Learning a new skill online: Languages

Five online resources designed to help you learn a new language.

Being multi-lingual is a skill envied by many, and although learning a new language requires effort, dedication, and time, there are a number of resources available online to help you pick up a second language in a matter of months.

Whether you fancy ordering a bowl of pasta at your local Italian restaurant with the correct pronunciation, or are looking to speak the native language of a foreign country before heading off on holiday or moving overseas, here are the five websites that will get you there. 

Duolingo

  • Learning a new language can be strenuous and wrapping your head around conjugations alone can seem more pain than it’s worth. Luckily, online app Duolingo has gamified every lesson making learning fun and at times, addictive!

  • Each lesson and level covers speaking, listening, translation as well as multiple choice questions.

  • The app also has a streak count to keep you motivated by tracking how many days in a row you spend learning the language of your choice.

  • There are plenty of languages to choose from including Spanish, Danish, Russian and Dutch to name a few.

  • Even schools are beginning to introduce Duolingo into the classroom, with the platform now available for teachers to use as an additional resource.

Available on desktop, tablet and mobile (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). 

Babbel

  • Babbel is another great online resource designed to give you everything you need to speak, write and understand a new language.

  • There are both beginner and advanced levels available, so once you’ve picked your language of choice it’s time to get started at your own pace.

  • The website is user-friendly and includes images to help you learn as you go, while speaking has also been made easy with built-in integrated speech recognition to assist with pronunciation – a lifesaver!

  • There are currently 14 different languages to pick from and courses are broken down into small blocks with emphasis on everyday life, such as ordering food or getting to know someone.

Available on desktop, tablet and mobile (iOS and Android). 


Sites like Busuu and Babbel can help you pick up a new language. Photo: Busuu and Babbel presskits

Livemocha

  • Sometimes there’s no better way to learn a language than through conversation, which is exactly what Livemocha allows you to do.

  • The free online language website lets you learn and practise with access to millions of native speakers from over 190 countries and 35 languages including Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Japanese.

Available on desktop.

Busuu

  • There are currently 50 million people around the world learning new languages via online website Busuu*.

  • One of the many advantages of this means there’s a whole online community to practise, share and improve your language skills with.

  • Busuu is designed to let you set individual goals and learn at your own pace, so you’ll never feel like you’re behind in class.

  • Each lesson is carefully curated by teachers and language experts to help you read, write and speak.

Available on desktop, tablet and mobile (iOS and Android)

Google Translate

  • If you’re ever stuck on a word or need to translate something in a hurry, Google Translate will quickly become your best friend.

  • While the website isn’t designed with educational resources at the core, Google Translate is perfect for when you’re on-the-go or when you need a little assistance in everyday situations.

  • Simply copy and paste the text you need translated and select what language you’d like to read it in. Instantaneously, the website will translates words, sentences and even documents.

  • The latest update from Google is a feature that interprets words in real time. To use this function, point your camera lenses at a sign or text and it will translate automatically on your screen. A very handy online tool when travelling abroad.

Available on desktop and mobile (iOS and Andriod).

So there you have it, five great online resources to help you learn another language, or two! But remember, practice makes perfect, so be sure to find the site that suits your learning, set realistic goals and be persistent.

You can learn a new language online with a fast broadband connection. Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.