Maybe you have always wanted to learn a foreign language but haven’t had the time–or dinero–to sign up for a class. Well, a world of free lessons is just a mouse click away. Free online translators and multilingual dictionaries round out many of these online offerings.
Whether you’re looking to learn a foreign language to boost your career or to simply plan a trip abroad, the following Websites will help add an arsenal of wealth to your communications skills:
Word2Word.com (www.word2word.com/course.html) not only features commonly learned languages such as Spanish, French, and Italian but also offers resources for learning the unusual, such as Samoan, Swahili, and Punjabi. The site features translation dictionaries to help learners determine how to say a certain word or phrase. A plus: This site also acknowledges the various nuances of language with a section dedicated to slang and colloquialisms.
Parlo.com (www.parlo.com) sells online language courses, but each month it features free classes on select languages. The learning process employed by this site is multifaceted, including audio files of native speakers, grammar tips, vocabulary drills, and even cultural facts so you’re familiar with both the lifestyle and language of a region.
Free Language (http://freelanguage.org) serves as a central repository for language-learning resources on the Web, enabling you to access links to free sites. You can also download podcasts, which can be helpful in developing an ear for a particular language. A blog that can be used to further your foreign language-learning skills rounds out the site’s coverage.
SpeakAnyLanguage (www.speak-any-language.com) has a host of resources, including a Multilingual Translating Dictionary and lists of popular phrases such as greetings, days of the week, colors, and numbers. Unfortunately, one of the most helpful parts of the site has been temporarily discontinued. SpeakAnyLanguage once offered a sense of community through Internet forums and chat rooms where visitors could practice their newly acquired language skills with one another. However, because of attacks by hackers and spammers, the site’s Webmaster has discontinued the forums and chats until the hack attacks stop. Despite the loss of the community features, this site is still worth stopping by to brush up on some basic terms and phrases.