Tackle any language with my favourite tried and tested language learning resources. With the best language resources, you’ll be a polyglot in no time!
How successful you are at learning to speak a language depends not only on your strategy but on the amount of enjoyment and engagement you have with your language resources.
Before I learned my first foreign language, Italian, I tried out numerous language resources, books, and services to see what worked best for me. I then went back to these trusted tools when I wanted to learn French.
I still keep an eye out for new and exciting ways of picking up a language without the stress or pressure that comes with learning a language. Below, I have started to collate my personal favourites that I have benefited from massively and hope you will too. For more tips, check out my post on 10 ways you can improve your language learning.
78 Free Online Dictionaries (Free eBook)
Regular dictionaries are not only bulky and expensive; they also date very quickly. While learning Italian and French I started discovering a series of free online dictionaries. I found these resources to be so beneficial that I decided to collate a series of free online dictionaries as used by linguists and polyglots in as many languages as possible. Check them out here
Learn Italian FAST in Just 8 Hours (eBook for Only $9.85)
How to Learn Italian FAST in Just 8 Hours! is the results of 10 years of personal language learning experience. This method is for beginners. Beginners to both language learning and to Italian. I wrote this book with daunted procrastinators in mind, and myself all those years ago when I first started learning a language. I knew nothing about grammar and suddenly having to learn all these new terms PLUS new words was a daunting task.
This book simplifies everything and is broken down into 9 steps. Each step explains the core elements of grammar supported with examples and pronunciation. The learner is provided with manageable and useful parts of the grammar that they can implement straight away. After Step 2 you’re able to start creating your own sentences.
What the learner gets is a basic working knowledge of the Italian language.
Babbel is a great online language-learning program. I recommend you use this reasonably priced tool as part of a balanced language routine. Lessons last between 10-15min which makes it perfect for when you’re short on time. I used it to help me improve my French pronunciation. Currently available in 13 languages, it offers good quality content that is challenging. Its intuitive interface and design make it enjoyable to use too. You can start playing with it for free here.
While Rosetta Stone is the godfather of language learning and worth mentioning since they are constantly updating and improving. I’m currently using it to learn Arabic. One particularly great feature is the ability to book live lessons with a human! Yup, you get live time with a native teacher through the program! Check it out here. Once you complete a unit in the program, you can schedule a 50-minute session with a teacher, where you can see them by video feed and both of you talk via the headset. The teachers are friendly, patient very professional and clearly excellent and experienced teachers of the language. With over 30 languages to choose from and a 6-month money back guarantee, it’s worth investing in.
I feel like italki is the secret weapon of the polyglot world. Literally, every linguist I’ve spoken to uses italki to connect with native speakers online to help then learn languages. italki allows learners to connect with both professional teachers for lessons and native speakers for more informal sessions. This is a very convenient way to learn and maintain your development as all sessions are run via Skype. Some teachers even offer a free trial.
Verbling is a great language resource to get a personalised experience. Verbling is an online platform where language learners take lessons with professional teachers. There are 38 languages to choose from and you also get to choose the teacher! It’s also VERY affordable, lesson on average costs only $15.
LingQ – The Linguistic Institute
From English to Korean, Finnish to Ukrainian, you can learn just about any language with LingQ. LingQ works by creating ‘links’ on words that you want to learn. With these ‘word links’ you are then able to learn them via flashcards, multiple choices quizzes, plus listening via audio tracks. All of this is accessible either from your laptop or smartphone.
To help me learn French, I started using Rocket Languages. One of my favourite features is the ability to record my voice and receive tips on how to improve my pronunciation. You can even learn Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian plus many others.
Michel Thomas deserves a medal for his simplification of language learning. His ground-breaking approach of being able to break down a language and teach to back to students without homework, written tasks, or memorisation is truly incredible. I learn both Italian and French in only a couple of months. These audio tapes feature Michel Thomas himself teaching two students who are completely new to the language, so you learn as they do. After listening to his course you’ll learn correct grammar without even realising it and be able to form sentences without any effort. Such a shame that this method hasn’t been adopted in schools.
Another popular audio course is Pimsleur which a lot of polyglots use to learn multiple languages efficiently. Personally, I prefer the Michel Thomas Method, but you never know what might resonate better with you. It’s definitely worth considering.
I stopped lugging around dictionaries years ago when I discovered the Ultralingua app. While learning Italian I found their app indispensable. Dictionaries are available in a variety of languages including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Plus you get added functionality like conjugating thousands of verbs, view all standard tenses and forms, and conduct searches.
English and Teaching Resources
I was first introduced to this tool over a year ago and I’m really impressed with its power and ease of use. Grammarly said it best when they say they are World’s Best Grammar Checker. I’ve installed their plugin in my browser which allows me to proofread, correct spelling and sentence structure on the fly whenever I’m writing a new article, email, or Google document. That way I don’t have to write everything in MS Word and copy it across. Making it super easy to write and edit new articles on the go.
MyTEFL- Footprints Language Education
Dream of teaching English overseas over 40 countries? Then you’re going to need to be TEFL certified, which you can do with Footprints Language Education Ltd. At the moment, you can get 10% off an online course and a certificate printed for free and mailed to you.
Another accreditation you’ll need to teach English overseas is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) which you can get with Magoosh. Sign up here for a 7-day free trial. They also offer resources to student’s who are preparing for their GRE, GMAT, English and SAT tests.
Want to know how the experts learn languages? I asked 11 top polyglots to share their language learning secrets. Find out how they start learning a new language, overcome plateaus, and maintain multiple languages.
For more language learning tips and advice visit my 10 Best Ways to Learn a Language.
That’s it for now!
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Over to you!
What are your best language resources? What tools do you use?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.