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Learning a Foreign Language

Updated on February 27, 2011

A Little About Me

As a native English and Spanish speaker, and a speaker and writer of five total languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Greek), I can assure you learning a second or third language is no walk in the park. To put it in perspective, I don't play video games or watch much TV, save for sports -instead studied linguistics- and have only learned three more languages (I grew up speaking English and Spanish). With that said, I have no PhDs or anything like that; just experience.
I will show you two methods to learn a new language and my opinion on them.

Greek Alphabet
Greek Alphabet

Method One: A Tutor

Hiring a private tutor is certainly the best way to learn a language. It is also the best way to spend thousands when all is said and done. A one-on-one tutor may charge over $100 an hour, but he or she will get the job done quickly and efficiently. The secret is conversing. Nothing will help you learn a language faster than constant conversation in that language or actually living where the language is spoken. While conversing, one is able to perfect accents, punctuation, and pronunciation.

Method Two: Online Courses or Buying a Software

Many websites and companies offer products to download onto your computer. You have probably seen commercials these products. A prime example is Rosetta Stone. These types of products range from up $50 to $500, depending on how many difficulty levels you purchase. However, compared to a tutor that is cheap. The select few of the products that truly work teach the student in an adult manner. Sounds obvious, right? I have tried Rosetta Stone and made no progress. Rosetta Stone uses a method that involves teaching the student a new language the same way he or she learned the first. It uses techniques parents teach their pre-schooler. The problem with this is that when we were three years old, we barely were able to think in English. All our learning was based on experience and discovery .For instance, when we were three, we knew that the big comfortable thing in my room is where I sleep. Soon we learned the word for it: a bed. Rosetta Stone, instead of telling the student the word for bed is 'la cama,' it gives 'la cama' in a sentence and lets the student figure it out. Seriously, I have never used phrases such as "the bed is comfortable, I sleep in a bed, my bed has a mattress." Just teach the student grammar, structure, and have fun exercises to practice vocabulary, speech, and grammar.

How I Learn

I start off by using a PC product online. I won't say which one because I don't want to endorse a product. After a few months of an hour or two a day, I begin to read bilingual books. One side has English and one side has the new language. After many months of reading and studying, I test myself. I go to a store or somewhere where the language is spoken and test my knowledge. For instance, when I learned Greek I went to a deli called Ohi (I guess for Ohi day). I will admit the first couple of times the guys laughed at me, but I went and did it.


Which language do you want to learn?

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    • the50marathons17 profile image

      Michael 7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Yeah I really bash Rosetta Stone in this hub, but thats just because it didn't turn out for me. For other people, including my mother, it seems to get the job done. Good luck learning Dutch!

    • tomsum profile image

      tomsum 7 years ago from Australia

      I do use Rosetta Stone, and I can see why people don't like it or consider it a waste of money. BUT it is very good for teaching you the names of things. As with anything I don't think there is "one best way" to do things. Different strokes for different folks!

      I only speak English and am learning Dutch. But it sounds like you are much more fluent then myself! I still have lots of work to do! :) Good write up!

    • the50marathons17 profile image

      Michael 7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      I'm sure for some people, Rosetta Stone works. For myself it was a waste of money. It was enjoyable, but the progress was too slow for a speed learner such as myself. Thank you for your comment

    • Stigma31 profile image

      Stigma31 7 years ago from Kingston, ON

      good information. I have heard a few people that have tried Rosetta Stone and they think it works great, but then I really don't know how much progress the really have made.