Best Online Courses to Teach Yourself a Language

How to Teach Yourself a Language with online tools

Did you learn a language at high school? How well do you speak it now? Unless you pursued it via other mediums as well (like I did), my guess is not too well.

The truth is, the world is evolving rapidly, and we are quickly realising that traditional means of classroom language-learning is not effective for those who truly want to become proficient in a language.

More and more, we are seeing people break out of the expensive professional classes bubble in the pursuit of true language-learning success. People are increasingly finding that it is possible to teach yourself a language.

You might be wondering how you can teach yourself a language that you have zero knowledge on. First, I should clarify that there are people who can learn simply from watching movies, listening to music and reading books. If this is you, great! But for most of us, this is not feasible. There is something that you (and anyone else) can use to teach yourself a language, and that is an online course in the form of a programme, application or downloadable guide. It’s like self-studying, but with a bit of guidance.

These are proven to be far more effective than traditional classroom lessons. This is because you can find the course which best suits your needs and your learning style. You can work at your own pace, and you can focus on things that interest you, instead of sticking to a particular curriculum or stressing about exams.

To help you make the decision about which programme you should use to teach yourself a language, I have put together a list of some of the most popular programmes that offer multiple different language courses, and how they compare. The benefit of all of the programmes mentioned is that they either offer money-back guarantees or free trial periods, so you can keep trying until you find the course that is right for you!

Rocket Languages

Rocket languages is one of the high end programmes out there that you should consider if you really want to teach yourself a language thoroughly, and learn properly.

learn italian with rocket italian

Price: $100 – $300 one-off
Trial Period: 60 days free, full access to course materials and lessons
Number of languages offered: 13
What you get:
– Audio and pronunciation practice
– Memorisation improvement
– Live forum
– Focus on refined grammatical understanding

Click on the language that you want to learn to find out more about Rocket Languages:

SpanishJapanese | Italian | Russian | Portuguese | KoreanHindi | German | French | Chinese | Arabic

Innovative Language

Innovative Language describe themselves as ‘the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn a language’.

Price: $4-$23 a month
Trial period: very basic version free for life
Number of languages offered: 43
What you get:
– Weekly Audio and Video lessons
– Absolute Beginner to Advanced Level Lessons
– PDF Lesson Notes
– Line-By-Line Audio Transcript
– Lively Community and Forum, access to personal online tutor
– Online Spaced-Repetition Flashcards

Click on the language that you want to learn to find out more about Innovative Language:

Arabic | Cantonese | Mandarin | English | French | GermanItalian| Japanese | Korean | Portuguese | Spanish

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is one of the oldest and most well-known online language-learning programmes out there, which teaches in a deep and methodical way.

Rosetta Stone online language programme

Price: $189 for 2 years
Trial period: 30 days
Number of languages offered: 30
What you get:
– Sync lessons on any device
– TruAccent™ pronunciation training technology
– Audio lessons and read-aloud stories
– Phrasebook to easily reference words and expressions
– Native speaking tutors and live support over phone or internet

Learn more about Rosetta Stone

Mosalingua

Price: Mosa App: $5 USD one-off| Mosa Web: $59.90 USD/year
Trial period: 15 Days for Web Programme
Number of languages offered: 6
What you get:
– Spaced repetition memory training
– Free language learning e-books, downloadables and information
– Choose what you want to learn about and study things that interest you

Learn more about Mosalingua

Pimsleur

Pimsleur is a tried and tested language-learning programme. Ideal for people who are not academic or prefer learning by doing, Pimsleur focuses on speaking and listening, rather than reading and writing.

Pimsleur online course to teach yourself a language

Price: around $100 USD per level (up to 5+ levels)
Trial Period: 30 days & free lesson
Number of languages offered: 51
What you get:
– Each level is a group of lessons in MP3 format
– Listen on your phone, computer, or car stereo
– Spaced repetition technology
– Pronunciation improvement by out-loud repitition
– Guarantee a measurable improvement on spoken language after the first level

Learn more about Pimsleur

Linkword Languages

Linkword Languages describe themselves as ‘fast to learn and easy to remember’. It is proven to be up to 3 times faster than normal learning methods.

Linkword languages online language programme

Price: $20-$30 USD one-off
Trial Period: 60 day money-back guarantee
Number of languages offered: 15
What you get:
– Versions available for all devices
– Improved memory retention by association, spaced retrieval, optimal colour-ways and testing patterns
– Buy bulk courses for different languages together and save

Learn more about Linkword Languages

Babbel

Babbel is the self-proclaimed ‘shortest path to real-life conversations in a new language’.

Babbel online course to teach yourself a language

Price: $7-$12 USD a month
Trial Period: 3 months free with this exclusive offer
Number of languages offered: 14
What you get:
– A similar concept to Duolingo, it teaches vocabulary and relies on intuition to pick up grammar as you go
– Choose topics that interest you
– Learn at your own pace
– Speech recognition technology
– Available on desktop, smartphone or tablet

Learn more about Babbel

FluentU

FluentU lets you watch short clips of video content, whether it be movie trailers, music videos or inspirational talks

FluentU online programme to teach yourself a language

Price: $120-$250/year
Trial Period: 15 day
What you get:
– Access to unlimited video content in target language
– Learn vocab and expressions
– Listen to native speakers talk naturally
– PDF printable transcripts of all content available

Learn more about FluentU

How They Compare

Languages Offered

Pimsleur Linkword Mosalingua Rocket Rosetta Stone Innovative Babbel FluentU
Albanian
Afrikaans
Arabic (Eastern)
Arabic (Egyptian)
Arabic (Modern Standard)
Armenian (Eastern)
Armenian (Western)
Bulgarian
Chinese (Cantonese)
Chinese (Mandarin)
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dari Persian
Dutch
Farsi Persian
Filipino
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Haitian Creole
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Indonesian
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Latin
Lithuanian
Malaysian
Mongolian
Nepali
Norwegian
Ojibwe
Pashto
Polish
Portuguese (Brazilian)
Portuguese (European)
Punjabi
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Spanish (Latin American)
Spanish (Castilian)
Swahili
Swedish
Swiss German
Thai
Turkish
Twi
Ukrainian
Urdu
Vietnamese
Welsh
American English
British English
ASL

Budget

Linkword Mosalingua Babbel Innovative  Rocket Rosetta Stone FluentU Pimsleur
Low Low Medium Medium Medium High High High

The Verdict

The programme that you decide to go for depends on your personal needs and learning style. If you want to teach yourself a language as quickly as possible, Linkword Languages or Innovative Language might be the way to go. Should you want a thorough, in-depth understanding of the language and to master it semantically, both oral and written, consider Rocket Languages or Rosetta Stone. If you are really concerned about improving your pronunciation and your conversational abilities, Pimsleur or FluentU are probably for you. And if your main focus is to improve vocabulary in a certain field, you should probably try Mosalingua or Babbel.

Of course, there are other things to consider, such as budget and what language you have in mind. But whatever your needs are, if you want to teach yourself a language, but you are not quite sure how, try an online course. They are generally cheaper than a class, and so much more worth it. All the courses mentioned above are great, and each have something that makes them unique – so go on! Start learning your next language today.

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.  I recommend these companies because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.

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