to get in great language practice for comprehension and hearing the inflection of native speakers –or pick up up on more conversational expressions. Also, exploring podcasts in your new language is also a great way to get in even more language practice.

Spending just a little time each day learning a new language can be surprisingly effective. With some time and effort, you can become proficient in a new language, and with this fluency, you may even be ready to travel and spend time in a country where people speak that language. Full immersion in a different culture is often the best way to cement the acquisition of your new language.

Language-Learning Online Tools

Whether you’re wanting to chat with native speakers around the world or just want to learn a few phrases before your next vacation, there are hundreds of resources and language-learning tools online that you can access with a few clicks. It’s as easy as trading your email for free access to start learning a new language in seconds. From word lists to slideshows and flashcards to quizzes, there are so many ways to start to learn a new language. You may even want to try a few different formats to see how you learn the most effectively since it can be different for each person. The resources below are a quick snapshot of all the types of lessons offered and course formats to help you get started quickly.

Top Language Learning App Methods:

  • Hello Talk: Chat with native speakers around the world.
  • Duolingo: Free, bite-size lessons feel more like a game than a textbook.
  • Memrise: Ideal for quick immersion. Phrases useful in everyday life picked by experts, taught with video clips of real locals.
  • The Babbel Method: Learn a new language in 3 weeks with time-tested strategies, empirically proven by academics from top universities.

More Language Learning Resources:

Online Foreign Language Dictionaries

No more lugging around heavy dictionaries and dense books on tenses and idioms. Online dictionaries and sites that offer instant help (for FREE!) with past-tense phrasing and much more are all at your fingertips! Shorten your learning curve for mastering a foreign language by tapping into hundreds of online resources. Boost your writing and comprehension skills by growing your vocabulary. They say once you have mastered and understand 1,000 words in another language - you are fluent. Google Translate is also one of the best ways to see how to phrase things and structure questions or sentences. Translations are instant, 100% free and there are hundreds of languages to translate between!

Foreign Language Podcasts

Podcasts can be the top learning arsenal in your new language learning tool kit to start to comprehend quickly. You can listen in endless places: while doing chores, in the shower, commuting on a train or while driving in your car – the opportunities are endless.

One of our favorite types of language podcasts are versions that feature “slow news” or “slow podcasts” in the language of your choice. While your comprehension may not be 100% in the beginning, just listening to local news and native speakers outside of the confines of a structured lesson will have you picking out phrases and word patterns to help deepen your understanding of a new language.

Over time, these phrases will come to you on your own more quickly as you begin to practice your new language in real-life scenarios. On top of helping you learn a new language, listening to news and podcasts in another language can also help you have a better and deeper understanding of the culture that uses that language – a critical part of your educational journey.

**Popular Language Learning Podcasts:**

More Language Learning Podcasts and Audio Clips: