It’s essential to have the right tools to learn a language well. Depending on your motivation, your time frame, and your resources, you can easily learn a language to a very high level of comprehension and fluency.
I can’t determine your motivation or the amount of time in which you hope to do your language learning (for example, don’t think you’ll learn a language in a single weekend), but I can help you out with finding good resources.
The following is an ongoing list of materials that language learners have found useful over the years. Some of them cost a bit of money, and others are free. All of them have helped people learn the languages they wanted to learn.
This is an ongoing list and is updated periodically with new resources.
Getting Started (Multilingual Resources)
Although the following resources aren’t the “only” ones you can use to learn a language, they’re all good at teaching you the basics (and also intermediate and advanced skills) for how to speak and comprehend a number of languages.
Omniglot is an encyclopedia of writing systems and languages. You can use it to learn about languages, to learn alphabets and other writing systems, and to learn phrases in many languages. There is also advice on how to learn languages.
Rocket Languages is a language program that has helped over 1,200,000 language learners around the world since its creation in 2004. They also offer a relatively large range of languages from which to choose.
I find them useful because they offer language courses that tend to rival other big brands like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur in terms of the features they offer, but are less expensive at the same time.
The courses themselves are very comprehensive, offering some of the highest quality natural dialogue that you can use when learning a new language. Each course is also highly personalized, meaning that the creators put a lot of effort into creating each one, and didn’t apply a simple “cookie-cutter” approach in order to scale up the number of languages they could offer.
Get $60 OFF when you use the coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout, or read a review I wrote about their courses.
These language courses cover a large variety of languages, including some “harder to find” languages, such as Bulgarian, Swahili, and Finnish. Their courses typically come in the form of audio podcasts and downloadable lessons. You’ll also find video lessons, vocabulary databases, and dictionaries.
Some of the courses are better in certain languages than in others, and others are fantastic. If you’re interested, I’d recommend choosing one of the languages below, setting up a free account, and then seeing what you personally think.
Arabic | Bulgarian | Cantonese | Chinese (Mandarin) | Czech | Danish | Dutch | English | Filipino | Finnish | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Hindi | Hungarian | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Norwegian | Persian | Polish | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish | Swahili | Swedish | Thai | Turkish | Vietnamese
Duolingo is a superb resource to practice numerous languages, including French, Spanish, German, English, Dutch, Irish, Turkish, Danish… and soon even Klingon.
Their community of millions of users is constantly growing, so there’s always real people to ask for help when a certain grammar rule doesn’t make sense. And the best thing is it’s free!
This Google Drive Collection
Someone was good enough to put together a whole Google Drive collection of free language resources. They’re initially categorized by language families, but once you pick one, you can see all the languages available within that family on the drive.
Although the above resources are useful for language learning in general, there are also some good ones out there that focus more on teaching a specific language. Check them out below.
Français Authentique focuses on listening to tons and tons of recorded audio in order to get the real feel of the French language and in order to actually start learning French well. Read my review of it here.
Talk in Arabic
If you’re trying to learn Arabic, and especially if you’ve had difficulty finding appropriate resource material for a particular dialect of Arabic in the past, consider using this site to really improve your language skills.
Instead of only offering instruction in only Modern Standard Arabic like many other courses do, Talk in Arabic currently covers 8 dialectical varieties of Arabic: Egyptian, Levantine, Saudi, Iraqi, Sudanese, Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan.
It’s a one of a kind resource that’s updated weekly, and which includes HD video content, lesson modules, and lots and lots of audio material, as well as written transcripts to read along with.
Since it first became available, ChinesePod has had over 1,000,000 people sign up to learn this notoriously difficult language from them. I started using it back in 2007, and I’ve seen quality and consistent Chinese language material being produced by them ever since.
Besides offering full access to over 3500 audio lessons (and most recently, video-based lessons as well), it also adds to these lessons daily with content ranging from absolute beginner to advanced levels.
French Today offers audiobooks and audio lessons to help you learn to understand and speak modern 21st century French.
Everything about modern and traditional China, travel, study, news, business, Chinese learning material, tools and resources, forum, and language exchange club. You can check them out here.