Strap on your DIY helmet. We’re diving into the do-it-yourself world of language learning, and it’s easier than you think! If you want to learn a language on your own but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got six key tips to help you along the way. Here’s a quick road map:
The keys to success when learning a language on your own
- Start with a game plan
- Identify the right learning tools
- Hold yourself accountable
- Find opportunities for conversation
- Make it fun!
- Don’t forget to review
No matter what stage of learning you’re at, this guide can help you hone in on essential practice opportunities and stay motivated to reach your goals.
Start with a game plan
While it’s true that every great journey begins with a single step, you have to know which way you’re going first. Before you tackle the basics of any language, take time to outline your objectives. We’ve compiled a helpful list of questions to ask yourself below:
- Why do you want to learn a language?
- What goals do you hope to achieve?
- What’s your desired fluency level?
Nailing down your high-level goals at the start of your language learning journey can help you determine practical details, like:
- Where can you pencil in practice time?
- What does your timeline look like?
- How much material do you need to cover each week?
Most importantly, it requires you to clearly articulate your long-term goals and better ensures that you’ll stick to them.
Identify the right learning tools
After creating your language learning blueprint, you’re ready to find the tools that best support your objectives. Consider what kind of learning you prefer (desktop or mobile? repetition-based or immersive?) as well as how you prefer to learn (alone or with other people?).
You’ll also want to make sure that the platform you choose has enough material to take you to the level of fluency you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re learning several languages at the same time or plan on learning additional languages in the future, be sure to choose a platform that provides as much variety and flexibility as possible.
Because you’re in control of your language learning journey, you have the freedom to leverage multiple platforms and modes of studying. As long as you’re engaging in thoughtful practice that builds on prior knowledge, you’re moving your skills in the right direction!
With 25 languages offered, Rosetta Stone checks all the boxes above and then some. The Rosetta Stone mobile app provides flexible, on-the-go learning, and Live Lessons videos, one of many engagement opportunities for every kind of learner.
Hold yourself accountable
Like any skill, you’re bound to hit obstacles in your language learning journey that can impede or slow your progress. That’s totally fine—and very normal! Maybe your schedule changed or your priorities shifted. To address the inevitable, successful solo learners build opportunities to hold themselves accountable in their long-term plans.
We recommend finding a learning buddy—perhaps a close friend or a colleague—that’s interested in learning a language alongside you. This can be especially useful in building your conversational skills and renewing your motivation when interest wanes.
You can also set aside time each month for yourself to review what’s working and what isn’t, and shift your plan accordingly. You may realize that you need additional review of certain concepts, or find that your morning exercise routine is the perfect time to practice the latest vocab unit.
Find opportunities for conversation
Once you’ve learned the basics, it’s time to start putting that knowledge to use! Reinforce what you’ve learned by practicing your vocabulary in real-world conversations. For more widely spoken languages, you’ll likely be able to find a friend or acquaintance who would be happy to chat with you in their native language.
If you can’t find anyone in your immediate social circle, learning a new language is a fantastic way to meet new people, both in-person and virtually. If you live near a university or community college, you can often find free, casual meet-ups through the language department’s website. Or, find a virtual language exchange partner to help someone learn your language!
Rosetta Stone’s 1:1 Live Tutoring is also a fantastic opportunity to build conversation skills while seeking additional support for topics you’ve been struggling with.
Make it fun!
Effective language learning takes a bit of structure and planning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while you do it. From movies to music, there are countless opportunities to increase your exposure to language while enjoying everything art has to offer.
We recommend taking your learning to the great wide world of streaming—learn while watching films dubbed or produced in your new language. Rope your friends or family in and watch a new foreign film every Friday!
If you prefer to relax on the commute home, put together a playlist of music that you can sing along to—and maybe learn some new vocab from—to get you through rush hour. And next time you bring a book to the park or the beach, try a novel or magazine that matches or challenges your level of fluency.
Don’t forget to review
Unless you’re living abroad and completely immersed in your language of choice, it can be difficult to keep up with the full breadth of vocab and verb tenses you’ve learned. Keep things fresh by building opportunities for review into your weekly or monthly practice schedule.
The more real-world experiences you have, the more you’ll be able to identify your trouble spots. If you’re chatting with your language exchange partner and find yourself forgetting the same words in conversation, jot them down! Conversations reveal what you do and don’t know, and give you the opportunity to address old learning material.
Regular review can also deepen your understanding of the language. Instead of spouting memorized phrases during conversation, you’ll likely be better at improvising and enjoy having a more natural dialogue.
There are some elements of language learning that are optional: you probably don’t need to cover that college-level vocabulary unit to hold meaningful conversations. The tips we’ve outlined above, though, are crucial to your success as a solo learner.
The good news is that it’s easy! With a bit of planning and discipline, you can reach every goal you set along your language learning journey.
Solo learning is all about freedom and flexibility, which is why so many learners choose Rosetta Stone as the foundation for their success. Choose a language, or dive into multiple languages at a time with Rosetta Stone Unlimited. Whether you’re learning online or through the mobile app, you’ll have access to features that support you at every stage——no classroom required!