Can you recall a situation where you’ve been sitting in the classroom during a language class, thinking about how ineffective this old-schooled method is, or how much you want to learn a new language yourself, but don’t seem to find the “how” part of your wish-chain? Well, if your answer to this thought is a positive one, then good news for you, here a few of the most effectively working self-study methods are ready to come to your rescue.

self-study language

There are a few rules you need to keep in mind, though:

Rule #1: there are a lot of methods, so don’t be scared to fail while trying some of them,

Rule #2: everyone’s learning styles differ from each other, so you can’t blindly trust your friend’s method to work the same way for you.

Ideally, these are the two of most important aspects while learning a foreign language all by yourself. So let’s quickly break these thoughts down while simultaneously combining them.

First and foremost, choose your method wisely. Because there are people who grasp the information better through listening, while there are ones who prefer reading, others find watching movies to work better for their memory. The point is, to understand what kind of learner you are to easily conquer all the barriers of the new language and come out as confident as a native speaker.

Secondly, to help you out, these are some of the best-proven methods to work for a lot of linguists.

Method #1 is called 

Self-study methodIt is widely used all over Europe and learners seem to be very competent in reaching their goal using this method of self-studying. The book is available in over 40 languages which will most likely please everyone. One of the key pros this method holds, according to a lot of users, is the minor grammatical interruptions, since grammar is not considered to be the most “fun” part of the language. Also, the method provides audio entirely in the specific language you are studying. So if you are thinking how to improve your language skills, you might want to take a look at this.

Method #2 is Teach Yourself

teach-yourselfSimilar to the previous method, and basically most of the language learning methods in general, it is again a book with dialogues, some grammar, vocabulary, and CDs. Also, Teach Yourself course has 5 levels and is available in more languages: 65 to be more precise. It might be more fast-paced for some learners, yet work effectively for others. Also, it is proven to be more interactive to make the process more interesting.

Method #3 is, respectively, Pimsleur

self-study methodd

This method, being a bit different from the above-mentioned ones, is audio-only. Basically, you listen to the vocabulary, the dialogues and repeat them. This method includes  a total of 50 languages and is proven to work well for learners that best memorize through mostly listening and repeating. It does work for the purpose of sticking the new phrases and words to your memory fast, however, it sometimes lacks the part of reading/visualizing the content memorized.

Method #4 is the Michel Thomas Method

self-study methodFor the listening-lover type of learners, there’s good news since this method is again audio-only. However, the difference between Michel Thomas and Pimsleur methods lies within the structure of the courses. Michel Thomas method is real-time class voiceover with a teacher and a few students. You hear them explain the topic, grammar, vocabulary, ask questions, etc. This fact makes the method move at a realistic pace, which is a plus and greatly helps you get the hang of  the language and a solid general idea about it. Since no such course can be flawless, unfortunately, this method includes only 13 languages. So if you wanted to learn, for instance, Korean, sadly you will have to look for another method.

Method #5 Living Language


A printed book+audios+online version make this method a very commonly used one with a lot of good reviews. This happens to be one of the most affordable, all-inclusive, a little bit “traditional”, yet effective ways to study a foreign language on your own. It is available in almost 30 languages, has a lot of useful explanations to make the process faster and easier for you.

Talking about a few of the most well-known methods that have helped lots of people learn and even become fluent in different languages might not be enough to get the full experience of feeling confident to actually use the language. Some of these issues can be tackled and solved by different great alternatives such as watching movies or different programs if you don’t have the chance to talk to a native speaker.

One option, and truthfully one of the best ways, could be to watch such shows as TED Talks, which are highly recommended and used all over the world. As of May 2013, more than 1500 TED Talks have free-access on the Internet for all users. The way you can practically benefit from TED Talks concerning language-learning is that almost all the Talks are translated into more than 40 languages. So if you watch the video once in the language you know, then add the translated subtitles, you will definitely start memorizing the new words and phrases, associating them with the text you already have an idea about.self-study methods

If your concern is that you are trying to learn a foreign language that is less likely to be taught in school and is a bit on a more difficult side, let’s say Korean, then maybe you should look for methods that are specifically made for Korean, or watch Korean movies (which let’s not deny have become so popular lately) with subtitles to better understand the word usage and pronunciation.

If your case is even more rare, as in learning a language that is even less commonly taught, than Korean, then again and without hesitation, you have the absolute freedom to find help from the Internet. Ther
e are so many websites, mobile apps, blogs, online dictionaries that will gladly assist you during your journey of learning a Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL). Some examples of them might be Lingua.lyGLOSSDeclan and so forth.

However you decide to self-study a new language, whichever method you find that suits your needs, the best tip no one teaches you in school is the motivation you should have to drive you forward towards learning new languages one by one just like a pro and practicing it as much as you can, whether it’s through movies, music or literature.

Challenge yourself to learn a new language

Challenge Yourself to Learn a New Language

**Note: The newest Add1Challenge starts on March 9th 2015, and registration is now open ...

language learning tips

7 Language Learning Tips They Don’t Teach You In School

Studying grammar books and having conversations with native speakers are classic ways to learn and practice ...

less commonly taught languages

Solutions for Less Commonly Taught Language Learners

Today we have a very interesting guest post from Meredith, a linguist who did her ...

learn language through ted talks

How To Learn a Language Through TED Talks

Today I’d like to share with you a fantastic website that I’ve been using ...

best language software

The best self-study language method? Part 2/2

  Welcome to the second part of my post on the “best” self-study language ...

book in front of an earth globe

The best self-study language method?

There are a lot of self-study language methods out there, and for the person ...

Motivation and habits when learning a skill – Part 2/2

    This is part 2 of my post on motivation and habits—for part ...

Motivation and habits when learning a skill – Part 1/2

  Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it ...

The Art of Inventing Complexity in Language Learning

I was recently reading one of Scott Young’s blog posts which he wrote a ...