December 28, 2009

15 Free Resources for Learning Spanish Online

If you are interested in learning the Spanish language, you could spend hundreds of dollars on books and software to help you in your endeavor. Or you can learn online. There are many different websites, podcasts, and language learning networks that freely provide everything you can get from books and software. Here are 15 free Spanish language resources to explore: - With over 1,000 pages of free learning materials, is an excellent place for learners of all levels to acquire or improve Spanish language skills. The site offers help with pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and much more.

Spanish Language -'s Spanish Language Guide offers a comprehensive guide to the Spanish language. Site visitors can browse articles and blog posts, learn Spanish grammar and pronunciation, study Spanish vocabulary, and communicate with other language learners in a community forum.

Effective Language Learning - This site provides nine free Spanish language lessons that can be taken online. Other free offerings include language learning tips, course reviews, and background information on the Spanish language.

Spanish Language Exercises - Hosted by Ursinus College, this web page offers a series of Spanish language exercises. Exercises include the self-check variety in addition to instructor-check exercises.

Coffee Break Spanish - Coffee Break Spanish is a free, award-winning podcast from Radio Lingua Network. Episodes are aimed at beginner and intermediate students and last approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Cody's Cuentos - Cody's Cuentos visitors can learn or improve Spanish language skills by listening to popular fairy tales and children's stories in Spanish. Users who are having trouble with the translation can order transcripts and additional grammar exercises for a small fee.

Insta Spanish - Insta Spanish, a site that offers a popular iTunes podcast, provides eDocs, Spanish language software, forums, and many other free learning materials.

Lingus.TV - Lingus.TV teaches Spanish through a video podcast that is formatted like a television sitcom. The podcast is entirely in Spanish but subtitles, grammar explanations, and transcripts are provided.

Popling - Spanish language learners who lack the motivation to study may benefit from Popling. This free desktop app displays flashcards at regular intervals so that users can absorb a language while they work on other things.

Livemocha - This popular social language learning site is a favorite among people who want to learn a new language with free online lessons and a community of native speakers. Users can also test their foreign language skills by taking the Livemocha challenge.

iTalki - iTalki is a language learning social network for free language exchanges. Users can participate in group discussions, use self-study materials, and get answers to language questions.

LingQ - LingQ is a unique language learning site for people who want to increase their vocabulary. After signing up for the free membership, users can take an unlimited number of Spanish lessons, join live conversations, make friends in the community, and have writing corrected by native speakers.

Busuu - Bussu is a learning community for people who want to learn Spanish and other foreign languages. The site offers interactive web lessons and a place to practice new language skills.

Hello-Hello - Hello-Hello is a free social language learning site where people can learn to speak, read, and write Spanish (and other languages) while connecting with other people around the world. The site also offers courses and a free flashcard maker.

VoxSwap - VoxSwap is a social network for making friends and learning new languages. Users can connect with native speakers, chat in the forum, and watch free videos from the VoxSwap library.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online college classes for

December 21, 2009

15 Places to Find EFL Conversation Starters and Activities

Practicing English conversation is one of the quickest ways to learn the language. Students who do not have a native speaker to practice with can advance their skills online. There are a number of different sites that provide EFL conversation starters, EFL bots, communities of native speakers, and other forms of conversation practice. Here are 15 places for EFL and ESL students to explore.

ESL Partyland - ESL Partyland provides a large collection of materials that can be used to practice speaking English. Materials include conversation questions, complete lesson plans, and suggestions for using conversation questions.

Lesson Planet - Lesson Planet, a search engine for teachers, provides 14 lesson plans and nine worksheets that incorporate conversation starters. Materials are available for both children and adults.

The Internet TESL Journal - This Internet TESL Journal Project provides an extensive list of conversation questions for the ESL/EFL classroom. A guide is also included for students and teachers who will be using the provided resources.

Daily ESL - Maintained by Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab, this ESL site is devoted entirely to conversation starters. Students can practice conversations that they might have in the community, at school, at home, on vacation, at work, or during special events.

The International Center - The International Center in New York provides a list of topics that can be used to engage in meaningful conversation online or within a language class. Topics include ideas for cultural exchange.

ESL Flow - ESL Flow offers a large selection of conversation starters and conversation exercises for English students. The site also provides icebreaker ideas for large and small groups.

Conversation Exchange - The Conversation Exchange provides a nice collection of conversation topics that can be used to increase vocabulary and language skills.

Boggle's World - In addition to providing worksheets and other materials for the EFL classroom, Boggle's World also offers conversation starters, surveys, and icebreakers. More than four pages of EFL activities are available.

ESLgold - Students can find many different sample phrases and speaking situations on the ESLgold site. Materials are available for learners at every level.

English Club - The English Club teaches EFL students how to make small talk using conversation starters, practice conversations, and a small talk quiz.

ESL Fast - ESL Fast is the perfect place for EFL and ESL beginners to practice speaking English online. The site offers a robot tutor and a shopping tutor that are ready to practice 2,000+ English conversations on a variety of topics.

A.L.I.C.E. - After registering for an account, EFL and ESL students can have unlimited online chats with Dave the ESL Bot for up to one month.

EllaZ - The Ella bot is an award-winning robot known for being a very human-like computer. Ella is good at making small talk. She also does well with jokes and trivia.

Lang-8 - Lang-8 is a great place to learn and practice English and other foreign languages. Native speakers are available through the site to help you gain knowledge and prefect your writing skills.

LingQ - LingQ is another good place to practice English conversations and get your writing corrected. The site is home to a large worldwide community that can be accessed whenever it is convenient for you.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online schools for

December 16, 2009

10 Free Online Language Translators

Free online language translators can be very helpful when you come across a piece of text you are unable to translate on your own. These tools also make it easy to learn new foreign words and phrases. Here are 10 places that offer free human, text, and web page translation:

Lang-8 - Lang-8 is a unique site that allows you to learn a language from native speakers. You can write in any language you are learning and Lang-8's native speakers will correct it for you for free.

Babel Fish - This Yahoo! site offers free text translation for a wide variety of languages. Babel Fish can also be used to translate entire web pages. You can translate from the Babel Fish site or download the free toolbar to translate directly in your browser.

WorldLingo - WorldLingo's free online translator can translate up to 500 words at one time. The site also offers a free document translator, website translator, and email translator.

Foreignword - Foreignword is a language site with free online dictionaries and translation tools. Foreignword also offers free translation software, a language search engine, and a forum where you can chat with other language learners.

SDL FreeTranslation - This free translation website can translate text or web pages from one language into another. Completed translations can be emailed to yourself or your friends.

Freelang - Freelang is a good place to find free online dictionaries, fonts for foreign languages, and other useful tools. The site also provides a free translation help service that is supported by human volunteers.

WordReference - WordReference provides an easy-to-use English to Spanish dictionary as well as a Spanish to English dictionary. If you want to use WordReference in other places, you can use the WordReference app on your iPhone or imbed a mini version of the site on your own website.

Translation2 - This free translation site offers an online dictionary, a text translator, a text-to-speech translator, and an IM translator. You can use all of these tools on-site or download them for free to your computer.

Xanadu - Offered through Foreignword, Xanadu is a free language and translation software product. After downloading, you can quickly translate words, terms, or text from one language into another. More than 60 other languages can also be translated with Xanadu.

Livemocha - When an online translator isn’t enough, you can find real people to help you with translations on Livemocha. This social language learning site connects users with native speakers and other people who are fluent in the language you are learning.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about online degree reviews for