What is a foreign language?
Benefits of learning a foreign language
List of Best online foreign language learning sites
Requirements to learn a foreign language
There are currently no requirements to learn foreign languages online. Provided you have a learning device, a network connection, and time to commit, you can take the free online foreign language courses with certificates that are listed in this article.
Top 10 Free Online Foreign Language Courses With Certificates
Listed below are courses from several online educational providers. I have put them in categories for easy navigation and selection. These courses are available for free while others can be audited. You will be required to sign up before you can enroll in any course.
- First Step Korean (Coursera)
- Improve Your English Communication Skills Specialization (Coursera)
- Tsinghua Chinese: Start Talking with 1:3 Billion people (edX)
- Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started (edX)
- Introduction to Dutch (FutureLearn)
- Irish 101: An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture (FutureLearn)
- Improving Your French Language Skills – Revised (Alison)
- Beginners Guide to Learn Russian (Alison)
- Intermediate Spanish: A trip Across Latin America (OpenLearn)
- Beginners’ Italian: Food and Drink (OpenLearn)
1. First Step Korean
The first course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is First Step Korean, an easy-to-follow beginner-friendly course on Coursera. This basic Korean Language course consists of 5 lessons with 4 units, covering 4 language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Students will learn topics that include the basic expressions used in everyday life, such as greeting, introduction, simple talks, etc. Each lesson covers dialogues, pronunciations. vocabulary, grammar, quizzes, and role-plays.
Taught in English with subtitles in several languages, this 18-hour course will teach learners how to read and write Korean Alphabet, communicate in Korean with basic expressions, and finally learn basic knowledge of Korean culture
2. Improve Your English Communication Skills Specialization
The second course on free online foreign language courses with certification is this Specialization course on Coursera. This specialization contains four courses that aim to help learners improve their professional communication in English for successful business interactions.
Each course focuses on a particular area of communication in English: Writing emails, speaking at meetings and interviews, giving presentations, and networking online. This specialization is a great place to start for individuals who want to communicate better in the workplace and achieve their language and professional goals.
This specialization will take approximately 5 months to complete, and learners can learn at their own pace, dedicating 3 hours weekly to each course.
3. Tsinghua Chinese: Start Talking with 1.3 Billion people
Another course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is this introductory Chinese language course from China’s top university provided on edX.
This course is for anyone interested in learning Mandarin Chinese, especially if you plan to work or study in Mandarin-speaking countries. This course is a good start toward the HSK Chinese proficiency test.
This is a self-paced course taught in English, over a period of 6 weeks with 2-3 hours of weekly learning.
4. Basic Spanish 1: Getting Started
The next edX course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is this introductory Spanish course that aims to teach basic Spanish to English speakers who would like to learn conversational Spanish.
This course introduces everyday language and includes activities to practice all four language skills: reading comprehension, writing, listening, comprehension, and speaking. By the end of this course, students will be able to introduce themselves and conduct a brief conversation in Spanish.
This course is self-paced and beginner-friendly, and students are required to commit 4-5 hours weekly for a duration of 7 weeks.
5. Introduction to Dutch
Here comes a top-ranked online language course on FuturLearn. This course is for people who want to master the fundamentals of Dutch with little or no prior knowledge.
During this course, participants will learn Dutch phrases, greetings, vocabulary, numbers, spelling, and grammar. And by the end, they will learn how to use simple sentences to describe where they live and the people they know.
With its main focus on receptive skills like reading and listening, this 3-week course will help individuals survive in Dutch-speaking countries such as the Netherlands.
6. Irish 101: An Introduction to Irish Language and Culture
Another course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is the first course in an 8-part series on FutureLearn.
This course is aimed at individuals interested in the Irish language, history, and culture. It will teach them some of the basics of Irish including greetings, introductions, Irish names, numbers, and other essentials.
During this 4-week course, learners will explore the origins of Ogham, and how the Irish alphabet developed. And by the end of the course, they will have a deeper understanding of the origins and cultural significance o one of the oldest literary languages in Europe.
7. Improving Your French Language Skills – Revised
The first Alison course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is Improving Your French Language Skills, published by Joella Andriantsivohony.
In this free online course, you will learn how to improve your knowledge of both French grammar and French vocabulary. With four modules in pronunciation, grammar, household vocabulary, and counting, this free online course will help you take your French to the next level.
8. Beginners Guide to Learn Russian
The next course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is this Russian Language course published by Ivan Yankymenko on Alison.
This course aims to help learners master Russian semantics, Slavic Pronunciation, and Practical Vocabulary. The tutorials contain directions and practicing intervals to absorb and speak the Russian dialect fluently as students learn about speech patterns and become familiar with language structures.
This course has only two modules: Foundations of the Russian Language and Russian Practical Lexicon, and finally the course assessment. Completing at least the first module will make learners experience the richness of Russian culture.
9. Intermediate Spanish: A Trip Across Latin America
Another course on free online foreign language courses with certificates is this Spanish course offered by OpenLearn.
In this course, participants will learn about the ways the people of South and Central America have handled everyday environmental conditions in their communities. The course will use videos, audio recordings, and articles to take learners on a virtual tour to discover the amazing people who will be sharing their stories.
To help learners connect more to these stories, they will be provided with opportunities to broaden their vocabulary and practice understanding written and spoken Spanish.
10. Beginners’ Italian: Food and Drink
This is a free course that focuses on the exchange of words that takes place in an Italian café. It will teach learners how to greet and introduce themselves in Italian as well as make hassle-free orders. It does not require any previous knowledge of Italian.
By the end of this course, participants should be able to take part in simple exchanges when buying drinks and snacks in an Italian café, understand some customs relating to Italian cafés, and begin to use the indefinite article in Italian.
As a foreign language learner, it is important that you practice as often as you can. You can do this with learning apps like Duolingo and the likes. Also, depending on your level of learning, you should practice by reading books and written pieces in the language that you are learning. This will boost word recognition and retentivity, helping you to learn better and faster.
Free Online Foreign Language Courses With Certificates – FAQs
How long does it take to learn a foreign language?
Well, it depends. There is no fixed answer to this question since people learn differently. But on average, it usually takes between three months to a year or two.
Are online language courses effective?
Yes, online language courses are as effective as face-to-face ones. What matters most is an individual’s readiness to commit and/or seek external resources and tools to support their learning path.
Which foreign languages are more in demand?
What’s the hardest language to learn?
Unfortunately, the most widely spoken native language in the world is the hardest to learn – Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin is one of the dialects of the Chinese language alongside Shanghainese, Cantonese, and many more.
Which foreign language is highly paid?
With China as the world’s new dominant economy, it has become a goldmine of opportunities, with over a billion people that one can target. For this cause, Mandarin Chinese has remained the most paid foreign language in the world.
What foreign language is easiest?
For English-speakers, Frisian, Dutch, Sweden, Spanish, Italian, and Norwegian may be the easiest languages to learn. They are easier because they almost share the same alphabets as the English Language making them pretty easy for English-speakers to pick up.
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