Best Online Language Classes

Rosetta Stone is the best online language class

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Today, knowing a second (or even a third) language is becoming an increasingly sought-after skill. Whether you move around a lot for work, are looking for a new job, or simply like to travel, being able to communicate with people in multiple languages can be incredibly beneficial. 

This is why languages lessons are often taught in school, sometimes as early as kindergarten. Being bilingual can improve a student’s cognitive function, enhance their problem-solving skills, verbal and spatial abilities, boost their memory, and change how kids think about culture and the world. 

And the good news is, even your school doesn’t have languages offered as part of the curriculum—or your child just wants to learn one not offered at their school—there are lots of online classes, private tutors, and games that can help them learn. Here are our picks for the best online languages classes for nine widely spoken languages.

Best Online Language Classes of 2022

Best Overall : Rosetta Stone


Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

Key Specs
  • Pricing: $36/3mo - $300 for Lifetime Plus
  • Platforms: Online and App
  • Certificates: No
Why We Chose It

Rosetta Stone is arguably one of the most well-known language learning platforms in the world, and for good reason. It can help anyone learn to read, write, and speak more than 25 widely spoken and endangered languages. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • A reliable and effective platform to learn a language

  • User-friendly software

  • Huge variety of lessons and materials offered online and an app

Cons
  • Live lessons cost extra

  • App and desktop version require separate subscriptions

  • Can become very expensive when combing services

Overview  

Rosetta Stone can help you learn to read, write, and speak more than 25 languages via online classes, live tutoring, and app-based lessons (though you have to pay for each of these separately). Beyond its range of available languages, what makes the service stand out to us is its short, 30-minute lessons that feature its state-of-the-art voice recognition software to help you perfect your pronunciation. The short lessons make learning seem less daunting and they can easily be reviewed a second or third time, if needed. 

The company also offers a number of games and quizzes to keep the learning fun and help you track your progress. This can help kids stay engaged in the lessons. For example, a recent 2021 study of 22 high school tenth-graders majoring in language studies using Rosetta Stone to learn German found that the students actively engaged in and had a positive attitude towards the learning and teaching process.  

To start practicing today using Rosetta Stone, you’ll need to decide if you prefer instruction online, app, or both. The online version costs $36 for three months, $96 a year, or $180 for lifetime. The app version costs $45 for three months, $110 a year, or $200 for lifetime for one language, and $300 for Lifetime Plus, which includes all languages.

Best for Sign Language : ASL Connect (Gallaudet University)


Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University

Key Specs
  • Price: $316 to $950.
  • Platforms: Online
  • Certification option: Yes
Why We Chose It 

Not only does Gallaudet offer free American Sign Language (ASL) courses, but the university also has a variety of fee-based ASL courses, including ASL levels 1 through 4, Fingerspelling, and Visual Gestural Communication, and they are structured to improve and perfect comprehension and communication.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free ASL beginner courses

  • Options for advanced education

  • Promotes understanding the culture of deaf people

Cons
  • Minimal free beginner courses

  • Some courses are very expensive

Overview  

Founded in 1864, Gallaudet University is a well-known and respected fully accredited liberal arts college specializing in the language and culture of deaf people. While both hearing and deaf students attend the school, it’s the only higher education institution that structures its curriculum to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

The federally chartered university offers several bilingual deaf studies courses such as Black Deaf People Studies, Deaf Women’s Studies, Introduction to Deaf Studies, and more.

Gallaudet’s beginner lessons are free of charge to prepare students for the more advanced (fee-based) ASL courses. Fingerspelling courses are around $316, and ASL courses on special topics are about $950.

Best for Spanish : Babbel


Babbel Logo
Babbel
Key Specs
  • Price: Online 15/mo, $90/yr to $250/lifetime; App $8/mo; Babble Live $150/mo $900/yr
  • Platforms: Online and app 
  • Certificates: No
Why We Chose It

Babbel offers a well-rounded Spanish curriculum to meet the needs of any student. The lessons feature a variety of spoken and written exercises from learning the basics to Spanish for business and travel-based conversations. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Short lessons in a wide range of topics

  • Live classes via the Babbel Live subscription 


  • Speech recognition tool to improve pronunciation 

Cons
  • Live classes are significantly more expensive than basic Babble plans 

  • No certification available 

Overview

Founded in Berlin, Germany in 2007, Babbel offers an expansive curriculum for its Spanish language classes (as well as many other languages). As such, the program is perfect for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. The selection of learning exercises includes fill-in-the-blanks, word matching, listening Q&A, and speaking with voice recognition correction. A stand-out feature is the lessons pointing out the differences between Latin American Spanish and Castilian Spanish, as well as other useful cultural call-outs. 

There is a free trial for beginners only that includes a full course along with the opportunity to book up to three free live classes. The online and app subscriptions are offered on a monthly, yearly, or lifetime basis (online: 5/mo, $90/yr to $250/lifetime; app $8/month). The Babbel Live subscription ($150/mo or $900/yr) is substantially more expensive than the app and online courses, but you are able to book an unlimited number of classes. All sessions are hosted by certified native Spanish teachers. 

Best for French : Wyzant


Wyzant

Wyzant

Key Specs
  • Pricing: $15/hr - $300/hr
  • Platforms: Online + App
  • Certificates: No
Why We Chose It

Wyzant is an online tutoring platform with more than 600 french language instructors. Each instructor sets their hourly fee, which ranges between $15 to $300. The in-depth profiles ensure you'll find a great fit for your needs and goals.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • More than 600 qualified instructors to choose from

  • Free class recordings offered

  • Budget-friendly hourly fees

Cons
  • The fee-range can feel like a get-what-you-pay for experience

  • Curriculum varies by tutor 

Overview

Wyzant is a platform that matches students to tutors across a broad spectrum of subjects from science to Spanish and calculus french, and so much more. In addition to the online and app-based instructions, what sets Wyzant apart from many other online tutoring options is that there is also an option to find tutors in your area for in-person language classes. 

With over 550 french tutors located across the globe, you are sure to find a perfect match for your schedule, needs, and budget. To get started, you search for a tutor based on subject and zip code if you would like to see local tutors. After you create your shortlist, you can read each instructor's profile as well as any reviews left by past students. 

Each tutor sets their rate which can range from $15-$300 an hour. Even if your budget limits you to an instructor who lacks experience and accreditation compared to other, more expensive instructors, you can try multiple instructors in your price range until you find a good fit for your needs.  

Best for German : Lingoda


Lingoda Logo
Lingoda
Key Specs
  • Price: Start at $15 per group class; $35 per private class
  • Platforms: Online
  • Certificates: Yes
Why We Chose It

Lingoda provides a robust, personalized path to learning the German language at an affordable price. Lessons are taught live, one-on-one, or in a group setting, and your needs drive the curriculum. There’s also Lingoda’s Language Sprint which is designed to get you comfortably speaking German in two months.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • One-on-one tutoring

  • Materials for lessons, homework and exams provided

  • Flexible schedules

Cons
  • You could have a different tutor each session 

  • Zoom classes only

  • Language Sprint courses are not always available

Overview

Lingoda offers tutoring for every level from beginner basics to courses that include the opportunity to earn the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) certificate at the end. The teaching styles include one-on-one sessions, group lessons with no more than four other students, and the intensive Language Sprint where you attend online classes every day or every other day. All classes are live, offering immediate immersion into learning, listening to, and speaking the language.

To begin, you’ll take a placement test to find the perfect class level for you ranging from an A1 level (Absolute Beginner) up to a C1 (Advanced). If you have a busy schedule, classes are available around the clock to ensure every time zone is covered. No matter how crazy your schedule is, you will be able to find a time that works for you. Classes are available in 30-minute sessions up to two-hour sessions.

The website has a wealth of free resources to help you get started in your pursuit of learning German. If you want to explore the program in more depth, there is a seven-day free trial that allows you to take three group classes or one private class. In order to opt into the trial, you will need to gauge your expected commitment (four classes a month up to 40 classes a month), then enter your payment details.  If you don’t love the program, make sure you cancel before the trial is over or you will be charged the amount you committed when signing up (between $60 for four classes per month or up to $399 for 40 classes per month).

Best for Mandarin : Verbling


Verbling

Verbling

Key Specs
  • Pricing: Most tutors charge $15 - $35/hr
  • Platform: Online and App
  • Certificate: No
Why We Chose It

Verbling connects certified and vetted Mandarin language tutors with students of all ages and levels of understanding the language. These tutors are located all over the world and can not only accommodate your schedule but provide a personalized approach to meeting your needs and goals, at a price that will fit any budget. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Teachers are vetted and rated

  • Budget-friendly 

  • Flexible schedules

Cons
  • No free extras

  • Tutors are not trained by Verbling, although bios display outside certifications

  • Tutors are not required to be native speakers

Overview

Verbling is an integrated platform that connects certified Mandarin tutors with students (as well as over 70 other languages.).  Each tutor has a bio, prior student rating, their fee, and a short video so you can get an idea of who they are and their style of teaching. One of the benefits of this platform is that your first lesson is free, so you can try your top-pick tutor without risk. 

Verbling’s search feature allows you to filter tutors based on availability, background, experience, and hourly rate. You also have the option to use a pre-structured language course that includes learning materials, vocabulary reviews, and collaborative text pads. Or, you can request a customized program driven by your needs and goals. 

The cost for the service ranges from $15 per hour to $35 an hour, but oftentimes, the tutors provide discounts so you may find even lower rates. If you do not like your tutor, you can select a new tutor for your next lesson, or even use a new tutor for every lesson. 

Best for Cantonese : Preply


Preply

Preply

Key Specs
  • Pricing: Tutors charge $1-$40/class
  • Platform: Online and App
  • Certificate: No
Why We Chose It

Preply has over 150 native Cantonese-speaking tutors you can choose from based on rate, schedule, teaching style, and more. Each teacher undergoes an extensive background check to verify teaching certificates and teaching history.

Pros & Cons 
Pros
  • Search function with keyword option that can be used for specific needs

  • Budget-friendly rates

  • Discount packages offered

  • Tutors receive in-house training

Cons
  • Booking can be confusing at first

  • Depending on time zone, you can run into scheduling conflicts

Overview

At Preply, there are over 2,300 Chinese language tutors, and 150 of those are specifically vetted to teach Cantonese. These tutors are located all over the world and collectively offer scheduling around the clock with rates starting as low as $10 an hour. To find the perfect tutor, you can search based on location, background, hourly rate, availability, and specialties. You can also opt to only look at the profiles of native speakers who can offer insight into the culture. In addition to undergoing a background check and vetting process, many of the tutors have prior student ratings to give you further insight into the one you're considering. 

Your first lesson is free, so you have the opportunity to get a feel for the tutor and teaching structure before making a financial commitment. All language classes are conducted in the Preply Classroom, which includes video calling, text messaging, and downloadable study materials. If you don’t love your tutor you can keep trying new ones until you find one you like. Since the tutor’s schedule is not always consistent, you may find that you’ll have to work with multiple tutors to accommodate your schedule. 

While the tutors can charge up to $40 an hour, the majority of the Cantonese tutors charge around $15 per hour. There are also package discounts available including, five percent off for 6 classes, 10% for 12 classes, and 15% for 20 classes.

Best for Japanese : italki


italki
italki
Key Specs
  • Pricing: $4 - $80 per lesson 
  • Platform: Online and App 
  • Certificate: No
Why We Chose It

italki is an exceptional option for those wanting to learn Japanese with over 1,000 Japanese teachers and community tutors offering a range of price points, a simple-to-use platform, and a wealth of excellent user reviews. You can easily find a tutor that can accommodate your budget and schedule, and the best part is the lessons are live and one-on-one.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Extremely budget-friendly

  • Choose from 25-, 30-, 45-, 60-, or 90-minute lessons

  • Instant lesson option perfect for unpredictable schedules

Cons
  • Some instructors offer only one duration of class

  • Not all instructors offer free or discounted trials

Overview

italki specializes in connecting those who want to learn a language with a wide variety of certified Japanese teachers and native-speaking community tutors. There are two types of language instructors listed on the platform: Professional teachers and Community tutors. Professional teachers are highly-skilled, vetted, and qualified in their language, with experience helping students reach their goals. A community tutor is a native or advanced speaker who helps students through informal tutoring or speaking practice. 

Each teacher and tutor has a short text and video introduction to help find the right one for your needs, as well as an availability calendar and reviews left by previous students. While there are no free trials, the rates start as low as $5 which is exceptional considering you have the ability to have a one-on-one conversation with a native speaker, who resides in the area you plan to visit—an invaluable plus when learning about the culture, local hot spots, cafes, and restaurants. There are also free quizzes and podcasts to help you continue practicing on your own.

Best for Korean : 90 Day Korean


90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean

Key Specs
  • Price: $35 per month or $249 per year. VIP costs more.
  • Platform: App & Online
  • Certificate: No
Why We Chose It

90 Day Korean tops the charts for online Korean classes thanks to well-structured educational modules, interactive games, and affordable pricing. Live tutors are also available to help take your understanding and conversations to new heights and answer questions.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • 90-day course modules create accountability

  • Self-led learning on your schedule

  • App and online

Cons
  • Add-ons can become very expensive

  • Not everyone will be comfortable with the text-teaching

 Overview

90 Day Korean is a 12-month program, divided into four modules that are designed to take three months each to complete. However, since this is an entirely self-paced program, you can stick to the schedule or work on a timeframe that is best for you. At the end of the first module, or 90-days, you should be able to hold a three-minute conversation with a native Korean speaker.

Each lesson within the modules includes text messages, audio clips, homework exercises, and interactive games to keep you practicing on a daily basis. If you opt for VIP access you can work with a private tutor who provides feedback and will grade your homework and support.

The basic membership, called Standard, is $35 per month or $249 per year, while the premium VIP membership that includes a coach is $49 per month or $379 per year.

Final Verdict

The exponential short- and long-term benefits associated with learning a second language are both exciting and rewarding. To avoid false starts and a rocky road to achieving your language learning goals, it’s essential to plan out your learning path before attempting to learn the first syllable. Most of all, the service you chose should provide all the tools you need to meet and exceed your expectations. We love how Rosetta Stone helps language learners read, write, and recite more than 25 languages via online and app-based classes, one-on-one tutoring, and state-of-the-art voice recognition software that helps you perfect your pronunciation. 

If you are looking for a more immersive conversational approach you may be better served by a platform that matches certified teachers to students like italki, which is also a very budget-friendly option. 

Compare the Best Online Language Classes

Company Price  Platforms  Languages Offered  CEFR Certificates 
Best Overall
Rosetta Stone
Online $36/3mo, $96 /yr, $180/lifetime; App $45/3mo, $110/yr, or $200 for one language, $300 for Lifetime Plus, which includes all 25 languages. Online and App  25 No
Best for Sign Language
ASL Connect (Gallaudet University)
Price: Fingerspelling $316; Special topic courses $950  Online  N/A  Yes
Best for Spanish
Babbel
Price: 15/mo, $90/yr to $250/lifetime; Babble Live $67/mo  Online & App  14  No 
Best for French
Wyzant
$15/hr - $300hr  Online & App  Tutors available 70+ languages  No 
Best for German
Lingoda
$15 per group class; $35 per private class  Online  4 Yes 
Best for Mandarin
Verbling
$15 - $35 per hour  Online & App  70+  No 
Best for Cantonese
Preply
$2 - $40 per hour  Online & App  24  No 
Best for Japanese
italki
Pricing:$4- $80 per lesson  Online & App  150+  No 
Best for Korean
90 Day Korean
Standard is $35/mo or $249/yrr; VIP is $49/mo or $379/yr  Online & App  No 

Guide for Choosing the Best Online Language Classes

Are Online Language Classes Worth It?

Online language classes are a fantastic, intuitive way to learn a new language. Whether you want to learn the basics or achieve fluency, there is an online program for you. Online classes also offer a level of convenience that in-person classes do not. If you work crazy hours, have a limited budget, or a disability that inhibits mobility, there is a class, teacher, and program online that should work for you. 

Comparing Online Language Classes

In order to find the perfect online language program to meet your needs, schedule, and budget, it’s important to make a list of your must-haves before choosing an online program. Consider the following:

Pricing: For many people, the cost is a major deciding factor. Sure, an hour-long class with a top-notch tutor is ideal, but unless you have $300 to spend per hour, this is not a realistic expectation. Consider how much you can spend comfortably and stick to it. As you saw in our list, finding a reputable tutor for even the smallest of budgets is not an impossible task. 

Platforms: Do you only have a desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone? Do you need to learn on the go? It’s important to choose the format that best suits your needs and devices. Of course, many options today offer both online and app-based programs, but not all do. 

Free Trial: Having the opportunity to test out different tutors free of charge is a great way to find the right fit for you before you have to spend a dime. We recommend trying as many free trial options as possible to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Experience Level: Even though many online language classes say they cater to beginners up to prodigies, that’s not always an accurate assessment. Some services are better suited to beginners, intermediate, or advanced levels. Before signing up, browse the course catalog to ensure there will be plenty of classes for your skill level with room for growth. 

Likability of Instructors: If you opt for one-on-one classes with a private teacher, make sure you can stand to be around that person for multiple hours a week. Don’t settle for an instructor you don't enjoy working with. Learning a language should be a fun and rewarding experience. Make sure you share that journey with someone who will cheer you on.

Range of Classes Offered: If you are a beginner German student and the course you’re considering only has one beginner class, this is probably not the best fit for you. Read through the classes offered to make sure you will have plenty of instructional materials to keep you engaged and motivated.,

Schedule: Your schedule should be as much of a driving factor as your budget. The last thing you want is to commit financially to a program you struggle to attend. If your schedule is unpredictable, you may want to only look at self-led courses. If you have a solid block every day you might consider one of the more intensive courses. Whatever you decide, make sure your schedule can comfortably accommodate the course.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of Learning Another Language?

Second language acquisition isn’t a skill that's just "nice to have," but one that is becoming vital in an increasingly global environment. Learning a new language will allow you to interact not only with those outside the borders of your country, but also with those in local communities whose first language is not English. 

What’s the Best Way to Help My Child Learn a New Language?

Find a method of learning a new language that is fun, engaging, and something the child would enjoy sticking with. It’s also a great idea to practice together and use the language around the house to keep the learning constantly going. Using services that offer learning games may also encourage kids to keep moving up a level in their language learning. 

What’s the Best Age for My Child to Start Learning Another Language?

Researchers at MIT suggest that children remain skilled at learning a new language much longer than expected—up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is nearly impossible for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless the child starts learning a language by 10 years old. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language?

The Foreign Services Institute has divided the world’s languages into four categories with learning timelines based on 70 years of observations on the average length of time it takes a student to achieve proficiency. It’s important to note that the actual time can vary based on several factors, including the language learner’s natural ability, prior linguistic experience, and time spent in the classroom.

The categories are as follows:

  • Category I takes approximately 24-30 weeks (600-750 class hours) and includes languages like French, Italian, and Spanish
  • Category II takes approximately 36 weeks (900 class hours) and includes languages like German, Swahili, and Indonesian
  • Category III takes approximately 44 weeks (1100 class hours) and includes languages like Hebrew, Greek, and Russian 
  • Category IV 88 weeks (2200 class hours) and includes Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean

Methodology

To find the best online language classes, we analyzed over 59 different language learning providers. We evaluated each based on their curriculum, teacher certification and instructional hours, availability, ease of use and platform navigation, user reviews, available technology, instruction approach, use of native speakers, and overall value for the cost of the classes. These factors helped us assess the full scope of each program and how well it delivered on the promise of teaching students a new language. 

Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Journal Deutsch am Fremdsprache. "2021 Use of rosetta stone application as online learning media in learning german for tenth-graders of language studies major at sma laboratorium UM."

  2. MIT News, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Cognitive scientists define critical period for learning language."

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