5 free language learning resources for beginners so you can hit the ground running
Despite what many YouTube videos and self-proclaimed polyglots might tell you, learning a language perfectly in two weeks is not humanly possible.
Despite that, you can still cover a lot of fundamentals and learn to have basic conversations within some weeks. I’m here to show you some good, useful and most importantly, FREE resources you can use to improve your understanding of your target language.
- IE Languages
The first thing I do when I decide to pick up a new language is to visit IELanguages’ website to see if they have it available. It’s a great resource that takes you from the most basic things like subjects and greetings all the way to more advanced topics. By the time you reach the end, you should have a pretty good feel and comprehension of what the lefts and rights are. One thing I really like about this website is that they expose you to the sound of the language through audio recordings.
Who? This is for anyone who wants everything in one place in chronological order.
ANKI, or 暗記 means memorization in Japanese. What this software exceeds at is teaching you not only languages but anything (if there is a “deck” for it) in a time-efficient and innovative way. You will see a set amount of cards daily, and based on how well you understand and memorize them, the app will choose to either show them more frequently or hide them for a couple of weeks. You can choose between thousands of different “decks” like irregular verbs, example sentences, and much more!
Who? People who don’t have a lot of time, but would like to study daily.
3. Language Transfer
I’m not over exaggerating when I say Language Transfer is the best language learning podcast I’ve come across. The founder, Mihalis Eleftheriou, breaks down many languages like Spanish, Arabic, and Swahili in a very simple and logical way. Not only that, but he also teaches things like history, culture, and own personal experiences which gives a feeling of actually understanding the language through the eyes of a native speaker. I heard rumors of a Japanese version coming soon so I’m very excited to see how that unfolds.
Who? Auditory learners, those who might not enjoy digging their heads into books.
4. PDFs and Traditional Books
I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional way of learning a language. With that being said a lot of people publish language books, and with the internet, anyone can share a PDF file and compete against outdated publishing companies. Some books are very traditional and follow the rule book word by word, while others attack the main issues in an easy and logical way. I have learned a lot from these books, but my advice is to peek through a ton until you find “the one”.
Who? People who prefer someone trusted to guide them or like the possibility to choose between famous authors or those without professional affiliation.
Where? www.pdfdrive.com or your local bookstore
5. Language Partners through apps
The final resource I will recommend today is a couple of apps.
HelloTalk is a language learning version of Facebook where you can write about yourself, get corrections, chat with people and learn more than just a language through the “moments” feature.
Tandem is another one. Here you cannot post moments, but it’s more about chatting with others than anything else. When first looking at it you might think it’s some sort of dating app cause of the layout, but it’s an amazingly designed place where you can learn, share and get guidance.
I usually don’t recommend Duolingo to my students, but they do have a very good forum where learners can discuss various topics. Here resources are often shared too, so if you’re learning a language that is not that widely spoken, check if they have some information there. The app itself can also be good to pick up some basic vocabulary, but it really lacks proper explanations.
The app/website Reddit is also a great place to find partners. Check out r/LanguageExchange if you want to find or offer languages. There is also a subreddit for more or less any language you wish to learn more about.
If you want to take it to the next level find a tutor at one of the many online language learning websites. Of course, that would come at a price, but it’s always something to keep in mind if you want to speed up the process.
I hope some of these resources will help you to reach your language learning goals! If you’re learning a language at the moment I would love to hear more about it.