Parlez-vous Francais? Free Online Foreign Language Tutorials

Dec 10, 2010

Learning a language on your own can be a very daunting task. Luckily, there are tons of resources available on the Web to help you develop your foreign language skills, from video lectures to podcasts and more. Don't miss these free online foreign language tutorials.

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Online Learning

Open Learning Initiative

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI), operated by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), is described as 'open courses backed by research' - in other words, free course materials developed to be used by independent students. Foreign language learners will find French I and French II available through OLI. Each course includes interactive videos and lessons designed to take one week to complete, for a total of about 15 weeks of material. is maintained by Annenberg Media, an organization dedicated to using media and telecommunications to advance education. Their 'teacher resources' are designed to be integrated by instructors into distance learning courses, but they can also be accessed (for free!) by independent learners. Video courses are available in French and Spanish. People considering a career in education may also be interested in the tutorials on teaching a foreign language.

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  • Swedish Language, short for Indo-European Languages, is an in-depth language learning resource run by one enterprising woman with a knack for languages and a background in teaching. Although French is her primary language (after English), she offers free tutorials in 15 different languages, most of which include audio downloads and online lessons. Students in can learn:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Icelandic
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Ukrainian
  • Croatian
  • Finnish
  • Turkish
  • Indonesian

There are even comparative tutorials in French and Italian and French and German for students interested in learning two languages at once.

Internet Education


The LingQ approach to language learning is based on an immersive methodology developed by a linguist. The approach is simple: Acquire grammar and vocabulary through creative use of language, rather than through textbook-style rules. In addition to downloadable lessons, LingQ offers interactive forums and blogs, as well as live chat rooms where you can practice your conversation skills. There are ten languages on LingQ in addition to English (for ESL learners), including Spanish, French, Italian, German, Swedish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

Language Podcasts

Chances are you're already familiar with podcasts. Maybe you already download your favorite radio program, cooking show or another piece of audio entertainment. But did you know that you can use podcasts to learn languages, too? There are hundreds of free educational language podcasts in many different languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and oh so many more.

Looking for more live help with your language studies? Check out these free online language learning communities.

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