My Top 3 Learning Methods

STEP 1: AUDIO

When that idea of learning a language pops in your head what is the first thing we all do? That’s right, go buy a book. This book will have grammar, example conversations, and the like. And for some people this is a good place to start. But when you think about how a child first learns a language it is the exact

This is you listening to your Pimsleur mp3s!

This is you listening to your Pimsleur mp3s!

opposite of ‘book learnin’. Now, of course there is a school of thought that says that as an adult we have an upper hand because we CAN read and shove in a lot of intentional information at once. I agree with this as well. But let’s say you don’t have a lot of time and you want to get started immediately? Then audio would be your best bet. There are positives and negatives to an audio only language course.

Positives

  • You start speaking right away
  • You get a chance to hear the language
  • You get more comfortable speaking the language from the beginning

Negatives

  • You will be illiterate
  • Your accent may not be as good as it could be

There are a lot of audio courses to choose from out there and I have tried them all. The best one that I have found that worked for me is Pimsleur.  Now, it didn’t get me to fluency but what it did do was get me used to speaking the language so that when I moved on to more material it all came pretty quickly. Pimsleur also breaks the words down for you bit by bit so that your speech will come more naturally. The repetition also begins to make phrases second nature – which is a major goal with language learning. It is not a complete language course alone though. But if I had only one to choose it would be this because it is so easy to build upon once you’ve finished it.  Also, for people who like learning languages they have so many for you to choose from.


STEP 2: Visual

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t learn a language from movies and shows. Is it easy? No, but it is doable and very entertaining.  Once I finished my Pimsleur course I got a TV series in German and watched it over and over. My German improved so rapidly that my friends noticed I was saying some really native things.

Positives

  • You are hearing native speakers and getting used to the language in its natural form
  • More entertaining
  • You will pick up slang and common phrases

Negatives

  • Unless you have a good beginners base some things may go over your head

So to do this you need the best of both worlds. That’s where Yabla comes in. They have a bunch of German shows, commercials, clips, etc and they have put them on their platform. The platform translates, allows you to speed up, slow down, hide translations, etc. So this is better than just watching a movie on

Interactive video using Yabla!

Interactive video using Yabla!

your own. This breaks them down for you so that all you need to focus on is learning. It’s another tool to have in your toolbox. I wish that I had known about it when I first started learning.  Could you use only Yabla alone? You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You should also incorporate some reading as well to keep you well rounded. I wouldn’t learn a language without using movies and shows. It would be silly to do so.


STEP 3: Reading

So you’ve started with Pimsleur and got that down. You’ve added Yabla and are ready to have something that works in tandem with that. That’s where Glossika

Example page from Glosskia German

Example page from Glosskia German

comes in. Glossika is most definitely for the the intermediate learner. Glossika will take you to fluency. It is a combination of reading and audio -the perfect mix. And if you’re doing Yabla at the same time you are hitting your brain with some rapid German so that gets you use to the language and colloquialisms. So what is Glossika? Basically it is a huge lists of sentences. These sentences are recorded for you by native speakers at varying speeds. You can work as quickly or as slowly as you want. But basically it is a brain blaster and if you are consistent you can get really reach fluency.

Positives

  • Lots of vocabulary and sentences
  • Path to fluency
  • Literacy

Negative

  • Difficult if you don’t already have a good foundation in the language

So what I’ve written above is the exact path that I took.
I began with Pimsleur and did their three month course. Then I started watching shows and movies. I didn’t have Yabla when I first started but if I did it would have been a lot more painless. Then in tandem with the Yabla I began Glossika. The trifecta right there. That’s all you need to get yourself to fluency.