Lingua is a free resource that offers reading, listening, dictation, and vocabulary activities.
Every day, the site provides six new dictations in your target language. You can listen to two separate native speakers reading a series of sentences first at a normal speed, and then a slower speed. After you have finished transcribing, the website will automatically check and correct your writing.
There are also short readings and listening comprehension exercises accompanied by a reading comprehension quiz on the side. The difficulty of content available depends on the language. Each exercise focuses on a theme relevant to everyday life, such as family, travel, and activities. Although each reading piece seems to have been written by native speakers, you may catch a few grammatical errors within the texts.
You can choose to quiz either your passive or active vocabulary with a flashcard-like activity, although you may want to make personalized flashcards on Anki or use pre-made decks on Brainscape for a more curated practice.
It’s probably possible to get through most of Lingua’s content in a month, as there are only a handful of exercises in each language. Nevertheless, it’s a solid supplementary resource for reading, listening, and dictation practice.
If you study French or German, TV5 Monde and Deutsche Welle are sites that have similar, more extensive free content.
Learn with Oliver
Learn With Oliver is a simple website that offers SRS flashcards with audio recordings by native speakers, random videos and articles with a list of keywords, choose your own adventure stories, writing practice with corrections by native speakers, and progress tests. The flashcard words and sentences seem to have been randomly chosen rather than curated to specific learning goals, so they are probably better used as enrichment than as a primary learning tool. The site as a whole is probably best for learners who already have a good grasp of basic vocabulary in their target language.
The mixed exercises use spaced repetition to first introduce you to new words, then get you practicing through various word order, fill-in-the-blanks, listening, writing, and multiple-choice activities. Each “card” (more like “page”) allows you to see an overview of each word with example sentences.
A cute perk you will receive after completing each day’s lesson is a “reward link,” which is typically a cute or funny picture on Reddit.
If you’re looking for alternatives to some of the features on this site, LangCorrect may have a larger community of language learners to support you in improving your writing, Readlang and the Zhongwen Chrome Extension will help translate words on most websites, Yabla will teach you languages through video clips, and sites like Readle (German) and Du Chinese can help with your reading comprehension.
The Spanish Dude
Many YouTube language teachers speak conversationally with their audience, but Jordan, The Spanish Dude, seems to speak in the same style that you might observe at a slam poetry night.
One thing to note is that Jordan mostly pronounces Spanish words using English pronunciation and intonation. He has explicitly emphasized that you do not need to learn good Spanish pronunciation to be understood, but that’s a subjective opinion.
Jordan teaches Spanish from an English-speaker’s point of view, which can be helpful for new language learners. His content seems primarily for beginners — he breaks grammar down into manageable chunks so you won’t get overwhelmed with the seemingly endless types of Spanish conjugations.
Jordan has many free YouTube videos, a couple of conjugation courses, and a travel crash course — but Logical Spanish is his most comprehensive course. Here, Jordan not only gives you a comprehensive overview of Spanish grammar, but he also teaches English grammar to explain how language is structured.
You can check out his videos if you would prefer to focus on the content of your communication rather than the way you deliver it, but make sure to support your learning by listening to native speakers. Paul Noble, Pimsleur, Unlimited Spanish, Espanol Automatico, Destinos, and Spanish Obsessed are just a few of the many resources that teach native Spanish pronunciation.
Conversations - IWTYAL
Conversations by I Will Teach You a Language is a downloadable program that uses Comprehensible input (CI) as a strategy to improve your language level. Comprehensible input is when you consume second language material that is just above your current level, which in IWTYAL’s case, is about A2-B1 on the CEFR scale.
The Conversations program includes material of a manageable length with full transcripts and English translations. It is 20 chapters long and follows six characters, two of whom have just moved to the countryside from the big city. You will listen to realistic dialogues between the characters and learn everyday colloquialisms and slang. The characters have a variety of accents within each language, and they speak at a relatively natural speed. The series has the same content in each language, but there are variations based on cultural differences.
IWTYAL probably has good quality materials, but it is quite expensive compared to other CI resources. Intermediate learners can check out innerFrench, Japanese With Noriko, Russian With Max, and Dreaming Spanish for some high-quality, free alternatives. Chinese learners might want to check out Du Chinese and The Chairman’s Bao for graded readers with audio.
Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore.
Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two.
Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.
Lingo Mastery Conversational Dialogues
Lingo Mastery provides over 100 short dialogues in a series of advanced beginner books (about A2 on the CEFR scale) for various languages.
Lingo Mastery’s Conversational Dialogues doesn’t take the immersive approach that you will find in other graded readers. Instead, they provide a full English translation of each text. There are no vocabulary lists or comprehension questions like in their Short Stories series, but you will read conversations that take place in over a hundred different scenarios. If your goal is to accumulate vocabulary based on situations that you may encounter in your everyday life, then Lingo Mastery is probably a good investment.
If you want to follow real-life conversations that are part of a continuous story, you may want to check out Olly Richards’ 101 Conversations. Also, if you are looking for a series of books that will keep you captivated, Mandarin Companion and ESLC provide graded readers that simplify famous stories into Chinese and Spanish.
If you do decide to invest in these readers, make sure to buy the Kindle version, which is about 20% of the paperback price. There are also previews available on Amazon.
OPLingo is a community-oriented, non-profit language learning site. It essentially combines the functions of LingQ, LangCorrect, Readlang, iTalki, and HelloTalk.
The free version gives you limited access to some functions, but by paying for a membership you support ethical causes — such as building a primary school in Tanzania.
You can browse user-contributed texts or easily import your own YouTube videos, articles, or ebooks into the Reading Tool. OPLingo has also developed hundreds of audio conversations in several languages, including Tagalog, Cebuano, Thai, Swahili, and Russian.
Within each page, you can read a transcript and get definitions and pronunciations of unknown words. By identifying which words you don’t know, the next passages you read will highlight the number of known or unknown vocabulary words.
In their Write & Correct section, you can write in over 100 languages and exchange corrections with other users, although Spanish, French, and English learners have a better chance of receiving corrections than other languages at the moment.
You can also practice a language by texting with fellow community members, or by hiring a teacher in your target language.
OPLingo has a lot of potential and is a good alternative to LingQ, but it needs a community of learners to help it grow — so check it out!
Looking for listening comprehension activities in Spanish and Basque? Irakaslea, which means teacher in Basque, has two podcasts dedicated to this: Comprensión oral – Castellano and Ahozko ulermena – Euskera.
Each channel features short, slowly spoken narratives in the target language: stories, mock news broadcasts, and more. The tone is humorous but at times cynical. Unfortunately, there aren’t any transcripts, but the text is slow enough that it’s fairly easy to identify what is being said and look it up in a dictionary.
Many of the episodes are targeted at children in primary school aged roughly 5–11, and the audio quality can vary, so Spanish learners might find that they prefer other channels. For Basque learners, however, this podcast could be a useful addition to their study routine.
Busuu is a digital language-learning app with over 90 million registered users. The resource offers vocabulary and grammar practice through short, self-paced study exercises. It also has a social aspect that allows users to get writing and pronunciation feedback from native speakers. It is available on the web, iOS, and Android.
Lyrics training is a free app that claims to improve your ability to recognize the different sounds in your target language. Through listening to different songs, you can reinforce vocabulary, expressions, and grammar concepts. Although it does not provide any translations or explanations for these skills, it does seem to train listening comprehension and memorization.
While listening to your chosen song, you will be provided with a choice of 4 words to help fill in an increasing percentage of lyrics; by the advanced level, you will be responsible for filling in 100% of the lyrics. Each of the 14 languages available seem to have a wide variety of song choices, and even if you don’t understand what the lyrics mean, you will probably be able to sing along.
If you would prefer an app that focuses more on comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, check out Lirica.