Dreaming of learning a new language?
Discover the secrets of speaking fluently.
By Jonty Yamisha
There’s no time like the present to learn a new language. And whether you prefer the desktop over your mobile, or you’re looking for additional resources to learn a language, there are TONS of options out there. To help get you started on some high-quality, easily accessible resources, here are the top 20 best language learning websites for 2020.
Busuu offers access to over 60 million users around the world. The platform online allows you to use some free features, including reading, writing, speaking and listening lessons. You can also network with other language learners. While they do have flashcard resources, the main benefit is in the user’s ability to work directly with native speakers. Using your webcam, audio connection, or the Busuu chat window, you can ask and answer various questions to real people.
English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Russian, and Arabic.
Memrise prides itself on using real-life language. Their team of in-house linguists creates lessons around language you can use. And they offer 1000s of video clips in their courses. These video clips capture native speakers using their language in their hometowns. This helps familiarize yourself with accents, voices, and culture. You can also use their “mems” to create mnemonic devices that help you remember the words, making it more enjoyable as you go.
French, German, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, Dutch, , Korean, Swedish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Danish, Icelandic, Mongolian, Slovenian.
If you’re in the market to learn Spanish, you’ll find a wealth of resources here. Everything from a Spanish Sentence Maker to free online games to various language-learning courses. The website is a little dated, but it’s easy to navigate. And one of the best features of the site is your freedom to start wherever you’d like. You don’t even have to log in to begin.
There is one downside to 123 Teach Me. If you’re looking to learn another language, you won’t find it on the site. It’s specifically for Spanish speakers.
LearnaLanguage.com offers a ton of resources for everyday language-learner. You can start learning right away selecting your language of choice. There’s a dictionary, words, verbs, phrases, and even culture you can study to help get a better feel for the life behind the language you’re learning. And if you’re looking for courses, most languages have several short lessons you can access for free as well.
Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, Swedish, Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Turkish, Norwegian, Danish, Korean, Dutch, Japanese,
Omniglot is a great go-to for a scholarly look at languages and writing systems. It’s not set up to function as a language-learning platform, but it’s a great authoritative resource for language learning. You can dive into the target language of your choice, learning its history and other unique characteristics about it. Or you can focus on categories like numbers, silly phrases, tongue twisters, and other neat groupings.
Even better, the site offers a range of useful phrases in over 300+ languages, making it a dynamic resource. Omniglot’s founder, Simon Ager, runs the site on his own and puts a great deal of work into the Omniglot blog. He covers a variety of language-related topics, particularly the origins of words. Also, check out the Radio Omniglot podcast, where he discusses a variety of language-related topics.
In short, whether you’re just starting out or you want to know more about the language you’re learning, Omniglot the perfect place to go if you want to know the ins and outs of pretty much any language.
Omniglot is more the Encyclopedia Britannica of Language and language learning. You can find plenty of information on 1000s of languages.
If you’re looking for government-grade language-learning resources, then the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Language courses have you covered. Originally created for the U.S. Government, these resources are now freely available to the public. And with 72 languages covered, you’ll have plenty of resources to reinforce you on your path the fluency. The lessons are in PDF format, allowing you to follow along with the audio as you learn. And there are workbooks, too.
FSI offers 72 language learning courses. From Amharic to French to Cambodian, and everything in between.
For the beginning language learner looking to get their hands on 1000s of phrases and words they can review, Living Language is a great tool to help you kickstart your way to fluency. There’s a range of resources you can use from flashcards and games to grammar notes and dialogues. Choose what works best for you. And learn at your own pace.
Living Languages currently offers 68 language courses from German to Farsi to Punjabi, you can find many different language courses to help you reach fluency in your target language.
MIT Global Studies and Languages has some resources for you, depending on which language you’re looking to learn. The platform’s mission is to help people become “global citizens”. As a result, the courses are around cultural studies along with languages. Sadly, it’s not as well organized as it could be, and lessons aren’t consistent. Still, if you’re in the market for a few extra resources, it’s worth a look.
Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, and more along with courses on culture.
Check Out MIT Global Studies and Languages
FluentU is for the visual learner. They have a vast collection of visual resources to help you learn a language: movies, TV, and videos. The platform prides itself on a range of available content (cartoons, music videos, news, documentaries, movies, even funny YouTube videos). The videos range in difficulty and use a selection of tools to help learners understand the material. You can get access to a 14-day free trial to test it out.
Italian, Korean, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French, English, German, Japanese, and Portuguese
You learn best when you’re interested. And with LingQ, you’ll have access to a range of interesting materials. Choose from topics around Travel, Politics, Food, Culture, Books, and so many more. You can create a lesson from anything on LingQ: YouTube videos, blog posts, Netflix shows, news articles, whatever interests you. The platform offers vocabulary review tools as part of a Spaced Repetition System and an effective organization system to track and manage your content. Lessons are bite-sized to keep you from feeling overwhelmed, and you can create your own learning path as well.
English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Greek, Finnish, Norwegian, Czech, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Latin, Romanian, Esperanto, and Ukrainian.
BBC Languages offers high-frequency words and phrases in 40 languages. But they also have extensive lessons for 7 languages (French, Greek, German, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Italian). For these languages, the BBC will start you off with a quick test to see what your language level. Then, it will offer you resources to help you study in those languages. You can use their videos, PDFS, and other games to help reinforce your language learning lessons.
French, German, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, and Chinese are their extensive class offerings. Then, they offer 33 other languages, too.
Check Out BBC Languages
Chances are you’ve seen an Innovative Language video on YouTube. They provide free video and audio lessons in 32 languages and add new lessons weekly. Lessons vary in difficulty from basic to advanced. Basically, you sign up for a language, provide your email, and then, you’re directed to the language-specific site. The lessons are from professional teachers. As a result, you’ll find them consistent, high-quality, and useful. They cover everything from real-world situations to grammar to basic phrases.
Currently, the Innovative Languages offers 52 languages ranging from Czech to Bulgarian to Hebrew, and everything in between.
Check Out Innovative Language
You can’t go wrong with YouTube. Search for lessons in your language, hunt down famous polyglots so you can learn their secrets, or seek out native material and listen along. It’s an easy resource to access and you’ll go far with the native content. Just keep in mind that the subtitles aren’t always accurate, and you’ll have to feel out the difficulty for yourself.
Check Out YouTube
Coursera offers many language learning courses along with a variety of educational content. The platform has professional level courses from professors at notable universities teaching these language lessons. You can find courses on general language learning or specific languages. One awesome benefit of the platform is that if you’re an advanced learner, you can take courses in different languages. So, you can learn about what you want while pushing yourself deeper into foreign language mastery.
Greek, Russian, Polish, Persian, Chinese, Swedish, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Lithuanian, English, Arabic, Spanish, Hebrew, Indonesian, Catalan, Bulgarian, Romanian, German, Hindi, Vietnamese, Marathi, Urdu, Serbian, French, and Japanese.
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You can find a lot about the language you’re trying to learn by going to ThoughCo. There are detail resources and blogs that lay out the intricacies of various languages. For instance, if you wanted to learn an alphabet or something very specific about the grammar in one of the languages it covers, you’ll probably find it there. There are also videos you can watch as well and tips to discover general language learning/strategies.
English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Russian.
Check Out Thought Co.
WikiTravel is the place you go when you want to cram in some phrases you can use on your next trip. The website’s set up is easy. You simply scroll through its over 200 languages and find the one you want to bulk up on before you arrive. Then, you click on it and get an overview of the language as well as some handy phrases you can use while traveling around.
Currently, there are phrasebooks for over 200 languages available. Keep in mind that these aren’t language learning courses, but rather a small collection of phrases to help you get by when traveling.
Check Out WikiTravel Phrasebooks
Babbel is free to try, but you’ll need to sign up for the full version. It offers high-quality, bite-sized courses that focus on speaking. The platform provides content that’s relevant and interesting to you. And your progress syncs automatically across all devices. One benefit of the platform is that you’ll focus on all aspects of the language equally. This is different from other platforms that focus mostly on translation or flashcards. It also clearly explains grammar and language structures.
Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Check Out Babbel
With Live Lingua, you sign up and get paired with a live tutor who will evaluate your language learning abilities. After your free 1-hour test, your tutor will customize a lesson for you. Outside of the course itself, you can access their blog that has a ton of great posts about various languages.
Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian.
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Open University covers a tremendous amount of topics, from Money & Business to History to Nature, and of course, Languages. The courses are quite extensive, lasting for hours. And they cover beginner through intermediate levels of language ability. The courses are dynamic and include lots of useable language skills as well as information about the culture to help you get familiar with native speakers and their customs. If you’re curious about language on its own, there are also several courses that express the value of language and its unique features.
Chinese, English, French, Gaelic, German, Italian, Spanish, and Welsh. There are also courses on general language learning and linguistics.
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A list of helpful language learning resources wouldn’t be complete without OptiLingo on it. OptiLingo offers you a scientifically-backed language learning program that gets you speaking from the first day. You’ll learn more with less. With our program, you’ll uncover high-frequency phrases that make up more than 80% of any language. And guided immersion will help make sure you reach fluency rapidly.
OptiLingo is the only language-learning platform designed by someone who used these same methods to save his own language, Circassian, from dying. Jonty Yamisha spent 10 years researching and trying out various language-learning methodologies. Through his successes and failures, he created a system of language learning that avoids many of the obstacles that traditional language-learning platforms stumble over.
When you’re not using the program, the OptiLingo blog has a lot of great content that covers everything from tips and tricks to strategies and how to start a language learning routine. And if you want detailed resources on a specific language, then you can find plenty of pieces on various languages on the site.
OptiLingo also offers a range of languages for you to choose from, with 20 on the platform now.
Arabic, Chinese, Circassian, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Check Out OptiLingo
Ultimately, there is no “one-true-way” to learn a language. The internet is rich in resources you can use to reach fluency. But it always helps to have a guide. That’s why a huge part of fluency is using the right foreign language learning program.
Many traditional methods for language learning fall short. They either focus too heavily on overemphasizing grammar and vocabulary. Many simply rely on flashcards and memorization. But there’s more to learning a language than knowing what certain words mean. You need a program that incorporates comprehensible input and spaced repetition systems into its foundation to help guide you to fluency quickly.