Language learning
What is it?     What you need     Getting started     Find out more


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What is it?

  • Nearly every foreign language can be studied somehow - those most commonly offered especially in local classes are French, German, Spanish and Italian.

  • There is instruction available for complete beginners and for those with some knowledge already. 

  • Some people learn languages just for the fun and stimulus of getting to know another culture and people.  Others want to know more so that they can travel to the country concerned, either for pleasure or work.

  • You can learn in your own time, take a quick day or weekend course, or commit yourself to a longer programme of study. 

Find out more


See the organisations listed under Learning or one of the following specialists in the most popular individual languages.

Four Languages: Learn French, German, Italian or Spanish
Alliance Francaise  


See the magazines listed under Learning.

Getting started

  • Find a local group or club that covers the country and language that interests you (look for Town Twinning groups and/or see organisations above).

  • Take a class or course at your local adult education centre.  See if your local group offers introductory sessions or events.  Check magazines or the Internet for distance learning possibilities and language study weekends or holidays.

  • Consult books or magazines on different countries and learning different languages.

  • Check in your local library/paper or education centre for more information.

What you need

Skills and people
  • Anyone can learn a foreign language at any age and no special abilities are required. 

  • You can study a language at home on your own, or with a teacher and a group of people. 

  • There are many systems of distance learning (mail order, radio, TV and Internet based), as well as short and longer local classes. You can also go on language learning holidays, both in the UK and overseas.

Equipment or clothing
  • You will probably need some books (including a dictionary) and tapes, though it is possible to learn just from radio and TV programmes.

A place or facilities
  • No special facilities are needed, but listening to radio or tapes/CDs, TV or video can help a lot. 

  • Local groups usually meet in schools and adult education centres. Some of these may have language laboratory facilities to help you.

Have a go - get started now


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