A number of challenges face a student learning a foreign language, especially in a classroom far removed from where that language is spoken. The BBC has created an interactive and easy-to-use site that aids people striving to improve their speaking skills in another language. The site offers comprehensive lessons, from the beginner to the expert, in seven popular languages. There are also basic phrase guides for more than 35 other foreign languages. Students can start by testing their language levels with an evaluation quiz. The test is designed to identify the lessons, videos, and recorded conversations that will be most helpful in advancing the quiz-taker’s spoken-language and comprehension abilities. And, unlike many other software-based language programs, the BBC’s site is available to all, free of charge.
—Timothy M. Ebner