If you’re trying to learn a new language, you have most likely heard about the popular language learning software Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone comes in a wide variety of different languages, allowing you to learn another language via specialized training software on your computer or mobile device.
However, the software is a bit on the expensive side. For example, most languages on the site are currently selling for $209, which gets you either online access, a download or a CD-ROM.
Although expensive, $209 is probably worth it if Rosetta Stone can actually help you master a foreign language. The thing is, the way Rosetta Stone teaches languages may not be that effective for some people. Rosetta Stone focuses mostly on being able to speak quickly and not as much on grammar, sentence structure, etc. For many, classroom learning is a better method, as it involves more interaction with an actual person who speaks the foreign language, the teacher.
If you want to get started learning a foreign language without buying Rosetta Stone or paying for classes, there are some decent free alternatives out there that you can try out.
Babbel is an online tool for learning how to speak, read and write in a new language. The site mostly has lessons for European languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, etc. In addition, it has Russian and Turkish.
The lessons are interactive and allow you to practice speaking also. The software has voice recognition so you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly.
If you create an account, it will sync all your lessons to the cloud so you can move from your computer to your phone and continue from where you left off. In terms of pricing, they have some free lessons, but if you really want to learn a language, you’ll have to sign up for their subscription plans.
Overall, it’s a cheaper solution to Rosetta and they have a community that lets you connect with native speakers of the language you are trying to learn.
Busuu is a language learning tutorial website that offers many helpful tools for learning English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, and more. Busuu has a short video that quickly reviews the features of the website.
Busuu is a fairly good language learning software and it provides several different ways to learn a foreign language: everything from vocabulary and writing to punctuation and grammar. Busuu also features quizzes, which give you a classroom like learning style.
They have lots of lessons and just about all of them are free. If you become a premium member, you get access to grammar, voice recording and review exercises, faster correction from a native speaker, travel and business course and level tests.
The pricing is pretty close to Babbel and it follows the same monthly subscription model. Overall, it’s very well done and has a lot of resources for each language beyond just being able to speak it. They also have mobile apps for easy learning on the go.
Duolingo is the first tool mentioned here that is completely free. They don’t have a huge number of languages, but they have all the popular ones that we have already mentioned above.
When you start a new language, you start at the top of a path and work your way down. If you already know some of the language, you can take placement tests to skip the lessons.
The lessons include different kinds of interactive questions which will help you read and write the new language.
You can also hear how words and sentences are pronounced so that you can speak it yourself. In addition, you can add friends from Facebook in case you want to learn with someone else. They also have discussion forums and even real world articles that you can translate once you become proficient in the language.
LiveMocha is a website that is owned by Rosetta Stone and is basically their lower-level cheaper option. It’s still not free, but basically lets you purchase lessons in small bits and pieces. They also give you some free credits to start with that will basically get you about 5 free lessons. After that you have to spend about $1 per lesson.
Some languages have more lessons and courses than others, obviously, and they do have quite a few languages available. If you are looking for something bite-sized, this is a good option.
The lessons are pretty basic in that they include a short intro video and then some vocabulary flash cards. They also include audio recordings for each word. Overall, it’s a different take on learning than the way it is done in Rosetta Stone.
So these are a couple of good options you have when trying to learn a new language. They are especially good for popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc. If you have any other tools you use, feel free to mention them in the comments. Enjoy!