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The Most Effective Way to Learn a Foreign Language

written by: Saoirse OMara • edited by: Heather Marie Kosur • updated: 6/26/2014

Learning languages is no mystery. There are several ways to gain a good level in a foreign language. Which one is the most effective way? Foreign language acquisition depends on the learner's dedication above all.

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    There is no such thing as the most effective way to learn a foreign language as long as you can’t spend a long time in another country Studying a Language where that language is spoken. Yet, there are still effective ways to learn a new language.

    While one way might be the perfect way for one learner, another one might require a completely different approach. However, most learners can be categorized into two main groups: language learners with an oral focus and language learners with a written focus. If you want to get as close as you can get to the most effective way to learn, foreign language learning approaches have to be focused on the respective group.

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    Immersion

    Of course, spending a longer period of time in a country where the language is spoken is still the most effective way to learn a foreign language. You absorb the new language naturally if it is all you hear all day long. Staying with a host family during a school exchange or going abroad to work there for a while are both ways to learn a new language via immersion. You should have a basic knowledge before you move there, though. So what is the most effective way for you to gain this basic knowledge?

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    Oral Focus

    Language learners with an oral focus need to be able to listen to and speak a foreign language. Most language learners in this group are rather extroverted people. They like to use what they just learned in group exercises such as role plays. Therefore, a language course suits these language learners best.

    To find the right language course, however, isn’t really easy. The offers vary widely. Best results can be achieved in small groups. The teacher has more time for each one of his students and can concentrate on his individual students’ needs.

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    Written Focus

    Language learners with a strong focus on the written word tend to be introverts. They like to learn on their own and to figure out new grammar rules and other aspects of language without the help of an instructor. This type of language learners can achieve best results with a good self-learning book, grammar book, and dictionary.

    You absolutely need to have a look inside the course book before you buy it. Read the first chapter and another chapter from farther ahead. Is this what you have expected? Are the texts interesting and is the grammar well explained? Are there any exercises with solutions? If you can answer all three questions with yes, then the course might suit you. You will need a good grammar book as well as a comprehensive dictionary, too, for your studies. Make sure the grammar book is easy to understand and covers all important grammar topics.

    Advanced learners will find that the greatest improvement can be made through reading original books. It can be tedious at first but the improvement after just the first few chapters will be rewarding enough to motivate you.

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    What's Your Style?

    So, what is the most effective way to learn foreign language? It strongly depends on the learner’s personality which one may be the most effective way to learn. Foreign language acquisition is no mystery, though. Everyone can acquire some level of knowledge, even without the means to spend time in another country.

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