If you’re thinking about traveling abroad, don’t become one of those tourists who don’t know anything about the language or culture you’re visiting. With these websites, you can learn all you need to know before you even reach foreign soil. Even if you’re not going anywhere, broaden your horizons by learning a language or two; impress your friends and confuse your enemies.
Lots of useful information on French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English as a second language.
Learn sign language using a mix of text, pictures and video, all for free ($483 if you want individual evaluation and documentation).
Learn to read and write Arabic with text and audio, including 400 of the most common Arabic words.
eLanguageSchool.net provides free French language lessons that start with the basics and move on to grammar, vocabulary and dialogue.
Learn essential phrases from 36 languages via mp3 audio, with more in-depth lessons and games for over a dozen of the languages.
40 online Mandarin Chinese lessons with audio, including reading, speaking, writing, modern vocabulary, grammar, calligraphy, examples and exercises, available for download in mp3 format.
Learn German, from beginner to advanced levels, with a variety of lessons, exercises and tests.
Learn vocabulary from over 50 languages through fun animated games.
Simple, straightforward text and audio introduction to Portuguese.
Free Japanese Lessons
Free lessons on Japanese alphabet, vocabulary and phrases.
The French Tutorial
The free standard tutorial has 13 chapters and over 200 audio clips to help you learn French; deluxe edition available with a donation.
Learn Italian through text and audio exercises, from beginner to advanced levels.
Hone your ability to speak dozens of languages by practicing with a language partner, posting a question, using a wiki or joining a group (teachers also available for pay).
Learn vocabulary from 13 languages through a mix of text, pictures and audio.
Learn the Korean alphabet and language through various lessons, a dictionary and a forum.
Learn alphabets and common phrases of over 50 languages, plus in-depth courses in nine languages.
Interactive lessons in over 20 languages, including text, photos and audio. Also connect with native speakers to help each other learn. Basic courses are free; $9.95 – $24.95 for premium courses.
Choose from three languages (Spanish, French, Chinese) to learn via a mix of text and audio. Free limited access; $12 per month for full access and $49 for mp3 downloads.
Practice a new language with a native speaker who’s learning your language. Free basic access; $2 to $6 per month for Gold membership.
Like MyLanguageExchange.com, you can search for a penpal with whom you exchange knowledge about each other’s language.
All you need to learn Russian: vocabulary, pronunciation, alphabet, conjugation, links and more.
Radio Lingua Network
Free audio lessons in 20 languages (supplementary materials for a fee).
Learn the basics of six languages in straightforward text lessons.
Free basic access to lots of useful information on Spanish pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary; premium access $9.95 per month.
Learn Thai through a variety of audio clips, images, dictionary entries, and message boards.
If you’re planning on traveling to another country, use this site to learn the basics of 80 different languages.
Courses, videos, audio clips, dictionaries, phrase books, games and more resources, including an online forum, for dozens of languages.
A resource to learn common verbs and vocabulary words in English, Spanish and German.
A list of hundreds of links to online courses, sorted by language.
Connect with people around the world and practice languages with each other, including the ability to create “flash cards”.