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How To Choose The Best Language Learning Method
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How to Choose the Best Language Learning Method

Of all the great language learning programs available today, which utilizes the best language learning method? There are so many programs on the market today. All have some similarities but many have major differences in the method that they use to teach. When looking for the best language learning method, one must take several things into consideration.

· Does it hold the students interest? In order for a language program to be effective it must keep the student coming back for more on a daily basis. Learning a language is a little bit like learning a musical instrument. Constant practice and utilization of the skills learned make for great progress. The best language learning methods, aside from being very effective, are interesting, fun and at times a little humorous.

· Does it have relevant and extensive content? As consumers, when we make a purchase, we want to feel we have gotten the most for our money spent. A great language program gives the student an extensive vocabulary, understanding of grammar and sentence structure and ease in conversing in the language being learned.

· How easy are the skills being learned acquired? The best language learning methods make learning the material seem almost effortless. The content is laid out in such a way to make this possible. That is one of the things that keep the student coming back for more. The language is absorbed by the brain simply by going through the lessons one by one.

· Are proper pronunciation skills acquired? This is a must! When using your newly acquired language in a real life situation, the speaker’s pronunciation has to be correct to be understood and also to be taken seriously. I heard of one fellow who tried to order an appetizer in a restaurant in Germany and mistakenly asked the waiter for foreplay instead. He never did get his appetizer.

· How much should be spent on a great program? I have paid anywhere from under $100 to several hundred dollars for a program. I have used several programs and have not yet found that the program was not worth the money spent. Investing a few hundred dollars in a language program is not that much when you consider what you get out of it and if it is compared to the cost of a college course or a private tutor.

This leads us to the type of programs that are available today. In this article, I am not going to be talking about language schools or college courses that can be attended. They are not necessarily the best way to learn a language anyway. I am talking about methods that can be purchased and used at home at your own convenience.

1. Traditional Method – This is by far the least expensive method for learning a language. I used the Living Language Program and it cost under $100. It is a very effective way to learn and for many it may be the best language learning method. Also, if cost is a concern, this method and program may be the one for you. A supplemental audio program is necessary to reinforce what is learned in the book and to help with learning proper pronunciation. The Living Language Program has that. They also have a lot of content and grammar is explained very thoroughly in the book. This is a really good value for the money.

2. Online Language Programs – Online language programs are becoming very popular. The programs I have utilized are extremely effective and a whole lot of fun to use. The first online program I used was Rocket German. This program contains a great deal of information in it. Even more so than many programs that cost a lot more. Grammar is explained very well. The student is taken away on a trip to Germany with the hosts Niki and Paul. It is fun and often times humorous. The student not only learns proper German but also learns a lot of the local expressions that are not learned in other programs. The student gets a great value for his dollar. There is a 6 day free trial and the Rocket premium course only costs $99.95. The Platinum course is 149.95.

Another online program that I absolutely love is Live Mocha. I recently discovered this program and all I can say is wow!!!! Again there is a tremendous amount of content. The program keeps the student continuously wanting more. What is completely unique about this program is that aside from your regular lessons, you can interact with other students from all over the world that speak the language that you are learning. Not only do they help you learn the language you are interested in learning but you can also help them learn the languages that you are fluent. The cost of this program is $99.00 for a one year subscription. As I said, I recently discovered this program. I plan on giving a more detailed report in the future after I have spent more time with it. I suspect this just may prove to be the best language learning method.

3. Audio Language Programs – Most of the language programs available today have an audio supplement to go with them. But they are designed to reinforce what has already been learned in the program. The Pimsleur Approach is considered by many to be the best language learning method. The program focuses on 100% learning through audio. “When you know what sounds right, everything else is easy.” It truly gives you the ability to learn a language on the go. I found this technique to work very well. The student must constantly listen and respond to what is being said to him on the audio. The student must think and utilize vocabulary and grammar that he has learned in order to respond correctly. This works very well to give the student constant reinforcement and the ability to retain what is being learned. Retention of vocabulary and concepts is automatic through working through the program. I also found this program really keeps the student interested and involved. This program is one of the more expensive programs. Level 1 consists of 30 lessons that are about a half hour long at a cost of about $230.

4. Total Immersion Software – My search for the best language learning method began with a total immersion program. Through their very effective marketing campaign, just about everyone has heard of Rosetta Stone. This is a total immersion program. The student’s native language is not used at all throughout the entire program. The only language spoken or heard is the language being learned. It takes a little getting used to at first but it does work extremely well. Many feel this to be the very best language learning method. I found learning with this program to be unbelievably easy. I just worked through each lesson and before I knew it, the new vocabulary and concepts were in my head. The student achieves proper pronunciation because the program has speech recognition and only allows the student to continue when proper pronunciation is achieved. The program does start out very basic. For a beginning language student such as I was, it was perfect. As the student works through the program he will find that even though the sentence structure has become quite complicated, he understands it and has digested a lot of content. I found after completing the entire program, I had a very good understanding of the language I was studying. Although it is considered by many to be a little pricey, the cost has come down considerably. You can now purchase the entire five levels for $479. It is definitely worth the investment.

I must warn you of one thing to watch out for with these language programs. They can be addicting. I find myself staying up too late at night because I can’t wait to see what I will learn next. When I finish a program, I need to find other ways to satisfy my desire to learn. This desire is what brought me to seek out all of these programs I have mentioned in this article. Rosetta Stone is responsible for igniting this passion and the other programs are responsible for that passion continuing. Of all the methods and programs I have used, I have found Rosetta Stone's total immersion method to be the best language learning method.


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