Top 5 free websites to learn a language
BLURB: There has never been a better time to learn a new language than now. Shown to have a number of benefits, learning a second language can be culturally and spiritually enriching. Here are 5 websites to help you get started.
Learning a second language is shown to have a number of benefits- it can boost your brainpower
through enhancing memory and fine-tuning attention span, increasing your ability to multitask.
It can also be culturally broadening. According to the ABS
2011 Census, over a quarter of Australians were born overseas (26%), whilst a further one-fifth had a parent who was born overseas (20%). In terms of languages spoken at home, whilst English rounded out the first place (80.7%), it was followed by Mandarin (1.7%), Italian (1.5%), Arabic (1.4%) and Cantonese (1.3%).
Whether you are looking to get in touch with your cultural roots or are exploring your interest in another culture, learning a second language can be culturally and spiritually enriching.
Furthermore, 80% of the adult population speak only English at home. Economically, it means there is a huge gap in the market and many potential opportunities to expand your clientele domestically or internationally.
Whilst you can get in touch with your local Tafe, community centre or university to inquire about learning a second language, learning online can be a much cheaper and flexible option. Here are our top 5 language websites:
is a database for complete cultural immersion- not only does it feature language lessons, but it offers free audio books, e-books and films in the languages you are learning.
This website is very suited to Apple users or those who want to download free audio lessons onto their computers or Ipods, as Open Culture
provides a list of links of free audio lessons under each language they are offering.
Tags: learning online, learning a language, free online language lessons, free language podcasts, free language audio lessons, free foreign films.
If you are looking to learn an uncommon language, Memrise
is a guaranteed resource. Offering over 200 languages, this website has a very interactive layout that is very easy to navigate and makes great use of graphics.
For the busy person who likes to see progress in their learning, Memrise
saves your learning history so that every time you open the site you know where you are up to.
If English is not your first language, you can also change the settings of the main language so that your lessons have been created by people in your first language. Memrise
has a very active online community, who vote on the most effective way to learn words and phrases.
Tags: learning a language, interactive language lessons, free online language lessons, active online language community, learning online.
With over 13 million members speaking 38 languages, Livemocha
is a community-based website that offers you the opportunity to chat online with native speakers. Encouraging contact between learners and native speakers, you will be asked to review short simple English assignments in exchange for your own personal feedback on grammar and writing.
provides structured lessons for over 20 languages, however they do not teach other writing systems (besides Latin). Whilst most of Livemocha
’s services are free, some need to be paid for.
Tags: free language lessons, talk to native speakers, structured online language lessons, interactive language lessons, learning online, active online community.
is suited to those who have little to no previous knowledge of the language they are looking to learn, as their basic lessons are well-structured, using graphics, sound and visual tools that can be helpful for beginners.
It’s a very interactive website that can cater to many different learning, however it mostly focuses on vocabulary and learning to speak. Babbel
offers 11 languages, mostly European, but their strength lies in their chatrooms, which allow speakers to communicate and teach each other (however you have to pay for this service).
Tags: learning a language, easy online language lessons, online language chatroom, talk to native speakers, learning online, free language lessons.
If are looking to get in touch with a language you have spoken in a long time, or have reached an intermediate stage where you feel confident in carrying a conversation with a native speaker, Verbling
is a free video chat service that pairs users together who are learning each others languages and lets them teach each other through conversation. Ideally you will spend half the call speaking your native language and the other half speaking theirs.
is useful for anyone who needs practice speaking and listening, but not for beginners. However, you will need a webcam or video device to participate in this website.
Tags: talk to native speakers, webcam, Skype, learning through conversation, learning online, intermediate language lessons, free language lessons.
The key to learning a new language is to be persistent and to find time everyday to review what you have learnt, such as through podcasts, flashcards or even watching a foreign film. One of the most effective learning techniques is to practise your language with a native speaker, however if you don’t have a family member, friend or co-worker you can practise with, online local classified ads such as Gumtree
can be a good place to find a native speaker you can exchange your English skills with.
4. Being able to have a shower or bath at the new home easily makes a big difference too so be sure you have the towels and wash bags unpacked early. I've learnt to pack, carry and setup these at the same time as the bedding so they are all sorted in one easy go.
5. Have a picnic hamper ready with enough cups, bowls and plates with cutlery for breakfast. Include handy things like a knife to cut fruit etc with as well as a can opener, small cutting board and tea towel. Put in small, re-sealable containers tea and coffee, sugar and anything else that will make the initial few hours of settling into your new place easier.
6. Pack a cooler box or esky with ice blocks to keep cold your milk for tea, coffee and breakfast and other drinks. You can easily have take away for dinner but having food ready for the next morning's breakfast makes the move so much easier.
7. When packing fragile boxes, such as the kitchen plates and bowls, pad the bottom and top of the boxes with sheets, towels and small cushions. Be sure to label the boxes as fragile.
8. It seems whenever I move it is suddenly a hot day - irrespective of the season - so make sure you have plenty of cool drinks on hand for all involved in the move. Giving your removalists cold drinks while they are doing all the heavy work not only makes them happy it helps to keep them going, you're paying them on an hourly basis so the more energy they have the sooner the job is done. This is another time when being kind and considerate is a win-win for you.
9. Remember you're human, you are not actually Super Woman and you do need to take a break sometimes so you can recharge. Keep your fluids up, remember to eat some healthy, energy empowering food and you'll handle the move much more easily. So have some healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy flowing - high sugar foods will run out of energy quickly and leave you feeling exhausted.
10. Organise a treat for yourself for the days after the move. Over the years I've started having a massage about 2-3 days after the move. Knowing I have this ahead of me when my body is aching all over is a great reward to look forward to. For others it might be a facial, manicure or pedicure. Whatever is your favourite way to reward yourself for working hard, make sure it is booked in and organised in advanced.
Remember, it usually does take at least 4 - 6 weeks to really start settling into a new place so be patient and give yourself the time and space to unpack and settle in. There's no need to put pressure on yourself to have it all done in a week or two.
All the best with your move and enjoy your new home!