If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know that Pimsleur is, in my opinion, one of the best resources for learning foreign languages. In fact, for me Pimsleur is so important that even when I’m just thinking about starting to learn a foreign language, the first thing I do is go to the Pimsleur website and look for the courses they have for that language. The fact that they have relatively short lessons (30 minutes), in which they teach you only a few new words and phrases, but recapitulate previously learned words and phrases, is a very effective method for me. But what happens when you don’t have or don’t want to spend 20$ a month on Pimsleur? Well, there are free alternatives. One of them is LT (Language Transfer).
Language Transfer is a suite of audio language learning courses that are 100% free and available to everyone on Soundcloud, but also on Android and iOS. It has courses in French, Swahili, Italian, Greek, German, Turkish, Arabic, Spanish and English for Spanish speakers, each course having approximately 10 hours of audio content. The courses start at the absolute beginner level, and the teacher starts with the most basic expressions and words. In some courses the teacher even has students, in a format that is similar to that of Michel Thomas or Paul Noble. Unlike courses like Pimsleur or Michel Thomas, however, Language Transfer does not offer as many quizzes and rehearsals as the ones mentioned above. It focuses on learning rather than repetition, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It must be borne in mind, however, that if it is an expression that you did not understand or want to write down, you must pause the track. Don’t expect the same expression to be repeated many times.
In addition, LT courses are not taught by native speakers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to keep in mind that what you hear is not a native accent, but rather the accent of a language learner like you. LT courses can sometimes have a confusing structure. For example, at the beginning of the Complete Spanish course, he teaches you words that Michel Thomas only gives you in the Vocabulary section, so after you have finished the 8 CDs from the Foundation. But hey, these disadvantages are minor since these courses are produced by just a handful of people with almost 0 budget, and are available completely free.
The platform is very simple to use, considering that it is just a site with some Soundcloud playlists. The site is mobile-friendly, so you can listen to the courses directly from the browser, without having to download any application. Their site also has the option to download MP3 materials, if you are on a plane or in other places where you don’t have internet access.
What I like about Language Transfer:
- It is completely free, available anytime and regardless of the platform (phone, PC, etc.)
- Lots of material, well organized, although teaching is done in a faster way than I would have liked
- LT offers courses for many languages, including “exotic” languages
What I don’t like about Language Transfer:
- Teaching is done in a fast way, sometimes too fast for me
- No native speakers