Posted in Education Technology, Languages

Learning Languages Online

As the internet brings the world closer through communication, the interest in second language learning has increased, especially in English. More than 1 billion people are believed to speak some form of English. For every native speaker there are three nonnative speakers. Three-quarters of the world’s mail is in English and four-fifths of electronic information is stored in English. Due to globalization and technology, English dominates the world as no language ever has, and some linguists are now saying it may never be dethroned as the king of languages.

As an ESL teacher, I try to encourage students to explore the English language just beyond the scope of our classroom.  Some activities include reading the newspaper, watching tv and movies, and using language learning options online. Technology makes language learning more engaging for the students and allows for self pacing. Here are some sights that I usually recommend.

*includes other languages other than English


Social Networking

  • LiveMocha* : practice language with native speakers
  • Busuu * :Free Language learning community


  • BBC English : great activities to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  • BBC Languages *: Audio/Video courses for French, German, Spanish, Greek, Chinese, and more.

What if you’re a native English Speaker and you want to learn another language? It is a common myth that children learn a second language easier than adults.  Adults and adolescents actually have an advantage in learning a new language because they have more efficient memories and greater knowledge on how language works.  An advantage for a child is that For native speakers of English there are many online sources that you can visit if you want to learn a new language or practice a language you studied. I found this infographic that shows the easiest and hardest for a native English speaker to learn:

One additional tip for accessing language learning software: Often your local public library will have subscriptions to paid services like Rosetta Stone, Byki, or Mango and you can access them for free with your library card.

Happy language learning!


5 thoughts on “Learning Languages Online

  1. I especially liked the Infographic — very effective and engaging piece graphic to add and support your writing and resources. I could not access the site, but would be interested to know more. Thanks for the great resources.

  2. Great post I did not know that we could get the language software from the library. Thanks for the tip, also the easy, medium, hard language chart is great!

  3. I am bilingual (Spanish and English) but have always wanted to learn a third language, particularly Italian or French. I love the way they sound. It is amazing how today we don’t even have to be in a classroom to learn a new language. All we have to do is find the time. I really liked your infographic, especially because both English and French are mentioned in the easy section. :o) I have always thought that knowing English and Spanish would also give me an advantage. There are many Italian and French words that I can understand just by knowing those two languages. It is also a good way to think about your foreign students by reversing the graphic. It would be much harder for a student from China or Japan to learn English than a student from Norway or Spain. Thanks for your insightful blog! Larisa Kivett

  4. Really inspiring post. I’m feeling encouraged to resume learning French seeing this graphic. I did a beginner’s course some time back and now, will definitely try to achieve a greater mastery over this language.

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