Of course, language learning success depends mostly on the learner. But what about external factors? What does a keen language learner need most of all?
The answer is interesting language content. What constitutes interesting content will depend on each learner, and even on the changing interests of each learner. But the best way to learn another language is through interesting content, listening, reading and building up vocabulary.
There are at least ten reasons why learning languages through meaningful content is preferable to attending class, studying grammar rules, or trying to speak your way to fluency.
It’s easier – You just listen and read. You start with easy content and advance to more difficult content, on your own timetable.
It’s more effective – You can concentrate better on noticing the language, if you are not interrupted by teachers, other students, or yourself trying to speak the language. Most successful polyglots only rely on content based learning.
It’s cheaper – You do not need to pay for a school, or travel anywhere. You can find all the content you need on the internet, at libraries, on television and radio.
It’s portable – You can carry your language learning with you, wherever you are.
It’s less stressful – You are not forced to find words and to try to express yourself. You do not need to remember grammar rules nor do exercises.
It’s more interesting – You choose what content to learn from. After the initial beginner content, you can quickly move to things that interest you, sports, pop culture, current events, hobbies, literature or whatever you fancy at any given time.
You can study for life – Once you know how to learn languages from content, you can continue doing so throughout your life, whenever you want. You can achieve whatever level you desire in a language.
It’s easier to study more than one language – You have more freedom to choose when to study, and to dabble in more than one language.
Your mistakes don’t matter – Once you realize that you do not need to understand perfectly at each stage, as you progress in the language, you just sit back and enjoy. What you get out of your listening and reading is your own business. No one is standing over you and correcting you.
You decide when to start speaking, and when you do, you tend to do well – If you can understand well, and if you can read for enjoyment, your speaking skills will quickly catch up. Trying to speak before you understand is a far more arduous task.
I look forward to adding to this list. Please let me know more reasons why the best way to learn another language is with interesting content.