Best way to study languages at home and without paying huge tuition

I would like to study some more foreign languages at home. I did this in the past through a community college course, but at this point I’d like to just do self-study and not bother with having to register, pay for and keep up with a formal school course. I also don’t want to pay a lot for a course or study aids.

Please share any suggestions you have for cheap language study that can be done at home on one’s own schedule. I’m aware that the USDA used to have (maybe still has) a language school and posted materials on the web that people could freely use.

Duolingo is a good website to use, and it’s free (although it has some premium features). I’m currently using it to refresh my Spanish and to learn Indonesian.


I’ll second Duolingo. The app itself can help with practicing, and the wiki often has more helpful resources that are a bit more formal.

With that said, Duolingo’s quality is a bit language-dependent. That isn’t to say it’s bad with any language, but a very popular language like Spanish will have more to it and probably have a bit higher production value than a less popular one.

Just a heads up, if you’re using Duolingo to study/refresh Spanish, it has you learn a word for “to take” that is very vulgar in Latin America (but okay to use in Spain).

Or you can look on you tube

You can probably find an academic library in your area with a courtesy borrower option that you can subscribe to (for a small donation of course). Just make sure they have books and other media for the language you want to learn because most academic libraries will not allow interlibrary loan for non-students/faculty/emeriti.

Assuming you have at least a basic knowledge of the language there’s also a lot you can learn through YouTube.

Listening practice world news, interviews, music, etc. abound. When I was getting ready to study in Germany for a summer that’s mostly how I brushed up. There’s this family of YouTube channels called Super Easy [language]. That I found very helpful for German. But again it was my second pass with the material I can’t speak to how effective it is for a beginner.

Check the public libraries in your area for online language learning resources, or media such as CDs available for borrowing.

Many libraries in my area, for example, purchase licenses for online programs, making them available to residents of the town which is paying for it. In some cases (e.g., Boston Public Library), such resources are made available to residents of the state.

Again as an example, the library in my town has Pimsleur “short courses” (5-CD sets) for many languages, and longer courses for a few languages. These are sharable with other towns through a local consortium.

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Have you decided which language you want to do next?

I have one or two ideas

I use Busuu, grammar books, and Wordreference. A few years ago, actually some years ago now, I actually got a bunch of stuff to learn German, from a thrift store, with cassette tapes and books, luckily I had a working tape player at the time. thrift stores are good place to find stuff like that.

What’s a good resource for Latin? I’d like to attend more Latin masses and respond well enough.

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