What is the best way to learn a language and how long will it take?

Time Management

By: Harriet Cook

What is the best way to learn a language and how long will it take? Questions like this are almost impossible to answer. People learn languages in all kinds of ways, rarely considering what their objective in doing so is. Perhaps you travel for work and want to speak to your colleagues, perhaps you enjoy going on holiday and meeting new people, perhaps you are in the military and want to perform a few very specific military tasks using that language or perhaps you're an academic wanting to read scholarly articles in a specific language but with no real interest or need to develop conversational skills.

All of these examples above represent learning a language, but they represent different objectives. This means that to achieve them we need to do different kind of work, undergo different sorts of training and dedicate different amounts of time to the process.

In our Time Management for Language Learning resources, we explore how you can go about defining your objective and then embarking on the process of learning what is required to achieve it. A lot of failure in language learning comes down to poorly defined or even undefined language learning objectives. Once you have a well-defined objective in place, it becomes much easier to set up a training programme and a set of progressions to help you achieve the levels of fluency you want.

Below is a brief introductory to our main course in Time Management for Language Learning which is completely free to subscribe to here.

Our course in Time Management for Language Learning, available on our website here, starts off by defining fluency in a practical sense, breaking it apart into its three main components: structural, ritual and cultural fluency. Total fluency is a combination of these three different components, but you might not need all three to achieve your own specific language learning objective.

We move on from defining fluency to look at how to create a personal objective in language learning and at the end of the course, we look at how you can work back from your objective to determine a clearly defined training progression. You can subscribe to the course for free HERE.

If you would like to read more about how best to manage your time when learning a language, we have also published some blog posts on the topic:

  • The Sawtooth of Time Management - learn more about the three elements that comprise the sawtooth of language learning, the point of the tooth, the body of the tooth and the base of the tooth.
  • Shaping targets in language learning (a guest post for ELT jam) - take a look here for a list of questions you can ask yourself before you start setting your language learning objective.

Finally, if you have any questions about setting your personal learning objective after going through our Time Management for Language Learning course, please feel free to get in touch with us by email and we'll be happy to help.

Back to blog