Free Language is a free podcast, magazine, newsletter and coaching service for self-motivated language learners.
Hi! 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 two decades since then, 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, Portuguese and Czech.
I can survive in 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 Esperanto, 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 In fact, this has increasingly superseded my own language learning efforts, and continues to do so for the most part because it is so wonderful to help people get into learning languages and be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 :)
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