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Budget language school: four free (or nearly free) top online language programs

Learn a language for free online
Learn a language for free online

You’ve scrimped, saved, and finally booked that trip to France – but you don’t speak the language. If you’re looking for language lessons but just can’t shell out the big bucks for Rosetta Stone or a private tutor, here are four top picks for free (or nearly free) interactive, online language schools:

Parlez-vous français? If not (or even if you do), Learn French with Alexa is a fantastic find. This online course, started in the UK by French native, Alexa Polidoro, began as a simple language club called, “The French Ecole.”  Now a full-fledged language school and interactive website, Polidoro’s lessons are served in small, easy to digest chunks – perfect for baby birds of any age learning a new language. The first 15 lessons (six and a half hours of tutorials) are free, and are both adult and kid-friendly. This site is fantastic for first-time French learners, as well those more sophisticated speakers hoping to improve their existing skills. Packed with special quizzes, vocabulary sections, games, tools for teachers, and more, Learn French with Alexa is a must for French language learners.

iTunes is a great site for free language podcasts. Just log on to iTunes, go to the iTunes’ store and click the “podcasts” link. In the search bar, type in the name of the language you want to learn, and you’re guaranteed to find great hits for free language podcasts (which often lead you to links for free language-learning sites).

Babbel offers online lessons in English, French, Dutch, Italian, Portugese, Spanish and Swedish. With interactive, downloadable multi-media courses and exercises, plus a mobile app (free for subscribers, or $7.99 for non-subscribers), this site makes language-learning fun, easy, and accessible anywhere, anytime. Membership is just $11.95 per month, or three months for $23.95.

Livemocha combines social networking with learning in a first-of-its-kind online language program. Heralded in by everyone from university professors to the NY Times, this interactive site not only offers free comprehensive lessons for 35 different languages, but also connects you with other students worldwide. Upgrade to a paid membership starting at just $14.95 for more detailed courses and expert tutors who provide detailed feedback.

With free online programs and websites, learning a language is cheaper, easier, and more accessible than ever before. Find the site that’s right for you and start learning – you may be surprised where your adventures in language may take you.



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