Setting out to learn a new language is one of the most exciting — and challenging — projects you can undertake. The time-consuming nature of language study can make it an especially tough task for adult learners, and as a result, it is easy to assume that learning a language on your own will be the best course of action. Often, new learners will jump headfirst into the process: buying books and audio guides, downloading language learning apps, and even investing in learning tools like Rosetta Stone software.
But for all that early enthusiasm, many learners report that they lose steam quickly, or do not feel like they are making real progress. If learning a language on your own is not working for you, you are certainly not alone. Here are three reasons why learning a language on your own isn't working or going as well as you have hoped — and how to get back on track.
You Have Never Studied the Language Before
If you have not had any prior exposure to the language you are beginning to study, it is not the best idea to try to learn it entirely on your own. Without any familiarity with the sounds or the structure of the language, it will be extremely difficult to dive right into independent study. Instead, taking an introductory course, either in a classroom setting or online, will help you to build the basic skills that will be essential if you are to successfully move forward into more advanced reading, writing, and speaking. The bottom line? If there is a "right" time to try learning a language on your own, it is not at the very beginning of the process. Having a solid foundation in place to build upon can make all the difference as you work toward mastering another language.
You Are Not Getting Enough Speaking Practice
Books and apps are fantastic tools to help you build your vocabulary, improve your reading comprehension, and get a grasp of basic sentence structures in another language. What they are less helpful with, however, is improving your spoken language skills. If you want to become truly fluent, you need to be able to speak the language properly in a variety of real-world situations and contexts. Speaking the language aloud also helps you to better understand the way that sentence elements work together and teaches you to adjust tenses and forms in the moment. If you feel like you are hitting a plateau while learning a language on your own, it may be because you need an environment where you will get more speaking practice. Enrolling in a language class or seeking out a language exchange partner in your area will allow you to gain valuable speaking experience and improve your skills.
You Need More of a Routine
It is okay to admit it — you have a life, and it does not completely revolve around your language study! That is natural, and it need not be a hinderance to studying another language. Although your busy schedule might be the reason behind trying to learn a language on your own in the first place, it can also be the reason you are not making as much progress as you would like. Learning a language requires consistency and routine. To see real results, you will need to commit to a language learning regimen and follow it, and that is easier said than done. If you begin to feel that learning a language on your own is not working anymore, adding an online or in-person course to your language study could be the answer. For many language learners, having a scheduled block of time each week when you are expected to attend class, complete assignments, and focus on nothing other than the target language can be the hidden key to faster progress and longer retention.
If learning a language on your own is not working for you, CORE Languages can help! Contact us to discuss online and face-to-face course offerings in your language of interest and stay on track with your learning goals.
Or simply go to our store and purchase your chosen language package.