To interact with humans and act in the world, agents need to understand the range of language that people use and relate it to the visual world. While current agents learn to execute simple language instructions from task rewards, we aim to build agents that leverage diverse language that conveys general knowledge, describes the state of the world, provides interactive feedback, and more. Our key idea is that language helps agents predict the future: what will be observed, how the world will behave, and which situations will be rewarded. This perspective unifies language understanding with future prediction as a powerful self-supervised learning objective. We present Dynalang, an agent that learns a multimodal world model to predict future text and image representations and learns to act from imagined model rollouts. Unlike traditional agents that use language only to predict actions, Dynalang acquires rich language understanding by using past language also to predict future language, video, and rewards. In addition to learning from online interaction in an environment, Dynalang can be pretrained on datasets of text, video, or both without actions or rewards. From using language hints in grid worlds to navigating photorealistic scans of homes, Dynalang utilizes diverse types of language to improve task performance, including environment descriptions, game rules, and instructions.