Today’s world is one ruled by internationalism, globalization, and multilingualism. With rates of bilingualism rapidly rising- especially among the younger generations- many people feel the increasing pressure to learn a second (or third) language. And, in this day and age, it is certainly possible to pick up a another language without the help of costly courses, expensive computer programs, or hired tutors. Listed below are five ways of learning a new language for free.
1. Free Online Language Courses: Colleges, test prep centers, and foreign language schools might charge an arm and a leg for a few weeks of courses, but the internet can provide these same lessons for free! Websites such as http://www.word2word.com/course.html and http://www.byki.com/ offer free online courses in several different languages that you can choose to complete on your own time, in your own house, and without spending money.
2. Youtube: Yes, viral videos may be an entertaining way to procrastinate, but search a little more thoroughly and you’ll find that youtube has a lot to offer in the way of language tutorials and educational miniseries. Using keyword searches such as “Beginning Italian,” “Learn French,” “Russian Greetings,” or “Basic Portuguese Phrases,” will get you on the right track to finding language-learning materials. Another way to go about using youtube in your pursuit of bilingualism: search for foreign-language versions of your favorite tv programs and movies-you’ll be surprised at how many new words you can pick up just by knowing their context.
3. Television Programs: If searching the web for foreign-language media isn’t your thing, your television can also offer you a chance to gain exposure to programs in different languages. Though you can subscribe to international channels (such as TV5 Monde, a French language channel) with your cable plan, free foreign-language channels are easy to come by across the United States. These vary based on your geographic location, and air a variety of programs ranging from translated soap operas, to wacky game shows, to news reports. Some towns even offer televised language lessons, so inquire with your local television station to see if these are available in your area.
4. Ask A Friend: Though technology provides endless opportunities for free language-learning experiences, when it comes to learning a foreign language, nothing can be more effective than direct contact with a native speaker. And, as the number of polyglots in the United States increases, so do the odds of having a friend who is fluent in another language. Ask around among your social circle if anyone would be willing to help you learn a new language. If you have a friend or acquaintance who is from a foreign country, or who is fluent in the language you would like to learn, chances are they’d be willing (and likely eager!) to teach you a few words.
5. Seek Out Volunteer Language Tutors: If you don’t personally know anyone who speaks the language you wish to learn, don’t give up- look for local volunteers who can teach you the language for free! Such volunteers can be found through your town or city hall, community centers, or even craigslist.
Even if you’re low on cash, or simply don’t want to invest in expensive language classes or programs, there are many options that you can choose from if you want to become fluent in, proficient in, or simply familiar with a foreign language. Try one of the above methods or try them all- the acquisition of a new language is within your grasp!