100 Open Courses to Learn Any New Language

by Staff Writers

Learning a new language can be a great way to challenge your mind, meet people from different cultures and even add a valuable asset to your resume and hireability. While traditional courses can be great, there are a number of free courses on the web that can help teach you the basics of language learning and get you on the path to fluency without having to spend a fortune. Here are 100 resources we've found that will help you become multilingual in your choice of languages.


French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and an official language in countries on nearly every continent. These courses will help you learn the famously romantic language for personal advancement or pleasure.

  1. French I: Take this course to learn things like French grammar, pronunciation and get an introduction to French culture. [MIT]
  2. French II: This course expands on the lessons from the previous course, encouraging students to improve their vocabulary and exercise their communication skills. [MIT]
  3. Learn French: Use the language lessons on this site to improve your French or start from scratch. [French Assistant]
  4. French for Secondary Students: Here you'll find French lessons geared towards students in high school and above. [RealFrench]
  5. French Revision: Get interactive with the lessons and activities on this site. [French Revision]
  6. Learn French Online: This site offers hours of French listening lessons so you can hear the right way to pronounce words. [Loquella]
  7. French: This BBC course will teach you the basics of French, with lessons on simple questions and answers. [BBC Languages]


In a country with a large number of Spanish-speaking immigrants and natives, knowing the language can be a huge asset when it comes to giving you a leg up on getting a job or interacting with members of the local community. Use these tools to boost your Spanish language skills.

  1. Spanish 1: This class is based around a series of videos that allow students to get a grasp on basic linguistic and cultural concepts of the Spanish language. [MIT]
  2. Spanish 2: Students can continue to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through Spanish language videos in this beginning course. [MIT]
  3. Spanish III: This course is at the intermediate level, asking students to write essays, expand their vocabularies and improve speaking skills. [MIT]
  4. Spanish 4: In this course, students will improve their Spanish knowledge through the use of Spanish literature and other course materials. [MIT]
  5. Oral Communication in Spanish: If you need to work on your spoken Spanish, consider this course where students watch Spanish-language movies and engage in communication exercises. [MIT]
  6. Spanish Conversation and Composition: Through this course students learn to write in Spanish and use film, video and conversations to improve oral skills. [MIT]
  7. Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition: Expanding on the lessons of the previous course, this course will teach students not only about Spanish language, but culture as well. [MIT]
  8. Spanish for Bilingual Students: Those who come from a Hispanic background and want to improve their knowledge of the language and the people who speak it should take this informative course. [MIT]
  9. CALFNES Spanish: The materials in this course were developed to help Hispanics across the United States learn the language of their parents or grandparents. [USU]
  10. Spanish: If all you want to know are some basic phrases this free course is a great place to start. [BBC Languages]


Whether you're headed to Italy for business or pleasure or just want to impress the in-laws, these courses will help you brush up on your Italian.

  1. Italian: Learn the essential phrases you'll need to get by in Italy from this free course. [BBC Languages]
  2. Beginning Italian: These self-study courses can help you learn Italian in your free time. [CyberItalian]
  3. Interactive Italian: This site is home to over 20 different lessons on the basics of Italian. [Oggi e Domani]
  4. Parliamo italiano!: Native English speakers can take advantage of the free lessons and learning materials found on this site to learn Italian. [Abruzzo]
  5. Italian Electronic Classroom: Check out this e-class to deal with some of the basics of Italian as well as get help with some of the concepts that can be harder to grasp. [Centro Studi Italiani]


Take advantage of these free opportunities to learn both Brazilian and traditional Portuguese.

  1. Portuguese: This site offers language lessons for both variations of the Portuguese language. [BBC Languages]
  2. Brazilian Portuguese: From grammar to vocabulary, this site offers a wealth of information. [Saunalahti]
  3. Portuguese Online: Here you can learn how to pronounce and put together phrases in Portuguese as well as a little about the culture of the nations that speak it. [NaviLang]
  4. The Basics of Portuguese: Start at the beginning with your Portuguese lessons with these free courses. [easyPortuguese]


These free resources will help you learn the German language in no time.

  1. German I: Students can begin their foray into German language learning with this introductory course. [MIT]
  2. German II: This course will offer students the chance to learn more German and more about German culture. [MIT]
  3. German III: A more intermediate course, students will improve their skills in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. [MIT]
  4. German IV: This course is fairly advanced and teaches using German literature as a reference point. [MIT]
  5. Germany Today: Intensive Study of German Language & Culture: Whether you want to live, work or just visit a German-speaking country, this course will educate you on the basics to make you look like a native. [MIT]
  6. German: Take a look at this site to learn phrases that will help you order a beer or a bratwurst and more. [BBC Languages]


If you're not a native English speaker, these courses can help you improve your written and oral communication skills.

  1. Listening, Speaking, and Pronunciation: Look through the course materials offered here if you are a high-intermediate ESL student who wants to develop better listening comprehension and oral skills. [MIT]
  2. Expository Writing for Bilingual Students: If you don't quite feel confident in your English writing skills, consider this course to teach you the finer points of academic writing. [MIT]
  3. Advanced Speaking and Critical Listening Skills: This course will help more advanced bilingual students learn to improve their spoken English. [MIT]
  4. English Grammar in Context: Take a look at what this course has to teach you about the often confusing rules of English grammar. [OpenLearn]
  5. English: With quizzes, lessons, videos and more this site will help you learn to speak and read English more easily. [BBC Languages]

Other European Languages

These courses cover only part of the wide range of languages spoken in European nations.

  1. Polish: Give this course a try to learn some essential phrases in Polish. [BBC Languages]
  2. Gaelic: Get access to basic vocabulary as well as lessons on this site. [BBC Languages]
  3. Welsh: Play games, watch videos and use the free dictionary to improve your Welsh on this site. [BBC Languages]
  4. Irish: Take a look at the language learning material here to watch videos designed to teach you Irish. [BBC Languages]
  5. Dutch: If you've ever thought of learning Dutch you can test out the basics here. [BBC Languages]
  6. Getting Started on Classical Greek: Learn the language that has inspired many scholars throughout history with tools on this site. [OpenLearn]
  7. Greek: Whether you want to take a vacation, study the past or embrace the culture you'll find great resources here. [BBC Languages]
  8. Swedish: If you want to learn some of the basics of Swedish to help you get by or begin your learning process, this site is a great place to start. [BBC Languages]
  9. Finnish: You can bring these Finnish lessons with you on your MP3 player to learn on the go. [BBC Languages]
  10. Czech: Try out these lessons to get a handle on some essential phrases in Czech. [BBC Languages]
  11. Russian: This site offers an opportunity to learn about Russian language and culture. [BBC Languages]


In terms of native speakers, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, so it only makes sense to learn a little bit (or more) in an increasingly globalized economy.

  1. Chinese I: Start your Chinese lessons with this course for total beginners in the language. [MIT]
  2. Chinese II: Continue your Chinese education with this second level Mandarin course. [MIT]
  3. Chinese III: While you would be best served with this material using the textbook for the course, it still has a lot to offer. [MIT]
  4. Chinese IV: This course completes the foundation level sequence offered at MIT. [MIT]
  5. Chinese V: Here you can learn some more sophisticated Chinese reading, writing and speaking skills. [MIT]
  6. Chinese VI: If you want to learn more about the cultures and people of China, give these course materials a look. [MIT]
  7. First Year Chinese I: Use these materials to start learning Chinese. [USU]
  8. First Year Chinese II: This course will help you expand on the entry-level material from the first part. [USU]
  9. Chinese: Here you'll find tools to learn about Chinese characters, culture and the basics of language learning. [BBC Languages]


Learning Japanese can be a great adventure for fun or business, and these courses can guide you along your path.

  1. Beginning Japanese I: Learn the phonetic symbols and kanji characters of Japanese in this intro course. [MIT]
  2. Beginning Japanese II: Take this course to build your skills in writing, reading and speaking Japanese. [MIT]
  3. Intermediate Japanese I: This course will help you take your language learning to the next level. [MIT]
  4. Advanced Japanese I: After you've mastered the basics, take this course to start learning more advanced elements of Japanese. [MIT]
  5. Advanced Japanese II: These course materials will help you learn to use Japanese appropriately and in real life situations. [MIT]
  6. Linguistic Theory and the Japanese Language: This course takes an in-depth look at Japanese grammar. [MIT]
  7. Japanese: Learn some basic phrases to ease your way into mastering Japanese with this course material. [BBC Languages]

Asian Languages

Take these free courses and materials to learn other languages spoken in Asian nations.

  1. Let's Learn Korean: Here you'll find some great audio lessons that can help you understand and speak Korean. [KBS World]
  2. Korean Language: Simply register for this site and you'll be on your way to accessing loads of free Korean lessons. [KOSNet]
  3. Thai: If you want to learn Thai, start out with this education site full of courses and helpful materials. [Learning]
  4. Vietnamese for Beginners: From pronunciation to ordering at a restaurant, this site will have you speaking basic Vietnamese in no time. [Seasite]
  5. Learn to Read Gujarati: You can learn the essentials of this Indian language here. [Ukindia]
  6. Virtual Hindi: This site will help you learn to read and speak Hindi with lessons and videos. [NYU]
  7. Urdu: This language, widely spoken in Pakistan, can be learned with a little help from this site. [BBC Languages]

Middle Eastern Languages

From Arabic to Hebrew, these courses will help you learn some of the most spoken languages in middle and near eastern countries.

  1. Arabic: Check out this site for great speaking and reading lessons in Arabic. [Babel Arabic]
  2. Learn to Read Arabic: If you don't know Arabic it might appear impossible to begin to read but this course will get you started on the right track. [Ukindia]
  3. Arabic Language Course: Here you'll find resources to help you both learn to read and speak Arabic, all for free. [Mediniah Arabic]
  4. Viewing Arabic Texts: This site offers help in learning how to read written Arabic and understand how to navigate through a text. [Arabic Online]
  5. Hebrew: Whether for religion or travel, here you'll find great resources for learning this ancient language. [ZigZag Networks]

African Languages

Use these resources to educate yourself on some of the many different languages spoken in Africa.

  1. Learn Afrikaans: Check out this helpful site to learn this South African language. [Open Languages]
  2. Learn Swahili: Whether you're visiting Kenya or just want to learn a new language, this site can help you with the basics of Swahili. [Open Languages]
  3. Learn Bemba: Here you'll find resources to learn more about this language spoken in Zambia, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [Open Languages]
  4. Yoruba: Increase your knowledge of this widely spoken language here. [Learn Yoruba]
  5. Wolof: Take advantage of this course material to get a better grasp of this West African language. [Wolof Online]
  6. Izifundo zesiXhosa: Learn to speak the language of South African leader Nelson Mandela here. [Sabelo]

Native American Languages

These resources will help you to learn a few of the languages spoken by native North and South American people.

  1. Dakota Language Lessons: Visit this site to learn this Sioux language. [Dakota Language]
  2. Internet Quechua Lessons: Try out your skills in this South American language through this site. [Ullanta]
  3. Cherokee Language Lessons: Learn the language of the largest recognized Native American tribe from this helpful site. [Cherokees of California]
  4. Navajo Language: Used in WWII as a system of coding, this language isn't easy to learn but can be a great challenge for ambitious learners out there. [Native Languages]

Ancient Languages

These languages may not still be widely spoken but can help you understand modern languages or read ancient texts.

  1. Beginning Latin: Grammar: Check out this course to learn the basics of Latin grammar and construction. [USU]
  2. Getting Started on Classical Latin: Learning Latin can help make learning other Romance languages a lot easier, so take this course to learn the essentials. [OpenLearn]
  3. Lessons in Aramaic: Many people will be familiar with this ancient tongue from Mel Gibson's biblical epic The Passion of the Christ and you can learn some basic phrases in the language here, though it is not used as widely in the Middle East today. [Introductory Aramaic]
  4. Self Study Sanskrit: With about only 15,000 fluent speakers left, this language isn't widely used but offers a unique look into untranslated Hindu and Buddhist texts for those who are willing to learn it. [Acharya]


These courses can help you understand how language works, perhaps enhancing your ability to learn and understand a new one more easily.

  1. Introduction to Linguistics: Get an introduction to some of the major issues in understanding how language works, differs across cultures and is understood differently in written, signed and spoken forms. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Philosophy of Language: This course explores some of the more philosophical aspects of language like truth, meaning and reference. [MIT]
  3. Language Acquisition: Learn how language is learned as a child and how people learn new languages from this course. [MIT]
  4. Language and its Structure I: Phonology: Take a look at these course materials to learn how to sound systems of different languages are organized. [MIT]
  5. Language and its Structure II: Syntax: Learn what syntax is all about and find out more about the latest research in the field from this course. [MIT]
  6. Language and its Structure III: Semantics and Pragmatics: In this course, you'll learn the difference between semantics and pragmatics and what they each mean for how we understand and interpret language. [MIT]
  7. Language Processing: Get a grasp on how language is understood by the brain in this course. [MIT]
  8. The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism: Those hoping to learn another language might be well served in learning about some of the more technical aspects of how bilingualism works. [MIT]
  9. Topics in Phonology: This course will help you to better understand spoken language. [MIT]
  10. Language and Mind: Here you can learn some language essentials like how language works with the mind and how it's acquired, processed and represented. [MIT]