Submitted by: freestyle language
Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:35

Ni Hao Kai Lan Logo

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, an animated series to help children learn Mandarin Chinese, will begin airing on February 7th, 2008 on Nick Jr.

This is just another sign of the times: the world around, people are waking up to the importance of Mandarin Chinese in tomorrow's world. I will be documenting this phenomenon and other such interesting goodies on Mandarin Chinese Info.

From Website

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is a play-along, think-along series that weaves together Chinese language and culture, preschool-relatable stories, and interactivity, with Kai-lan as your intimate friend and playmate!

"Ni hao!" That means "hi" in Chinese--and that's how Kai-lan greets you every day! Kai-lan Chow is an exuberant Chinese-American preschooler, almost 6, who wants you to come play with her and her best friends.

Kai-lan's world is infused with Chinese culture and is brimming with magical sights and sounds, and everywhere you turn there's something amazing and beautiful to see. Along the way, she and her bilingual buddies speak in English and Chinese, but they always need kids' help to find creative solutions to the daily dilemmas that come their way!

Find out more about the show on Nick Jr.

Submitted by: freestyle language
Sat, 01/26/2008 - 21:53

I just read a cool article about the rapidly growing market for Mandarin Chinese-speaking nannies in the UK.

This is yet another sign of the times...

From Article

Our clients tend be high-powered international business people who are making an investment for their children's future. They have realised that Mandarin will be an essential language for the next generation and they want their children to have a head-start.

I will be documenting this and a lot more on Mandarin Chinese Info and to some degree on Freestyle Language.

More on kids and language-learning will be added to Free Language as well.

Submitted by: freestyle language
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 23:43

One Minute Languages Logo

A post on led me to a cool resource with quick and simple one-minute language lessons you can subscribe to and plop right on your iPod or favorite mp3 player. This resource is produced by Radio Lingua and can be found at One Minute Languages.

As you can see in the image above, the four languages currently available on the One Minute Languages website are German, Irish, Polish and Russian.

Visit One Minute Languages.

Submitted by: freestyle language
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 23:12

Survival Phrases Logo

This site has resources for learning basic phrases for travel and getting around in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and Swedish. The audio lessons are in podcast format, so you can subscribe and start learning.

Their business model is such that you can get the first ten lessons for free by signing up on the site. After that, you have to pay (not much) for the rest of the lessons. There are 60 lessons for each language.

From Website was founded on the premise that it’s the people that make the place. is a dynamic language educational website focusing on the world traveler with minimal linguistic ability. Our goal is to provide people around the world with essential linguistic tools to allow them to enjoy their travels that much more. is designed to provide world travelers with essential phrases in multiple languages and cultural insight you will not find in a textbook. Our experienced teachers possess the linguistic expertise to help you comprehend the fundamentals of the language and the experience to help you navigate the pitfalls and pleasantries of their respective countries. At we pride ourselves in providing you with the tools and know-how to make your trip, vacation or journey the most memorable yet! Make sure your trip starts with a visit to!



Submitted by: freestyle language
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 21:28 World Languages Logo

This resource has quite a few links to sites that have instructional materials for learning numerous foreign languages. Eventually, these sections should be put individually on the site for each language section. But for now, here they are all at once on the blog. The following languages are available.

Here's the link to

* Albanian
* Arabic
* Chinese
* Danish
* Dutch
* English as a Second Language
* Finnish
* French
* Gaelic
* German
* Greek
* Hebrew
* Hungarian
* Indo-Chinese
* Indonesian
* Italian
* Japanese
* Korean
* Latin
* Norwegian
* Polish
* Portuguese
* Russian
* Sanskrit
* Sign Language
* Spanish
* Swahili
* Swedish
* Tagalog Filipino
* Thai
* Turkish
* Vietnamese

Submitted by: freestyle language
Mon, 01/21/2008 - 12:55 Foreign Language Videos

I was surfing around this morning and ran into a pre-defined search for "foreign language" on

You can view individual languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, French and Japanese.

Loads of other languages are also available.

Submitted by: freestyle language
Sun, 01/20/2008 - 22:12

Alternative Dictionaries Logo

I was just surfing around trying to find a free bilingual Italian-English dictionary when I came across the Alternative Dictionaires, a site that has literally loads and loads of slang, vulgarisms, insults and profanities from many world languages, from Acadian to Zulu. Below you will find a list of all the languages that currently have entries at the Alternative Dictionary.

This is actually quite useful information, as people very often express themselves using these types of terms and expressions. And it's always better to understand when someone is insulting you, right?!

From Website

The Alternative dictionaries are a collection of various forms of "bad language" from many languages. At the moment, there are 2743 entries in 162 dictionaries. This is a collaborative project with contributions from a lot of people. The pages are developed and edited by Hans-Christian Holm.

Acadian Afrikaans Albanian Alemannic Algerian Arabic Alsatian American English Amharic Apache Arabic Armenian Assamese Asturian Australian English Austrian Azerbaijani Baluchi Basque Bavarian Belarusian Bengali Brazilian Portuguese Breton British English Bulgarian Burmese Cajun Cantonese Catalan Cherokee Chinese Classical Greek Corsican Cree Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Egyptian Arabic English Esperanto Estonian Faroese Finnish Flemmish French Frisian Fulfulde Galician Georgian German Greek Guarani Gujarati Gulf Arabic Haitian Creole French Hakka Hausa Hawaiian Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Igbo Indonesian Iraqi Arabic Irish Gaelic Italian Japanese Javanese Kannada Kashmiri Kazakh Khmer Kirghiz Korean Kurdish Lao Latin Latvian Levantine Arabic Lithuanian Lower Sorbian Luxemburgian Macedonian Malay Malayalam Maltese Maori Marathi Mexican Spanish Min Mongolian Moroccan Arabic Navajo Nepali Norwegian Occitan Ojibwa Oriya Panjabi Pashto Persian Plattdeutsch Polish Portuguese Quebecois Quechua Rheto-Romance Romanian Russian Sami Sardinian Scots Scots Gaelic Serbian Serbo-croat Sindhi Sinhala Sioux Slovak Slovenian Somali Sotho Spanish Sunda Sutu Swabian Swahili Swedish Swiss German Tagalog Tajiki Tamil Tatar Telugu TEST Thai Tibetan Tigrinya Tsonga Tswana Tunisian Arabic Turkish Turkmen Uighur Ukrainian Upper Sorbian Urdu Uzbek Venda Venetian Vietnamese Welsh Wolof Wu Xhosa Yapese Yi Yiddish Yoruba Zulu

Submitted by: freestyle language
Sat, 01/19/2008 - 12:41 Logo

I just read a great article on some of the most difficult and challenging aspects of learning Mandarin Chinese. The article is written in a sort of humorous and chatty tone, and brings up some of the most frustrating things Chinese learners face when they really get down to the nitty gritty details of learning.

From Article

Not all foreign languages are equally difficult for any learner. It depends on which language you're coming from. A French person can usually learn Italian faster than an American, and an average American could probably master German a lot faster than an average Japanese, and so on. So part of what I'm contending is that Chinese is hard compared to ... well, compared to almost any other language you might care to tackle. What I mean is that Chinese is not only hard for us (English speakers), but it's also hard in absolute terms. Which means that Chinese is also hard for them, for Chinese people.

Read the article on

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 01/10/2008 - 15:23

I sort of randomly stumbled across a few good link pages for learning Japanese online for free. I thought I would put them together in a blog entry until I can write proper articles on them.

Here they are:

uPal: United Links for Japanese Learning Resources
Tom's Links for Studying Japanese Booklinks

Submitted by: freestyle language
Tue, 01/08/2008 - 02:15 Foreign Languages

A friend told me about VideoJug recently. It's a site where you can see instructional videos on practical and not-so-practical topics. Naturally the first thing I thought was to visit their site and see what free resources there are for language learners.

Currently, most of the videos have to do with learning Spanish. There is also information about memorizing foreign vocabulary and they even have Arthur Bornstein as their Expert on Memory Training.

Check out the VideoJug videos tagged with "foreign languages".

Submitted by: freestyle language
Tue, 01/08/2008 - 01:00

Here is a quick link to my bookmarks tagged with learn+chinese+free.

This is a great place to keep up on that latest I've been researching for Mandarin. Whenever I find something, I'll always tag it right away using the Firefox extension for

Most of these will eventually reach Freestyle Language, but it takes longer for them to get there.

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 01/07/2008 - 23:10

United Nations Logo

A post on one of my favorite blogs brought to my attention the fact that 2008 has been declared "The International Year of Languages" by the United Nations. Cool.

Part of the UN's goal for declaring an international year of language involves "eliminating the disparity between the use of English and the use of the five other official languages." The other 5 official languages of the UN are Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

Not surprisingly the resolution was introduced by France's representative, who maintained that it "would ensure a 'global' approach to multilingualism and would promote a reasonable vision of multilingualism at the United Nations." Support for the resolution came from representatives of Tunisia, Andorra, Russian Federation, Romania and Senegal, who "stressed that multilingualism in the United Nations served to enrich the work of the Organization."

I am looking forward to finding out what the UN will actually do in 2008 to achieve their goals. I am of course biased, but I'd recommend putting together some high-quality, multimedia language-learning resources and distributing them online for free under one Public Domain license or another. That would be something tangible that would serve for years to come. I'd build cultural awareness into the curriculum by basing lessons around cultural aspects of the countries where the languages are spoken. I'd also include factoids, geographical info, culinary goodies, musical and historical bits and other such enriching information.

Following is the beginning of the notes from the 96th Meeting of the 61st General Assembly:

From Website

The General Assembly this afternoon, recognizing that genuine multilingualism promotes unity in diversity and international understanding, proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Languages.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly, also recognizing that the United Nations pursues multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally, emphasized the paramount importance of the equality of the Organization’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).

In that regard, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that all language services were given equal treatment and were provided with equally favourable working conditions and resources. The Secretary-General was also requested to complete the task of publishing all important older United Nations documents on the Organization’s website in all six official languages, on a priority basis.

Further, the Assembly emphasized the importance of making appropriate use of all the official languages in all the activities of the Department of Public Information, with the aim of eliminating the disparity between the use of English and the use of the five other official languages.

Read on at

Submitted by: opal myth
Sun, 12/09/2007 - 14:05 Distance Learning Free Online Language Courses

Surfing about this morning and came across a helpful list of free online language courses on The first page covers Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Japanese. Page 2 of the list continues with Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

I was very happy to note that lots of the resources on this list are not yet on Free Language! You better believe they will be soon...

Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 11/29/2007 - 16:16

Save Tanii Logo

Got an email the other day from the person that runs the Save Tanii Website. Tanii is an endangered minority ethnic language of the Apatani people of the Ziro plateau in the Lower Subsansiri district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Here is an excerpt from the Save Tanii website:

During the last 50 years, tremendous change in culture, custom and tradition has taken place on Ziro plateau. Today the last serious point of modernization is that the young Tanii (Apatani) generation is not anymore able to understand its own tradition, nor the terms or words quoted in our heritage language. Let us save Tanii culture, let us teach and learn Tanii language.

It is, indeed, a sad thing to lose a language. I wish the best to this project and hope that it succeeds in bringing some attention to the language and culture of the Apatani people.

Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 11/29/2007 - 12:20 Logo

Just got an email from a guy over at who brought my attention to a site in development that will offer free videos for learning English and French (and presumably more eventually).

Currently, only the videos for learning the French language are available, with English coming soon.

The French videos I have checked out are organized by Parisian Arrondissement , which is pretty cool.

I would suggest checking them out and subscribing to their video lessons feeds for both languages so you can know right away when new content is added to the site: Learn English Video Lesson Feed Learn French Video Lesson Feed

The site still needs some development as the Contact and About pages are currently not up, but this is a true "first look" at the site in progress. If they keep up the quality and pace of content publishing, they'll certainly end up being an excellend multi-media language-learning resource.

Check out

From Website

About FooSchool

FooSchool was launched in November 2007 with the aim of providing multi-media language lessons in a range of subjects -- for free!

We launched with a very basic design and 40 high-quality French video lessons, each of three minutes duration.

We intend to improve the design and add to the number of lessons in the near future.
FooSchool is Free?! What's the Catch?

There's no catch. FooSchool is free for three reasons:

1. We passionately believe in free education for everyone. We believe that the right to learn is a fundamental human right -- regardless of age, gender or location on the planet.

For an adult living in a developed country, learning a language may help keep the brain healthy. For someone in a developing country, it may help avoid poverty.

2. With the IT/internet revolution, the technology costs of creating and distributing multimedia lessons are no longer exorbitant. Thus, we don't have technology costs to pass on to you.

3. Our main costs are in devising and producing the lessons, as well as maintaining the website. So, while the lessons on this website will always be free, we intend to eventually make a profit through ancillary revenues (e.g. advertising).

Submitted by: opal myth
Tue, 11/27/2007 - 21:00

UPDATED on February 8, 2017

It seems that this torrent is no longer available anywhere I can find.

I have removed all dead links and left this blog post here for archive purposes.

UPDATED on June 23, 2008

People have emailed me to say that the torrent is down. However, the nature of torrents is that they don't go down easy once they're out there!

At the link below you will find (currently at least) download for all levels of ChinesePod. It's not the 3.1 gigger, there are several options, but it seems to be all there. And legal.


Submitted by: opal myth
Mon, 11/26/2007 - 11:49

Byki Free Language Software Downloads Logo

I wanted to throw up a quick link to the free language software download section of Byki. gives away free software for learning 42 languages. This is a gold mine for folks interested in learning the basics of many languages - on no budget!

They also offer a commercial upgrade for $49 USD, reasonable, and you get lots of extras with the upgrade.

Have a look!

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 11/24/2007 - 20:53 Logo

Just found myself surfing and came across, a website with info about constructed and auxiliary languages.

Submitted by: opal myth
Sun, 11/18/2007 - 16:59 Logo

Overview has loads of resources for learning tons of languages. The only reason there isn't a proper write-up of the site yet on Free Language is that there is so much there that we really need to publish many articles to encompass the full spectrum offered!

So this is just a blog entry to bring attention to the overall site, which will be followed by proper articles outlining each of the languages and their resource sections on the site.

I recommend jumping to the section on Free Online Language Courses.

From Website

This site is dedicated to breaking down of language barriers and assisting the users who have the desire to learn a language, a need to communicate between languages, and for those who work with languages as a profession. Language students should only be using online resources in accordance with the rules and regulations set down by their schools, teachers and parents.



Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 11/16/2007 - 20:49

I wanted to add four resources to the list of websites to post about here on that main part of the site:

Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 11/16/2007 - 15:52

Here are a few resources I have come across lately in my web meanderings that I believe would be valuable additions to the site:

Schweiz Magazin
Voices in Español Podcast
The Japlish Podcast
Yemen Links Arabic Resources

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 11/16/2007 - 15:15

I've just integrated the code for Snap Shots into the site! Snap Shots allows users to preview websites before visiting them, making it easier to see if they are what you are looking for.

Hover over the following link to see a Snap Shot of the Snap Shot website: Hover over this link to see a Snap Shot of the Snap Shot website.

Submitted by: opal myth
Wed, 11/14/2007 - 20:50

Chinesetime Logo

I just got an email with a link to, a website for learning Mandarin Chinese online through lessons and study with a professional teacher via Skype.

It seems to be legit, though I have not done any lessons or worked with any of the professional teachers.

Check out Chinesetime.

Submitted by: opal myth
Wed, 11/14/2007 - 20:22

I just came across an amazing list of resources for learning the Arabic language online. There are literally _loads_ of resources there, so check it out!

Submitted by: polyglot
Wed, 11/14/2007 - 19:35

Hello again at long last! I have been on a vacation of sorts and have not had the time or availability to add resources with the same consistency as I was before mid-September.

But now I'm back! And with me will come a steady stream of additions to the site. Just wait and see...

Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 10/05/2007 - 02:07 Logo

Just came across, yet another online language exchange community!

From Website

Our members are seeking native language exchange partners who speak the following languages - Arabic, Armenian, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malagasy, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Russian, Sinhalese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Urdu. Search for a language partner.

Our Services - In addition to free language exchange services, we aim to help make your foreign language experience productive by offering multiple channels to acquire knowledge and practice. Visit our Bookstore. There you will find course books, reference and grammar books, and CDs to quickly learn your new language. Visit the LingoLinks section to find online resources - lesson plans, dictionaries, etc. After signing up, visit the Student Forums and ask the group questions about the language you are learning.


Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 08/27/2007 - 16:42

A few of the latest updates include the August Free Language Letter, Wikipedia entries for Italian and Portuguese and commercial resources for

Submitted by: opal myth
Tue, 08/21/2007 - 02:38

Just came across an article on Wikibooks about how difficult it is for native English speaker to learn specific languages.

Pretty interesting, thought the article has a ways to go to be fully developed.

From Article

This world is just full of hundreds of thousands of languages. Wikibooks also hosts many different language learning books, but on a smaller scale, of course.

Becoming fluent in a language is no walk in the park, even if you do already display an aptitude for languages. This Wikibook will act as a very useful guide showing how difficult learning any particular language you have set your eyes on is.

Many people wonder how long it will take them to become proficient in a certain language. This question, of course, is impossible to answer because a lot depends on a person's language learning ability, motivation, learning environment, intensity of instruction, and prior experience in learning foreign languages. Last, but not least, it depends on the level of proficiency the person wishes to attain.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3) and Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3). The list is limited to languages taught at the Foreign Service Institute, minus languages which don't have their own Wikibook.

It must be kept in mind that students at FSI are almost 40 years old, are native speakers of English and have a good aptitude for formal language study, plus knowledge of several other foreign languages. They study in small classes of no more than 6. Their schedule calls for 25 hours of class per week with 3-4 hours per day of directed self-study.