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Best Free Language Audio Courses [2024]

Online Courses for Language Learning

There are plenty of opportunities to study languages online. Some of them are paid, though many are free. If you want, in fact, you can drown in the amount of information available. So why do we even bother to encourage people to use an offline language learning software?

Because dedicated desktop-based tools, in our experience, simply work better.

Language-learning Language blogs. 

Blogs geared towards language learners are usually meant to be used as an additional resource, rather than a primary way to get information. If you are already attending classes or studying with a product, the unstructured, quick-and-dirty approach of blogs could prove helpful as an extra source of specific details.

Don’t count on using them to learn from scratch, though.

Language Social sites. 

Language learning sites based on social media are an interesting concept. While I reserve my doubts about its effectiveness (it’s still new), the idea is novel. Basically, you learn by “socializing” with others, such as engaging in group exercises that you can do over the web.

Personally, I’d rather go with the tried-and-true route of software-based instruction, though. Situations like this with too much input usually end up destroying the pot (not to mention, seeing a lot of spam).

Language Sites with dedicated lessons. 

Some sites are filled with actual language lessons, similar to what you may find in books and software. While they may foster similar quality as some offline products (especially if they were based upon it), we still recommend going desktop-based for one reason: you’re not tied to the web for your lessons. In the case of language software, all you need is a PC to get started.

With online sources, too many things can hinder your learning, including internet problems, problems with the site and other similar occurrences

Free Arabic Language Courses

Free arabic language courses
Free arabic language courses
  • Arabic for Global Exchange – Web site
    • From Carnegie Mellon, a mini-course for individuals with no proficiency or extremely limited knowledge of Arabic language and culture who are about to begin study or work in an Arabic-speaking context.
  • Arabic Language Lessons – Web Site
    • The US Peace Corps serves up free lessons that will teach you the Arabic spoken in Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Chad and beyond.
  • Arabic for Beginners 1 – YouTube Free
    • A series of video lessons from Dalarna University in Sweden.
  • Arabic in Jordan – Web Site
    • These lessons from the Peace Corps will help you learn normal conversation in Jordan, rather than focusing on formalities.
  • Foreign Service Institute Written Arabic – Vol 1
    • Spoken exercises in Arabic and the printed transcriptions. Four textbooks (PDF) and 31 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Levantine Arabic – Web site
    • Introduction to pronunciation. Textbook (PDF) and 19 audio lessons (MP3). Scroll down to the second set of lessons on this page.
  • Foreign Service Institute Saudi Arabic – Web site
    • Covers the urban Hijazi dialect. Textbook (PDF) and 51 audio lessons (MP3). Scroll down to the third/bottom set of lessons on this page.

Free Chinese Language Courses

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  • Real Chinese – Web Site
    • Presented by the BBC. A lively introduction to Mandarin Chinese in 10 short parts with video clips from the Real Chinese TV series.
  • Beginner’s Chinese – iTunes Free
    • Introductory audio lessons provided by the Open University.
  • Chinese Course – Seton Hall
  • Chinese Basic – Web
    • A web-application developed by the University of Cambridge Language Centre for basic level students of Chinese. It focuses on listening and reading skill but it also includes many activities that help learners prepare for speaking and writing. Note that you can also download Intermediate Chinese here.
  • Chinese Learn Online – iTunes Free – Feed
    • A dialogue-based introduction to Mandarin Chinese. Load the lessons on your mp3 player and get up the Chinese curve.
  • Chinesepod.com –iTunes Free – Feed
    • A series of well-reviewed lessons that will let you learn Mandarin on your own terms.
  • Foreign Service Institute Basic Cantonese – Vol 1 – Vol 2
    • Two textbooks (PDF) and 30 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Standard Chinese: A Modular Approach – Vol 1 – Vol 2 – Vol 3 – Vol 4 – Vol 5 – Vol 6 – Vol 7 – Vol 8 – Vol 9
    • Designed to give a practical command of spoken standard Chinese with nine situational modules. Each module consists of tapes (MP3), a student textbook (PDF), and a workbook. In addition to the core modules, there is a resource module and eight optional modules.
  • Learn Chinese in Your Car – Spotify
    • Grammar and vocabulary to beginners, offering guidance in pronunciation and language fundamentals.
  • Mandarin Chinese Characters – iTunes Free
    • Created by Emory University, this series of video lessons will help you draw several characters and numbers.
  • Mandarin in China – Web Site
    • Lessons courtesy of the US Peace Corps
  • Numbers and Radicals – iTunes Free
    • Emory University teaches you the proper form for writing numbers and radicals. In Video.
  • One Minute Mandarin – iTunes Free – Feed
    • A quick way to cover the very basics…
  • Tsinghua Chinese: Start Talking with 1.3 Billion People – Web Site
    • Introductory Chinese language course from Tsinghua University emphasizes basic language skills for everyday life in Mandarin speaking countries. The course utilizes pinyin, the standard system of Romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese, so learners will find it easy to understand and study the language.

Free Dutch Language Courses

free dutch language courses
free dutch language courses
  • Duolingo Dutch (for English Speakers) – Web Site 
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • Introduction to Dutch – Web Site
    • Learn to speak, write and understand basic Dutch, with this free, three-week, introductory foreign language course. By University of Groningen.
  • Laura Speaks Dutch – iTunes Free
    • Lessons that will help you travel to Holland. It’s worth checking out the accompanying web site.
  • Learn Dutch – iTunes Free
    • Culturally relevant lessons that are easy to listen to.

Free English Language Courses

free english lanaguage courses
free english lanaguage courses
  • Connect with English – Web
    • Featuring the story of Rebecca, an aspiring singer on a journey across America, Connect With English offers 50 fifteen-minute video programs that will teach English as a second language to high school students, college students and adult learners. Produced by WGBH Boston.
  • The English We Speak – iTunes Free – Web Site
    • Each week, the BBC looks at phrases used in the English language.
  • American English Speech – Web
    •  The OLI American English Dialect course from Carnegie Mellon supplies the necessary reinforcement of dialectical structure, audio, production technique and phonetic representation for each sound.
  • 6 Minute English – iTunes Free – Downloads – Web Site
    • Learn and practice useful English with the BBC.
  • Better @ English – iTunes Free
    • Focuses on conversational English, with an emphasis on idioms and slang.
  • Effortless English – iTunes Free
    • It gets solid reviews.
  • Film English – Web
    • Site promotes the innovative and creative use of film in language learning. All of the lesson plans revolve around the use of video and film to teach English. Recently won a British Council ELTons awards for Innovation in Teacher Resources.
  • USA Learns – Web Site
    • A free website that helps adults learn English online by providing engaging videos and educational activities. Built by the Sacramento County Office of Education, with funding by the U.S. Department of Education and the California Department of Education.

Free Farsi/Persian Language Courses

Free Farsi Persian-language courses
Free Farsi Persian-language courses
  • Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation – Web Site – iTunes
    • Offers 50 lessons via podcast, each running about 15-20 minutes, which will help students learn conversational Persian for free. Each lesson builds on previous lessons, so to get the most out of the course, start from the beginning. The site also offers affordable premium learning materials.
  • Easy Persian – Web Site
    • Easy Persian offers online lessons in listening, speaking, reading, and writing Persian or Farsi as spoken in Iran. In addition to Persian language lessons, the site introduces contemporary Iranian poets with English translations of their poems. You’ll also find free Farsi/Persian software, Persian names with English translations, Farsi writing drills and much more.
  • Learn Persian Farsi Easily, Effectively and Fluently – Spotify
    • A 3-hour series of lessons that’s freely available on Spotify.
  • Persian of Iran Today – Web Site
    • This two volume textbook interweaves grammar- and vocabulary-building exercises with narrative elements in order to engage and develop students’ abilities in Persian. The web site includes the textbook itself and related audio/visual files. Persian of Iran Today is published by The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies Publications program. Hard copies of the textbook can be purchased online

Free French Language Courses

Free French Language Courses
Free French Language Courses
  • OptiLingoApp
    OptiLingo is a language learning program designed from strategies its founder, Jonty Yamisha, used to save his native language Circassian from extinction. It uses guided immersion and spaced repetition systems to get you speaking, not typing, your new language fast. In just 20 minutes a day, you’ll uncover useful phrases that help you talk to native speakers confidently. Avoid endless memorization and boring grammar lessons, and start speaking in your next foreign language with OptiLingo.
  • French in Action – Free Web Site
    • Produced by Yale University, these video lessons uses the storyline of an American student and a young Frenchwoman’s adventures in Paris to teach the language.
  • Ma France – Web Site
    • The BBC offers 24 video lessons that will teach you French.
  • Duolingo French – Web Site
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • France Bienvenue – Web Site
    • A site that focuses on teaching French conversation. The site is written in French, so you will need a little French already under your belt. The site has audios with full transcripts and notes.
  • Foreign Service Institute Basic Course – Vol 1 – Vol 2 – Spotify
    • The course is designed to enable you to reach conversational proficiency. You learn how to control the French sound system by listening to the tapes and repeating each phrase. The dialogues present natural spoken French in a variety of contexts, such as, greeting people, registering at a hotel, getting a train ticket, and shopping.
  • Foreign Service Institute Basic Course: Phonology – Web Site
    • The Introduction to French Phonology course provides additional drills for those who wish to sound like a native speaker of the language. The course may be used beneficially at any stage of learning the language.
  • Foreign Service Institute French Fast – Web site
    • Designed to familiarize you with situations encountered abroad, and to provide you with the language skills you need to cope effectively with those situations. Includes lessons for metropolitan and sub-Saharan French.
  • Foreign Service Institute French: Headstart for Belgium – Web site
    • Textbook and culture notes (PDF) and sixteen audio lessons (PDF).
  • Francolab – Web Site
    • French Canadian site provides resources for language learners and teachers. Includes videos, quizzes, interactive modules, audio-visual presentations, and a wide selection of Canadian programs covering a variety of social and cultural topics.
  • Learn French in Your Car – Spotify
    • Grammar and vocabulary to beginners, offering guidance in pronunciation and language fundamentals.
  • News in Slow French – iTunes Free – Web Site
    • Program discusses the Weekly News, French grammar, and French expressions in simplified French at a slow pace.
  • Speak and Read French – Spotify
    • Three albums of a French language course, Speak and Read French, created by Armand Bégué, a professor at Brooklyn College and his wife, Louise Bégué, in 1959. For basic and intermediate levels.
  • Talk French – Web Site
    • A lively introduction to French presented by the BBC.
  • University of Texas: Francais interactif – Web Site
    • UT provides a series of interactive vocabulary lessons. Media can be downloaded from the site.

Free German Language Courses

Free German Language Courses
  • Deutsch – warum nicht– Web Site
    • An extensive collection of introductory German lessons put together by Deutsche Welle.
  • Audio Trainer – Web site
    • Helps you learn basic vocabulary that is useful for everyday life and improves your pronunciation. The 100 lessons are the result of a collaborative effort between Deutsche Welle and the Goethe-Verlag.
  • Deutsch im Blick – Web site
    • A free online textbook for learning German from the University of Texas. It’s the web-based first-year German program developed and in use at the university.
  • Dialogue for German Learners: Beginner’s Level – iTunes Free
    • Created by the University of South Wales, these dialogues will help you to practice and consolidate some of the language skills you are learning, either as part of a language course or as something you need for your work.
  • Mission Berlin – iTunes Free – Web
    •  Learn German through a mystery adventure. Created by Deutsche Welle.
  • Basic German – Web site
    •  A web-application developed by the University of Cambridge Language Centre for basic level students of German. It focuses on listening and reading skills but it also includes many activities that help learners prepare for speaking and writing.
  • Radio D – Series 1 iTunes – Series 2 iTunes
    • German for beginners: Paula and Philipp are Radio D reporters who have several mysterious cases to investigate. Join them as their research takes them across Germany — and learn German along the way! Created by Deutsche Welle.
  • Slowly Spoken News – iTunes Free
    • Deutsche Welle provides a nightly news broadcast in German that’s spoken slowly so that you can work on your comprehension.
  • Talk German – Web Site
    • A lively introduction to German by the BBC. Presented in ten short parts.
  • Deutsch – Lernen – Text
    • 10 German lessons for total beginners and 24 German grammar lessons. No audio; text only.
  • Deutsch Interaktiv – Web
    • 30-part self-study course in German. Features authentic videos, slideshows and audio texts that convey a vibrant picture of life in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Created by Deutsche Welle.
  • Duolingo German – Web Site 
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • Foreign Service Institute German Programmed Introduction – Web site
    • The text (PDF) and tapes (MP3) present, in a programmed learning style, the structural features and vocabulary contained in the first six units of the FSI German Basic Course. Serves to accelerate the progress of students who subsequently move to the Basic Course.
  • Foreign Service Institute German Basic Course – Vol 1 – Vol 2
    • Two textbooks (PDF) and 24 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute German Fast – Web site
    • Textbook (PDF) and ten audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute German Headstart – Web site
    • Textbook (PDF) and fourteen audio lessons (MP3).
  • GermanPod 101 – iTunes Free
    • Offers materials for beginners, intermediate and advanced.

Free Hindi Language Courses

Free Hindi Language Courses
Free Hindi Language Courses
  • HindiPod 101 – iTunes
    • Learn Hindi with fun, interesting and culturally relevant lessons that are easy to listen to.
  • I Speak Hindi iTunes Web Site
    • Coversessential words and phrases that you need for your trip to India. There are also Beginner Hindi lessons for those that want to seriously start to learn the language.
  • Hindi: An Active Introduction – Textbook
    • A short textbook by DN Sharma & James Stone on behalf of Foreign Service Institute (FSI).

Free Italian Language Courses

Free italian Language courses
Free italian Language courses
  • Talk Italian – Web Site
    • A lively introduction to Italian presented by the BBC.
  • BBC Italianissimo – Web Site – YouTube
    • Italianissimo was a TV series to learn Italian first broadcast in 1992 and repeated regularly over the next 10 years. You can watch the videos online.
  • Duolingo Italian – Web Site
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • Foreign Service Institute Italian Head Start – Web site
    • Textbook, glossary, culture notes (PDF) and 21 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Italian FastCourse – Vol 1. – Vol 2.
    • Includes a textbook (PDF) and 30 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Italian Programmed Course – Web site
    • Textbook and instructor’s manual (PDF) and 24 audio lessons (MP3).
  • Speak Italian with Your Mouth Full – Web – YouTube – iTunes –
    • MIT instructor Dr. Paola Rebusco uses cooking to help her students learn to speak Italian.

Free Japanese Language Courses

Free Japanese Language Courses
Free Japanese Language Courses
  • Foreign Service Institute Japanese – Web site
    • Student guide, textbook, glossary, flashcards (PDF) and nine audio lessons (MP3).
  • Kanji Characters – iTunes Free
    • Learn the proper form and stroke for several important Kanji characters. Emory University.
  • Let’s Speak Japanese Basic – YouTube
    • 26 video lessons produced by the Japan Foundation.
  • Let’s Learn Japanese Basic II – YouTube
    • 25 video lessons produced by the Japan Foundation.

Free Korean Language Courses

Free Korean language courses
Free Korean language courses
  • Foreign Service Institute Basic Korean – Web Site
    • Includes the original and updated courses, each with textbooks (PDF) and audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Korean Headstart – Web site
    • Textbook, cultural notes, and eight units of audio lessons (MP3).
  • KoreanClass101 – iTunes Free
    • Features daily audio lessons, video lessons, word of the day, etc.
  • Korean Language Adventure – Web Site
    • These lessons have been developed in the theme of travel and adventure, allowing learners to take a virtual journey to Seoul and its nearby popular tourist destinations.
  • Korean Learning for Correction Pronunciation – Web Site
  • Online Intermediate College Korean – Web Site
    • A web-based online courseware based on Intermediate College Korean
  • Pathway to Korean: Beginning Spoken Korean from Zero – Web Site
    • Created by the National East Asian Languages Resource Center at The Ohio State University. When you get to the website, look for the “Units” in the top navigation bar.
  • Talk to Me in Korean – iTunes Free – Web Site
    • Korean learning made simple and easy. Quite possibly the most thorough, frequent, slick, and entertaining language-instruction podcast of any kind.

Free Portuguese Language Courses

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  • Brazilian Portuguese 101 –iTunes Video Free
    • 45 lessons by Semantica.
  • Duolingo Portuguese – Web Site
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • Foreign Service Institute Portuguese Programmatic Course – Vol 1 and Vol 2
    • Two volumes including textbooks (PDF) and audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute From Spanish to Portuguese – Web site
    • Textbook (PDF) and three audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Brazilian Portuguese Fast – Vol 1 and Vol 2
    • Two volumes including textbooks (PDF) and audio lessons (MP3).
  • Língua da gente – iTunes Free – Web site 
    • Portuguese learning podcast for English speakers. Features a lot of discussion, conversation, cultural tidbits, and slang. From University of Texas.
  • Talk Portuguese – Web Site
    • A video introduction to the language in 11 short parts with audio clips for key phrases.

Free Russian Language Courses

Free Russian Languages Courses
Free Russian Languages Courses
  • A Spoonful of Russian – Web Site
    • Recommended by our readers.
  • Business Russian – Web
    • Presented by the UCLA Center for World Languages, this series teaches students the essentials of Russian business communication.
  • Foreign Service Institute Russian Fast – Web Site
    • Textbook (PDF) and eight audio lessons (MP3).
  • Learn Russian – Web Site
    • A free course by RT.com that covers all aspects of Russian including alphabet, phonetics, vocabulary and grammar. It also has multiple grammar tables and tests. RT.com is a Russian 24/7 English-language news channel.
  • Learn Russian Fluently, Easily and Effectively – Spotify
    • A 4-hour series of lessons that are freely available on Spotify
  • Russian Grammar – YouTube
    • 50 free, short videos on topics in basic Russian grammar. Funded by a grant from the University of South Carolina, the videos were created by Curtis Ford, a senior instructor at the University.
  • Russian Literature – Web Site
    • Also presented by UCLA, the lessons help users improve their comprehension and vocabulary by listening to excerpts from Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekhov and other Russian literary greats.
  • Russian Essentials – Web 
    • A web-application developed by the University of Cambridge Language Centre for basic level students of Russian. Russian Essentials concentrates on basic language, with eight sections covering key spoken and written language.
    • A series of instructive videos from Olga Viberg at Dalarna University.
  • Speak Fluent Russian – Free iTunes – Web Site
    • Offers free audio lessons that develop speaking skills and listening comprehension, allowing students to speak Russian more fluently. Site includes full transcripts and notes.

Free Spanish Language Courses

Free spanish language courses
Free Spanish language courses
  • 5 Minute Spanish – iTunes
    • Self-paced course from University of Arkansas offers a good introduction to Spanish for those who have never studied it before, or a good refresher for those who have. The course focuses almost exclusively on Spanish grammar.  
  • Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish Web Site
    • This telenovela, or Spanish soap opera, immerses students in everyday situations and teaches speaking, listening, and comprehension skills in Spanish.
  • Mi Vida Loca Web Site
    • An immersive video mystery set in Spain to help you learn simple Spanish. Created by the BBC.
  • Duolingo Spanish – Web Site
    • A popular free language-learning and crowdsourced text translation platform. As users progress through lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.
  • Show Time Spanish – Tunes
    • Produced by the same folks who created Coffee Break Spanish, this podcast is for intermediate and advanced learners.
  • Foreign Service Institute Basic Course – Vol 1 – Vol 2 – Vol 3
    • This course in the Latin American dialect prepares students to function effectively in conversations. Pronunciation, inflection, and intonation are heavily stressed.
  • Foreign Service Institute Spanish Programmatic – Vol 1 – Vol 2
    • Two volumes including textbooks (PDF) and audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Spanish Headstart for Puerto Rico – Web site
    • Student text, glossary (PDF), and four modules of audio lessons (MP3) with self-evaluation quizzes.
  • Foreign Service Institute Spanish Headstart for Spain – Web site
    • Textbook and cultural notes (PDF) and four modules of audio lessons (MP3).
  • Foreign Service Institute Spanish Headstart for Latin America – Web site
    • Textbook (PDF) and fifteen audio lessons (MP3).
  • Medical Spanish for Healthcare Providers – Web Site
    • This site is presented as a free medical Spanish immersion, with vocabulary including greetings, history, examination, and everyday speech, all with translation and audio. It is designed to be helpful for a variety of medical personnel. Created by a general surgeon turned Spanish teacher.
  • One Minute Latin American Spanish iTunes Free – Web Site
    • Same as above but focuses on the Spanish spoken across South America.

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About Sally Morgan

My name is Sally Morgan, I'm American and currently a Language Teacher in New York State Schools for French and Spanish. I have studied Foreign Languages, translation and teaching at the Columbia University in New York. I lived for 3 years in Europe including France, UK and Italy.

I am a passionate linguist and love how speaking another language opens the doors of communication and therefore a whole world.

Please ask me any questions below

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