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Language Learning   Tags: languages  

This guide will connect you to online databases and books and CDs that will help you to learn a new language.
Last Updated: Aug 7, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Free Courses Online of Some Less Commonly Studied Languages

These are free online sites that will help you to learn languages that are less commonly studied in the United States.


  • Finnish
    This online course in the Finnish language is useful for students of the language who have completed at least one year's study and wish to improve their skills in the language. The course features short texts, followed by comprehension exercises and recordings of the texts. Includes Finnish-English dictionary.
  • Friulian
    Basics of the grammar of the language and spelling standards of the language agreed to in 1997.
  • Grant Dizionari Bilengal Talian-Furlan
    This online dictionary is useful for speakers of Italian who want the equivalent word in Friulian.
  • Learn Cantonese Chinese
    This site offers basic grammar with recorded speech in Cantonese.
  • Lithuanian
    This site features simple illustrations and translations into English are shown when you move your mouse over the text.
  • Persian/English Dictionary
  • Ruthenian (Rusyn) Language Phrasebook
    Scholars at the University of Prešov (Slovakia) have assembled this phrasebook in English, Slovak, and Ruthenian (a member of the East Slavic Languages family).
  • Polish Grammar in a Nutshell
    Information on Polish sounds and grammar which should be mastered by the intermediate-level student of the language. Written by Oscar E. Swan, University of Pittsburgh, 2003.
  • Yiddish Book Center
    For students of Yiddish, the Yiddish Book Center, located in Amherst, Massachusetts, is a “must view.” The Center is a non-profit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity. The site features videos of beginner classes, monthly worksheets to brush up on your vocabulary, audio books and short stories featuring books read by native Yiddish speakers. There is also an online bookstore.

ASL - American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is a sign language, a language in which the hands, arms, head, facial expression and body language are used to speak without sound. ASL is not related to English, and features an entirely different grammar and vocabulary. ASL is the dominant sign language of deaf communities in the United States and English-speaking parts of Canada British Sign Language (BSL) is a completely different language from ASL, and they are not mutually intelligible. ASL is instead related to French Sign Language.

Besides North America, dialects of ASL or ASL-based creoles are used, sometimes alongside indigenous sign languages, in many countries in Asia, the Caribbean, and in Africa. The grammar and syntax of these ASL dialects are distinct from any spoken language, including English.

Here are some resources for sign language:

Lifeprint from Arizona State University.

Start ASL.

How to Learn American Sign Language Online - Free, Fast & Funny on YouTube.


    Books and CDs

    These are recommended series of books and CDs available in the Alameda County Library System, which will help you learn a particular language.

    Colloquial GermanRoutledge's Colloquial series books consist of a textbook (with texts and exercises on different topics, keys to exercises, translations  of texts, and a glossary of words presented in the textbook and their translations into English) and two CDs of selected texts from the book.




    Teach Yourself FrenchTeach Yourself series books consist of a book (with texts and exercises on different topics, self-assessment tests, keys to exercises, vocabularries and translations in both the target language and English) and two CDs of the dialogs in each chapter.




    Pimsleur Russian IPimsleur Language Program materials are primarily CDs occasionally accompanied by a booklet covering cultural differences.  Only rarely does a course offer the script of the texts in the target language.  Many of the Pimsleur Language series, including ESL, may now be found on OneClick Audiobooks. Within OneClick , search for the Author  "Pimsleur".




    Lonely Planet Greek PhrasebookLonely Planet Phrasebooks consist of everyday use phrases in a wide variety of topics with phrases shown in English, a pronuncation transcription, and in the target language.  Different topics are highlighted with a border in different colors, and cultural notes abound.  There are glossaries and translations in both the target language and English.  Often a rudimentary grammar is given just before the "Basics" section.



    Living Language FrenchLiving Language Courses normally consist of a textbook, a dictionary in both the target language and English, and two CDs of highlighted dialogs shown in the textbook. Look for "Living Language" in the Title field in the catalog to get a complete list of Living Language courses.


    Hindi Language for Children

    International Pen Pals

    • Interpals
      InterPals is a free pen pal site for users of all ages. With over 300,000 active users hailing from over 180 countires, InterPals is one of the largest pen pal sites on the interenet. Vistors can add their profile, search for pen pals, chat, discuss onthe forum, and much more!

    Languages of New World Civilizations

     The languages of the three major civilizations (Inca, Aztec, and Maya) are still spoken by millions of people.  Here are some online sites that will help you in the study of these languages.

    Basic Quechua lessons are here.

    Wikipedia article on Quechua with many links is here.   

    Introductory course on Nahuatl (Aztec) for Spanish speakers can be found here. 

    Online Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary is available here. 

    English to Nahuatl Glossary is here. 

    A Grammar of the Yucatecan Mayan Language is here. 

    A Basic  English - Yucatec Mayan Dictionary  is here.   



    Studying Languages Abroad

    Since 1990, Center For Study Abroad (CSA) has been providing low cost study abroad opportunities to students and adults worldwide.  For over 20 years, our mission has been to be non-profit oriented and offer programs at low cost, as well as provide more flexibility, independence, and additional services to best fit each participant. Admission is guaranteed and open to all. All programs are fully accredited.

    Information and Application Forms for Summer School in Rusyn Language and Culture at Prešov University in Prešov, Slovakia.


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