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Forget About the Paywalls: Learn French for Free

Until now, you may have been saving up to pay for your first French class. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a subscription to a language learning app that keeps showing up in your news feed. Or, perhaps you’ve given up all hopes of learning French because it will cost too much.

What if we told you that you could learn French without touching your wallet? That you can start your learning journey today, for free?

It’s true.

With our experience testing hundreds of resources, we know that it’s possible—and we’ll show you how. You won’t need to put aside money for monthly payments or splurge on a new textbook; all you need is your motivation and a digital device.

So keep reading and let’s explore a ton of high-quality resources to keep your French studies free!

Choose Your Resources

If you want to learn French for free, you may need to adopt an eclectic approach to French resources. What is limited access in one may be free in another, so don’t get discouraged if you hit a paywall.

We’ve made sure to include resources that tackle reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can mix and match, but at the beginner and intermediate levels you may want to establish an overarching structure with step-by-step courses.

We’ll first introduce some course options, then offer some podcasts, YouTube channels, and reading tools to enrich your studies.

Next we’ll point you towards a plethora of practice activities to refine your skills and some reference sites for when you need a quick answer for grammar, pronunciation, nuances and more.

It’s often more fun to learn with others, so we’ve also handpicked some community sites for language exchanges and writing and speaking feedback.

Finally, you’ll find out how to get some paid resources for free and assess your French level based on the CEFR scale.

And don’t forget, if you sign up to be an app tester on the ALR website, you can get free access to paid resources in exchange for your honest opinions.

Courses

The step-by-step structure of courses can help keep your studies on track. You’ll probably have to use multiple resources at each level—but if it gets overwhelming, make one of them your priority so you can keep your studies consistent.

In this section we will introduce some courses that flow through the beginner and intermediate levels, then we’ll talk about more level-specific courses. Courses at the advanced level are scarce, but keep reading and we’ll suggest plenty of other resources to take your skills to the next level.

Beginner and Intermediate

There are a couple of free courses that cater to beginner and intermediate learners—one of which used to cost hundreds of dollars. Since each of them is distinct from the other, you’ll want to investigate to see which style suits you best.

And don’t worry if you can’t find anything yet—the sections that follow are filled with resources to engage you at any level of your learning.

ALR Curated French Course

Earth under a magnifying class with the text, "All Language Resources Curated Courses"

Like we said, learning for free may mean using a variety of different resources—but how do you know which video to watch or which website to use next? Well, you’re in luck.

ALR has spent several months collaborating with a French language teacher to develop a free, structured, and comprehensive French course for beginner to upper intermediate learners. We have curated numerous level-appropriate videos, websites, and interactive activities to provide you with speaking, listening, writing, and reading practice—all from free resources on the internet.

For each lesson you’ll also find Anki flashcard decks, comprehensible input resources, language learning advice, and cultural videos to enrich your studies.

All this, and it’s 100% free.

Radio France Internationale (RFI)

Six people in front of a purple apartment building doing different everyday activities

Radio France Internationale takes you on several intriguing adventures in its high-quality bilingual audio courses. If you are a beginner (A1), you can learn French through several mysteries in Le Talisman brisé, Mission Paris, or l’affaire du coffret. If you find these easy, the relationships between several neighbours in Les voisins du 12 bis will give you a friendly introduction to everyday life in Paris. As an intermediate (B1) learner with Parlez-vous Paris?, you will expand your vocabulary while exploring French sights and culture.

Remember to check for exercises at the bottom of each episode—and take a peek at some of the accompanying graphic novels and podcasts.

The Flow of French

Head of a person singing with a red, white, and blue hat. Text that reads: "The Flow of French"

The Mimic Method’s Flow Method used to be a paid course, but now you can access it online for free. Through popular songs and the International Phonetic Alphabet, you will hone in on your French pronunciation. You’ll learn the 38 basic French sounds, understand how they are produced, and go through extensive drills to train your motor memory. Though you won’t get feedback from the Mimic Method’s coaches, you could send your exercises to a language exchange partner for feedback.

OpenLearn

Three images of the L'ouvre, a street in Paris, and two people talking. Text reads "getting started with French 1, 2, and 3" under each image.

Open learn has several free courses for beginner to intermediate French learners. Some focus on specific topics, like science and technology or the city of Avignon; others will help you understand general French as it’s spoken in everyday life. Most of these courses take about 6 hours to complete.

FrenchbyFrench

Text reads "frenchbyfrench.com" and "French taught by French teachers"

FrenchbyFrench sets the foundation for your French studies with 200 beginner and intermediate lessons. It follows the story of four main characters in a series of short dialogues. The course is text-heavy, but it also includes downloadable audio recorded by voice actors. By the end of the last lesson, you should have developed some basic speaking, reading, and writing skills to support you in your future studies.

FSI and DLI

From the Foreign Service Institute and Defense Language Institute comes hundreds of hours of French audio and reading material. These courses were used to get diplomats and military professionals to conversational fluency in a short period of time—and you can follow suit. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to mix these courses in with more modern material, as the outdated themes and language have not been revised in several decades.

Beginner

If this is your first day learning French, or you’re trying to brush up on the basics, there are a surprising number of free courses available to give you confidence in your abilities.

Do you want to dive into full immersion? Or would you prefer to break down the language into its basic components? Whatever your desired learning method, you’ll likely find something enjoyable and educational on this list.

French in Action

A man and a woman sitting at a table chatting

Complete immersion from day one isn’t for everyone, but it can help you learn to think in a language. With the video course French in Action, you’ll learn French through observation, repetition, and deduction—without making any comparisons to English.

You can progress through these 52 thirty-minute videos as a total beginner, or review them again as an early intermediate learner. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed at first—stick with it and you’ll soon be responding to the narrator’s prompts with ease. Read more about the program in our mini-review.

Language Transfer

A screenshot of different audio tracks from the Language Transfer Spanish course

This audio course gives you a gentle introduction to French. It focuses less on memorization and more on understanding French from an English speaker’s perspective. You’ll problem solve to create your own sentences and practice speaking alongside a fellow French learner. If you’re not in a hurry and are keen to set a foundation for your French studies, Language Transfer is an excellent place to start. Full review.

Duolingo


Man with a speech bubble asking a question in French. Textbox below to type translate the sentence into English.

Duolingo is the pioneer of accessible language learning and can make your first steps in learning French both fun and motivating. Though it teaches phrases that are far from practical (when was the last time you saw a bear cooking dinner in the kitchen?), it still manages to reinforce crucial sentence structures.

You probably won’t learn much with the phone app as it relies primarily on recognition to advance through the levels. But, using the desktop version lets you type your answers rather than just tapping on French words, which will help you practice recall of important concepts. Full review.

Memrise

Text in French with English translation that reads "What's new?"

Memrise adds another element to the free, gamified language learning world: mnemonics. This flashcard-based app will help you remember difficult concepts through associating them with your choice of images or words.

Through spaced repetition you will learn and test yourself through 7 levels of material, plus some high-quality videos with native speakers. After, you can make your own decks or try some community content. Full review.

Intermediate

Coursera

Coursera learning platform with a table of contents and video

Refine your knowledge with the Institut Polytechnique de Paris’s B1-B2 French course, hosted on Coursera: practice your listening comprehension with videos, improve your pronunciation with minimal pairs, test your understanding with quizzes, and engage in written discussions with fellow French learners. After six modules of engaging practice activities, you’ll likely have the confidence to move on to advanced French content.

EdX: On-Ramp to AP® French Language and Culture

Text reads "edX"

Review intermediate French grammar with EdX’s grammar course. It was originally intended for high school students, but is still suitable for intermediate learners at any age. Though it requires a lot of reading, and the Comic Sans font is a bit passé, the quizzes in each lesson can be helpful to test your knowledge.

Podcasts

Podcasts are not limited to improving your listening comprehension; many of them teach language learning techniques, while a single French immersion episode can be a comprehensive speaking, reading, and writing session on its own.

We can’t detail all of the great podcasts available on the interweb. But, we have cherry picked a few from our already curated list of 36 French podcasts that might be particularly helpful for your studies.

All Levels

Coffee Break French

Cartoon coffee cup with the words "Coffee Break French" below it

If you are starting from zero and would like to take your French studies at a slower pace, the Coffee Break French series will gently guide you to the intermediate level. Though there is additional material available for paying subscribers, you’ll find the free podcast yields more than enough practice for your studies.

Mark will guide you through four seasons of step-by-step lessons, prompting you to practice both listening and speaking skills. You can also take a detour to seven additional series that will help you master verbs, practice your listening comprehension, and decipher posters and signs in France. Full Review

Intermediate

Le Français à la une

Text that reads, "Le français" and a boy holding a sign that reads, "à la une"

For intermediate (B1) learners, Le Français à la une will help you decode news headlines—specifically the plays on words that may get lost in translation. Viviane, an experienced journalist and French teacher, introduces you to three headlines from three separate newspapers. Using only French, she explains the meaning of each headline and helps you develop a more nuanced understanding of the French language. On her website you can read along with the transcript and see photos of the original articles.

Daily French Pod

A speech bubble with the text, "Daily French Pod" on top of the French flag

Louis teaches you French one sentence at a time. In each episode he tackles one intermediate-level sentence, providing synonyms for more difficult words without translating into English. Note that you can always check your understanding with the French transcript and English translation in the podcast description.

If these get easy, you can listen to the rest of his bite-sized podcasts for native speakers, which also include French transcripts.

YouTube Channels

YouTube channels are a great way to add visual context to the French language. And if you can find a channel that matches your level and interests, there’s no limit to how fast you’ll improve.

We have already spent dozens of hours carefully curating this list of 29 YouTube channels so we’ll only recommend a few here. The first two videos provide seemingly endless hours of comprehensible input, while the third may surprise you with its semi-retro yet humorous style.

We also encourage you to watch Luca Lampariello’s video on how he uses YouTube to learn languages:

[Embed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DItgEwqKF94]

Beginner

Alice Ayel

Alice Ayel teaches French to beginners using comprehensible input. Speaking only in French, she uses gestures and drawings to familiarize you with important vocabulary and grammar. She provides four seasons of free lessons that will quickly advance your French abilities. Start with Alice’s YouTube videos today—even if it’s your first time learning French.

Intermediate

innerFrench

Intermediate French learners who don’t feel ready for native-level content will be pleased to discover innerFrench. On this channel, Hugo explores French language and culture, and occasionally dabbles in relationships and health. He is skilled at simplifying more complex sentences and expressions so that even without translations, you’ll be able to understand. He also has a podcast if you don’t feel like looking at a screen.

All Levels

Extr@

Extr@ is a sitcom-like language learning series with 13 episodes for any level of learner. Though the gender stereotypes are sometimes uncomfortably outdated, the misunderstandings between Sam (an American) and his two new French roommates can make for a fun and educational watch.

Reading Tools

Reading can help you familiarize yourself with French grammar structures and vocabulary. But, if you’re not already proficient in a language, picking up a book for native speakers may be overwhelming.

That’s why we suggest using some of these tools to help you read with ease. Whether you’re a beginner or almost fluent, you can pair them with the level-appropriate reading recommendations in our French Comprehensible Input Library.

Readlang

Computer mouse clicking a Spanish word on a webpage with English word highlighted above it. Text beside it reads, "Learn a language by reading whatever you like. Translate words & phrases live on any web page. Use the words to practice flashcards".

Readlang is an excellent resource to facilitate the reading process for learners at any level. Its Chrome extension provides instant translations on almost any webpage, allowing you to translate unlimited individual words and up to 10 six-word phrases per day.

And, if you upload .txt or .epub files to the Readlang website, you can use the online reader and identify up to 200 unknown words highlighted across every text. Or, import your favourite YouTube video to interact with its subtitles.

OPLingo

A text in French with some words highlighted in red. Toolbar on the side has a definition of a word.

OPLingo makes reading easier by identifying French words that you have not yet learned. The first time you use the reading tool, you’ll see a wall of words highlighted in red. These indicate your “unknown” words, and you’ll find them highlighted across every document. Every word you mark as “known” loses the red highlight.

Since the free version only lets you mark 20 words as “learning,” you can use the red highlights as your indicator instead. You can also instantly translate an unlimited number of words as you read and import up to 15 of your own texts.

Practice

Courses, YouTube videos, and podcasts can improve your French at a rapid pace. But, sometimes you may want to hone in on specific skills. Maybe you want to practice your pronunciation of /õ/ and /ɛ̃/, drill verb conjugations in the futur antérieur, or learn some new vocabulary in context.

If you’re looking for general skills training or targeted practice, there is a wealth of free resources that can help you achieve your goals. You can also find a full list of level-appropriate listening and reading practice in our Comprehensible Input Library.

TV5Monde

Video of a woman wearing a hard helmet. Five sentences on the side with instructions in French to put them in the correct order.

TV5Monde’s website and app provide thousands of structured exercises for beginner to advanced learners, assigning levels to each activity based on the CEFR scale.

A1–C2 learners can test both listening comprehension and writing with over 40 dictation exercises, while A1–B2 learners each have their own learning hub with reading, listening and writing activities. Start with their knowledge test to see which level to tackle first.

Radio France Internationale (RFI)

Text reads: "1158 activités en ligne, 141 outils pédagogiques, 475 audios, 28 dossiers, 8 collections"

Earlier we recommended Radio France Internationale for their bilingual audio courses—but you can continue your learning with over 1000 exercises and quizzes for every level. You’ll explore practical and authentic French content through lessons on current events, opinion pieces, and the intricacies of the French language. And, if you want even more content, tune into their 10-minute podcast for French learners every weekday, which details daily news in simple French.

Speechling

Play button with sound waves on the right. Text reads: "Ma mère aime bien faire les tartes aux pommes au four" with the English translation below. Three buttons below that read "Hard (repeat in a minute)," "Okay (repeat in 10 minutes), ", and "Easy (repeat in 4 days)".

Speechling can help you improve your pronunciation at any level. You can practice as much as you like, but the free version lets you submit 10 audio files for a French teacher to correct. These teachers will give you brief feedback about specific words, or an overall comment about your pronunciation. Learn 1500 of the most common words or improve your fluidity with full sentences: either way, Speechling will help you for free. Full Review.

Clozemaster

Text reads: Clozemaster. Learn langauge in context.

Text reads, "Il est temps que nous en" with a blank space and then "avec cette loi dépassée".

Clozemaster helps you learn vocabulary by filling in the missing word of a sentence. Most of the sentences are sourced from Tatoeba, so you may encounter some errors or odd phrases. But, for the most part, Clozemaster is a fun, gamified resource to put the French language in context. Full Review.

Lawless French

Text reads, "Lawless French" in rainbow colours with the Eiffel tower to the right.

At Lawless French, you can organize activities and lessons by level, then identify a core skill you want to improve: grammar, listening pronunciation, reading, or vocabulary. You can also enjoy fun articles about idiomatic expressions or learn about cultural sites in France. It may be a bit trickier to find what you’re looking for than on other sites, but Lawless French is still an excellent resource to supplement your studies.

Conjuguemos

Text reads, "je acheter", with "acheter" in green. A textbox below lets you type in your answer.

Struggling with verb conjugations? Whether you want to drill a single verb tense or mix several up for varied practice, Conjuguemos is a free, fast-paced resource that will make your conjugations more automatic.

LyricsTraining

Lyrics training platform with a YouTube video and subtitles below. One word is missing and has four dots for the user to type in what they hear.

If you love music, you’ll probably love LyricsTraining. Not only can it help you discover catchy new French songs, but it will train your listening comprehension so you can eventually sing along. The desktop version can be a fun challenge, as you will have to type rather than tap the words you hear. But, you can choose between several levels of difficulty no matter which type of device you use.

Dans l’air du temps

Text reads, "Dans l'air du temps" on a turquoise background

If you’d like to integrate some listening comprehension questions into your French music endeavours, look no further than Dans l’air du temps—a website dedicated to thirty French-Canadian songs produced between 1920 and 2010. Each song has seven different types of quizzes with a glossary of difficult words. This site is most appropriate for intermediate learners.

Kwiziq

Text reads, "How well have you learned your study plan?" and "Find out how much you have mastered. Skip any questions if you're unsure".

Although Kwiziq’s free basic plan is limited, it can help you identify your weaknesses in French grammar. Start with a full placement test to determine a personalized learning plan, then explore the abundance of grammar explanations specific to your level.

Though you can only take 10 quizzes per month, your learning path will continuously adjust based on your most recent tests. Just make sure not to take the mini-quizzes at the bottom of each page, as these count towards your 10 quiz limit. Full review.

Anki

Anki flashcard example with heading that reads, "Decks," "add," "browse," "stats," and "sync". Front of the card reads, "We had not been informed that the flight had been cancelled." Back of the card has the French translation. Bottom of the card has three buttons that read, "Again," "good," and "easy".

If you’ve been itching to make some flashcards and finally memorize those tricky words, look no further than Anki. It’s an open-source spaced repetition flashcard system with enough customizability to make your brain hurt.

But, if you stick to the default settings, you can enjoy simple flashcard sessions for vocabulary building on your desktop or android app. And, if you work through the free ALR Curated French Course, you’ll get a headstart with pre-made decks for every lesson.

Apple users will want to stick to Anki’s desktop app or website, as it is a paid app on Apple devices.

Language Learning With Netflix

Sofia from the series, "Call my Agent" with a list of French subtitles to the right.

Add Language Learning with Netflix to your Chrome extensions to get interactive, learner-friendly subtitles while watching Netflix. The free version offers line by line translations, lets you look up individual words, provides text-to-voice pronunciation, and links to various dictionary sites to give you more context. Check out the LLN catalogue to find your next binge-worthy series.

CaptionPop

A hand with a glue stick glueing paper in a binder. Time stamps to the right of the image with French subtitles below. English words blurred out below the subtitles.

CaptionPop can make watching French YouTube channels infinitely easier. The website lets you effortlessly jump ahead or back to different lines of dialogue, and you can save sentences to your “favourite captions” for future reference. Though it doesn’t offer every channel on YouTube, you’ll find many that made it into our French Comprehensible Input Library.

The free version limits 5 dictation flashcards per day, so you’ll have to be choosy with which ones you add to your list. Or, you could test yourself by writing your dictation on a separate document.

Reference

Lingolia

Text reads, "Lingolia Français"

Lingolia has an abundance of grammar explanations for different aspects of the French language. Plus, every explanation comes with an exercise to test your understanding. Though the quizzes are limited in the free version, they still prove to be an excellent resource to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

HiNative

Phone with text that reads: "I want to know do there good shop to buy the souvenir near by," and "Does this sound natural?" below. Underneath, corrections are made in red to make the text sound more natural.

If you have questions about the French language, HiNative’s Q&A community may give you the quickest answers—it’s full of fellow language learners asking and answering each other’s language-specific questions. Full review.

Forvo

Blue circle with text that reads, "Forvo" and "All the words in the world. Pronounced."

Text reads, "Croissant pronunciation" with three pronunciation recordings below.

Sometimes text-to-voice just isn’t enough. That’s where Forvo comes in: it has one of the largest banks of native speaker audio recordings on the internet. Search for a word or phrase and instantly listen to recordings by native speakers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can sign up for a free account and ask the community to make recordings for you. Plus, you can download these recordings for free to add to your Anki flashcard decks. Mini-Review.

YouGlish

Text reads, "How to pronounce néant in French (1 out of 277)" with a video of a woman speaking below. Subtitle below the video reads, "le néant."

You’ll notice that words often sound different when pronounced by native speakers. You’ll likely also find that one word can be used in a variety of contexts—so many that it can be difficult to keep track. That’s why YouGlish is such an excellent reference for listening comprehension: type in any word in the French language, and it will find multiple videos of native speakers using that word in a sentence. After dozens, sometimes hundreds of examples, you’ll have no problem applying what you learned to everyday conversations.

Bon Patron

Words in French with some highlighted in red and yellow, and others bolded in red.

Before submitting your writing to a community forum, you may want to run it through Bon Patron’s spelling and grammar checker. It will identify your mistakes and provide suggestions for how to correct them. Use your best judgment if you are writing in colloquial French, as it may mark common contractions or slang as incorrect. Read our mini review to compare it with Reverso’s spell checker.

Reverso

Reverso Context logo with five buttons that read, "translation," "spell check," "synonyms," "conjugation," and "more."

You should probably bookmark Reverso for its French-specific language features. Like in Bon Patron, you can get grammar and spelling corrections. But, Reverso also provides context for French phrases and sentences, with multiple examples sourced from movies, dialogues, official documents, websites, and newspapers. Click around the website to find verb conjugations, translations, synonyms, and grammar explanations. Or, learn about the origins and translations of common French expressions. Mini-review.

Dictionaries

Sometimes all you want is a quick translation or a new word in context. In cases like these, you may be tempted to turn to Google, which will hand over a couple hundred top results.

But we want to make sure you can get your answers fast—and that these answers are error-free and specific. Below are four major French dictionaries for your reference, plus a bonus in one of the descriptions.

Wordreference

Blue "W" and orange "R"

Wordreference’s dictionary relies on professional translations for sentence examples, with many of its entries sourced from Collin’s French-English dictionary. It’s one of the best resources for single-word translations, and it even provides a section on compound forms of conjunctions.

Also, if you have questions about grammar, vocabulary, slang, or specialized terminology, the WordReference Forum can give you some answers.

Larousse

Drawing of woman picking a dandelion

Larousse offers a dictionary and verb conjugator for French learners, with several example sentences and text-to-voice audio. It also has a library of recipes if you are keen to explore French cuisine.

Le Robert

The letter R on a red background

If you want a monolingual French dictionary, look no further than Le Robert. It’s one of the largest dictionaries for the French language, so it’s unlikely that your search results will return empty handed.

Linguee

Text reads, "Linguee"

Linguee is the dictionary for specialized terminology in context. Each word is accompanied by multiple example sentences from articles and research papers in your target language. It also connects to the DeepL translator, which is a high-quality text translation resource.

Language Exchanges

Getting comfortable communicating in French is probably one of the most daunting tasks for a first-time language learner. Luckily, language exchanges can help you get past any hesitancies about going into the real world.

You may feel more comfortable with one-on-one exchanges, or you may prefer to have the support of other learners. Whatever the case, we have some suggestions. So read on to make some new friends and get talking.

HelloTalk

HelloTalk can be both a social media platform and language learning hub all in one. You can connect with the community by submitting audio recordings and writing samples for correction— and maybe incorporate them into posts about life updates. Effortlessly correct and receive corrections from your language exchange partner within your private chat, and maybe even give them a call for free. Full review.

Tandem

Four people smiling in four separate boxes. Text reads, "Tandem language exchange" and "Practice languages with native speakers".

Compared to HelloTalk, Tandem focuses more on private chats with language exchange partners, allowing you to receive corrections and make private calls. There is no community function, but people can leave public comments on your profile. You may have to wait up to seven days for your account to activate, but sometimes this turns into less than an hour. Full review.

My Language Exchange

Yellow circle with text that reads, "Mylangaugeexchange.com"

My Language Exchange looks a little out of date, but it still has a strong base of regular users. Find a long-term pen pal by searching through other members’ bios, or join a chat room to connect with active users. Keep in mind that as a free member, you’ll have to wait for others to initiate a conversation in the chat room.

Meetup

Text on the left reads, "What do you want to do?" with two text boxes and a search bar. Text on the right reads, "See what's happening" with seven buttons that read "Happening now," "today," "tomorrow," "this week," "online," "in person," and "trending near you."

If you search for “French” on Meetup.com, you’ll see a list of online events in your timezone. There you can meet people from your city or across the country. Bear in mind that some events ask for money to cover the organizer’s costs, but you can see this in the registration requirements.

Alliance Française

World map colour coded by which areas have branches of the Alliance Française. This includes Africa, North America, Latin America, the Carribean, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

The Alliance Française offers online and in-person events to immerse you in the French language and culture. Look up your local branch and see what’s available closest to you—or choose from 132 countries to join an international gathering online. With a couple of clicks, you’ll find book clubs, trivia nights, and conversation practice with other French learners.

Duolingo Events

Cartoon planet earth with the word "Duolingo" in front of it

You’re probably familiar with Duolingo’s free app, but did you know they also have in-person and online meetups? They can be filtered by level and language, giving you plenty of options for a fun conversation with other learners and native speakers.

Polyglot Club

Chameleon sitting on top of the text, "Polyglot Club"

Sign up for Polyglot club and you’ll be joining a keen group of language learners. With this supportive community you can chat online, interact with people’s questions and writing, and join in-person events everywhere in the world.

Writing and Speaking Feedback

Getting feedback from native speakers can help you identify your blindspots—and luckily there are several communities of language learners ready to support you. Get ready to brush up on those irregular verb conjugations and improve your skills.

Journaly

Dashboard of the Journaly app with two search boxes: one for topics and one for languages.

Journaly is an innovative writing platform that connects you with like-minded language learners. What sets it apart from other community writing apps is how texts are edited. Community members can comment on specific words or phrases instead of submitting corrections for the entire text. So, you’ll get to see all your corrections in one place. Journaly also lets you filter entries by topic, so you can find writers with similar interests to you.

LangCorrect

A French sentence with corrections highlighted in red and green. Text below reads, "Correction type: grammar"

LangCorrect is another great resource for getting writing feedback. You can follow the prompts from other users, or you can find your own inspiration. With LangCorrect, you’ll receive several different line-by-line corrections. Plus, members can rate the quality of others’ corrections so you know which changes to focus on.

iTalki Community

A sentence in French with corrections highlighted in grey and blue

The iTalki Community is similar to LangCorrect, except that it asks members to correct an entire text at once rather than one line at a time. As a writer, you can receive multiple corrections and see how other users rated each correction. Also, if you download the iTalki app you can receive feedback for audio recordings.

OPLingo

A paragraph in French with corrections highlighted in red and green

OPLingo’s Essay corrections follow the same style as iTalki Notebooks. The community is still growing so you may not receive as prompt a reply, but if you want to have your reading tool and writing practice in one place, OPLingo is the way to go.

Busuu Community

Text in French with corrections highlighted in green text.

Busuu’s community feature is slightly more limited than on other sites, as you typically have to follow a writing or speaking prompt. But, if you are intimidated by responding to personal messages, you’ll be pleased to see that Busuu doesn’t include a chat function. Members interact with each other by submitting public writing and audio recordings for correction without any private communication.

Language Discussion Boards

We’ve still got a couple more resources to recommend, but we didn’t want you to miss out on an often overlooked language community: discussion boards.

Below are two resources that have a community of French learners discussing so many topics that they would be impossible to list. Feel free to click around as an anonymous observer, or join in on the conversations.

Reddit

cartoon alien on an orange circle with the text, "Reddit" to the right

Reddit lets you discuss just about anything, and that’s not limited to the French language. Join several thousand other French learners in the r/learnfrench group to join a book club, ask questions about grammar and resources, or see what other people are up to in their studies.

LLORG

Text reads, "A language learners' forum. We talk langauges"

This language learning forum boasts a number of unique topics for you to keep yourself motivated. Add your personal language log, enter language challenges, join a study group, or practice your target language in a multilingual room. You may have to search around for French-specific posts, but even general language learning discussions can support your studies.

Accessing Paid Resources for Free

So far we’ve mentioned free resources for almost every learning situation. But what about testing paid apps for free?

As we mentioned before, one way to do this is by signing up to be an app tester on the ALR website. If you’re chosen, we’ll send you free access to a resource in exchange for your honest responses to some questions.

But there are other options as well.

Your Local Library

Your local library will probably have some French language books for your enjoyment, but did you know that some of them give you free access to online language learning resources?

If you are a beginner living in the United States or Canada, you can enjoy the full Mango Languages curriculum (full review) for free by signing up with a library card. Or, if you feel like sitting back and relaxing with some French cinema, many libraries also offer the movie-streaming platform, Kanopy. You may even find free access to Rosetta Stone (full review).

So, do a bit of digging and you may be able to add several hours of free language learning to this list.

Free trials

We’ve mentioned several free apps that you can use in your studies, but there’s no shame in signing up for a couple—or several—free trials. Since many of these trials last 1-2 weeks, the time limit may provide an extra boost of motivation for you to keep studying and get the most out of each resource. We won’t go through all the trials available, as these are often subject to change, but there are three free trials that may be particularly enjoyable for French learners.

Busuu

Text reads, "Busuu"

Text reads, "Upper intermediate B2 - 5%". Two subheadings read, "Lesson 1, I'm a vegetarian," and "Lesson 2, How does that taste?"

It’s actually possible to get up to a year of Busuu premium for free. Each time you invite a friend to a free trial, both of you will get 30 days free without spending a cent. It won’t be a hard sell given the high-quality of many of Busuu’s language programs—but you will want to find 12 friends who are at the early stages of their language studies so they can get the most out of the app.

Frantastique

Cartoon Victor Hugo biking with a baguette under his arm

We wouldn’t recommend paying for a subscription to Frantastique, but once you reach the intermediate level we would highly recommend trying the one month free trial. Each lesson follows an entertaining storyline with a mixture of listening, reading, and writing exercises. After a 7-day assessment, Frantastique will provide 15-minute lessons tailored to your level with specific activities to strengthen your weaker areas. At the end of the month, you’ll have a better idea of where you should focus your attention to advance your skills. Plus, you can review your previous lessons at any time after your trial ends.

Testing Your Knowledge

You may not want to take the official DELF and DALF exams, but practice assessments can help you determine your current French level based on the CEFR scale—the most universally accepted measurement of language ability.

France Education International and DELF-DALF provide official DELF and DALF practice exams. The DELF structure changed in 2020, but that shouldn’t stop you from testing your knowledge with the samples available.

If you’re not keen on going through hours of practice exams, you can take a decent CEFR placement test on Kwizik or a level assessment for listening comprehension on TV5Monde.

Final Thoughts

It used to be that learning a new language meant moving to a new country or spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy CD set—as you can see, this is no longer the case.

We hope this list of free resources was as fun to explore as it was to write, and that it gives you the confidence to succeed in your French studies.

Related Posts:

Our Top 30 Japanese Podcasts for Learners of All Levels

Need a break from kanji practice and memorising conjugation tables? Podcasts are an excellent way to unwind while still improving your Japanese.

There are podcasts dedicated to teaching beginner Japanese, pronunciation, slang, vocabulary and more. And then there are the podcasts where the hosts talk in Japanese about their day-to-day life, culture and society, history, technology and everything else you can think of.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new Japanese student or an advanced learner looking for more specialist topics. Podcasts will help you improve your listening and pronunciation, gain a more intuitive understanding of grammar and common expressions, and above all, enjoy learning and using Japanese.

Plus, the language used will often be more natural than in anime, manga, novels and even your textbooks – because after all, podcast hosts are real people having a genuine (if at times semi-scripted) conversation.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks for Japanese learners and organised them by level. Of course, identifying the level can be subjective, depending on the vocabulary and accent you’re used to, as well as the episode you’re listening to. So, don’t be put off if one seems harder (or easier!) than you might have expected. Just give another podcast on the list a go.

Japanese Podcasts for All Levels

Some highly prolific podcast creators have gone out of their way to produce content for Japanese learners of all levels – and on the same channel. Never fear, though, because we’ve only included ones that clearly state the target level for each episode in the title. Read on for some podcasts you’re unlikely to outgrow:

JLPT Stories

This podcast has something for pretty much every learner, although you’ll want to get the essentials under your belt first. It contains short stories categorised by JLPT level, from an N5-level story about trying to ask a girl out at Disneyland to an N1-level story of a woman touring Hokkaido on a 50cc motorbike – despite her mum’s nervousness.

Unfortunately, it looks like this podcast might be discontinued. For now, though, there are plenty of previous episodes for you to listen to.

Let’s Talk in Japanese

Learners from N4 (upper beginner) up to N1 will find plenty to listen to on this podcast from Japanese teacher Tomo. The topics vary greatly, from food and sightseeing to Japanese culture and everything in between. Despite being a teacher, Tomo doesn’t set out to teach you anything. Instead, he gives you plenty of level-appropriate listening practice. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Japanese Swotter

Listening to this podcast won’t just improve your listening and teach you new Japanese vocabulary and grammar. It’s designed specifically to help you improve your speaking, no matter how little – or much – Japanese you know. Although most of the content is aimed at beginner and lower-intermediate speakers, there is an advanced level. Patreon subscribers also get access to full transcripts and translations.

JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 has literally thousands of Japanese lessons. They go all the way up to advanced, although – like most resources – there’s more material at lower levels. With so many podcast and video lessons, it can feel disorganised. Opt for a pathway and use it alongside a textbook or a resource like Wasabi’s grammar reference to help you stay on track.

Although you can get some material for free, for full access, you’ll need to sign up for a premium account. You can use the code ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES for a 25% discount. Check out our in-depth review for more information.

Japanese Podcasts for Complete Beginners

If you know zero Japanese, this section is the one for you. You’ll learn how to say things like “My name is…” and “Do you speak English?”.

There aren’t many podcasts that cater for complete beginners, and many of them are behind a paywall. But once you’ve learnt the basics, you’ll find there are a lot more podcasts available for you. So as soon as you’re ready, take a look at the next section: Japanese Podcasts for Beginners.

NHK Easy Japanese

This 48-episode Japanese podcast-based course may be dated, but it’s suitable for complete beginners who prefer audio learning and are looking for a gentle introduction to the language.

The lessons start off with an English-language explanation, before playing a dialogue. Then there will be a breakdown in English of the language used. Finally, there’s a “learning point” from the programme supervisor. This is an – admittedly slightly awkward – stage that involves the programme supervisor saying a sentence of Japanese that your regular host then translates into English for you and explains further.

You may find yourself reaching for Google to look up unexplained English-language grammar terms, like “predicate”, but one thing’s for sure: you won’t be overwhelmed by the Japanese.

FUN Japanese Listening

This podcast only has 20 short-and-sweet episodes, filled with even shorter-and-sweeter textbook-style dialogues. Yet the series packs in a surprising amount of basic Japanese grammar and vocabulary. It won’t replace your Japanese course or textbook, but it will give you some extra listening practice in new contexts.

You can also download accompanying worksheets here, read Asuka-sensei’s blog posts about Japanese culture here or sign up to her free hiragana and katakana courses.

Pimsleur

If you liked the idea of the NHK Japanese podcast, but the dated nature and slightly awkward interactions left you unimpressed, you might find Pimsleur more to your taste.

This is a paid-for podcast-esque course that will introduce you to beginner-level Japanese. Some people criticise it for its slow pace and 30-minute lessons, but there’s also a lot in its favour. It’s well-structured and really drills your pronunciation and listening. Even if you already know the material, you’ll likely find your speaking improves after a few lessons.

Read our in-depth review of Pimsleur’s Japanese, German and Spanish courses to find out more.

Japanese Uncoveredjapanese uncovered course

This pay-to-use audiobook is not quite a podcast, not quite a course. It’s a 20-chapter original novel designed to transform you from a complete beginner into an intermediate-level speaker.

First, you’ll listen to a chapter at either slow or normal speed. Then, you’ll get a PDF transcript and translation and do a series of video lessons based on the chapter: vocabulary, grammar, keigo, pronunciation, writing and culture. Each one comes with a worksheet, and you’ll wrap up the unit with a quiz and some recommended speaking activities. Finally, it’s time to move onto the next chapter.

The only catch? It’s one of the priciest Japanese resources around. Check out our detailed review of the Languages Uncovered series for more information.

Japanese Podcasts for Beginners

You’ve mastered the absolute basics, such as これは何ですか and 今日はあついです, but you’ve still got plenty to learn. The podcasts in this section will reinforce basic Japanese vocabulary and grammar, help you learn some more natural phrasing and improve your listening and pronunciation.

Most of these podcasts use English as well as Japanese. However, towards the end of the list, you’ll also find some slowly spoken, all-in-Japanese podcasts that will let you work on your listening comprehension. がんばって!

LearnJapanesePod

Looking for beginner-friendly podcasts that will introduce you to natural phrases? LearnJapanesePod mixes lessons with interviews, and it focuses on conversational Japanese. Expect to hear phrases like すし好き? instead of the textbook-esque あなたはおすしが好きですか. And since it focuses mainly on situational Japanese, it’s a nice supplemental option to more grammar-orientated podcasts and courses.

Some learners may be frustrated by the heavy use of English, but there are plenty of cultural explanations that make it worthwhile. The hosts also have genuine chemistry. But, if you don’t want to listen to the English, don’t worry: they also publish a dialogues-only version of each lesson.

Beginning Japanese

Have you ever learnt a Japanese phrase by heart and then confidently used it in conversation, only to discover that the person you’re speaking to couldn’t understand you?

Often, you’ve actually remembered the phrase perfectly. You just need to work on your pronunciation. Maybe it’s the intonation, maybe it’s the vowels, or maybe it’s that little sokuon or っ sound that can be so tricky. Whatever it is, something’s not quite right.

That’s where the Beginning Japanese podcast comes in. Each episode takes just one word or phrase with one example sentence. Then, it gets you to shadow the hosts, saying it as they say it, so that you pick up natural pronunciation and intonation. It’s a win-win situation: you improve your vocabulary and your Japanese speaking at the same time. And it works nicely alongside a flashcard app like Anki, too.

Manga Sensei

Get ready to expand your vocabulary. Each episode of this podcast is focused on a single Japanese word or phrase, which are generally N5–N3 level. But this podcast doesn’t just explain the basics. There’s plenty of information about natural, non-textbook Japanese so you can choose how to express your personality, gender identity and age when you speak.

Confusingly, the podcast titles and descriptions often use a non-standardised form of romaji transliteration that seems to be based on a US American accent. For example, they sometimes use “d” instead of “r”, add an “h” to the end of vowels or skip vowels. Take あいだ (間): Manga Sensei writes it as “idah” instead of the standard romaji spelling of “aida”.

As such, low beginners should probably approach this podcast with caution. Until you’re familiar with Japanese pronunciation and spelling rules, the non-standard spelling can make it extremely difficult to look up further information or use the language when writing.

Nihongo Master

Nihongo Master mixes cultural insights with language lessons. The latter kick off with an English-language explanation of the target grammar or vocabulary. Next, you’ll hear dialogues, followed by translations or quizzes, and then breakdowns or vocabulary recaps. The episodes can at times feel rushed, but they’re an entertaining supplement to your regular studies.

Tofugu

Tofugu’s a well-known name in the Japanese-learning community, and for good reason: the website contains a wealth of in-depth blog posts, grammar guides and more. Their podcast used to be devoted to information about Japan, but since 2018, they’ve been uploading more and more ones about the language itself.

Most of the topics are beginner-level, although they’re far from superficial. It often feels more like a discussion than a lesson, and intermediate learners may also pick up useful titbits. That said, some learners may feel frustrated by the heavy use of English.

Sakura Tips

It’s time to ease into all-in-Japanese podcasts. Don’t be nervous, though: this is a very slowly spoken podcast that uses easy Japanese. Your host Mari’s pronunciation is extremely clear, and you can also read the Japanese and English transcripts on the website.

Japanese Podcast for Beginners (Nihongo con Teppei)

Ready to take your Japanese listening to the next level? The short-and-sweet episodes of this beginner-level podcast may use basic vocabulary and phrases, but they feel less artificial than most textbooks. The target phrases are used multiple times to help you out, while Teppei’s speaking starts off painstakingly slow and gradually gets faster. As such, it’s a good way to challenge your listening comprehension without throwing yourself in the deep end.

Japanese with Teppei and Noriko

Does one of these names sound familiar? We’ve already mentioned Teppei’s beginner-level solo podcast. In fact, you’re going to see both these names quite a lot on this list, because Noriko and Teppei are prolific podcasters with a good grasp of what makes Japanese tricky for learners.

This entertaining podcast doesn’t use difficult vocabulary or grammar, but even so, it might seem hard at first. This is because it’s the first podcast on this list that features natural, unscripted conversations in Japanese. Listening to a conversation is nearly always more challenging than a dialogue, but it’s also more realistic.

So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to listen to Teppei and Noriko as they discuss Nutella, their Spanish studies, different Japanese accents and much more. This podcast will not only give you more exposure to beginner-level vocabulary and phrases, but it will also help you prepare for conversations with multiple people. Bear in mind that the audio quality of earlier lessons is pretty poor, but it improves over time.

よ・み・き・か・せ JXTGグループ 童話の花‪束

This podcast may be designed for children rather than language learners, but it’s a great way to practise your listening comprehension and broaden your vocabulary. In each episode, the narrator reads out a story – complete with different voices, sound effects, and more. While you might not understand everything, you’ll be surprised by how much you can follow.

Japanese Podcasts for Intermediate Learners

As an intermediate-level speaker, you already have fairly good listening comprehension – providing the podcast host speaks slowly and uses basic Japanese grammar and vocabulary. Now, though, you’re ready to be challenged with more complex language and faster speaking speeds. There’s virtually no English used in most podcasts at this level.

にほんごのたね

Looking for a gentle introduction to intermediate-level content? Try this immersion podcast, in which your host Yumi talks slowly and clearly about Japanese culture, her daily life with her family and much more. It’s designed for upper beginner and intermediate learners, and each episode is just a few unintimidating minutes long.

Double check the level

Learn Japanese with Noriko

Let’s step up the difficulty slightly with this next podcast. We looked at Noriko’s collaboration with Teppei in the beginner section, but lower-intermediate level learners will likely prefer her solo podcast. It’s slightly more difficult, the episodes are a bit longer and yet it’s just as entertaining. Topics vary, but with hundreds of episodes to choose from, you’re bound to find several that interest you. The audio quality is also excellent.

Nihongo con Teppei

We’ve already mentioned the beginner-friendly version of this podcast above. Now it’s time to dive into the intermediate-level version of the Nihongo con Teppei podcast, with its 600+ episodes. The vocabulary and grammar are more challenging, so don’t worry if you can’t understand everything at first. Keep listening, and you’ll be surprised by how much you improve over time.

Nihongo SWiTCH

Podcaster Iku Yamamoto might speak slower than some other podcasters, such as Noriko and Teppei, but don’t dismiss this podcast. She uses more difficult vocabulary and grammar, and the topics are often slightly more challenging too. In fact, her target audience is intermediate and advanced learners.

Most of her episodes are about learning Japanese or Japanese culture. She talks about Japanese news and surveys; traditions, including the less-well known ones; and natural Japanese phrases and vocabulary that might not appear on the JLPT but will come in handy nonetheless.

Let’s learn Japanese from small talk!

If there’s one thing that strikes fear in most language-learners’ hearts, it’s a multi-person conversation. That’s why podcasts like this one are so useful. Two Japanese women studying in the UK chat about their experiences. It’s entertaining, not overly challenging and a great way to get used to more conversational Japanese. They also publish a vocabulary list for each episode online, so if you’re struggling, check that out.

Nあ~ casual nihongo

This relaxed podcast will help you pick up more casual, natural Japanese phrases, especially Kansai-ben. Thanks to the slow speech and online episode guides, it’s not too challenging to listen to. However, there are some interesting topics, such as reverse culture shock and when you can switch to calling a Japanese person by their first name.

Conversations

This 20-chapter pay-to-listen podcast is designed to provide comprehensible input for lower-intermediate speakers. This means it speaks slightly above your level, but not so much above it that you can’t understand it – albeit with a little bit of effort and perhaps a few replays. Although at first this might be frustrating and challenging, it’s a good way to improve your listening comprehension. Bear in mind, however, that Conversations is on the pricier end.

News in Slow JapaneseNews in Slow

Are your vocabulary and grammar better than your listening comprehension? You’re not alone in that. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve got the podcast for you. News in Slow Japanese is designed for intermediate and advanced learners, but you can play the recordings at two speeds: fast, which is still pretty slow; and slow, which is incredibly slow. In short, it’s a great catch-up tool for your listening comprehension.

They’ve uploaded the transcripts on their website, and premium subscribers also get access to worksheets along with shadowing tools that should help you improve your pronunciation. If you don’t want to use the website, however, you can find all the episodes on Apple Podcasts.

Sound Library

Love fiction? You’ll enjoy this podcast-turned-radio programme in which actress Tae Kimura reads stories aloud. It’s proved so popular that an accompanying book has also been published.

While it’s designed for native speakers, we’re including it in the intermediate section because of the slow speaking speed. The vocabulary and grammar may at times challenge you, but it’s a good way to ease yourself into material designed not for learners but for the average Japanese speaker.

Japanese Podcasts for Advanced Learners

As an advanced student, you’re ready to take on content that’s designed for native speakers – and that’s exciting. You’re no longer limited by what’s available. You can listen to anything you want to. Interested in history? There are over 10 million Google results for 歴史のポッドキャスト. Feminism? There are many to choose from. Politics? Just pick your flavour.

So ironically, this section is one of the shortest. After all, you don’t need our recommendations. And even though we’d like to, we can’t possibly tell you which Japanese-language podcasts are most worthy of listening to – that’s going to depend on your personal interests.

The podcasts that we have included are either extremely popular with Japanese learners or include lots of guests. Treat them as useful starting points – but don’t be afraid to branch out on your own.

Tokyo Midtown presents The Lifestyle MUSEUM

Purists may not be impressed by this podcast, which isn’t actually produced by a native speaker. However, your host is a fluent Japanese speaker who not only lives and works in Japan but also presents TV programmes on NHK World. Each episode includes different guests – who are typically native speakers – so the topics vary greatly.

ひいきびいき

This old podcast remains hugely popular with Japanese language-learners, and for good reason. The hosts Daichi and Haruka have genuine chemistry and are animated speakers, which makes for engrossing listening. And since each episode focuses on a different one of “their favourite things”, you’re bound to find a topic that interests you.

ひいきびいき is no longer updated, and the recordings stopped functioning on most podcast platforms in 2020. However, around 300 episodes are still available via The Internet Archive.

Rebuild

This podcast is all about tech, software and gadgets. You can expect some specialist vocabulary and plenty of geeky content. Sometimes, the topics verge onto sociology, too, but it’s always done through the lens of science.

Your main host, Miyagawa, articulates clearly and the audio quality is good. The guest hosts, however, sometimes have thicker accents. If you find yourself struggling, try a different episode. And if you find a guest host whose perspectives you find interesting, check out the web version of the episode. You’ll be able to click on the host’s image and see every other episode they’ve appeared on.

Honourable Mention:

Audiobook.jp

We’ll hold our hands up and admit it: this isn’t a podcast. It is, however, a website that will let you buy Japanese audiobooks without a Japanese bank card or billing address – and that’s something of a rarity.

Audiobooks and podcasts aren’t really the same thing. Podcasts will often introduce you to more casual, conversational language. Yet audiobooks will also improve your listening, broaden your vocabulary and help you internalise tricky grammar. And there is no shortage of topics. Whether you love fantasy novels or like to learn more about business, you’ll find something here.

So there you go: 30 podcasts, audiobook sites and podcast-esque audio courses to help you improve your listening comprehension, pick up new vocabulary, and above all, have fun learning Japanese.

Podcasts might be less structured than traditional study materials, such as courses and textbooks, but they’re an excellent language-learning tool. You’ll get used to hearing how Japanese people really speak, whether you’re listening to a one-person monologue or a multi-host conversation. So don’t hesitate to add a couple of the podcasts on our list to your study routine.

And of course, as you learn more Japanese, you can expand from our list to find the podcasts that really interest you – whether that’s geeky lectures about science or history, passionate breakdowns of current affairs or lighthearted explorations of popular culture.

Related Posts:

14 Best Arabic Courses: Stories, Dialogues, Reading, and More!

You may be getting ready to take your first steps in learning Arabic—or, you may have been studying for a while but are seeking more structure in your studies. With about 30 varieties of Arabic to learn, it can be difficult to know where to look for guidance.

Though there are not many comprehensive courses available to Arabic learners, we’ve collected some great picks to support your studies. Even some of our lower-rated suggestions may provide inspiration and motivation. 

Whether you’re learning for everyday communication, making new friends, or reading the Quran, you’ll likely find something enjoyable and educational on this list. So let’s get started!

Sort By:

4/5
Price: $14.95 OR $19.95/MONTH
Interactive audio lessons with speaking practice

If you are keen to get speaking from day one, Pimsleur’s audio courses may be just what you’re looking for. You won’t spend much time reading or writing in Arabic, but you will learn to have basic conversations relatively quickly. 

The course uses backchaining to rapidly improve your pronunciation and fluidity. It also effectively builds on each of the previous lessons, so you won’t feel lost moving from the beginner to advanced levels. 

Through interacting with dialogues and responding to prompts from the narrator, you will soon be speaking full sentences in Arabic. You can also top up your skills with some quizzes and flashcards, though these aren’t necessary to succeed in the course.

Pros

  • Structured lessons
  • Practical speaking practice
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • May be a bit slow for some learners
  • No reading or writing practice
  • No real-world listening comprehension practice
4.2/5
Price: $8-$47/MONTH
arabicpod101
Hundreds of audio lessons with flashcards and transcripts

If you want to learn Arabic and gain insight into Arab culture, look no further than ArabicPod101. With comprehensive grammar explanations, lesson notes, transcripts, and quizzes, you can enjoy many hours of learning in one place.

You won’t have to worry about repetitive topics with the numerous lesson paths to choose from. You also won’t get bored listening to the hosts, as their interactions with each other and their listeners are both friendly and personable.

Some lessons appear more like phrasebook dictionaries, but you can pick through dozens of lesson paths to see which one suits you best.

Pros

  • Lots of content in multiple dialects
  • Hosts have a nice dynamic
  • There is less English as the lessons progress
  • Great cultural context

Cons

  • Not very structured
  • The website is a bit confusing and has lots of advertisements
  • Not much speaking or writing practice
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Structured design with speaking and writing practice

Busuu’s Arabic course leaves a lot to be desired, but it can be both fun and educational if you already have a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. There are about 115 lessons that follow a logical progression and loosely adhere to the CEFR scale. Each lesson teaches practical language that you can use in your everyday life. 

If you have no background in Arabic, you’ll likely find it more difficult to follow along. The course teaches you through quizzes and repetition, but it makes little room for you to understand grammar or pronunciation before advancing to the next topic. Luckily they provide both the Arabic script and romanized script, so you won’t have to learn to write before using the app. 

One awesome feature that Busuu provides is the opportunity to practice your writing and speaking skills with fellow community members. Busuu invites free and paid users alike to interact with each other through correcting exercises in their native language. 

Our rating for Busuu would be higher if it wasn’t for the Arabic and Chinese courses, but it’s still a fine resource to provide structure and keep you motivated.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
3.2/5
Price: $30/MONTH, $299.88/YEAR
Glossika Logo
Speaking and listening practice for intermediate learners

Glossika won’t teach you explicit grammar rules, pronunciation, or the Arabic script—but if you enjoy learning through repetition and speaking, you may enjoy its extensive phrase bank. 

This resource uses spaced repetition to drill key phrases, then invites you to practice what you’ve learned through dictation and speaking exercises. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet learned the Arabic script, as you can read and type the romanized characters. 

Though Glossika will familiarize you with the Arabic language through extensive repetition, this isn’t the best resource if you are looking for dynamic practice and direct instruction for grammar and pronunciation.

Pros

  • Vocabulary covers a wide range of topics
  • Uses spaced repetition
  • Has audio recorded by native speakers

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No grammar explanations
  • Can get too repetitive
  • Doesn’t break down pronunciation
4.3/5
Price: FREE
Understand Arabic without memorization

Don’t worry about having to memorize extensive vocabulary lists or drill repetitive phrases.
With Language Transfer you’ll problem solve, deconstruct and build your own sentences, and identify patterns in the Arabic language. The goal is to understand Arabic—not memorize it—making you more confident to tackle more advanced material in your future studies.

This course is for beginners with little to no exposure to Arabic and is entirely audio based. You won’t need to take notes, but you will need focus to engage with Mihalis’s practice activities and prompts.

The best part? It’s 100% free.

Pros

  • Free
  • Has well-structured lessons
  • Thoughtfully developed

Cons

  • No native speakers
  • Uses a lot of English
  • The pace might be too slow for some learners
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/MONTH OR $55.99/YEAR

Who wouldn’t want to learn Arabic in the company of an adorable deer with glasses?

If you’ve tried Duolingo, you’ll be familiar with LingoDeer’s format. But, you may be pleasantly surprised to find something that Duolingo’s Arabic course has yet to develop: detailed grammar explanations. LingoDeer adds short readings to its gamified format so you can get more out of your studies.

It may be difficult to get through the first four lessons of unit one without prior knowledge of the Arabic alphabet, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be home free to learn basic conversational topics.

Keep in mind that the Arabic course is still in the beta phase. They currently have 30 units for total beginners, but you may want to hold off on getting a membership if you are looking for more than the absolute basics. Luckily, you can also test out several lessons without signing up to see if you like it.

Pros

  • Detailed grammar explanations
  • Native speaker audio
  • Fun

Cons

  • Limited speaking practice
  • Only has content for absolute beginners
  • Need to look elsewhere to practice the Arabic script

FSI and DLI courses

4.3/5
Price: Free
Outdated but comprehensive courses for multiple dialects

The Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and Defense Language Institute (DLI) are probably the most comprehensive, free language learning resources in the world. Unfortunately, they are also very outdated.

With the FSI’s moderate focus on politics and the DLI’s attention to military terminology, you will probably need to learn and forget several sections of the course. But, if you are motivated and disciplined, you can follow in the steps of past diplomats who persevered through hundreds of hours of self-study course material. Your hard work will pay off when you have your first conversation with an Arabic speaker—though you may want to spend time listening to recent podcasts or videos to update your vocabulary beforehand.

Beginners can choose a dialect and start studying today. If you already speak Egyptian or Levantine Arabic, the FSI’s Comparative Arabic Course will help you transition into the other dialect.

Pros

  • Free
  • Teaches multiple dialects
  • Courses are structured and comprehensive

Cons

  • Can be dry and boring
  • Outdated and sexist language
4.3/5
Price: free
Learn the Arabic Alphabet

Arabic Quick! dedicates its text-based lessons to teaching you the Arabic script. It has an attractive, colorful interface that gives you clear structure for your learning and is probably the most comprehensive free guide you’ll find on the internet.

The lessons are dedicated to each letter of the alphabet, which are broken down by how they are written at the start, middle, and end of a word. You’ll find examples and explanations for different pronunciation rules, plus mnemonic devices to easily remember how each letter is written. Arabic Quick! also helps you compare differences between similar-looking letters so you are prepared to avoid mixing them up in the future.

This is a great place to start or continue your studies of the Arabic script. It can easily be used alongside other resources that teach you conversational Arabic.

Pros

  • Detailed explanations of how to write each letter
  • Color-coded examples 
  • Helps you remember each letter and the differences between them

Cons

  • No quizzes or writing exercises
  • Very little audio pronunciation
  • Requires a lot of reading
4.2/5
Price: $8-$47/MONTH
arabicpod101
Hundreds of audio lessons with flashcards and transcripts

If you want to learn Arabic and gain insight into Arab culture, look no further than ArabicPod101. With comprehensive grammar explanations, lesson notes, transcripts, and quizzes, you can enjoy many hours of learning in one place.

You won’t have to worry about repetitive topics with the numerous lesson paths to choose from. You also won’t get bored listening to the hosts, as their interactions with each other and their listeners are both friendly and personable.

Some lessons appear more like phrasebook dictionaries, but you can pick through dozens of lesson paths to see which one suits you best.

Pros

  • Lots of content in multiple dialects
  • Hosts have a nice dynamic
  • There is less English as the lessons progress
  • Great cultural context

Cons

  • Not very structured
  • The website is a bit confusing and has lots of advertisements
  • Not much speaking or writing practice
4/5
Price: $14.95 OR $19.95/MONTH
Interactive audio lessons with speaking practice

If you are keen to get speaking from day one, Pimsleur’s audio courses may be just what you’re looking for. You won’t spend much time reading or writing in Arabic, but you will learn to have basic conversations relatively quickly. 

The course uses backchaining to rapidly improve your pronunciation and fluidity. It also effectively builds on each of the previous lessons, so you won’t feel lost moving from the beginner to advanced levels. 

Through interacting with dialogues and responding to prompts from the narrator, you will soon be speaking full sentences in Arabic. You can also top up your skills with some quizzes and flashcards, though these aren’t necessary to succeed in the course.

Pros

  • Structured lessons
  • Practical speaking practice
  • Intuitive user interface

Cons

  • May be a bit slow for some learners
  • No reading or writing practice
  • No real-world listening comprehension practice
4/5
Price: Free
duolingo
A fun way to dip your toes into learning Arabic

If you’ve been too intimidated to start learning Arabic, you’re in luck. Though Duolingo’s Arabic course has less than 50 sections, it may be one of the more fun options to start learning the basics.

The lessons teach you through patterns and repetition, and you’ll probably have to follow along with a pen and pencil to get the most out of each lesson. But, the supportive owl and gamified format will ensure that you won’t get bored.

Once you’ve learned a bit of the script, you can progress through the learning tree to acquire new vocabulary and grammar structures.

Duolingo won’t teach you very practical language, and you’ll have to look elsewhere to learn the more complex aspects of the Arabic script. But, it will help you dip your toes in the language without getting discouraged.

Pros

  • Free
  • The gamified aspect is fun and potentially motivating
  • The repetition builds basic skills
  • Makes the Arabic script unintimidating for new learners

Cons

  • Only teaches the basics of the Arabic script
  • Impractical language
  • Only teaches Modern Standard Arabic
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/month for one language, $17.99 for all languages
Mango-languages-Logo
Learn both formal and colloquial Arabic

Though Mango Languages isn’t usually our first choice for resource recommendations, its Arabic courses are surprisingly high-quality for beginners. Not only do they teach Modern Standard Arabic, but they also teach three different dialects: Egyptian, Iraqi, and Levantine. This way you’ll be able to engage in both formal and informal communication.

With 5 separate units and hundreds of lessons, you’ll go from making introductions to talking about your feelings and career. You’ll probably be able to have simple conversations by your last lesson, but the lack of attention to grammar means that you’ll need to look elsewhere to have more complex discussions.

This resource also has a unique feature that compares your voice recording to the original speaker in real time. By playing the recordings simultaneously, you can make a more accurate assessment of your pronunciation.

Pros

  • You can compare your voice in real time to the original audio recording
  • Some libraries offer it for free in the US and Canada
  • Effective drilling of new concepts
  • Cultural explanations

Cons

  • Material only covers the beginner level
  • Lack of grammar explanations
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Structured design with speaking and writing practice

Busuu’s Arabic course leaves a lot to be desired, but it can be both fun and educational if you already have a basic understanding of grammar and pronunciation. There are about 115 lessons that follow a logical progression and loosely adhere to the CEFR scale. Each lesson teaches practical language that you can use in your everyday life. 

If you have no background in Arabic, you’ll likely find it more difficult to follow along. The course teaches you through quizzes and repetition, but it makes little room for you to understand grammar or pronunciation before advancing to the next topic. Luckily they provide both the Arabic script and romanized script, so you won’t have to learn to write before using the app. 

One awesome feature that Busuu provides is the opportunity to practice your writing and speaking skills with fellow community members. Busuu invites free and paid users alike to interact with each other through correcting exercises in their native language. 

Our rating for Busuu would be higher if it wasn’t for the Arabic and Chinese courses, but it’s still a fine resource to provide structure and keep you motivated.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
3.2/5
Price: $30/MONTH, $299.88/YEAR
Glossika Logo
Speaking and listening practice for intermediate learners

Glossika won’t teach you explicit grammar rules, pronunciation, or the Arabic script—but if you enjoy learning through repetition and speaking, you may enjoy its extensive phrase bank. 

This resource uses spaced repetition to drill key phrases, then invites you to practice what you’ve learned through dictation and speaking exercises. Don’t worry if you haven’t yet learned the Arabic script, as you can read and type the romanized characters. 

Though Glossika will familiarize you with the Arabic language through extensive repetition, this isn’t the best resource if you are looking for dynamic practice and direct instruction for grammar and pronunciation.

Pros

  • Vocabulary covers a wide range of topics
  • Uses spaced repetition
  • Has audio recorded by native speakers

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No grammar explanations
  • Can get too repetitive
  • Doesn’t break down pronunciation
3/5
Price: From $8 – $47/month, less for longer subscriptions
A massive lesson library and thorough explanations

It’s difficult to find comprehensible input for beginners that gets incrementally more difficult. Usually, podcasts and resources divide their content into three or four levels; Arabic Workshop, on the other hand, divides its content into 15 difficulty levels from beginner (A1) to intermediate (B1). 

You can listen to short monologues or dialogues about practical, everyday topics with animated drawings. Or, you can read along with an interactive transcript. Though the lower levels take most of the content, the team behind this resource seems to be continually adding to the library. 

Keep in mind that other than listening to the audio multiple times or doing self-study activities, Arabic Workshop doesn’t add anything to reinforce what you have learned. Also, the transcripts only have translations for individual words and no romanized script. 

Check out some of the free sample videos before subscribing to a monthly membership.

Pros

  • Manageable jumps in difficulty
  • One of the few resources with comprehensible input for beginners
  • Teaches practical vocabulary

Cons

  • No full-sentence translations
  • No activities to reinforce what you have learned
  • Expensive for what it offers
2.8/5
Price: free
For learners studying the Quran

If you are learning Arabic to communicate in your everyday life, you’ll definitely want to look to other resources. But, if you are interested in learning classical Arabic to read the Quran, then you can use Madinah Arabic as a free, comprehensive resource.

With some self-discipline you can learn a lot from the text-based lessons and quizzes. Start with the Arabic script or dive into almost a hundred beginner lessons. There are also vocabulary lists with animations showing how to write specific words.

The website design feels a bit clumsy, and it isn’t very pleasing to the eye. But, the lessons are free and can provide your studies with some structure.

Pros

  • Free
  • Very comprehensive

Cons

  • Unattractive user interface
  • Won’t teach you to speak Arabic
  • Not very engaging
2.7/5
Price: $36/QUARTER; UP TO $179 FOR A LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION
Expensive and repetitive, but helpful for beginners

Though Rosetta Stone can get a bit repetitive, stick around if you’re a total beginner looking to develop a strong foundation of basic vocabulary and sentence structure.

Rosetta Stone has excellent audio quality recorded by native speakers, plus a logical progression from one lesson to the next. You’ll spend a lot of your time matching pictures and words, and no time building sentences or reading grammar explanations. This makes it a better option for individuals looking to learn grammar and vocabulary through immersion.

Recently, some extra features have been added to the resource’s curriculum. The Stories feature invites you to simultaneously read and listen to various texts, then record yourself reading aloud. And, instead of providing translations for keywords, you’ll see images to ensure you maintain an immersion environment.

Also, if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus, you can join other learners in 25-minute lessons with live tutors. These lessons focus on specific units, so you can pick one that directly relates to what you are learning.

Given the limited course options currently available for Arabic learners, Rosetta Stone is actually a fine choice to help you establish a foundation of basic Arabic.

Pros

  • Helps you learn basic vocabulary
  • Lessons get increasingly difficult
  • Interesting stories for reading, listening, and speaking practice
  • Livestream tutor if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Repetitive format
  • Nothing for advanced learners
2.7/5
Price: £59 – £250
Maybe suitable for some learners

We wouldn’t recommend Arabic Online to total beginners, but their Advanced Arabic and Grammar Explorer courses may be helpful to intermediate learners. With interactive activities and texts, you’ll practice sentence building, reading comprehension, and grammar.

Unfortunately, we found that the beginner levels repeated several of the same themes and weren’t very engaging. These levels also had a lot of bugs in their programming.

If you’d like to try something new and just want to keep motivated, you can give Arabic Online a go. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to check out the other resources we recommend.

Pros

  • Reading comprehension activities at higher levels
  • Specifically designed for Arabic learners

Cons

  • Repeats a limited variety of themes
  • Lots of bugs that slow down the website
  • Expensive for what it offers
  • Dashboard is confusing

17 Awesome Podcasts for Your Arabic Studies

Though most language learning resources teach Modern Standard Arabic, the spoken Arabic you might hear in the real world depends on the regional dialect. Arabic podcasts will help turn your textbook Arabic into something to connect with people in everyday life. Plus, they provide an excellent means of improving your listening comprehension and getting to know Arab culture.

With some digging, we managed to find these 17 podcasts for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners alike. Though most of them focus on Levantine and Egyptian Arabic, many touch on other dialects as well. With the wide range of topics and thoughtful lessons available, we’re sure that you’ll find something to enrich your communication.

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Improve Your Korean with 16 Fabulous Podcasts

Now that K-Pop has made its way to the top-40 charts in North America, you may be keen to start learning Korean. Or, you may have already decided to improve your language skills after finishing season 5 of your favorite K-drama.

Wherever you are in your Korean studies, podcasts are an excellent medium to listen to authentic conversations with Korean speakers and improve your listening comprehension.

We have searched the internet for these 16 podcasts to support your learning endeavors. We hope you find something educational, or at least entertaining, to take with you wherever you go with your digital device.

(more…)

Top 25 YouTube Channels For Learning Japanese – Beginner To Advanced

YouTube is a goldmine of Japanese language lessons and listening practice. Whether you’re looking for grammar breakdowns, non-textbook language, beginner vocabulary, or advanced-level Japanese debates on current affairs, you’ll find it here – and for free.

But search for “Japanese YouTube” and you’ll get over 300 million videos. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of dross on that list.

That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favourite YouTube channels for Japanese learners. We’ve also divided them into beginner (roughly A1–A2/N5–N4), intermediate (B1–B2/N3–N2), and advanced (C1–C2/N1). Of course, these divisions aren’t always clear cut. You’ll see some channels repeated, and you can also expect the difficulty to fluctuate slightly within each level.

However, we’re certain you’ll find plenty of interesting, educational, and entertaining YouTube channels on this list – no matter your level or personal interests.

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The 19 Best Podcasts For Learning Russian Regardless Of Your Level

How many ways are there to learn Russian? That question may be unanswerable, but what’s certain is that there are enough to appeal to learners of all types.

Visual learners may appreciate educational YouTube channels, those that appreciate a highly organized approach may prefer online courses, and on-the-go learners could opt for language-learning apps.

This post will explore an oft-overlooked learning strategy — podcasts. Podcasts offer many benefits as language-learning tools: they’re often free or inexpensive, they can provide extensive listening practice on just about every topic imaginable, and they’re extremely portable.

We’ve combed the internet in search of the best podcasts for learners of Russian and have organized them by level. No matter where you are on your Russian-language journey, there’s likely a podcast that’s perfect for you — find yours in the list below!

 

Russian Podcasts for Beginners

fluentli.

Image of a blue journal with the word fluentli on the cover.

This is a relatively short audio course with 17 podcast-style lessons for absolute beginners. If you’re just starting out with the language and would like some guided practice in audio form, this resource is worth checking out.

A fair amount of English is used, but each episode builds on the previous ones and comes with lesson notes that translate key phrases. Total beginners looking for a gentle, free introduction to Russian may find what they’re looking for here.

RUSSIANPOD101

RussianPod101 is among the most comprehensive resources for beginners learning Russian. While a subscription isn’t free, it is less expensive than many other paid resources. The Russian Survival Phrases series is available for free on major podcast streaming platforms.

Subscribers to the RussianPod101 course are granted access to thousands of podcast-style lessons. The majority of these are at the beginner level, but

you’ll find some intermediate and advanced lessons as well. Typically, the hosts will listen to a dialogue and then take some time explaining important words, grammar, and cultural information.

In addition to the lessons, you’ll also find line-by-line transcripts, grammar notes, flashcards, and other useful tools.

The lessons don’t necessarily progress in a clear, logical order — instead, the platform lends itself to jumping between lessons. If you’re looking for some more structure with your study, you could use the resource alongside a textbook to guide your practice. Here’s our in-depth review.

Slow Russian Podcast.

Image of Daria from Real Russian club next to a microphone and a Russian flag.

The Slow Russian Podcast provides fantastic listening practice by producing slow, natural dialogues on a variety of topics related to Russian history and culture. Host Daria Molchanova leads the episodes and maintains a slow enough pace for beginner and intermediate students to follow along.

Each episode comes with a transcript in Russian and in English, so you’ll be able to interact with the material even if it’s slightly above your level of listening comprehension. The podcast is free to listen to, and a $20 purchase allows you to download the MP3 files as well as accompanying PDFs.

A Spoonful of Russian.

An image of a bowl of caviar and the text, "A Spoonful of Russian with Natalia."

This podcast hasn’t been updated for a few years, but the free collection of about 30 episodes could prove seriously effective for learners looking for short audio lessons. You’ll start learning Russian greetings before proceeding to learn how to pronounce different vowel sounds. There are also bonus episodes covering Russian poetry, music, and other cultural content.

Host Natalia is a native speaker of Russian and has a confident, laid-back teaching style that could appeal to many.

Russian Made Easy

Russian Made Easy is a series of 30 audio lessons that introduce the basics of the Russian language. Host Mark uses modern techniques such as pattern recognition and contextual learning to get you up to speed quickly and easily.

You can follow along with the lessons with complete PDF transcripts, and you’ll also be prompted to repeat phrases aloud to get practice pronouncing the language. This is a great podcast series for new learners, and those who are still getting familiar with the Russian alphabet can make use of this mini Russian reading course.

One Minute Russian

One Minute Russian is a series produced by the Coffee Break Academy team. There are only 10 lessons, but they cover need-to-know topics such as counting to ten, basic greetings, and useful words and phrases.

These lessons aren’t designed to get you fluent in Russian, but they will teach you the basics without requiring a large time commitment. The course costs $10 USD.

Speaking Russian

The Speaking Russian podcast is a long-running series with episodes that are best suited for beginner or intermediate level students. You’ll learn about different dialects and pronunciations, along with foundational vocabulary like numbers, days of the week, and more.

This podcast is available on most major streaming platforms. There’s also a spin-off podcast in which host Elvira Ivanova reads Anna Karenina in Russian, and then summarizes it and explains any unfamiliar expressions in English..

The Word’s Worth

A portrait-style painting of Michele Berdy, host of The Word's Worth podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Michele Berdy, author of the book The Russian Word’s Worth. The podcast is largely in English, but Berdy touches on plenty of aspects of the Russian language as well as current events and culture.

For those interested in learning about the Russian language and how to speak it, this podcast has a high production value and could become a favorite.
 

Russian Podcasts for Intermediate Learners

Russian with Max

This podcast caters to learners at the lower-intermediate level and above. The creator, Max, aims to give learners a way to listen to interesting content that they can understand through comprehensible input. He does this through clear enunciation, speaking slowly, and giving lots of examples and synonyms.

There are also transcripts available to those interested in supporting Max with a subscription. The episodes cover a lot of interesting topics — minimalism, traveling in Russia without money, and the dark side of Russian literature, to name a few. In addition to the podcast, the website boasts other materials, such as stories in Russian, videos, and more. Read our mini-review.

Russian Podcast

The host of this site is Tatiana Klimova, a teacher of Russian and French. She started Russian Podcast in 2009, and it has since bloomed into much more than audio files. Joining the Russian Dacha club on her website grants access to hundreds of podcast episodes with transcripts, videos, a private Facebook discussion group, and regular online meetings.

The audio lessons are available for free listening, and paying members are able to access transcripts and additional features. New podcast episodes and videos are released every five days.

The Paketa Logo on a yellow background with the image of a rocketship.

Paкeтa: Simple Russia

This podcast could be a good way for intermediate learners to test themselves with material that’s entirely in Russian. In the short episodes, the host narrates a monologue on specific topics like fashion, pets, cars, and climate. The vocabulary isn’t complex, and there are full transcripts of each episode you can use to check your listening skills.

News in Slow Russian

News in Slow Russian is a great option if you want to immerse yourself in the Russian language at a pace that’s not quite native speed. The 500+ episodes come in three different levels and are categorized by topic; you can focus on stories about people, animals, nature, science, technology, and more.

There are only three episodes available for free — one at each level — and a paid subscription grants access to the entire catalog, including transcripts and translations.

Very Much Russian.

Image of a Russian doll with headphones and the text, "Очень по-русски."

This podcast stands apart because it sets out to teach Russian as it’s actually spoken with slang, jokes, idiomatic expressions, and other things you may not learn in a traditional classroom setting. You’ll also learn about food and drink, politics, and phrases that you won’t find in standard textbooks.

Intended for learners at an intermediate level and above, you can enjoy free transcripts and translations for each episode on their website. You can also donate via PayPal to download the audio files and accompanying materials..

Russian Verbs from Russia

Image of the podcast host and a Russian flag.

This all-Russian podcast has a clear focus — verbs. Each episode focuses on one or more verbs and provides information on how to use them appropriately. This is for intermediate learners that are ready for content 100% in Russian.

Episodes come with lists of key words, and transcripts are available to Patreon contributors. The Russian from Russia website also includes reading and grammar practice materials along with videos and discussion topics.

A Beginner Course of Spoken Russian

A Beginner Course of Spoken Russian is a podcast series made by LingQ, a language-learning platform with a variety of course material. Although there are only 14 episodes — and despite the course name — the series serves as a quality source of intermediate practice since it’s spoken entirely in Russian.

In each episode, you’ll hear a dialogue spoken by two different speakers as well as a mini-story that includes several listening comprehension questions. The hosts recommend you speak the answer aloud in order to practice your pronunciation.

Business Russian Podcast

The Business Russian Podcast is produced by UCLA and is intended for students who plan to work in a Russian-language business or industry. These podcasts are primarily in Russian and will be too advanced for learners at lower levels, but they do come with PDF transcripts to help you follow along.

The audio episodes cover cultural elements of business in Russia as well as company structures, corporate finance, and taxes. It probably won’t make much sense to use this podcast if you plan to visit Russia as a tourist, but if you’re planning to conduct business meetings or consult a Russian tax professional, this is an invaluable resource.

A Taste of Russian

With hundreds of Russian-language episodes, A Taste of Russian is an ideal podcast for intermediate learners. These episodes focus on displaying Russian as it’s actually spoken, meaning plenty of slang and casual discussion.

A paying subscription is required for access to all of the audio content, but an entire free episode is released each month, and there are more than 50 free episodes to choose from.

Зелёная лампа

The Green Lamp is a literary podcast created for children. Led by literature teacher Vladimir Natanovich Shatsev and his team of sound engineers and voice actors, the podcast features high-quality narrations of literature in Russian.

After a short introduction from Vladimir, each episode follows with actor-led narration and finishes with some follow-up questions. Though the podcast was created with children in mind, it could prove a suitable practice method for upper-intermediate learners.
 

Russian Podcasts for Advanced Learners.

SBS Русский

"SBS Russian" written in orange text.

SBS is an Australian public service broadcaster that operates a number of multilingual radio programs. The Russian iteration of this service includes frequently posted audio news stories with a focus on events related to Australia and Russia.

New episodes are uploaded daily, and there’s a massive catalog of previously released episodes to choose from.

In Russian Terms

In Russian Terms is a podcast meant for advanced learners that deals primarily with socio-political and cultural issues related to current events. You’ll learn about Americans in Russia, Russians in America, and topics related to the other post-Soviet states.

Host Elena Bilbo explores Russian attitudes toward work, money, popular movie characters, and other interesting subjects. You’ll get to hear authentic Russian as intended for upper-intermediate and advanced learners. There are 54 episodes, the last of which was uploaded at the end of 2017.

Arzamas

Radio Arzamas is a Russian-language podcast that employs experts to explore history and culture, and it’s available directly on the website or on major streaming platforms.

Each episode features a Russian expert reading a 15-25 minute lecture on themes like theater during the Renaissance and sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome. This wide-ranging podcast will prepare you to debate in Russian on matters of culture and philosophy.

ПостНауки

This is a popular science podcast that explores a variety of topics.Are you interested in neurotransmitters or nuclear energy? How about color blindness or dreams? For the ever-curious learner of Russian, this podcast delivers.

Some of the episodes include videos that you can watch on the site, and episodes are also available for download from iTunes.

TACC

History buffs, this one’s for you. Episodes of the TACC podcast explore a wide range of topics, many of which are related to world history. Advanced learners will get opportunities to practice the pronunciation of names of places in Russian, learn about geopolitics from a Russian perspective, and get exposure to specialized vocabulary related to the arts, science, and culture, among other topics.

100 Most Popular Russian Podcasts

This list of Russian-language podcasts is curated by podcast site podtail. It uses its own data in combination with that from Apple to maintain an up-to-date list of the most popular Russian podcasts. If you’re at an advanced level and looking for more native-level material, this list has you covered.
 

In Closing

This list of podcasts isn’t exhaustive — there are plenty more out there, but to include every one of them wouldn’t be much help. Instead, we’ve focused on those we believe are of high quality and could provide some effective study time. Happy listening.

22 Top-Quality YouTube Channels for Learning Russian

If you’re interested in learning Russian and are one of the over 2 billion users that access YouTube every month, you’re already familiar with an incredibly potent language-learning tool.

YouTube is full of language teachers and Russian speakers creating content for free consumption. Videos can be a particularly effective way to get Russian practice because they are engaging, provide visual connections to the language, and can facilitate both listening and reading practice.

Many YouTube videos also take advantage of multilingual subtitles, which can help learners interact with Russian content that may be slightly above their level.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner who’s ready to jump into Russian or a more advanced learner looking for quality practice, we’ve got you covered — we’ve scoured the internet to find quality YouTube channels for Russian learners at every level. Use the list below to get started with your new favorite channel.

Multiple Levels

Real Russian Club

The Real Russian Club YouTube channel is the creation of Daria, a certified Russian language teacher from Moscow.

The videos on her channel cover a wide variety of topics; there are specific lessons on things like How to Respond to Apologies in Russian and 5 Russian Phrases to Say Something Is Easy, as well as playlists for shadowing, weekly reading, easy Russian, and even Russian dialogues with her four-year-old son, Roman.

All of the videos on this channel come with English subtitles, and Daria occasionally speaks in English, especially in her beginner course. The Real Russian Club Youtube channel has been around for several years, so there’s plenty of content to keep you busy.

Be Fluent in Russian

The host of this YouTube channel is Fedor, whose friendly and entertaining demeanor will likely appeal to many. There are videos that will appeal to learners at just about any level here.

Fedor does use quite a bit of English to explain the more complicated aspects of Russian that beginners may struggle with, but you’ll also be able to find videos that are completely in Russian. Videos highlighting different cultural aspects of life in Russia round out the channel nicely.

There’s also a BeFluent Russian course that may appeal to learners looking for a more structured way to study. Here’s our mini review.

Easy Russian

Part of the Easy Languages project, Easy Russian primarily features videos of interviews with people on the street. These interactions happen entirely in Russian and are a great way to get exposure to Russian as people actually speak it.

In addition to these street interviews, you’ll find videos that explicitly tackle language concepts like modal verbs, filler words, and prepositions.

While there are bilingual subtitles for all videos, this channel is probably most useful for learners at the intermediate level and beyond that are interested in hearing lots of natural Russian dialogue.

Boost Your Russian

Boost Your Russian is more than just a YouTube channel. Its website also boasts courses, graded readers, and free Russian texts with translations and narrations.

The YouTube channel is full of useful videos for learners at a variety of levels. Unless you’re an absolute beginner, you should be able to find some videos that are suitable. One unique type of video featured on this channel breaks down speeches or clips from movies with scaffolding to facilitate understanding.

The sheer variety of video types on this channel make it worth checking out for just about any learner.

Hack Your Russian

There aren’t quite as many videos to choose from here as there are with some of the other channels on this list, but beginner and intermediate-level learners should be able to find some quality study material.

Beginners will find valuable practice with letters, pronunciation or false friends, and intermediate learners will find podcast episodes as well as discussions on Russian holidays. While the material here spans multiple levels, beginners and lower-intermediate learners will get the most out of this channel.

RU-Land Club

Russian teacher Ninka Minchenko has been posting new videos to this channel for more than five years, so there are plenty to choose from. There’s a mix of English and Russian used in the videos, but the majority seem to be entirely in Russian. Many of these Russian-only videos contain Russian subtitles, but you’ll sometimes need to rely on YouTube’s auto-translate feature to see the English version.

Beginners could make use of the English-language explanations of grammar concepts, and more advanced learners could benefit from watching Ninka and her friend talk about topics like common Russian superstitions in Russian.

Russian with Nastya

Nastya’s YouTube channel is frequently updated with new content in a variety of subjects. Most of the material seems to be best-suited for learners at an upper-beginner to lower-intermediate level, though there are videos created specifically for every level from A1 to C1.

Nastya has a calm teaching style that could be a great fit for some, and she has interesting videos such as multiple-choice quizzes, lessons on conversational phrases, and videos focused on specific grammatical cases.

Beginner

Rush Into Russian

This educational Russian YouTube channel is the brainchild of Kris Amerikos, an American who lived in Russia for many years and became fluent in the language. Along with native speaker Olya, the two host videos that both focus on explicit aspects of the Russian language as well as cultural differences between Russia and the USA.

Special playlists on this channel include those titled Russian Slang, Russian Grammar, and Everyday Russian Every Day, the last of which is the largest playlist on the channel with more than 150 videos.

Antonia Romaker — Learn English and Russian Online

This channel is unique in that it teaches both English and Russian. It’s very easy to ignore the English lessons and focus on Russian, so it makes a quality resource for learners of either language.

The Russian With Passion playlist on Antonia’s channel starts with the basics and now includes nearly 200 lessons, as it’s been in production since 2013.

This isn’t the right channel if you’re looking for a bunch of Russian immersion, as most of the videos contain a fair amount of English, but there’s a lot of content here that could otherwise be worth looking through.

Weekly Russian

The videos on the Weekly Russian YouTube channel may not be the most visually engaging — they mostly display bits of text with accompanying audio narration — but beginners interested in no-nonsense lessons may find what they’re looking for.

Don’t be fooled by the ambitious title: the most recent videos are several years old. Still, if you’re looking for straightforward practice on specific, beginner-oriented subjects, you may be able to get a solid start here.

Learn Russian Language

This is probably the channel with the most personality on our list, mostly thanks to eccentric host Natasha. She sings, acts, and generally seems to have fun with everything she does.
There are plenty of videos on this channel, going back quite a few years, and new videos are still uploaded semi-regularly.

Learners just past the absolute beginner phase could benefit from the beginner course on this channel, and lower-intermediate learners could get some good input from the Russian-language cartoons. There are also interesting playlists like Russian Folk Songs and Orthodox Prayers.

Natasha is quite insistent on speaking only Russian in her videos, but most of them include Russian and/or English subtitles.

How to Speak with Irina

Irina has videos teaching a variety of languages on her channel, but the bulk of the content teaches Russian, her native language. Irina is a high-energy teacher who gives frequent encouragement to her viewers. She also uses a fair amount of English to explain concepts.

There are other channels with more content, but absolute beginners will be able to build a foundation in Russian with the clearly structured Learn Russian with Irina course on this channel.

Intermediate

R for Russian

The host of this YouTube channel has been putting out instructional Russian videos for several years, the majority of which focus on different elements of Russian grammar. Her channel is a quality place to find explanations in a mix of Russian and English, most of which come with subtitles and translations.

In addition to grammar practice, there are videos here that teach learners through music and focus on useful everyday phrases. This channel is likely most useful for learners at the beginner and intermediate levels.

Russian Grammar

If you’re interested in getting some hyper-focused grammar practice, this channel delivers. There are plenty of videos here, each focusing on a specific verb tense, word, group of words, or other aspect of Russian grammar.

Videos are narrated in English and make use of text and graphics to help support visual learners. You won’t find much in the way of entertaining content here, but for focused grammar instruction, this is the place.

Russian From Russia

With clearly narrated listening exercises, folk tales, and lessons on grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, Russian From Russia provides tons of quality material for intermediate learners. Videos are in Russian with Russian subtitles, but you won’t get much in the way of English translations.

This channel could make a good option for intermediate learners looking for a mix of language lessons and exposure to Russian at an appropriate level.

Russian With Max

It’s hard not to like Max. He’s good-natured, enthusiastic about helping people learn Russian, and has a sense of humor. His videos are varied, and they take place entirely in Russian, with a few exceptions.

If you’re interested in listening practice that’s appropriate for your level, learning a bit about life in Russia, or want some focused videos on specific Russian language points, this channel is worth checking out. Keep in mind that the majority of the content will be too advanced for beginners, though all videos do have subtitles. Read our mini review.

Mary Z Russian

Mary Z creates videos aimed at intermediate learners of Russian, and her YouTube channel boasts an extensive library. You’ll find videos for practice with specific types of vocabulary, live streams, music in Russian, and even listen to her tell scary stories ASMR-style.

Mary is energetic and creates videos that are entertaining and engaging. For intermediate learners who don’t mind a bit of English in videos, this channel has a lot of potential.

Elena Jung

Elena’s YouTube channel is squarely focused on helping learners of Russian make progress with the language. In addition to lessons where she explicitly goes through Russian language points, she’s also released a number of videos dealing with the motivational aspects of learning a language, many of which were done as live streams.

Elena is an engaging teacher that speaks with enthusiasm and whose instructions are clear. Beginners will benefit from the motivational videos that tend to use a lot of English but may struggle with the many that are entirely in Russian without English subtitles. Intermediate learners should be able to interact with most, if not all, of the videos here.

Advanced

Ари говорит по-Русски

This channel is entirely in Russian and was created by Arie, a Dutchman who’s become fluent in the language. His videos reflect on his journey learning Russian and could be useful for learners interested in relating to someone else’s experience.

Other videos deal with cultural differences between Russia and the Netherlands as well as current events and some travel videos. The content here is 100% in Russian, and there are no subtitles or translations.

Mosfilm

Mosfilm is Russia’s largest film company, and their YouTube channel is full of entire movies that are free to view. Most of the movies are quite old — some are in black and white — but it’s a treasure trove for anyone interested in getting lots of exposure to Russian through classic films. Many of the films also have English subtitles.

наука

This Russian-only program is a goldmine for science-minded Russian speakers. You’ll need quite an advanced level of Russian to follow along with this content, as you’ll only get auto-generated subtitles, but the production value is high and the subjects are interesting.

Videos are roughly 30-minutes long and cover a broad range of science-related topics like quantum chemistry, railroads, the human brain, and space.

AdamThomasMoran

This channel contains content from +100500, a weekly entertainment program put on by host Maxim Golopolosov. The material is produced for native Russian speakers, so you’ll need an advanced level of Russian to keep up, but the material is engaging and meant to entertain. This could be a fun way to get lots of input.

The program has been active since 2010 and contains quite a lot of content, most of which is reactions to other videos. It’s worth noting that the sense of humor on this channel won’t appeal to everyone, especially those that prefer videos of a more serious nature.

RUTUBE

All right, this isn’t exactly a YouTube channel, but RUTUBE is widely considered to be the “YouTube of Russia.” If you’re an advanced learner, why not search for whatever interests you on a site that caters specifically to Russian speakers?

The videos are in Russian, the interface is in Russian — it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the language and culture.

In Closing

While there are an impressive number of YouTube channels for learning Russian, it isn’t the only way to learn. If you’re interested in alternative study methods, check out our posts on the best Russian podcasts, online courses, and apps.

20 Best Podcasts To Learn Italian In 2021

Finding a great Italian podcast won’t only help you improve your listening comprehension, but it will also bring Italy closer to you. And don’t worry about spending hours searching for that perfect fit—we’ve already done that for you.

Below are 23 podcasts to improve your Italian, organized by level. Most of them are 100% in Italian, and many have free transcripts. We’re sure you’ll find something that can accompany you in your Italian studies that will be both challenging and fun.

You may also want to check out our list of Italian YouTube channels, as some of them have recordings in podcast form.

All Levels

Podcast Italiano

Davide is an experienced online teacher and polyglot with a degree in translation and interpretation. His high-quality YouTube channel and podcast provide excellent Italian immersion for all levels of Italian learners.

With Davide’s podcast, you’ll get free transcripts, vocabulary notes, and translations for each episode. Plus, you can even listen to a series of unscripted conversations to take your comprehension to the next level. 

You can download the audio for all of the episodes on the Podcast Italiano website.

News in Slow Italian

Step into the excitement of Italian current events with News in Slow Italian. Though typically a paid resource, there is some free intermediate content available on Spotify.

The website publishes news at a level-appropriate speed, highlighting important grammar points and expressions in the transcripts.

Upper-level beginners can check out the “Get Up to Speed” course, which will cover the foundations needed to start the intermediate program. Read our full review for more information.

Italianpod101

Although ItalianPod101 requires a paid membership, it comes with some advantages. There are thousands of bite-sized podcast-style dialogues for beginner to advanced learners, plus lesson notes, quizzes, flashcards, and translations.

The site can be a bit confusing with all the available lesson paths and episodes, but once you find your lesson path it will probably be worth your while.

There’s a 7-day free trial when you sign up for a free account, and if you use the promo code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES”, you’ll save 25% on a subscription. Read our full review of ItalianPod101 here.

Beginner

Language Transfer

Language Transfer provides a series of introductory audio courses for several different languages — including Italian.

You won’t spend as much time immersed in the language, but you will go into depth about how the Italian language works. You’ll learn major grammar points and develop vocabulary and pronunciation. You’ll also hear the instructor, Mihalis, interact with a beginner student and correct their mistakes. The goal is to respond to prompts as if you yourself were the student.

Language Transfer can support anyone looking to understand the ins and outs of learning Italian. If you’d like to get a better sense of what it’s all about, you can read our full review.

Coffee Break Italian

The Coffee Break Languages series—available in French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Chinese, and Italian—gives you language lessons that last about the duration of a 30-minute coffee break.

Each Italian conversation has an English discussion and analysis, making it a great option if you prefer to have more context to your learning. You’ll get the most out of this series by responding to the prompts aloud. It’s also best to start at episode one if you have no background in Italian.

Extra lesson notes and video pronunciation practice are available in the Premium version. But, you’ll be fine listening to the podcasts on major streaming platforms. To learn more, check out our full review.

Intermediate

Oggi Parliamo

Join Andrea, a certified Italian teacher and CELI examiner, for a different Italian experience four days per week. Mondays you can explore the arts—opera, literature, music, history, and more. Or, tune in on Tuesdays to focus on grammar, follow current events in Italy on Wednesdays, and discuss common Italian expressions on Thursdays.

Supporting Andrea on Patreon will give you full access to the transcripts. You can also sign up for a free trial class with him on his website.

Simple Italian

In Simple Italian, Simone delivers authentic Italian immersion to your home. You’ll hear about some of his personal experiences, gain new perspectives from interviews with other Italian speakers, and get accurate, researched information about topics like sleep or the history of lesser known cities.

If you pay for a membership on his website, you’ll receive transcripts with vocabulary notes in English and German.

Italiano Bello

You might feel more like you’re listening to someone’s train of thought than a structured podcast, but Italiano Bello will give you bite-sized insights into daily life in Italy. Learn about Italian culture, language, and literature, and get some language learning tips along the way.

These 10-minute episodes provide excellent practice for intermediate learners to improve their listening comprehension.

Radio Arlecchino

Created by the University of Texas at Austin, Radio Arlecchino has 22 engaging dialogues to reinforce a series of grammar points: the subjunctive tense, past tense, imperative form, pronouns, and more.

Unfortunately there aren’t more episodes available, but the free PDF transcripts with cultural and grammar notes make this limited series an excellent resource to refer back to throughout your studies.

Keep in mind that, besides the dialogues, this podcast is mostly in English.

Italian Stories in Italian

This relatively new podcast focuses on learning Italian through natural language rather than extensive grammar explanations. Their 10- to 20-minute episodes use Italian at a slower than natural speed, but cover interesting topics like Dante Alighieri, multiple intelligences, carnivals, and festivals.

Each episode comes with a free transcript and vocabulary notes on the Online Italian Classes website.

Upper Intermediate

Quattro Stagioni

Though you can’t see her, Laura’s voice is so dynamic that you may find yourself imagining her facial expressions. She has three different series in her podcast, Quattro Stagioni:

In the main Quattro Stagioni series, you can learn about Italian culture and things that spark curiosity in Laura’s everyday life. If you’re more of a foodie, join Laura as she talks about Italian cuisine in In cucina, or travel around Italy in In viaggio. Every episode is a bite-sized piece of Italian immersion with Laura as your guide.

You can pay for a subscription to receive transcripts of every episode to help you follow along.

Pensieri & Parole

What makes this podcast stand out is the thoughtfulness that Linda puts into every episode, and the skill she demonstrates in her storytelling. She covers a wide variety of topics, from big ideas—like culture, literature, and language—to seemingly simple but important topics—like salt and hand gestures.

If you enjoy these episodes, you can buy study packages for the episodes on the Piccolo Mondo Italiano website.

Italy Made Easy Podcast

Italy Made Easy’s creator, Manu, delivers one of our highest rated Italian courses—and you can get a ton of free material from his free podcast. His lively and engaging personality will make your journey to fluency fun and easy.

Listen to these 100% Italian episodes on major streaming platforms, or sign up on his website for free access to transcripts, transcript translations, and comprehension questions. You can even download the podcast audio onto your computer or phone.

Beginners can check out his YouTube channel for more content in English.

Learn Italian with Lucrezi‪a‬

You may already know Lucrezia through her YouTube channel, but her podcast can keep you company when you need your eyes free. This channel doesn’t focus so much on grammar as it does on interesting information about the Italian language, customs, and festivals. There are also some interviews with inspiring Italian learners and polyglots to give you a boost of motivation.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the images and articles that Lucrezia provides in the description of her podcast episodes.

Ila Zed

If you like well-organized information in audio form, Ilaria has dozens of podcast episodes for you. Besides talking about grammar and culture, she also motivates you with conversations about learning Italian. Get tips about reading articles, watching movies, or creating a daily routine while immersing yourself in the language. Ilaria also shares free transcripts for each episode on her website.

Be Italiano

Stefano has over 5 years’ experience teaching Italian and now produces courses, YouTube videos and podcast episodes to take Italian students closer to fluency.

He invites a variety of guests onto his show—his friends, students, and even his mom—to discuss topics like cooking, distance learning, and what it’s like to get Italian citizenship. With these episodes you can train your ear to different Italian accents, or you can join him for his solo episodes to learn about Italian culture and holidays.

L’Italiano Vero

Inspired by All Ears English, Massimo and his team produce this podcast to make Italian simple and fun. Their entertaining, natural dialogues discuss all sorts of topics: television quiz shows, the hosts’ everyday lives, or advertisements whose influence created popular catchphrases.

They have several interactive transcripts available for free on their website, but for $1 per month you can access all of them—plus download the audio and PDF transcripts to your computer.

Arkos Academy

Arkos Academy reinforces your listening comprehension by recording the same script at a fast and a slow speed. They even provide free transcripts and comprehension questions on their website. Learn about major historical events, or listen to stories about famous people throughout history with these carefully written episodes.

Advanced

Con Parole Nostre

If you want to listen to content for native speakers but you still feel like you’re missing something, Con Parole Nostre wil bridge the gap. This trio of friends speaks in authentic, fast Italian—and they don’t speak with you in mind.

You’ll feel like you’re listening to a conversation on the streets of Italy, but there’s a difference: with Con Parole Nostre, you can follow along with a full transcript of the audio, so even if it’s challenging, you won’t get lost.

You’ll have to sign up for the newsletter to receive a free transcript with each new episode, or you can purchase past ones from the website.

Senza Rossett‪o‬

This feminist podcast dedicates each season to women of different time periods from a literary perspective: season one discusses the challenges women faced in the past; season two identifies prejudices and stereotypes that women experience today; and season three looks to the future for answers on how to establish gender equality.

Advanced learners can listen to the two hosts and authors discuss a variety of subtopics—and maybe get some ideas for their reading list.

Daily Cogito

Rick Dufer is an accomplished writer, performer, and philosopher. Even if you don’t speak a word of Italian, you’ll be impressed by the energy he brings to your ears. Listen to his podcast and improve your Italian through philosophical topics, critical thinking, literature, and pop culture. He often conducts interviews with influencers or professionals in various fields.

Scientificast

Scientificast has over 250 episodes with topics on physics, biology, and medicine. With a group of experts as your hosts—including but not limited to particle physicists, biotechnologists, and astrophysicists—you can explore hypothetical particles like axions or understand why octopuses punch other fish.

It won the Best Italian Podcast in 2016 at the Macchianera Italian Awards.

Rai Radio

From sports to music to news and more, Rai has endless content for advanced Italian learners to immerse themselves in the Italian language and culture. There are also multiple stations for kids so your family can enjoy Italian immersion together.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found something (or many things) to enjoy on this list. If you’re looking for more structure in your Italian studies, you can explore our favorite online Italian courses. Or, you can check out our list of Italian YouTube channels.

13 Top-Rated Russian Courses for All Levels

Why would you ever learn Russian unless you had to? It’s got a confusing writing system, and it isn’t that useful anyway, right? Not quite.

While the Cyrillic alphabet may be daunting in appearance, it can reliably be learned in just one or two days. The fact that many of the letters resemble those in the Latin alphabet and that the language is much more phonetic than English are two big helps.

There are also plenty of ways knowing Russian could come in handy. It’s the most widely spoken language in Europe, the official language of four countries, and a lingua franca in many more. An understanding of Russian will also open up opportunities to learn other Slavic languages more quickly, like Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Polish.

Still not convinced? How about the chance to read renowned Russian literature in its original form, take a Russian-language architecture tour in Moscow, cruise the Trans-Siberian Railway, or simply deepen your relationship with vodka? 

Whatever your reasons for learning Russian, there are plenty of courses out there that can get you speaking the language. However, no two courses are created equal, and many are simply not very good. 

To help learners find the best courses for them, we’ve gone through the extensive list of resources we’ve tried and have listed the best of the best here. Only courses that we’ve rated 3.5/5 or above (with one exception) have made the cut. There’s a little bit of everything in this list, and we hope you’ll find something that feels just right.

Sort By:

4.7/5
Price: €29/month
A super-thorough course for learners at most levels

Red Kalinka is known as the “Largest Russian School in the World” and produces several different Russian language products. Their online Russian course, Sistema Kalinka, is high-quality, in-depth, and suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to upper intermediates. There is a tremendous amount of content designed to help students read, write and understand Russian. It’s easily the most comprehensive Russian course we’ve tried.

After completing the course, they claim you’ll know over 3000 words, be able to communicate in most situations, and be able to enjoy watching Russian TV. You’ll also have email access to a personal tutor who can answer any questions you may have about the material. In terms of a course that does it all, Red Kalinka’s Sistema Kalinka is hard to beat.

Pros

  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • There are chances to practice all major language skills
  • The material is comprehensive

Cons

  • There is potential for lessons to feel monotonous after prolonged study
  • The exercises aren’t particularly exciting or unique
4/5
Price: $19.95/month
Exceptional audio lessons with plenty of chances for active participation

One of the biggest names in language learning, Pimsleur makes use of well-structured courses and conversational lessons to help absolute beginners start speaking Russian right away. Speaking right away can make it feel like you’re making real progress almost immediately. This can be great for motivation.

It’s important to note that, since such an emphasis is placed on listening and speaking skills, there’s little attention paid to grammar and the written language. You’ll likely need to supplement your studies with other resources to get a well-rounded education, but Pimsleur is a good option for aural learners that want to get speaking right away.

The subscription price model is only available to learners in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia, but the platform is accessible to learners around the world.

Pros

  • Lessons are well structured and progress logically
  • You’ll get to listen to a variety of native speakers
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • Visual learners may struggle with the mostly audio content
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for thorough reading and writing practice
  • The lessons can be somewhat dry
4.2/5
Price: $12.95/month, less for longer subscriptions
Well-structured lessons and a clear curriculum

Babbel has a reputation for comprehensive, well-organized courses — and it’s well deserved. Ideal for learners up to an intermediate level, Babbel delivers reliable, quality lessons at a fair price.

The lessons may leave something to be desired for learners looking for the most exciting way to study, but it’s hard to go wrong if you’re looking to build a solid foundation in Russian. There are plenty of explanations that accompany the lessons, and you’ll get practice in a variety of skills.

This probably isn’t the best choice for advanced learners or those that are primarily interested in conversation practice.

Pros

  • It’s easy to use
  • The course structure is well planned
  • Lessons and explanations are thorough

Cons

  • It isn’t the most exciting resource
  • It isn’t ideal for advanced learners
  • There isn’t much in the way of conversation practice
4.3/5
Price: From $8 – $47/month, less for longer subscriptions
A massive lesson library and thorough explanations

A subscription to RussianPod101 unlocks a vast catalog of content. The lessons are fully capable of providing learners with an in-depth look at Russian vocabulary, grammar, and the cultural context in which words are used. There are lessons covering just about every imaginable situation, each full of important words and phrases.

Learners at all levels will be able to benefit from the lessons, but the bulk of the material is probably most useful for those at the beginner and intermediate stages.

It’s worth mentioning that we did find the website to be confusing to navigate and that lessons don’t always progress in the most logical manner. It’s also true that, while RussianPod101 is fantastic for improving listening comprehension, you’ll probably need to find other resources to improve your conversational skills.

Pros

  • The lesson library is huge
  • There is material for learners at all levels
  • You’ll get to listen to a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • There’s limited speaking and writing practice
  • The platform can be difficult to navigate
  • The practice opportunities aren’t very engaging
4.2/5
Price: $197
Learn Russian grammar through stories

Grammar Hero is the brainchild of Olly Richards, the creator of “I Will Teach You a Language.” As the name suggests, the focus of this course is on helping students internalize challenging grammar points. This is done with a story-based method that gets learners to make meaningful connections with the material.

Practice happens by reading the story, learning the grammar rules, and then re-reading the story to understand why certain grammar points were used. Finally, Olly encourages students to actively produce the language by incorporating exercises such as writing practice, translation, and error correction.

Although Grammar Hero is on the more expensive end and is only suitable for intermediate students, it’s an exceptionally fun and engaging resource. Students wanting to improve their grammar will definitely get a lot of value out of this.

Pros

  • The story-learning method could appeal to many
  • Great for learners interested in understanding difficult grammar concepts

Cons

  • It’s only suitable for learners at the intermediate level
  • It’s fairly expensive
3.8/5
Price: $69 or $99
BITE-SIZE-LANGUAGES-01-1
A decent course for beginners

Something that might stand out about this course is that, although it’s targeted toward beginners, the accompanying materials are written entirely in Russian. The course also doesn’t attempt to teach the Russian alphabet, instead emphasizing that understanding the dialogues at the heart of the course is what’s most important.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test the Bite Size Languages courses, but they utilize comprehensible input in the form of dialogues with additional supportive materials such as transcripts, translations, and vocabulary and grammar sections. 

If you’re looking for a beginner course and aren’t interested in signing up for a recurring subscription, Bite Size Languages could be worth checking out.

Pros

  • Lessons utilize comprehensible input
  • There’s no recurring subscription
  • The course is designed specifically for beginners

Cons

  • The course doesn’t teach the Russian alphabet
  • The dialogues can become slightly boring
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
A decent course with a useful social feature

Busuu is a major player in the language-learning world. It’s been around since 2008 and has helped millions of people learn languages. The Russian course on this platform contains well-structured lessons that progress in a logical order and could theoretically lead you from absolute beginner to upper intermediate.

Busuu is more affordable than many other resources, but it also doesn’t deliver in some areas like others do. Grammar explanations, for example, don’t go into great detail and can leave out some useful information.

A unique feature of the Busuu platform is the built-in social feature. With it, learners can submit and correct each other’s writing and speech. This is free to use and fills in a gap where plenty of other resources fall short.

We rated this course a 3.3/5, but this score takes into account Busuu’s Mandarin Chinese course, which is of a lower quality. The score would likely be higher if we had only rated its Russian course.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best
4.7/5
Price: €29/month
A super-thorough course for learners at most levels

Red Kalinka is known as the “Largest Russian School in the World” and produces several different Russian language products. Their online Russian course, Sistema Kalinka, is high-quality, in-depth, and suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to upper intermediates. There is a tremendous amount of content designed to help students read, write and understand Russian. It’s easily the most comprehensive Russian course we’ve tried.

After completing the course, they claim you’ll know over 3000 words, be able to communicate in most situations, and be able to enjoy watching Russian TV. You’ll also have email access to a personal tutor who can answer any questions you may have about the material. In terms of a course that does it all, Red Kalinka’s Sistema Kalinka is hard to beat.

Pros

  • Lessons build on each other nicely
  • There are chances to practice all major language skills
  • The material is comprehensive

Cons

  • There is potential for lessons to feel monotonous after prolonged study
  • The exercises aren’t particularly exciting or unique
4.3/5
Price: From $8 – $47/month, less for longer subscriptions
A massive lesson library and thorough explanations

A subscription to RussianPod101 unlocks a vast catalog of content. The lessons are fully capable of providing learners with an in-depth look at Russian vocabulary, grammar, and the cultural context in which words are used. There are lessons covering just about every imaginable situation, each full of important words and phrases.

Learners at all levels will be able to benefit from the lessons, but the bulk of the material is probably most useful for those at the beginner and intermediate stages.

It’s worth mentioning that we did find the website to be confusing to navigate and that lessons don’t always progress in the most logical manner. It’s also true that, while RussianPod101 is fantastic for improving listening comprehension, you’ll probably need to find other resources to improve your conversational skills.

Pros

  • The lesson library is huge
  • There is material for learners at all levels
  • You’ll get to listen to a variety of native speakers

Cons

  • There’s limited speaking and writing practice
  • The platform can be difficult to navigate
  • The practice opportunities aren’t very engaging

FSI and DLI

4.3/5
Price: Free
FSI
Exceptionally thorough and free but dated courses

The courses created by the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) certainly aren’t the most exciting ways to learn a language, but they work — and they’re free. The Russian course comes with a complete Russian language textbook, audio clips of native speakers, and worksheets.

Similarly, the courses created by the Defense Language Institute (DLI) are as thorough as they are dry. They have quite a bit in common with FSI courses but may place more of a focus on military terminology at higher levels.

With either resource, you’ll have to put up with a type-written document that has been converted to PDF. This could be great if you’ve ever wanted to pretend you’re an intelligence agent from the ‘70s — otherwise, it’s a mild annoyance.

Pros

  • Courses are very thorough
  • These courses are completely free

Cons

  • The materials are dated and not the most exciting
  • Some of the language may not be entirely relevant for most people
4.3/5
Price: $19.99/month
befluent
A communication-focused course

We’ll say right away that we haven’t actually had a chance to test this course. We’ve checked out the BeFluent YouTube channel and were impressed with the videos, but this is our tentative rating.

The BeFluent course includes weekly group calls with the BeFluent team, a large lesson library, and a thorough curriculum. The premium course includes private coaching, for a more personalized and focused experience.

If you like the videos on the BeFluent YouTube channel and are interested in a course that comes with a community feeling, this one might be worth a closer look.

Pros

  • Weekly groups calls to discuss what you’re learning
  • A large lesson library

Cons

  • There’s no free trial
4.3/5
Price: $11.99/month
$29.99/quarter
$55.99/year
Convenient, quality lessons with a touch of gamification

This app gets several things right. For one, its fun-to-use interface and activities make it one of the less intimidating, more engaging ways to get studying. Coupled with the app’s in-depth explanations, variety of exercises, and ample review opportunities, Lingodeer makes an appealing option for beginner learners.

While Lingodeer excels at helping beginners build a foundation in Russian, those that are seeking fluency will need to use other resources. It’s one of the better ones, but Lingodeer is still a gamified app and can only take you so far. Especially for practice speaking and coming up with your own sentences, Lingodeer isn’t your best option.

Pros

  • The variety in exercises keeps practice interesting
  • It’s easy and fun to use
  • Short exercises make for convenient practice

Cons

  • It isn’t useful for taking your skills beyond the intermediate level
  • There isn’t much speaking practice
  • You won’t have opportunities to come up with your own sentences
4.2/5
Price: $12.95/month, less for longer subscriptions
Well-structured lessons and a clear curriculum

Babbel has a reputation for comprehensive, well-organized courses — and it’s well deserved. Ideal for learners up to an intermediate level, Babbel delivers reliable, quality lessons at a fair price.

The lessons may leave something to be desired for learners looking for the most exciting way to study, but it’s hard to go wrong if you’re looking to build a solid foundation in Russian. There are plenty of explanations that accompany the lessons, and you’ll get practice in a variety of skills.

This probably isn’t the best choice for advanced learners or those that are primarily interested in conversation practice.

Pros

  • It’s easy to use
  • The course structure is well planned
  • Lessons and explanations are thorough

Cons

  • It isn’t the most exciting resource
  • It isn’t ideal for advanced learners
  • There isn’t much in the way of conversation practice
4.2/5
Price: $197
Learn Russian grammar through stories

Grammar Hero is the brainchild of Olly Richards, the creator of “I Will Teach You a Language.” As the name suggests, the focus of this course is on helping students internalize challenging grammar points. This is done with a story-based method that gets learners to make meaningful connections with the material.

Practice happens by reading the story, learning the grammar rules, and then re-reading the story to understand why certain grammar points were used. Finally, Olly encourages students to actively produce the language by incorporating exercises such as writing practice, translation, and error correction.

Although Grammar Hero is on the more expensive end and is only suitable for intermediate students, it’s an exceptionally fun and engaging resource. Students wanting to improve their grammar will definitely get a lot of value out of this.

Pros

  • The story-learning method could appeal to many
  • Great for learners interested in understanding difficult grammar concepts

Cons

  • It’s only suitable for learners at the intermediate level
  • It’s fairly expensive
4/5
Price: $19.95/month
Exceptional audio lessons with plenty of chances for active participation

One of the biggest names in language learning, Pimsleur makes use of well-structured courses and conversational lessons to help absolute beginners start speaking Russian right away. Speaking right away can make it feel like you’re making real progress almost immediately. This can be great for motivation.

It’s important to note that, since such an emphasis is placed on listening and speaking skills, there’s little attention paid to grammar and the written language. You’ll likely need to supplement your studies with other resources to get a well-rounded education, but Pimsleur is a good option for aural learners that want to get speaking right away.

The subscription price model is only available to learners in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia, but the platform is accessible to learners around the world.

Pros

  • Lessons are well structured and progress logically
  • You’ll get to listen to a variety of native speakers
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing

Cons

  • Visual learners may struggle with the mostly audio content
  • You’ll need to look elsewhere for thorough reading and writing practice
  • The lessons can be somewhat dry
4/5
Price: Free
duolingo
Fun, convenient practice in a free app

This is one of the most popular language-learning resources out there, and it’s no wonder why. Duolingo is completely free to use and offers courses in an impressive number of languages, including Russian. The activities don’t take more than a couple of minutes to complete, and they’re fun. This makes for practice that’s convenient and enjoyable. Hard to beat!

However, there are some limitations to studying with Duolingo. The audio isn’t the best you’ll find, and the lessons don’t go into great detail with explanations and examples. You also won’t have opportunities to practice creating your own sentences or many opportunities to practice speaking.

All things considered, Duolingo is a pretty great way to get some Russian exposure or casual practice with the language if you’re interested and at a low level. For much more than that, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • It’s easy and fun to use
  • It’s free 
  • Practice is convenient to start or stop at a moment’s notice

Cons

  • There isn’t much in the way of in-depth instruction
  • The audio isn’t very good
  • You won’t get to create your own sentences
4/5
Price: Freemium, $8.99/month
memrise
Official Russian courses make this more than a flashcard platform

There are two ways to study a language with Memrise. One is to use one of the many free, user-created vocabulary or phrase decks. These sometimes come with images or audio, and you’ll be able to practice them efficiently with a spaced repetition system. Beware that quality does vary from course to course.

The other way to use Memrise is to study one of the official Memrise courses. These are of a higher quality than the free courses and even include videos. Partial access to these official courses is available for free, but you’ll need to purchase a subscription to get full access to grammar lessons and extra features. Learners at lower levels will get the most out of these courses.

It’s worth noting that the full, official Memrise courses are only available through the app. The browser versions of these courses are limited.

While it does have decent official courses, Memrise is probably best used as a source of vocabulary review and for learning new words.

Pros

  • There are a lot of free courses available
  • Practice is efficient with spaced repetition
  • The official Russian course includes videos of native speakers

Cons

  • The free courses are of varying quality
  • You may need to supplement your study with other resources
3.8/5
Price: $69 or $99
BITE-SIZE-LANGUAGES-01-1
A decent course for beginners

Something that might stand out about this course is that, although it’s targeted toward beginners, the accompanying materials are written entirely in Russian. The course also doesn’t attempt to teach the Russian alphabet, instead emphasizing that understanding the dialogues at the heart of the course is what’s most important.

We haven’t had the chance to fully test the Bite Size Languages courses, but they utilize comprehensible input in the form of dialogues with additional supportive materials such as transcripts, translations, and vocabulary and grammar sections. 

If you’re looking for a beginner course and aren’t interested in signing up for a recurring subscription, Bite Size Languages could be worth checking out.

Pros

  • Lessons utilize comprehensible input
  • There’s no recurring subscription
  • The course is designed specifically for beginners

Cons

  • The course doesn’t teach the Russian alphabet
  • The dialogues can become slightly boring
3.5/5
Price: $7.99/month for one language, $17.99 for all languages
Mango-languages-Logo
A beginner course with an attractive design

If you’re beyond the beginner level with Russian, Mango Languages won’t be what you’re after. There just aren’t a lot of advanced learning opportunities with this course. That said, beginners will certainly find material that’s appropriate for their level. This is because you’ll start learning usable words and phrases right away.

A slick and easy-to-use platform makes practice enjoyable, and the lessons build on each other in a practical order. Other features of the Mango Languages course are grammar and culture notes, along with drilling — lots of drilling. The frequent drilling of phrases can get you to a comfortable level with them quickly, but it can also become monotonous.

If this is a course you’re interested in, be sure to check whether you can get free access through your local library.

Pros

  • The app has a nice design and is easy to use
  • Beginners will be able to produce useful phrases quickly
  • Cultural notes are presented well

Cons

  • There isn’t much content for learners beyond the beginner level
  • Frequent drilling can become overly repetitive
  • Grammar explanations are sometimes lacking
3.3/5
Price: $9.99/month for Premium, $13.99/month for Premium Plus
A decent course with a useful social feature

Busuu is a major player in the language-learning world. It’s been around since 2008 and has helped millions of people learn languages. The Russian course on this platform contains well-structured lessons that progress in a logical order and could theoretically lead you from absolute beginner to upper intermediate.

Busuu is more affordable than many other resources, but it also doesn’t deliver in some areas like others do. Grammar explanations, for example, don’t go into great detail and can leave out some useful information.

A unique feature of the Busuu platform is the built-in social feature. With it, learners can submit and correct each other’s writing and speech. This is free to use and fills in a gap where plenty of other resources fall short.

We rated this course a 3.3/5, but this score takes into account Busuu’s Mandarin Chinese course, which is of a lower quality. The score would likely be higher if we had only rated its Russian course.

Pros

  • The design is engaging and the interface is easy to use
  • Conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is free

Cons

  • Some exercises don’t include translations
  • Grammar explanations aren’t the best