Learning a new language is typically at the top of the list of things we'd love to achieve.
And ironically, the coronavirus lockdown has given some of us - though we appreciate not all - that extra time to be able to dedicate to doing just that.
While many key workers, and working parents, are busier than ever during the lockdown as a result of the pandemic, some of us are finding ourselves with a bit of free time to use to pursue things we wouldn't normally get to do.
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Without commutes, appointments, social schedules and gym classes to contend with, it may feel like you have a few extra hours (or maybe just the one) in the day to finally learn that language you'd always promised yourself you would.
And if this is a goal you've always wanted to achieve, there are plenty of online resources to help you do so.
Best online resources for learning a language
Courses and language-learning websites
Of course, one of the most popular language-learning websites is the Duolingo portal (opens in new tab), which allows you to learn almost any language for free.
Although it's an online service, it offers a personalised way of learning - with lessons adapted to your learning style, and grading, to see where you might be going wrong.
Babbel (opens in new tab) is another option for learning a new language. Users will be immediately immersed in their new language, allowing you to participate in real-life dialogue (between you and a computer) from the get-go. Speech recognition will also help you test yourself - speaking a new language conversationally, out loud, can help you to get to grips with it much faster.You can also learn via different topics on Babbel.
The course comes with free 7-day trial, and then converts to a subscription if you choose to a continue, which costs around £13 a month.
Rosetta Stone (opens in new tab) is another option, and comes with free group coaching. It also takes an immersive approach, getting users to speak, write, read - and hear - the new language they're learning. You can get a free 3-day trial, and prices very from then - £16.33 a month, or £49 for three months, £159 for 12 months, or £239 for 24 months.
Online Spanish Certificate Course
You could also treat a friend or family member (or yourself!), to this online Spanish Level 1 and 2 Certification Course, which is available on Buyagift (opens in new tab) for just £29 - a whopping 79% off the original price of £120.
It includes six hours of learning for level one, and six hours on level two, to help you build on the foundations you've built previously.
Books and guides for learning a new language
Collins easy learning books
If you prefer to learn through reading, it might be helpful to buy a language guide book.The Collins easy learning books (opens in new tab) are popular, and are available for learning French, German, Italian and Spanish. Touted as being perfect for beginners, the books focus on three core areas so you can learn the vital basics of any language - grammar, verbs and vocabulary.
They also have extensive vocabulary guides, covering words and phrases on all the main topics you might find yourself discussing, such as food and drink, family, health and shopping.
The Eyewitness Travel series of language books (opens in new tab) are also a good way of learning a language conversationally, as they are full of the key phrases and words you'll need to get about in the country. They've also got an accompanying app, so that you can hear how the words are said and pronounced by native speakers of the language.
Looking to learn a new language in bite-sized chunks? Language-learning apps could be the route for you.
Many of the above websites have corresponding apps - including Duolingo (opens in new tab), Babbel (opens in new tab) and Rosetta Stone (opens in new tab), so you can keep up with your learning on the go as well.
Memrise (opens in new tab), an app available on GooglePlay, is hightly rated too. Used by over 45 million people, you can try your hand at up to 18 different languages, including Dutch, Swedish, Polish and German. It offers a light-hearted approach to learning - via fun video clips and quiz games.
If you'd rather learn a few key phrases and words in a second language, with less pressure to get a full grasp of the entire language, you could also try uTalk (opens in new tab). They say that it's great for beginners just getting started, but can also be helpful for those who already know the basics, and would like to fill in gaps in their knowledge.
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.
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