Is it so hard to learn on your own?

Can you learn foreign languages without courses

You want to learn a foreign language by yourself. What do you need to know?

Is it possible to learn a foreign language on your own via the Internet, applications, audio and written materials? Of course. For some. At least to a certain extent.

Are the majority of those who try, likely (and easily) going to keep up, speak out and succeed?
Absolutely not.

You can find great materials, such as: Duolingo, Pimsleur, BBC English, Rosetta Stone, Mocha. Or the famous audio courses of Michael Thomas. Most of them are really good. Today, as never before, it is actually possible to reach middle and higher levels of a language without a teacher, at least when it comes to some language areas.

Then why is it so hard to learn on your own?

Because we are not used to being 100% responsible for our own progress. Simply put, it is easier for us when someone encourages or “makes” us learn.

So, if you want to learn a language online or with some other materials, consider:

  1. One may be introduced to a language for hours and days, but language skills are acquired over weeks or months. And they take years to perfect.

  2. Get the resources that suit you best and don’t use more than 3 types of materials at the same time.

  3. Think about Pareto Principle: 20% of a language usually covers 80% of its usage, figuratively speaking.

  4. Look online for experiences of Anglo-Saxon bloggers who claim to have learned a number of languages that way – and they didn’t do well in foreign languages at an early age. Tim Ferriss, Mark Manson, Benny Lewis.

  5. Even though autonomy is a great thing, arrange occasional tutelage with a trained lecturer so they can help you clarify any ambiguities.

  6. Find a native speaker for conversation exercises.
Milana Vrgović
vrgovic@gmail.com