Ultimate Resource Guide for Learning a Second Language Online

Some people prefer to teach themselves. If that sounds like you, choosing to learn a second language can be immensely beneficial, allowing you to navigate international business and career opportunities with new-found bilingual skills. Those who speak another language may also find travel to be more fulfilling, as they can venture off the beaten path and mingle with the locals. Self-learners don’t need to invest in expensive educational software or textbooks to learn another language. All the necessary materials can be accessed using free or low-cost online resources.

Learning a Second Language

Best Languages to Learn

Deciding which second language to study online is the first step. No matter how bright you are, learning a foreign tongue requires a huge investment in effort and time – so make sure you are passionate about the one you choose. The following list will give you an idea of the difficulty level and economic importance of some of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Chinese (Mandarin)

Japanese

Korean

Russian

Arabic

Turkish

Persian/Farsi

Spanish

French

German

Portuguese

Italian

Hindi

Best Websites for Learning a Language Online

Those committed to learning a language on their own don’t need to break the bank with high-end linguistic software and textbooks. There are many free and low-cost online resources to help you immerse yourself in a foreign language. Here are some of the most popular options to get you started.

Key Advice for Independent Language Learning

Independent learning requires a different mindset, with disciplined focus on setting study times, searching for educational resources, and remaining driven to become proficient in a language. It is easy to become distracted or lose interest in a topic, especially for those used to a traditional classroom environment. Self-taught students can avoid the most common pitfalls by following these tips shared by expert language learners.

Immerse Yourself

Choose a language and then surround yourself with news, books, cartoons, radio shows, and music in the foreign language. Even if you aren’t able to catch most of the meanings behind vocabulary words, hearing and seeing the language will make it seem more familiar. This is a great way to pick up common phrases and slang (as well as epithets). Keeping up to date with foreign affairs and media will also give language students more topics to discuss with native speakers.

Invest Time

Lingosteve, the personality behind the “The Seven Secrets to Successful Language Learning” YouTube series, encourages students to dedicate at least an hour a day to learning another language. Repetitive exposure to vocabulary is crucial, and students can quickly lose progress if they neglect to practice on a routine basis.

Learn One Language at a Time

Linguistic expert and polyglot Benny Lewis has mastered several languages by utilizing several self-teaching methods. He emphasizes learning a single language at a time, since new vocabularies can get conflated and mixed up in a learner’s mind. Don’t get overzealous – slow down and gain proficiency in one language before moving onto the next.

Stay Motivated

Unlike a traditional student, self-learners are not obligated to show up at a classroom at a specific time or turn in assignments for a grade. You are accountable to yourself, and will not make progress unless you stay motivated! Don’t get into a rut after a mistake or failed conversation. Keep moving forward, mix up learning styles, and get immersed in foreign media. Being passionate about a specific culture will help carry self-learners through the most challenging lessons.

Learning a language independently can be far more rewarding than taking formal classes. You save a ton of money, meet new people, and develop your self-discipline. So if you’re a motivated autodidact, consider adding a foreign language (or two) to your list of proficiencies.

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