If you’re struggling to find the most effective way to learn a language, I can feel your pain. I’ve been learning three different languages for years. (I even tried to learn Hungarian, but all I can say now is “Kérsz kávét?” and “Van csokoládé torta?”)
Anyway, most of us need to try a couple of different language-learning approaches to find one that works. I’ve tried at least 10, although in different stages of life. School, self-study, flashcards, audio courses, books, apps, private tuition—you name it. And they all worked to some extent.
Some methods of learning a language are very effective but focused on a limited number of skills. For example, I believe you’ve noticed that grammar books won’t help you learn to speak confidently. Other approaches also have some flaws but can still be useful. So, where to begin?
Finding the Language Learning Method for You
You need a method to help you reach the desired level of proficiency. But it also needs to be compatible with your learning style—but not too much, or you might get stuck in your comfort zone. Here are some methods I tested and learned by trying them.
Immersion is all about being surrounded by the speakers of the language you’re learning. It puts you in a situation where you have no choice but to use all your powers to communicate in the same language as anyone around you, day after day. It enhances both speaking and listening skills and allows you to grasp grammar naturally.
The list of advantages is pretty long, but language immersion also has some disadvantages. The biggest one is that most of us can’t move to another country just for the sake of learning a language, and occasional travel is not enough to stay immersed long enough.
Language courses offer structured lesson plans that make sense. They are designed to help you with all critical language skills. Most importantly, they involve skilled language teachers.
On the downside, these courses can be pricey, not to mention an obvious lack of flexibility. Everything is based on a plan and not on your individual needs and capabilities.
Self-study can be as versatile as language courses, but it’s better suited for introverts. It involves using various resources like textbooks, apps, and video courses to learn the language independently. It is fully aligned with your needs, available time, and learning style.
On the other hand, there’s no teacher to track your progress, tell you what you’re doing wrong, and motivate you when it gets complicated and boring.
Language exchange is a cool new way of learning a language. Two people who speak different languages help each other learn their native language. Modern tech makes it easy to communicate with people from all around the world, and the experience can be fun.
There are also some cons. It’s virtually impossible to find a language exchange partner who knows how to teach the language. You can find a language teacher online and get private lessons, but that’s totally beyond the realm of language exchange.
This involves finding a native speaker of the language you are learning and practicing the language with them in exchange for helping them learn your native language.
Private Language Lessons
Having a language teacher who works with you individually and adapts to your learning style while using years of experience to get you to talk, write, listen, read, and dream a language is a fantastic option, but it is also the most expensive one. It costs way more than group courses, which are already costly enough.
It can be hard to find a tutor where you live, especially if the language they teach is in high demand.
Online Language Tuition
Probably the best solution for anybody who needs expert guidance in their language learning journey. Getting one-on-one lessons online is just as effective as learning in person but can be way more affordable.
You can find a top-notch teacher and pay less than you could imagine. On top of that, some of the best language teachers are just a few clicks away from you, and you might find an awesome one in a matter of minutes. Actually, you might want to find an online teacher now. LiveXP offers the best solution—subscriptions include all languages and all tutors on the platform. A student gets access to everything and can learn as many languages with as many tutors as they want. Good luck!