3 best ways to learn a language online

Most effective ways on how to learn a language on your own

Finding the best way to learn a language online on your own is a daunting task. You will find many resources, some will be free and most of them will cost you money, sometimes a lot of money.

However, there are ways how to learn a language online that are simple, effective and can be cheap as well.

I have spent many years learning foreign languages like English, Spanish, German and Italian on my own with free or paid resources I was able to find on the Internet.

Table of Contents

KEY RULES FOR LEARNING A LANGUAGE:

Before we dive into the 3 most effective ways to learn a language, you should know that there are 3 general rules when you want to learn a language on your own. These 3 rules are the following:

CONSISTENCY
DISCIPLINE
FUN

I know these rules are obvious when you look at them, but many people somehow disregard them when they embark on their language-learning journey and give up on learning a language pretty quickly.

Therefore I plead you to memorize these three rules by heart and keep them in mind when you are starting with your foreign language adventure.

3 important rules when you learn a langauge. Be consistent, disciplined and have fun. These 3 rules are essential when learning languages on your own.

4 MAIN LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Now that you know the 3 Rules you need to follow when starting your language studies, let’s focus on the 4 main learning activities that every language learner like yourself should know when trying to learn a language.

If you skip any of the 4 learning activities, you will not be able to reach a good level of fluency in your target language.

These 4 Learning activities are the following:

READING, WRITING, LISTENING AND SPEAKING.

If you want to learn more about why are these 4 activities so important in your language learning journey check out the general guide on how to learn a language.

Ok now you have the most important rules and basics down, let’s dive into the 3 best ways to learn a language online:

1) POWER READING METHOD:

This method is very effective especially if you generally like to read books, newspapers, comics, or any other written content that is out there.

Sounds pretty simple right? The learning concept is quite straightforward but not many people apply it in their studies. Here is how it should go:

For starters, you can pick a basic short story for kids that is translated into your target language. Go with something easy like some kindergarten stories or elementary school level.

There are multiple sites where I was able to find short stories for beginners here are a couple of examples:

 

ARBOLABC– Good source for Spanish stories

LEARNOUTLIVE Good source for German stories (beginner and intermediate levels)

 

These two are good examples of where you can start reading. There are many more good free sources where you can find short stories for your target language.

Now that you picked a story, to begin with, get a pen and a notebook and start reading the stories. You need to read them OUT LOUD.

It will be a bit embarrassing at first, you will make a lot of mistakes (Especally if you start reading French) but dont worry, that is part of the learning process.

First, you read a sentence out loud, you write down all the words you don’t know then you look them up in an online dictionary. You will write down the translation in your notebook and you will most definitely memorize the word.

 

You will be slow as a turtle at first, but gradually as you progress your reading will be faster, your understanding of the text you are reading will constantly evolve and your pronunciation will improve as well.

Most of the sites that have short stories have an audio version where you can learn how to pronounce most of the words. Repetition is key here, especially in the beginning. You will make your ears comfortable with the sound of the new language.

 

When you start to progress from simple elementary school stories to more complex books and news articles, it will be difficult to see how the pronunciation goes.

Luckily for us, there are tools online where you can check the pronunciation of the text you are reading. The one I use is called the NaturalReader. It has a free version which you can use for your studies.

 

The Power Reading Method is simple but you will need to be consistent and disciplined. One of the most important things is for you to choose the content that you enjoy reading. It can be comics, fantasy books, or history.

 

It doesn’t matter, as long as you are having fun while learning a language you chose.

2) AUDIO LEARNING METHOD

If you are not much of a reader but more of a listener then the Audio Learning Method is for you. It is based on similar principles as it is the Power Reading Method but it is more focused on listening activities.

 

We are living in the age of Spotify, Audible, and many other useful apps that give you access to online listening content no matter where you are as long as you have an internet connection on your phone.

If you decide to start with this method, your first step is to find a good source of podcasts and audiobooks with transcripts in English.

 

You will find a ton of resources available but also you need to have one thing in mind when you choose the resource to start with and that is the voice of the person hosting the podcast or narrating the audiobook.

 

This is very important trust me. If the voice of the narrator or host annoys you, puts you to sleep, or just sounds boring, you will give up on your new language very soon. So be careful and find the right resource for you.

Here are a couple of examples of good Spanish podcasts that have quality content and good structure but the voice is a subjective thing so I leave that for you to decide if they are worth it.

 

SpanishLanguageCoach

HoyHablamos

Warum Nicht

 

All these 3 are available on Spotify and are free of charge, get a subscription with them only if you love them but the free versions were good enough for me.

 

How do you learn with the Audio Learning Method? Here is how you will start.

Pick a podcast episode or a short story at the beginner level. Take your pen and a notebook and start listening and writing down what they say, go sentence by sentence if you have to.

 

Be slow and thorough, your listening speed will pick up in no time and you will be consuming knowledge like crazy in a few weeks. The beginning is the hardest part.

You will find episode transcripts in both languages there you will learn what do the new words mean. You write down these words and they will stay in your memory for later lessons.

 

 

Once you pick the podcast/audiobook you want to learn with, you will find out that the first and second lessons will be the hardest. After the first 2 lessons you will enrich your vocabulary with many new words and your understanding of the language will improve rapidly.

 

Along with your listening, you need to be writing down things you don’t know and what is also important you need to try and speak the things you have heard from the audio resource.

That way of learning covers the 4 main learning activities. You will occasionally need to look up a grammar lesson or two to have a better understanding of the verb conjugations or the sentence structure but there will be no long hours of cramming dry grammar lessons.

3) MOBILE APPS COMBO:

If none of the two previously mentioned methods fit your style. If you are a fan of interactive learning and technology then the best way for you to learn is to utilize language learning apps.

There are a ton of apps specialized to teach you how to learn a language and most of them have free versions.

The trick is here that you can’t just choose one app and expect to learn everything from it. Here is an example.

 

Duolingo (The everpresent green owl) is great to get you started and give you some basic structure and understanding, plus it is really fun at the beginning, but later on, it becomes boring and repetitive.

 

Memrise is great for learning new words and expressions but the free version of the app is very limited and I had a difficult time learning the grammar of the language through it.

 

Busuu is another example of a good language-learning app, but it doesn’t provide all the necessary tools for you to reach your desired fluency.

 

There are so many apps out there that have 1 or 2 great tools for learning but are seriously bad in providing other ways to learn a language therefore you must figure out a way to combine a couple of language learning apps into your schedule.

 

You can start with Duolingo to get warmed up, then use Memrise to learn and expand your vocabulary, and Busuu for some more interactive lessons.

Of course, there are a ton of other apps to try out, and most of them have paid subscription plans. The 3 apps I have talked about above are the ones that offer free versions with quality content.

The key here is to combine your learning on these apps in the best way that fits your schedule and preferences. You can do all 3 apps daily and spend like 10 to 15 min on each app.

If you are consistent with your learning efforts you will see notable progress in no time.

THE ULTIMATE WAY TO MASTER A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

The 3 ways to learn a language that I have talked about earlier are great and effective. But the most effective way to skyrocket your language learning is to combine all 3 ways when you learn a language. 

 

If you organize yourself and create a good schedule daily you will be able to combine all 3 methods into one and get the best results. You will be utilizing all 4 main learning activities at the same time.

 

I have created a learning schedule that works for me wonderfully. So you can check out the Language Guides section and find several guides tailored for specific languages and the best resources for learning.

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