ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Different Approaches to Learning a Language

Updated on October 10, 2017
HabbyStuff profile image

A massive fan of languages and language learners, being one myself.

1. The Grammar Oriented

Starting with grammar is a great approach for those who like logic and rules. Learning and consolidating the rules of grammar will help you feel that you have a grasp on how the language is structured and will provide a great base for further progress.

The main attribute of this method is that knowing the 'secrets' behind the composition of sentences and their contextual use in the language will eliminate the frustration that may come with just accepting things just because 'that's how things are'.

This approach is sometimes labelled as the 'textbook approach', and although they are a great resource, there's no reason why you should be restricted to only one medium. The same content can be found on websites, blogs, applications and even in video format! You just have to do your research to find the ideal medium for you.


2. The Vocab Mania

A wide range of vocabulary is an undeniable sign of a great grasp on the language. In fact, in certain situations, word choice might make the difference between a good speaker and a great one. This is what is so appealing about the vocabulary-oriented approach to learning a language.

It is particularly practical if your target language is from the same language family as a language that you already speak, because you will feel like you already have a basic knowledge of how this family of languages works. For instance, a Spanish speaker looking to learn Italian will find the vocabulary-oriented approach very productive and handy because they are already familiar with other aspects of their target language, such as grammar and sentence structure.

Tips:

  • This will be a comfortable method for those who love flashcards! Some good online resources that focus on building up vocabulary are Memrise and Tinycards.
  • It's a great idea to do some thorough research to find more specific vocabulary lists (possibly made by native speakers) that will take your knowledge to the next level and help you connect with the cultural aspect of your language learning.
  • Finding the right vocabulary lists can help you achieve that 'fluency' element, where you don't typically sound like a foreigner. Look for slang words, think of topics you would want to be able to talk about but never learned the correct words to do it (finance, environment, global issues, education, sciences...).
  • Learn idioms! Some of them may sound archaic to the native speakers, but countless ones are used more regularly than you think. Know the difference between the two, and learn to use them like a native.

3. The Full Immersion

This is the approach language learners take when they want to learn without feeling like they are putting effort in. In other words, they consume entertaining content in their target language instead of consuming textbooks. These language learners will do all they can to transform their daily interactions with language into language learning opportunities. The music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, videos, books, etc., that they expose themselves to will all likely have something to do with their target language.
Although it may not be the best option for beginner (because they are yet to acquire the grammatical knowledge that this approach somewhat disregards), it is a great method for intermediate or advanced learners who feel like they have reached a plateau in their target language. The obvious bonus that comes with this approach is the immediate ability to use what has been learned in daily life, without the risk of sounding like a foreigner (because you used too much of a formal phrase in an informal setting, for example). It is a noticeably remarkable way to learn loads of useful vocabulary in a fun way, without the hassle of flashcards, which some people dislike.

The Most Effective Way?

Determining the most effective method of learning a language depends firstly on your preferences and secondly on your level of knowledge of your target language.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Use your strengths to you advantage. If you are an auditory learner, you will respond better to content that requires the use of sound or listening, such as music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. If you are a visual learner, use colorful notes, videos and movies. If you are more of a verbal learner, focus on the use of words in both speech and writing. Note: This is not to say that you should limit yourself only to a certain kind of content. However, focusing on the content that helps you learn in the most efficient way will certainly allow you to see progress faster. Tip: You can read more about styles of learning to identify the best approach you should take while studying your target language.
  • Beginners may underestimate the importance of grammar in their language learning journey. It's helpful to establish a sound grammatical knowledge in the beginning as this will open up new opportunities for growth. Note: In some languages, grammar is more important than in others. Get an idea of how the grammar in your target language functions so that you can direct your learning in the most efficient way.
  • If you've been learning your target language for a while but aren't yet sure of your proficiency, don't be afraid to explore opportunities outside of your textbooks. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you can always take it gradually. For example, you can use subtitles while watching movies in your target language, and then get rid of them once you feel more confident.
  • Try to make your learning journey all-encompassing. While you should give special care and attention to the elements of the language that you struggle with the most, try to regularly review your previous knowledge so that all you have ahead of yourself is progress.

© 2017 H Bakerley

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JanisaChatte profile image

      Janisa 

      8 months ago from Earth

      I think the best way to learn is to incorporate the language into your life, without suffocating yourself with the language. It's helpful to learn some vocab and grammar basics and then move on to something fun that'll keep you motivated. Music is a great place to start. Even without understanding much you get used to how the language sounds and get exposure to it

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)