Free Language is a free online language learning podcast, magazine and newsletter.
My name is Chapman Woodriff, and I'm the guy that started Free Language back in 2006.
A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, I have lived in over ten countries now, spanning the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. For nearly ten years I was traveling constantly and visited dozens of countries, often staying as long as several months. I am currently living on a farm in Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic, part of the year and traveling part of the year.
My interest in languages grew when I worked abroad for a year in Cartagena, Colombia, at the ripe old age of 18. Once empowered by Spanish (who wouldn't be empowered by being able to communicate with ~800 million more people on this planet), I realized I wanted to learn as many languages as I could. And to travel.
Over the past fifteen years, I have been traveling the world learning languages, making music, sailing, kitesurfing, cooking, gemstone hunting and running Free Language, among many other things.
In addition to English, I speak fluent Spanish, French and Portuguese.
I can survive in Czech, German and Italian and barely eek by in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Polish.
I'd really like to improve my weaker languages as well as learn Korean, Japanese and Russian.
"Officially", I do have a formal education in languages, as I was graduated from the University of Virginia as a Bachelor in Linguistics.
From Learning to Helping Learn
Over the years, I have become more and more interested in inspiring and motivating people to learn new languages. In fact, this has increasingly superseded my own language learning efforts, and continues to do so for the most part because it is so wonderful to help people get into learning languages and be successful at it.
The way I see it, I only have time to learn a certain number of languages, but if I can motivate thousands of people to learn, it makes the whole endeavor more real, more powerful and more rewarding.
To this end, I had the idea years ago to start Free Language as a place people could find out where and how to learn languages online for free. I have also paid close attention to commercial products, especially as technology has advanced, and write from time to time about those worth the investment.
Lately, I have begun working on my own language learning method, synthesizing aspects of many different tried and true systems, integrating technology without creating distraction, customizing learning programs for specific needs, finding sources of motivation when things lag and throwing in a few freestyle moves that have proven effective for me. This is my main focus now, and I will be writing more and more on Free Language about how to be successful learning a new language.
If you're interested in getting some free information garnished from years of learning and helping others learn languages, please consider signing up for the Free Language Letter. (It's free :)
Awesome Team Players
Camila, a native Colombian from Bogota, now living in Buenos Aires, has done a lot of Spanish translations for the Spanish section of Free Language. She's now actively researching and writing new articles in Spanish. Read her self-introduction just below.
Tim, a native of Oxford, England, now living in New Zealand, has contributed much to getting the free Video Screencasts up and going. (He's the one that speaks real English ;)
Camila, Free Language's Spanish Curator
Hi! I'm Camila, a Colombian who is passionate about languages. I was born in Bogotá but I have lived many years in Cartagena de Indias, on the Caribbean sea. Now I’m out of my beloved country - and hope to be for a little longer - getting to know the world and learning more languages.
I have a formal education in Linguistics and Literature, and "letters" have always been my thing! I guess this is where my love for languages, both learning and teaching, comes from. I speak Spanish and I teach it as a foreign language. I also speak fluent English and, if you threw me in the middle of Paris, I could also survive with my French. Right now I'm learning Portuguese with plans to go and live in Brazil for a while.
I love reading, cooking, watching movies and, of course, traveling.
I'm always looking for new tools and resources to make learning more profitable and enjoyable, both as a student and a teacher.
I heard about Free Language for the first time like two years ago and I’ve always though that, more than being just a web site, it is an interesting and growing project. So I said, "Why not join it?!"
At the moment, I'm working on the Spanish section with some translations and new articles and I plan to write for all the sections in the languages I know, contributing with my experience both as a learner and a teacher.
Free Language's Original Goals
- To organize, categorize and effectively present the existing quality online language learning resources for the end user who is interested in learning a language online.
- To disseminate free information about world languages, lessons for learning and links for exploring and discovering.
- To do these things in a way that is understandable and easily-navigable by the end user.
Plus Free Language's New Goals
- To empower people to be successful learning and teaching languages.
- To create an active, accessible and eclectic audience of learners and teachers from around the world interested in effective ways to approach language education.
Want to connect?
You can see Free Language's social links at the top right of any page.
If you'd like to contact Chapman directly, please send him an email here.
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