Essential Language Learning Tools And Resources
It’s time to start putting together a list of the best resources I’ve written about and reviewed here on this blog, as well as other high quality sites, resources and tools to help you get started with your language learning.
Everything I’ve listed here is material that I can vouch for or use personally. You’ll never find a recommendation on this site unless I’m 100% convinced it’s a high quality language resource.
I’ll be gradually adding to this list over time and linking to it periodically.
From time to time I use affiliate links for paid products on this site which means I get a small commission for referrals. It doesn’t affect the price of anything but doing so has helped me continue to maintain and improve this site over the last 10+ years as a helpful resource for language learners.
Interested in starting a language blog of your own?
See here for my advice on how to do it.
First up, here are my main go-to resources when I begin learning another language.
I frequently refer to them in many of the articles I write because I know they’re fantastic and they’ve been crucial to my own learning.
If you don’t go any further down this page then I strongly suggest you make use of these resources if nothing else.
The best of the best language learning resources and tools
This is the most comprehensive online course I’ve used with some of the highest quality natural dialogue material available.
Rocket’s available in many languages (highly personalized to each one so definitely not a ‘cookie cutter’ approach) and it has a tonne of excellent audio content for all levels ranging from beginner to advanced.
Join The Guild by clicking here, select your language and I'll send you a unique offer for Rocket Languages exclusive to my readers only.
Read my Rocket Languages review.
Not too long ago it was really difficult or impossible to practice foreign languages without traveling to the country where the language is spoken. Thankfully, tools like italki have made it possible to connect with native speakers from all over the world to practice or to take personalized lessons over Skype.
The great news is, lessons over Skype through italki are incredibly cheap compared to most teachers in person (many are as low as $6-8 an hour depending on what language you’re learning!). All the frustration of payments and scheduling is handled brilliantly by italki too which makes it very easy and stress free to arrange sessions.
If you head over and sign up for your first language lesson now, italki will give you a second lesson free!
Read my italki review.
Mondly is a beautifully designed learning platform (also available as a mobile app) in 33 different languages.
It teaches conversation in a style reminiscent of Rosetta Stone and Babbel. Also the only major language product to teach through VR.
This is a language course for loads of different languages available in the form of audio podcasts and downloadable lessons.
It’s hit and miss depending on which language you’re learning – some of them are okay, others are excellent. You’ll find video lessons, a vocabulary database and dictionary, grammar explanations and various other features.
Use code MEZZOGUILD for 25% off any of their language courses.
This is another very unique product that improves your fluency through a highly repetitive ‘listen and repeat’ approach.
It is, in my opinion, one of the the most useful language learning resources I’ve seen for training listening comprehension. Definitely not a conventional course but you’ll be amazed at how effective it is if you use it daily.
It’s available in many different languages too.
Talk In Arabic
Our own multi-dialect audio and video resource for people learning to speak Arabic.
It’s a one of a kind resource that’s updated weekly and includes HD video content, lesson modules and tonnes of audio material (all with written transcripts to read along to).
Currently covers 8 varieties of Arabic: Egyptian, Levantine, Saudi, Iraqi, Sudanese, Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan.
Use the coupon code MEZZOGUILD at checkout for 20% off all membership options.
Read this Talk In Arabic review.
These are hugely popular and unique story-based courses by my good friend Olly Richards (StoryLearning), who’s worked with various native speakers to teach Spanish, Italian, German and French (more languages currently in the works). The courses revolve around beginner stories that are super easy to follow.
A timeless classic that has been a proven effective program for many decades. Pimsleur’s an audio-only course that is an excellent introduction to many languages.
Read my Pimsleur review.
Language learning resources for getting started
Language Learning Foundations: This is a comprehensive video course put together also by Olly that walks you through the language learning process step by step. If you want to learn a language and you’re not sure where to start or how, this will help you immensely.
Fluent In 3 Months Premium: Benny Lewis, author of Fluent in 3 Months, shows you how to begin conversing in any foreign language. Very detailed and comprehensive course structure with a practical, speaking focus.
Reading and literacy
Babbel: Babbel is a professional and effective way to study grammar (basically a superior alternative to Duolingo). It’s available in quite a few different languages and there are more currently in development (see my Babbel review).
Memrise: This is an outstanding online vocabulary training tool. It’s a competitive and rather addictive memory game that lets you select language ‘courses’ to study (or create one yourself). Many of the courses also include audio.
AnkiSRS: A highly versatile flashcard app.
Learning With Texts: A completely free (though quite a bit technical to install and set up) assisted reader. You insert texts and audio in the language you’re learning, link it to an online translator like Google Translate and it will help you learn new words that you come across. See my guide to install it here.
LingQ: Like Learning With Texts but everything is already set up and there’s tonnes of reading material already there for you to read (not free though).
ReadLang: Another assisted reader alternative. Also a paid product.
Forvo: I love Forvo. Basically if there’s ever a word or expression that you’ve seen written but don’t know how to pronounce, you can search for it here (or request it) and hear a native speaker pronounce it for you.
uTalk: A handy app for learning vocabulary and phrases that covers 140 languages and unlimited language combinations. See this uTalk review.
Connecting with native speakers
italki: The best site for connecting with native speakers and teachers around the world (read my italki review).
Video and audio
LingoPie is an outstanding library of high quality, interactive TV shows in 6 major European languages.
If you enjoy learning from your favorite sitcoms and other genres, this is your best option.
FluentU: This is a good site for learning languages using subtitled video. Available in Chinese, Spanish, French, English, Italian, German, Russian, Korean and Japanese (read my FluentU review).
Rocket Languages: The Rocket series is a very comprehensive dialogue-rich course available in lots of different languages. The audio and subject content is outstanding.
Yabla: This is another excellent site for using video where you can control the speed of playback and select words from the subtitles for definitions. Available in: Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, German and English. I wrote a review of Yabla recently.
RhinoSpike: An incredibly useful, free site for having native speakers read or pronounce text for you.
Online TEFL Courses: If you're looking to travel the world and earn a living while doing it, then I recommend teaching English. See this list of the best online accredited course options.
Writers Work: As an alternative to teaching, if you're more of an introverted type, prefer to work alone and have good writing skills, then I highly recommend Writers Work. Loads of writing work available and you can be very flexible with your time.
Language Learning Calculator: We built a free language learning calculator that takes your target language, goals and a few bits of important data, and then tells you how long it will take you to learn the language. Try it out.
Language specific course lists
I've also put together some extensive and well-researched course lists for many languages if you want some comparisons:
Children's language learning resources
Studycat is one of the best quality and most fun online resources for young kids (primary age). They currently offer the following languages: Spanish, French, German, Chinese and English.
Learn languages with music
This is the most unique and effective phrasebook alternative I’ve ever seen and one I frequently recommend.
Based on solid research into memory and ‘stuck song syndrome’, Earworms MBT teaches you languages over the top of highly repetitive tunes that cause the phrases to ‘get stuck’ in your head. It’s surprisingly effective and is so enjoyable that it doesn’t feel like study at all.
Available in: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Spanish (European and Latin American), Russian and Turkish.
Read my Earworms review.
Language learning productivity and management resources
Monday's a powerful task and project organizer that you can use for just about anything.
My own productivity for both work and learning has increased exponentially since I started using Monday to keep track of everything I have to do.