While I always advocate affordable language learning products over expensive alternatives, it is still difficult to learn a new language without spending any money whatsoever. The process is lengthy – usually very lengthy – and takes a lot of willpower and the diversification of resources. Lets face it; chances are you will end up spending at least a little bit of money on your project at some point.
What should you do to maximize the reach of your hard earned cash? Well there’s really no one answer to that. With oodles of programs and resources out there the outcome of your decisions is likely to be optimized for you and what you believe your personal learning style to be.
In order to find out what that might be I thought we could do a little bit of homework together.
Here, have some money!
I’m giving you a hypothetical $500 (460 Euros, 332 GBP, Sorry, not converting all the other systems for you) to play around with. Your task is to spend up to $500 constructing as many pieces of a well rounded language learning toolkit as you can, and then presenting your shopping list here in the comments section!
You don’t have to spend the full $500 but hey, it’s free, fake money, why wouldn’t you? I will be doing the same over the next week or two and will write a followup post outlining how my $500 would be spent.
Yes – before you say it – I’m well aware of just how far you can go for free but humor me in this.
You are free to determine for yourself what your optimal toolkit consists of. Some of the guidelines I like to use for myself involve my Primary and Secondary learning resource models. You can read the full article here but I can sum it up briefly.
Primary vs Secondary Resources
I – like most people – classify language learning aspects into four categories: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
A “primary” resource is one that focuses on three or four of these aspects to give you a larger, structured, well rounded single system. An example of this is classroom learning or a system such as Rosetta Stone wherein a learner is given at least some opportunity to practice all four. (That’s not to give preference to these products, they’re merely examples.) A primary resource can carry the bulk of your learning – at least hypothetically speaking.
“Secondary” resources are where your mobile apps and supplemental resources come into play. These usually focus on one to two aspects and typically cannot be expected to bear the brunt of a language learning project. You really can’t learn a language using only one of these tools, though you would be wise to incorporate as many as possible. These include products such as Memrise.
Some products are a bit more difficult to classify. Most language exchanges, while extraordinarily pivotal in language learning, could fit into either category depending on individual circumstances. A similar statement could be said about Pimsleur and a number of other products.
Lets go shopping!
In any case these are just a few guidelines that you can choose to keep in mind or not as you peruse your lingual grocery list.
You can fill your list with any items, subscriptions or services that fit into your budget. It can have as many or as few items as you like. Amazon has a wide range of products that you can check out including books, audio programs and a vast array of software.
When you’re finished just write your list here in the comments and we’ll compare and contrast! Looking forward to seeing what you find.
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