Can you learn English for free?
This is a question that thousands of people ask themselves everyday because English seems to become more and more important every day.
The cultural push from the US and the UK is huge.
Especially through popular entertainment like movies, TV shows, and music.
Not to mention the fact that many English-speaking countries have low unemployment and dynamic job markets.
I have lived and worked in Spain for close to 20 years as an English teacher.
Just a few years ago I used to struggle to find things in English. Media was limited to a few newspapers and magazines, and the odd original version cinema in the centre of town.
Yet a few years ago everything changed. It was called the internet, and it has radically changed the way media travels around the globe and enters countries where there have traditionally been language barriers.
I was suddenly able to access all forms of media on the World Wide Web.
No longer was I alienated from the English speaking world.
So, if this has changed my life, how has it changed the way people can learn languages? And, is it possible to learn English for free?
Well, the answer to the second question is a little more complicated, so let me start with the first one.
In the old days, like the 90s, people, adults mainly, that wanted to learn a language had very limited choices.
You could try to teach yourself with the aid of books and cassettes, or you could enrol at the local English academy and get a ‘native’ or qualified local person to teach you with the aid of one of the many textbooks available.
Now while these methods have no doubt proved successful, it is obvious that the times have changed and there are many more ways to learn a language nowadays.
I am not saying that the traditional ways of learning will disappear but I do think that there are more exciting and easy ways to pick up a second, third, or fourth language.
Online language sites that offer blended learning programmes are logical replacements for the traditional language schools.
They compete on every level and you can even have personalised courses for the prices you pay at the traditional language school. They are also more flexible and are open all the time.
Sites like Livemocha, DuoLingo and Bussu offer students the chance to learn languages for free.
Are they any good?
In my opinion, any learning system is good if you are willing to study and put in the hard work.
YouTube is also a fantastic way to learn a language nowadays.
If you have a fast internet connection, there is no limit to the amount of learning content there.
So what are you waiting for? Start learning a language for free.
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