It’s hard to believe we’ll be heading to Italy in just over 2 weeks, and we’ve been trying to find time each day to learn and practice a little Italian. Whether you’re looking to learn Italian or another language, the following sites provide hours of family-friendly, engaging lessons (and for the most part, they are free).
Duolingo is a wonderful, free program that gets you listening, speaking, reading, and writing a new language. You can learn Spanish, Danish, Irish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, or Dutch. The program automatically tracks your progress, and even awards you “Lingnots” which can be used to unlock bonus lessons. If English is not your first language, Duolingo allows you to take the courses above in your native tongue (there are dozens supported).
Muzzy, the intergalactic traveler created by the BBC in 1986 to teach foreign languages, has gotten a makeover for the digital age. While Muzzy still offers traditional language videos (on DVD instead of VHS), there is now a Muzzy Online program that gives you access to all the videos as well as 165 interactive games. The cost is $9.95 per month for lessons in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, German, Portuguese and Italian (you get access to all 8). The interactive games, however, are only available in Spanish, English, French, German and Italian.
Italiano in Tre Minuti
This is a great video series (to learn Italian only, though) that gives very useful lessons on everything from counting to ordering in a restaurant. The first 8 videos are free, and then you can sign up for a one week free trial to access the rest of the 22 videos in the series.
This free site has some good interactives for learning English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian vocabulary. Our kids enjoyed clicking on the labeled parts of each section to hear the word pronounced for them. The lessons cover all the basics, including parts of the body, colors, animals, letters and food.
Digital Dialects offers vocabulary lessons and games to learn over 70 languages. It provides opportunities to read and hear the words in each lesson first before practicing with a game.
Do you have any favorite resources for learning a foreign language? We welcome your comments!