Five Language Learning Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of 

Five Language Learning Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of 

Learning French? Tired of the usual suspects one finds online and on smartphone apps? These five under-the-radar language-learning platforms offer different approaches to challenge you on your journey to learn le Français.

As a language teacher, I am always searching for new ways to build fluency with my kiddos in whichever language I happen to be teaching that day. While the usual suspects like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are fine, they don’t provide the kind of practice I am specifically seeking when it comes to their daily lessons. While on the hunt for authentic resources that give my students real world materials in a fun way, I’ve come across these five sites that I use at least once a week in class.

Despite being used in my middle and high school classrooms; they are sites for all language learners no matter your age or level. When you are first starting out, even the most elementary materials are helpful. Each of the sites are completely different and relatable, making the material indispensable for someone seeking a well-rounded language education. No matter what level you may be at, try out one of these fabulous sites to help boost your French language learning. 

*Just a little note, I am not getting paid for including any sites below and just truly love the sites and their content.


My students LOVE listening to music in the target language and once a week we listen to school appropriate artists and then discuss their songs and music videos. Before stumbling upon LyricsTraining, I used to copy the lyrics down for each song that had words that were sung slowly and enunciated clearly. I would then print them and cut them out into clusters depending on the students’ level. In class, students would find a partner and, while listening to the song, try to piece together the lyrics in the correct order. It’s tricky, but fun and the students would get quite competitive. While I love this activity, it is A LOT of work to prepare, especially if you are continually using new music.

Enter LyricsTraining! With 13 different languages to choose from, learners can select which language they are learning and at what level to be taken to a page with current and popular songs accompanied by their music videos. When you are ready to start the game, you hit play and the video begins. Below the video, lyrics will appear, showing gaps where the learner must fill in the blank with the correct word they’ve heard. You can go back and listen to a missing lyric as many times as you want or skip the word all together if you aren’t able to understand what is being sung. At the top of the screen, a banner keeps score, marking each lyric filled in correctly and showcasing how many words were missed or skipped. This is one of my absolute favorite language websites, keeping the learning process fun and current.

Often, my students will then leave class and continue to research their favorite artists from the activity and, in their free time, listen to more music in the target language. To have students explore the language and culture outside of class not only attests to the site’s functionality but is the goal of any teacher for their language learners!  

© Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on

The Fabled Cottage 

Labeled as “bilingual tales for language learners”, The Fabled Cottage takes well known stories from your childhood and turns them into interactive lessons, including text, audio and video. Featuring French, Italian, German, English and Spanish languages, learners can read along while listening to fairytales, clicking on chunks of text to reveal the story in their native language for clarification along the way. Some stories are free, while others have free chapters that are available for learners. To have full access, language learners can pay $19.95 for three months of access or $39.95 for a full year.  

Want to continue learning even after the story is over? Many of the stories also include a “classroom activities” tab that includes activities, worksheets, and extra resources to take your language learning a step further. Broken up between school levels (elementary, middle and high school), each section has downloadable activities to further your language exploration. 

I like picking stories the students are very familiar with, that way if there is a part in the story with words they don’t know, they still understand from prior knowledge of the story what is taking place and can potentially guess a certain word meaning. I then ask students to guess the meaning of any unknown vocabulary words, which we go over and clarify after the story is complete.

© Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on

News in Slow

Depending on what language you are learning the title changes. News in Slow French, German, Spanish or Italian is an incredible resource for any language learner who likes reading and listening to current events, but at their respective level and speed. The beginner level is broken down into two categories: world news and politics and science, art and culture, while the more advanced you get, the more topics of news you have to choose from with new episodes being released every Thursday. 

Along with the ability to keep with your weekly news while learning, the site offers extra help for learners through their “grammar and expressions” tab. Under this tab, learners will find a beginners road map, which is a guide to help solidify the basics by using different stories, quizzes, and other resources.  

For the more advanced learners, you will also find pages dedicated to perfecting your pronunciation and breaking down a lot of those tricky French expressions that don’t literally translate.  

What I really like about this site is that it really could be considered a “one stop shop” for language learners. From covering up-to-date news topics at levels that meet the learners where they currently are, to helping debunk bizarre phrases/expressions and giving students a place to practice grammar and speaking at all levels, the site is an all-around mecca of information and practice for serious language learners.  

Learners can choose between full access, which is $22.90 a month or audio access, which is $6.90 a month and only includes all audio and entrance into their live conversation rooms. If you aren’t sure you’re ready to make a commitment to a full access subscription, however, the site does offer a seven-day trial for you to see if you like the content and material before committing fully. 

© Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on


Tandem is a site that allows language learners to connect with people from all around the world in order to participate in a language exchange. To begin, all you do is enter which language is your L1, or first language, what language you are learning and what level you are. Then, people from all over the world who speak that language who are learning your maternal language will view your profile and connect with you to begin an exchange. Accepting or replying to the exchange is not mandatory if you feel as though the person trying to connect doesn’t fit your language needs, but you have the option of shooting them a few messages, via text or voice message, to decide if they are a good fit. For someone studying French like myself, it is fun to connect with people from many different French-speaking countries and learn about the diverse dialects and the cultural aspects of each country like: music, books and TV shows.  

When I first started teaching, I sought out experiences for my students to connect with real speakers their own age all the time, usually coming up short in the end. With Tandem, my students get to connect with teens from all over the world, while practicing their language outside of class and learning up-to-date slang and text lingo, which they absolutely love. 

With almost 40 different countries/languages to choose from, making new friends and creating a language exchange Tandem literally opens up the whole world to language learners looking to make a real connection with native speakers.

© Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on


There is no way to get around it, the ability to conjugate verbs automatically is a major part of using a language successfully. It’s the not-so-fun grunt work learners must do in order to feel comfortable and confident speaking in organic situations. I use the website Conjuguemos in my classroom at least once a week in order to practice verb conjugations with my students. What is nice about this site is that you can also use it for a review of vocabulary words, grammar and listening as well. I usually use the “graded practice” activity which flashes different vocabulary words or verbs on to each student’s computer screen, having them define the word or write out the conjugation correctly before they can move on to the next word. The game keeps the score for each participant, allowing me to see who is struggling the most and with which words. While speed and accuracy are the goal, the repetition of the material allows students to gain not only fluency, but confidence. 

The site also has other games you can play as a class or assign, allowing students to play alone or in groups for the ultimate study session. Students can register for a free account on the site while other learners do have access to the site for free, but with a strict limit on how many practice activities they can create. To have full access, users can pay a subscription fee of $45 a year, which is well worth it.  

© Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on

Did I skip one of your favorite websites for language learning that aren’t well known? Make sure to share in the comments below for other learners to try!  

Happy Studies!  

Lead photo credit : © Rachel Lipko / AI-generated on

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Rachel is a 30-something freelance writer who spends her time split between her holiday home in Provence and her busy life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On her blog,, she shares her musings about settling into her French life.

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  • Liz Spannraft
    2024-05-01 05:25:18
    Liz Spannraft
    I have been using Duolingo thru my library(USA). I think it is really for kids but I'm learning a lot about proper grammer too. Has written, verbal, and reading components. It is not really for traveling language but daily living activies. It is free for the basic.