Research shows the most effective way to learn a new language is at a young age when our brains are still developing. But our willingness to learn about other cultures and connect with folks from all walks of life shouldn’t end at infancy. Whether you’ve been meaning to study abroad, conduct business in a new country, or simply haggle at a local flea market like a pro, these super simple online programs will have you understanding—and speaking— a new language in no time.
Rosetta Stone has become synonymous with all things related to online language learning. Thanks to its patented TruAccent voice-recognition technology, you get the benefits of an interactive educational experience without the detentions and long hours. Each of their 26 language offerings comes with four core lessons, with the possibility of adding on a live tutoring component led by a native speaker. With the choice of games, audiobooks, and easy-to-access phrasebooks, lessons are both engaging and accessible for all levels. Rosetta Stone isn’t only about building a brighter future, but salvaging the past. The program prides itself on partnering with Indigenous communities around the world to enact services that revive and preserve languages at risk of extinction.
Get it here: Rosettastone.com
They say you’re only truly fluent in a language once you start thinking in it. And to show off your new skills, Babbel will have you doing just that—babbling away with confidence in your choice of 14 new languages, from Portuguese to Polish, and Danish to Dutch. Of course, fluency takes time and practice, but this subscription-based program does a great job of highlighting and celebrating linguistic milestones so you’re encouraged to continue. What sets Babbel apart is that it allows you to practice conversing on any of your devices with the voice of a native speaker, which prepares you for real-life situations while traveling or exploring new cities. Sessions are only 10 to 15 minutes each—perfect for short attention spans and limited lunch breaks.
When learning a new language for the sake of getting by in a foreign country, we often forget that the majority of our communication might be text-based, whether via email, social media, or instant message. Learning a new language isn’t only about memorizing word definitions, but stringing words together with proper punctuation, syntax, and flow. This free browser extension helps refine each written phrase in its proper context so that you sound—and read!–like a true native speaker. Seriously: you’ll wish you had a Grammarly representative in your ear at all times so you sound as good mid-verbal conversation.
Get it here: Grammarly.com
Watch your vocabulary skyrocket with interactive audio courses. Rocket Languages proves a little friendly competition is the key to thriving in a new craft. Check your score on the leaderboard to see how you stack up against other e-students, and rack up extra points for maintaining a daily streak of learning activity. While memorizing vocabulary is certainly a great start, it’s important native speakers understand you. After repeating simple phrases, their unique software will rate your pronunciation. With your choice of 17 languages, navigating a new city and forging new connections has never been easier.
Get it here: Rocketlanguages.com