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May 2014

Best websites to bookmark for learning a new language

We live in an amazing age. Imagine: Learning a new language prior to the Internet meant endless trips to listening labs and tireless hours flipping through heavy dictionaries. Today, a whole universe of information is at our fingertips, countless free language learning tools accessible from within our homes. Now we’ll take a look at some of the best websites to bookmark for learning a new language.

It goes without saying thatWordReference is at the top of this list, as it utilizes numerous dictionaries (including Collins) for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Greek, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic and English. With conjugation dictionaries and highly useful online community boards for each language, WordReference is the single best free online resource for learning a new language. Be sure to download the smartphone app as well for language referencing on the go.

Another great, free study tool is Google Translate. Quick to use and offering a long list of languages to translate from, including more obscure ones like Azerbaijani, Khmer, Somali and Zulu, Google Translate features a really useful smartphone app as well. While it’s very easy to work with, the downside is that it’s not always accurate.

Duolingo is one of the most popular free language learning tools available. Backed partially by actor Ashton Kutcher’s investment firm, the online learning tool is also available for the smartphone, as described by our past article, “Learn on the go!”. This is one language learning site you’ll want to revisit on a daily basis. Duolingo is elegantly designed and very fun to use.

Livemocha is another great free language learning site. Once touted as the “Rosetta Stone killer,” it has since been acquired by the language program behemoth it once so threatened. If you’re just starting out with learning a new language or are looking to brush up on some skills, Livemocha is a great choice. At some point, however, you may need to start paying for credits to purchase more courses. You can learn more about Livemocha in our past article, “Education Review: Livemocha”.

While no longer active, the BBC Languages site is still a useful archive of language learning tools. Preserved for reference, one can find grammar lessons, links to online shows, and numerous videos and articles gathered to help foreign language students. The downside? While the site may feature robust offerings for languages like French and Italian, other languages, like Russian, are not as thoroughly covered.

What are your favorite websites for language learning? Let us know on our Facebook page and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles about study tips and tools!