As published at Factoidz.com
For many reasons I have been interested in learning some new languages. I have looked into programs such as Rosetta Stone and simply don’t have hundreds of dollars to invest into learning a new language. I found a site online where you can learn a new language for free. There are many features to this site that make it easier and even more fun to learn a new language, and you can choose from dozens of languages to learn.
When I first joined Busuu.com I thought it would just be another boring site that would help me learn a word here and there but something I would grow tired of quite quickly. However, at Busuu.com there are many different ways to learn languages, and they progress logically, in my opinion.
You can learn via several methods. There is a traditional method where you see and hear a word and then are quizzed on it. They go through about 20 words per lesson. They are divided into certain sections.
Vocabulary and Dialogue
The vocabulary section shows you a picture with the word written in another language; there is also audio so you can hear proper pronunciation in that native language. You can remain on the page for as long as you’d like and replay the dialog many times before progressing at your own pace. The vocabulary section usually has about 20-25 words, phrases, or sentences to help initiate you into that part of the course. It starts out as easy with simple conversational dialect, numbers, and basic words and concepts. As you progress, of course it becomes more challenging.
The word is at the top of a picture in the language you are learning. Below the photo the word is translated to your own language. At the bottom of the page the word is used in a sentence with the audio accompaniment to help you pronounce the foreign words correctly. After this part of the course comes the dialogue section. A small conversation is written in the language you’d like to learn, and you can choose to have the translation, but it’s simple enough that you should be able to interpret or infer what most of the conversation is about. A small quiz follows to test your understanding of the vocabulary and see if you understood the dialogue, or conversation.
Writing and Chatting
Next, you have the option of practicing what you learned by writing a small text or a few sentences regarding what you have just learned. Native speakers of that language will correct you if needed. This is also a good opportunity to ask questions about things that might not have been clear or things you don’t quite understand.
You also have the option to chat live with other users. This is an excellent way to practice another language and to learn extra things about the language. Chatting in another language will help reinforce what you learn and make you try to speak more in that language, thus making it more habitual and making you own it, in a way.
At the end of each lesson is a small exam to further test your knowledge. It is a multiple choice test where they will show you a word or a picture and have you match the correct answer. For example, when learning Spanish, it asks you to choose the correct answer for lleno / llena. Does this mean tired, full, or guilty? Also during the exam, Busuu.com will provide words for you to click and drag in the correct order to make a sentence. There is also a section where a native word is spoken and you must translate what the word means. This will train your ear to hear the word properly and associate the meaning with that word.
I like that many parts of the program are optional. You are never required to chat if that’s not something that interests you. Similarly, you are not required to write your own text or dialogue, but it’s a useful tool for learning and adds another dimension to this learning program. There is an option to upgrade to a premium member for a small cost to have more options with your learning, but registering is 100% free as well.
I also really like that you can stay on one particular lesson as long as you’d like to really let it sink in and be sure you understand what you’re learning and it has become familiar to you. As you progress, they have what they call a language garden that will grow as you learn more and more. It’s a fun graphical way to illustrate your progress.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who doesn’t want to pay to learn another language. This website is easy to navigate and get started learning. I think it teaches in a sensible manner and is an excellent resource anyone can use whenever they’d like, 24 hours a day. You can chat with people from all over the world and learn not only the language, but also the cultures more realistically. You can spend as little time or as long as you’d like at this site for absolutely no cost, so this has become my favorite free way to learn another language.