Can I Learn a New Language Completely Online?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

If you have been playing with the idea of learning a new language for a while, you are not alone. Many people are lured by the idea of learning a new language, but they end up postponing or canceling the idea because they lack the time to go to classes every day. Enter the Internet. Online language classes are becoming more and more common, and not only among the young. While many people still think you need to attend classes to learn a new language, the truth is that the Internet has revolutionized the way we think about languages.

In the past, people had two options: to attend traditional classes with a teacher, or buy books and cassettes — later CDs — to try and learn on their own. Both options have their pros and cons, and students who couldn't adapt to either were often left feeling like a failure. That can be changed through Internet learning.

Besides using CDs and DVDs on your computer, you can now access hundreds of websites that offer free audio and video, podcasts download, discussion forums, animation, and interactive resources. Some websites offer student forums, so you can share ideas and ask questions. Many websites are free, and most of them are organized in some logical manner that allows you to start at your current language level and follow the normal learning process.

If you need more guidance, paid online language courses often come with a teacher, who can offer feedback, suggest ways to improve pronunciation, and even help with questions that have little to do with the course material. A great way to complement your online language learning is to find an exchange partner or email buddy. Websites such as My Language Exchange or Polyglot allow you to locate a native speaker who wants to learn your language and is willing to have chats or exchange emails with you on a regular basis. The system is simple: by having frequent talks and contact with somebody who speaks the language you are studying, you have a much better chance of learning it faster and more accurately.

If you are looking forward to learning a new language but haven't the time or money to attend regular classes, the Internet can make a world of difference. Before you resign yourself to attending classes the old-fashioned way, make sure you explore your virtual options.

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Discussion Comments


i think learning a language online is a great idea, especially before visiting a foreign place. but, the fastest and perhaps easiest way to learn a language is to get immersed in a new country. if the locals don't speak your native language, and the only way you can get by is speaking their language - you will invariably learn very quickly.

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      Woman doing a handstand with a computer