Submitted by: cman
Tue, 10/30/2012 - 13:47

Special Offer for Free Language Readers: Good Until November 12th, 2012

As regular readers of Free Language are well aware, we are quite taken by Babbel's online and mobile language learning system.

It is among the few that we actually recommend people spend money on.

Well, now until November 12th, 2012, Free Language readers can get full access to all 11 languages (see list below) that Babbel offers for $145 a year!

Submitted by: cman
Tue, 07/17/2012 - 08:12

1. Communication with the Locals

Right? Communication is absolutely an essential. You can't get to know someone without it. This is what makes the world go round. It's what drives the universe. You Can't maintain a relationship without communicating. Some people thrive for communication. Can't live without communication. And when you learn to communicate, you open the doors to more challenges, friendships, relationships. The sky's the limit my friend. Sorry to beat this dead horse, but, in my humble opinion, I believe you're quite intelligent. You wouldn't be reading this if you weren't.

2. Discover a New Culture

Submitted by: cman
Tue, 07/03/2012 - 19:32

Share and Learn about Languages on the Brink of Extinction is an online project to provide a way for speakers of endangered languages to share about and upload samples of their languages.

It's a beautiful website, and has an intuitive interface for exploring the many languages on the brink of disappearing forever.

If you're a speaker of an endangered language, you can provide content that will help to keep a part of the language "alive" online, even after there are no speakers left.

Both a sad and inspiring project as well as an easy way to share and learn.


Submitted by: cman
Sat, 06/02/2012 - 12:37

An Innovative Blend of Media and Materials for Language Learners

LanguagePod101's blend of podcasting with iPhone and Android apps along with videos was mentioned in the last newsletter, and I wanted to mention it here on the blog.

Use these great, fresh and lively podcasts to learn over twenty languages!

Submitted by: cman
Mon, 04/30/2012 - 14:52

Learning Czech Online for Free

A new project involving the Czech gemstone Moldavite has me heading to the Czech Republic in two weeks, and I have been searching around for resources for learning the Czech language online for free. I thought I would share them here for easy reference. Enjoy and good luck!

Insane Amount of Czech Resources

Submitted by: cman
Mon, 04/02/2012 - 14:32

2012 Language Survey Uncovers Interesting Trends in Language Learning

Busuu, one of the world's most popular online language learning platforms, has just announced the results of its 2012 Language Barometer Survey.

With over 45,000 participants from 230 countries, this survey sheds light on successful and popular learning processes and well as what the future of language education may look like.

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 05/26/2011 - 18:02

Project Nurture

Guidance for Learners of Minority Languages

Free Language announces Project Nurture, a language learning help center for those seeking to learn lesser-spoken languages around the world.

If you are working to learn any language that currently doesn't have resources on our website, we'll track down existing Web-based resources for you and provide written guidance for approaching the language successfully.

Submitted by: polyglot
Wed, 05/18/2011 - 18:45

Happy Birthday Busuu

Three Years and Nine Languages Later

busuu has been alive and kicking for three years!

Free Language initally reviewed it back in the summer of 2008, and it's come quite a long way since then.

Now offering a total of nine languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Polish, Turkish and Russian), they have grown from their beta stages to be one of the web's top online language learning platforms.

Busuu - we congratulate you on much progress in just a few years :)

Submitted by: polyglot
Wed, 05/18/2011 - 03:20

Travel Body Language

Don't Offend the Locals

Knowing how to travel is a lifelong experience, much like learning a language. When you can't just chat it up with the locals, one of the main cues you can go by is body language.

A Lonely Planet article entitled "Travel Etiquette 101: Body Language" gives a humorous and useful insight into examples of body language from Russia, India, Japan, China, Nepal, Morocco and more.

What's perhaps even more curious and entertaining is the sheer volume of comments - people chiming in with specific examples from all around the globe.

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 05/09/2011 - 06:54

Learn Polish and Turkish Free

Online Language Platform adds Polish and Turkish

Busuu is now offering a way to learn Polish and Turkish online for free. This adds to their repertiore of free language resources which also includes English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Russian and French.

Busuu also offers free mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Info Release from

Merhaba and Cześć (in other words, ‘hello’ in Turkish and Polish)!

You can now learn Turkish and Polish online in addition to the 7 languages we already offer on! And just like our other interactive language courses, the Turkish and Polish courses are completely free! Start learning Turkish or Polish today!

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 15:12

Babbel Speech Recognition


We're pretty big on Babbel, the online language learning platform, and wanted to let Free Language readers know that in June they released a new browser-based speech recognition feature.

This unique tool encourages users to practice the language they are learning out loud and gives them the opportunity to fine-tune their pronunciation. Some traditional e-learning software includes this sort of tool, but none of them do it online in quite the same way. It is also one of the first applications to incorporate the new Adobe Flash Player 10.1.

Language Learning System Babbel Introduces Speech Recognition

  • Foreign language pronunciation training online
  • Real-time technology based on the new Adobe Flash Player 10.1
  • Speech recognition with Babbel iPhone apps also planned

Babbel integrates a unique speech recognition tool into its language learning system. The feature encourages practice and gives the opportunity to fine-tune pronunciation skills. This adds yet another dynamic dimension to online language learning.

The browser-based speech analysis gives learners an instant evaluation, letting them know how close their pronunciation is to that of a native speaker. Included in all Babbel courses, the feature will take effect automatically. No installation is necessary beyond the latest Flash Player.

Babbel Speech Recognition Waveform

Active speech

Many students of foreign languages, regardless of their level, lack speaking practice and often shy away from direct communication. Breaking out of the shell can take courage that is not always at hand. The idea of the speech recognition feature is to give them the confidence to open their mouths. "We're encouraging learners to speak and improve their pronunciation with a technical tool before they have to face real-life situations", says Markus Witte, Managing Director of Babbel.

In a new kind of exercise integrated into the Babbel courses, learners hear a word or phrase and are prompted to repeat it back. The quality of the pronunciation is then rated on a scale of 0-100. A result of 50 or higher means that the utterance is generally understandable. Beyond that point, the user can continue to polish their pronunciation to desired perfection.

New technology from audio software experts

The Babbel founders have an extensive background in audio technology. Among them are the original developers of TRAKTOR, the world renowned DJ software. This professional-level technology has been channeled into the online language learning system Babbel and made accessible for anyone online.

The new speech recognition tool marks a milestone in online language learning and underscores Babbel’s technological lead. It works directly with the popular Flash Player and is the first to make use of its new capabilities

Another implementation of speech recognition technology is planned for the recently released Babbel iPhone apps.

Babbel Foreign Language iPhone View

About Babbel

Babbel is an online language learning system. Along with the website, there are apps for iPhone and a downloadable vocabulary trainer. Both beginners and returning learners will find interactive exercises for studying English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish. Among diverse kinds of courses there are Basic and Advanced Vocabulary, grammatical exercises and pronunciation training. More than 700,000 people from over 200 countries have already registered with Babbel, while the iPhone apps have had at least 100,000 downloads.

We have reviewed Babbel for the seven languages it's currently working for. Have a look at our articles to find out much more about this unique language-learning platform:

Babbel English
Babbel French
Babbel German
Babbel Italian
Babbel Portuguese
Babbel Spanish
Babbel Swedish

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 05/31/2010 - 21:03

Freestyle Spanish

Update on March 16, 2013: This website is no longer online, and this blog post has been left for archive purposes only, with links removed.

For those interested in investing in their Spanish education, Freestyle Spanish is a new project to put together all of the existing Spanish language products in one place so people know what they're looking for.

Also of intrigue is an emergent language learning method, called the Freestyle Spanish Method.

From Website

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 05/20/2010 - 23:07

FIFA World Cup

The Babbel online language learning system, has just introduced some themed language courses that deal with soccer and the World Cup.

They contain special words and exercises to get ready for the sporting event, so you can explain the offside trap to a French fan in his native tongue, or – after a quick vocabulary check on the iPhone –, argue with a Spaniard over the incompetent referee.

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 01/14/2010 - 14:42

Busuu and PONS: Grammar Guides

The folks at Busuu continue to be hard at work pushing the limits blending self-instruction via web with social language learning online.

Recently, they have teamed up with PONS, a leading European language publisher based in Germany, to offer amazingly comprehensive grammar guides online.

View this announcement on the Busuu blog or read it below!

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 09/11/2009 - 14:03

The Language Show London 2009

2009 Language Show in Olympia, London

The Language Show is going to be an amazing event for language learners, language teachers/instructors/educators, language lovers and linguists alike. There will be loads of exhibitors from all kinds of language-related industries, for a full list view this page.

Also available are intensive language classes in Chinese, German, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, French, Japanese, Polish and Russian as well as "taster classes" in all the above languages plus Persian, Sign Language, Hindi, Catalan, Hungarian, Czech, Turkish and Norwegian.

If you are in the London area and are into languages, this is not to be missed!

From Website

The Language Show is the UK’s biggest event for language learners, teachers, linguists and anyone with a love for languages. The show offers language enthusiasts all the help, advice and resources needed to learn or teach languages all under one roof. Plus, there's a dedicated Language Careers Fair for job seekers.

Over 100 FREE seminars and 185 exhibitors cover every aspect of language teaching and learning in a fun and entertaining way.

Visit for more information.

Submitted by: polyglot
Sat, 08/08/2009 - 19:47

Quickly Shop, Find and Buy Language Products on your Mobile Device

Thanks to feedback from the online community, we have decided to launch a mobile language shop for users who are using mobile devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia, etc) to surf the web to shop and buy language products.

We have worked to make this new website as fast, simple to use and easy to read from a mobile device as possible. We have spared the bling and whatnot to give you a site that just plain works for shopping online via your mobile phone, with features and searches already in place specifically for language products.

Submitted by: polyglot
Tue, 07/07/2009 - 20:23

Babbel Mini Vocab Packages for English, French, German, Italian and Spanish

This just in from the Babbel blog:

From Blog

There’s always a little bit of anxiety that comes along with traveling abroad, whether for business or for pleasure. Possible scenario, night before — for example — the flight to Berlin, a sudden pang: “Oh right, they speak German in Germany, and I don’t even know how to say ‘how are you’. How am I going to manage to order my morning coffee?!?”

We at Babbel have now developed a stress-reducing linguistic survival kit (and perhaps path to that caffeine fix in a foreign country) for the last-minute language learner: the Mini-Vocab Package. Compiled especially for the spontaneous traveler, it offers essential words and phrases - in German, French, Spanish, Italian and English - to get through that first encounter with the locals unscathed.

For those who’ve got a little more time before the big trip, besides the Mini-Vocab, there are twenty other in-depth packages for all relevant situations while traveling, from leaving the airport to arriving at the car rental desk. There is of course also the opportunity to hook up with someone from Babbel’s now more than 350,000-strong community to chat, trade travel tips or set up a language exchange.

To go directly to the newly compiled Mini-Vocab package, click here. If you are not already registered at Babbel, after a quick and easy registration you will be taken straight through to travel vocabulary. For our press release, click here.

From Mara at Babbel

Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Buongiorno, Hallo!, the intuitively designed online language learning platform, has just released a Mini-Vocab Package specially designed for the last minute traveler. It offers all the essential vocabulary for that first encounter with the locals in Spanish, French, German, Italian and English.

Take a look at the Babbel Blog ( for more information.

Thanks and happy learning!


Read about this on the Babbel blog.
Read Free Language's review of Babbel.

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 07/03/2009 - 16:14

Michel Thomas Spanish

In Britain: Get Michel Thomas Spanish Intro CDs Free

If you buy The Guardian on Saturday, July 4th, 2009, and The Observer on Sunday, you will receive two free Michel Thomas Introductory Spanish CDs (~£15).

If you aren't in Britain, but are interested in Michel Thomas, view our deal finder links at the bottom of this entry. It's not free, but certainly cheaper than full price.


Improve your Spanish with our 2 free CDs on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July, plus 5 handy phrasebooks to collect from Monday 6 July.

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 07/03/2009 - 01:06

Oromo Language

Learn the Oromo Language (Afaan Oromoo) Online

Recently we received an email from someone interested in learning the Oromo language online, free of course! Oromo is a language spoken in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Well... we looked around for a while and found four resources that, together, give an introductory self-guided course in this African tongue. This is nothing profound, but will provide the very basics about the language, some useful phrases for travel, a humble dictionary and some other useful goodies.

We thought we'd share this here for everyone, all on one neat page, so you don't have to scour around like we did!

About Oromo Language

Oromo, also known as Afaan Oromoo, Oromiffa(a), Afan Boran, Afan Arsi, and sometimes in other languages by variant spellings of these names (Oromic, Afan Oromo, etc.), is an Afro-Asiatic language, and the most widely spoken of the Cushitic family. It is spoken as a first language by more than 25 million Oromo and neighboring peoples in Ethiopia and Kenya, such as the Werji. Older publications refer to the language as "Galla", a term that is resented by Oromo people and no longer used.

Read more on Wikipedia.

More Minority Languages Coming

We are currently building a directory to promote minority languages worldwide, and will be posting more resources for learning many lesser-known and lesser-spoken languages here on the site soon. Stay tuned!

Submitted by: polyglot
Sun, 06/28/2009 - 22:23

Cannes Silver Lion Prize for Advertising

Silbo Gomero Campaign Wins at Cannes

This just in from our friends at wins a Silver Lion in the International Advertising Festival in Cannes for our Silbo Gomero campaign.

In October 2008 we contracted the Madrid agency La Despensa in order to launch a campaign to improve the awareness of our website.

Submitted by: polyglot
Sun, 06/14/2009 - 23:07

Pimsleur Language Product Cheap Deals

Update: March 22, 2013: Free Language is no longer maintaining the deal finder for Pimsleur. Language learning is developing more and more with new technology. Instead of Pimsleur, we recommending investing your money in more modern language learning tools.

The rest of this blog post is kept for archive purposes, with links removed.

Look no further for Pimsleur language product deals!

Submitted by: polyglot
Sun, 06/14/2009 - 00:18

The Rosetta Stone

Update October 5, 2012: Free Language no longer recommends Rosetta Stone products. There are many other options available far cheaper and with more pertinent features plus mobile capability.

The article below is left for archive purposes, and the links have been removed as we have taken down the website previously linked to.

Look no further for Rosetta Stone deals!

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 05/29/2009 - 17:42

Language Discount Store

Free Language has been working for a while on a new tool for site users interesting in narrowing down the absolute best deals available online for language learning products.

We have scoured the web and created a quick and simple way for Free Language users to save BIG on products from Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and Michel Thomas, plus language education materials including DVDs, software, books, dictionaries and much more!

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 05/08/2009 - 10:08

Byki iPhone and iPod Touch App

Byki has a new iPhone and iPod Touch application in the works for language learners. This new app offers many features for language learners, incuding:

  • Download thousands of free Byki lists through List Central, including your own custom content created through Byki Deluxe. Make lists out of text book material or articles, add them to List Central, and import them to your iPhone!
  • See a cumulative history of your progress in the new Statistics section
  • Adjust volume within an activity with improved volume controls
  • Customize font size for Chinese and Japanese transliterations

Byki for iPhone is great because users can take their learning with them to study wherever time allows, be it in line at the bank or on the commuter train. A quick 5 minutes here and there really adds up when you're learning a new language.

The app is currently available in Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Find out more...

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 04/30/2009 - 09:23

Just came across an interesting (and short) blog entry by linguist Steve Kaufmann, of LingQ fame:

In this article he states that those interested in improving the language learning climate need to do the following:

1) Convince learners that they need to leave the learner content behind as soon as possible. i.e. within 3-6 months.

2) Stop wasting money on text books, schools, conferences, linguistics research, language teacher training, and spend the money on transcribing all the wonderful content that is available free of charge on the Internet.

3) Show learners how to find content of interest, and how to learn from it, meaning mostly listening to it in a concentrated fashion.

Bravo Steve! To this, Free Language would add that any resources created by learners and teachers would benefit from remaining Free and Open in the public domain - protected for future learners - by empowering the content with the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL), the same license chosen by Wikimedia for all of their projects (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiquotes, Wiktionary, etc.).

It is important that we move collectively on the Web towards truly Free and Open language methods, resources, materials, etc. A recent article here overviews some of the existing Free and Open language learning materials.

Let's make sure access to language education materials is free for everyone, learners and educators alike.

Visit to learn ten language and counting, including Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 03/12/2009 - 13:42


We have just added a language faq section to Free Language! Here you can find many of your burning questions about languages in general and specific languages in particular.

This page is updated daily with fresh frequently asked questions, so be sure to visit back if your question has not yet been answered.

Visit FAQ Sections

Afrikaans, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese (Mandarin), English, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Hindi, Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Body Language. Or view all language FAQs.

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 03/02/2009 - 12:46


Thanks for contacting Free Language about learning Polish! It sounds like you are interested in speaking with real people in Polish, correct? If so, the best way to get into this right away is to visit one of the Web's many social language learning platforms. Not all offer Polish, but many do! You can see a list of all listed on Free Language here:

Specifically for Polish, you might try Palabea and iTalki:……

If you are more into learning some on your own by studying first, there are several websites that can help with this:…

There is a great total beginner Polish podcast here (free):…

Also, Byki is great software for Mac and Windows and is free to download. You can learn the basics of Polish as well as over 70 other langages!…

And if you already have some proficiency with listening and reading, there is a great European youth-driven news source in Polish (and 6 other major European languages) called CaféBabel:…

I hope this quick summary of Polish resources was of help to you!

Submitted by: polyglot
Tue, 01/20/2009 - 20:55

Update 2012-10-05: is no longer recommending Rosetta Stone for Spanish learners. There are so many other options out there for much cheaper, with more useful features and that take you further along in the learning process.

For example, read our reviews of two great products: SpanishPod101 and Babbel Spanish.

The tools previously linked to below are no longer online.

Submitted by: polyglot
Tue, 12/09/2008 - 19:09


Steve Kaufmann of LinqQ fame recently released a vlog entry regarding multilingualism and polyglot culture.

It's interesting for those who enjoy learning and speaking languages as a way of life.

Be sure to check out our recent story on LingQ's new features.

Steve Kaufmann on Multilingualism

Visit LinqQ.