Best options for online language learning
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Knowing additional languages can help you in life, relationships, and in business. It's also helpful if others are talking around you in another language - maybe they think you don't know what they are saying, but it would be great if you do! Learning another language offers you a lot of advantages, and it's something you can do as much of or as little of as you like. Whether your aim is to merely manage the basics or to get to up to the level similar of a native speaker of that language, you are a step ahead of where you were before.
Although in-person classes are ideal, most of us are simply too busy to attend these. It's not just the time of the classes, but also the time taken to get there and back that we must consider. Here are some options for online language learning.
italki is my top choice for language learning, because you get 1-on-1 lessons with a teacher that you can pick yourself. Best of all, you have control over your budget because each teacher is able to set their own teaching fee, which is clearly shown before you sign up. If you're a complete beginner in a language, you may not need the most expensive language teacher on the site. When selecting your teacher, you can also see immediately all languages he or she speaks, which is important - for example, if you are natively Japanese and wish to learn French, you should get a language teacher who speaks at least French and Japanese. It won't help if the teacher speaks just French and English; you need to find someone who is also able to speak your native language too. Fortunately, this isn't too difficult because there is a filter that you can apply when searching (the "also speaks" filter), which will help narrow down to just the teachers that would be suitable for your language combinations.
The other reason I like italki is the convenience - whether you are at home or on the go (your local park to enjoy the good weather, for example), you have full access to italki and are able to have lessons when you're out and about. You also have the advantage that you can book lessons at times that suit you - for example, if you want to book a lesson at 5am before work or school, you can! Beside proceeding with lessons geared just for you, there are also specialized lessons available, for example Business English or French for Tourism.
italki is cheap compared to other options. It's typically only 30% of the cost of offline tutors and of in-person schools. And even popular software such as Rosetta Stone is very expensive and is not tailored just for you and your needs. You can get a whole lot of hours of teaching from a live teacher at italki that is tailored for you, for the same price as Rosetta Stone.
For those who wish to have a chance to practice when not taking lessons, italki has a free Community where you can make friends from around the world. There are daily prompts to help you study and talk outside of class, and you can read, write and even do voice recordings to practice. This also makes it even cheaper, since you're getting the opportunity to practice your desired language for free between lessons.
But italki is not the only option out there.
Ling also allows you to learn a language with an online tutor. I love that Ling allows you get a free trial lesson so that you have a chance to see how it works before paying any money. The only disadvantage is that sign up is app-only, so it's not quite as platform-friendly as italki, but rest assured the Ling app is available for iOs and for Android. The good news is that the lessons are done by Zoom, so you can use your laptop or computer for the actual lessons if you prefer. But everything else is done via the app, so it can be a bit frustrating to switch between devices, although that is not a huge concern if you really like the platform and/or prefer to do everything on your mobile device anyway. Tablet users may even prefer that everything can be done via tablet.
Ling allows you to have access to fun quizzes and mini-games, which I love because it actually makes language learning be fun - something other platforms all too often ignore. As for italki, you have other options between lessons also - you can talk to a chatbot about daily life topics. Plus, you'll get access to grammar tips and other things which will help you master the language between lessons.
Duolingo is a way to make learning fun. Their language learning program is for self-learning only, you are not able to do classes with an online tutor. So this is a little bit different from the other two I mentioned above. But because Duolingo is more limited in that it doesn't have any lessons with teachers, it is a lot cheaper. The basic plan is free, although some of the learning content is locked in the free plan. On the paid plan, you're able to do a mastery quiz and get a chance to correct your mistakes, plus there are no ads with the paid plan.
italki, Ling, and Duolingo are all great options for online language learning. Any one of these is a good choice, whether you are a complete beginner in the language or whether you have some experience and want to increase your ability.