If you’ve decided to learn a foreign language, there are a number of helpful resources available. Many people want to know the best way to learn a new language, but this can be subjective based on a number of criteria.
While learning any new skill requires a time commitment, learning a new language is an investment.
Cost is a really important factor in selecting a language program. There are many different ways to learn a language and you can spend a lot of money or none at all.
Here is a look at the benefits and the costs of some of the most popular language-learning methods so you can make the best decision based on your budget.
There are several computer programs and software packages that can help you learn a foreign language. These programs include casual game-like apps for smartphones and tablets, free online courses, and fully-loaded computer programs that include dictionaries, flashcards and other traditional materials.
While you do have to pay for most programs, many offer a free trial so you can get a feel for what to expect before you purchase it, or you can stick with a free version of the program.
Language-learning programs are effective if you want to learn from home at your own pace. Here’s a look at some of the most popular programs.
- Price: The price varies depending on how long you take a subscription for. The longer you subscribe for the cheaper it gets. It can from £20 a month for a 3 month subscription to around £7 a month for 24 month subscription.
- CD-Rom and downloadable versions teach you to speak, read, write, and think in your Dutch on the go via mobile devices or at home on your PC
- Access to a language-learning community with live tutoring sessions where you can practice speaking with a live coach.
- Try before you buy: Rosetta Stone offers a free demo so you can try out the entire first level of the program before purchasing.
You'll have definitely heard of Rosetta Stone. It is one of the most well-known, widely used language-learning programs. The program uses different approaches to help you learn Dutch, so it is useful for pretty much everyone.
Learn more on the Rosetta Stone website.
- Price: 100% free. No in-app purchases, no paid premium version
- Language learning feels like a game. You have to log in every day to maintain streaks, gain experience points and level up. You can even compete with friends.
- Learn on the web, on apps, or both
- Lessons in reading, writing, listening and speaking
Duolingo works by gradually building up your knowledge. You work your way through levels and certain words will be repeated throughout the levels. Repetition is a proven way of learning a new language and Duolingo uses it to reinforce your learning. It's really easy to use and doesn't feel like real learning!
Learn more here.
- Price: Free to start with some subscription options
- Learn Dutch in small bitesize lessons
- The lessons are interactive and allow you to practice speaking also. The software has voice recognition so you can make sure that you are pronouncing the words correctly.
Babbel is another one that you've probably heard of. You can access on the website or on your smartphone. It's similar to Duolingo in that it uses flashcards and repetition for learning, but like Rosetta Stone, Babbel gives you access to an online community that lets you connect with native speakers of the language you are trying to learn.
You might find that you need some more guidance from a tutor rather than relying on apps and computer programs. There are many benefits to having a tutor or teacher when learning Dutch. A tutor can use their knowledge and experience to help you really understand the language. They will keep you accountable in your learning, making sure you put the work in, and will be able to give you feedback on how you're doing.
It's best to find a native Dutch teacher, so you can really hear how the language should sound! Here are some different ways in which you can learn with a teacher:
Many language centres and university extension programs offer group lessons. The price varies depending on the reputation of the school, as well as the size of the classes themselves. A community class might have cheaper options, while a well-known university extension program will be a bit pricier.
Besides the difference in price, take your learning style into account. If you learn better in a smaller environment, it might be worth the extra cost. You may also be able to get a better feel for the program by speaking with a representative or reading a course syllabus prior to signing up for classes.
Group lessons offer the benefit of face-to-face accessibility with an instructor. If you have questions or are confused about a topic, you can ask your teacher for help. Keep in mind, however, that teaching styles vary, and some students respond better than others to certain teaching methods.
When it comes to group classes, remember that individuals learn at different speeds. If you fall behind, you’ll still be expected to continue on at a certain pace. On the other hand, if you learn quickly or have prior experience with a language, you may be bored with repetitive lessons.
There are many schools and academic programs that allow you to learn Dutch online. There are some free classes available online, as well as language courses for University credit.
Some courses use microphones, audio, and webcams with an instructor to help you practice comprehension and conversation skills. If getting to class is an issue, online classes may be a better option to fit around your schedule.
Similar to live language lessons, online courses move at a certain pace. If you’re confused by grammar or vocabulary elements, you may struggle as the class continues to advance. Depending on the class format, you may be able to schedule extra sessions with the instructor, or start one-on-one tutoring outside of class at an additional cost.
Immersive Language Learning
Unlike traditional language courses, traveling to another country to learn a foreign language can be very expensive and there are many costs to take into account Consider basic travel expenses, and transportation for the duration of your stay. The price of housing will also vary depending on if you’re traveling as an individual or with a group.
Of course, there’s the additional cost of classes, whether in a group setting or one-on-one tutoring. These fees do not cover food, travel insurance, shopping/spending money etc.
Since intensive language lessons generally run for a few weeks to several months, these programs also require a time commitment. Despite the time and money, however, immersion forces you to practice your language skills daily in real-life situations, which makes it one of the best ways to learn a foreign language as you will be forced to use the language daily in real-life situations.
Traveling to another country is an unforgettable opportunity, and immersion is one of the most powerful ways to learn proficiency and in-depth of vocabulary. If you have the time and money to invest in a study abroad or immersion program, definitely do your research and determine if it’s a feasible option.
Online or in-person Dutch lessons with a private tutor offer the advantage of face-to-face instruction. Depending on your goals and learning style, your teacher will be able to adapt lessons to suit you.
Prices vary based on the lesson duration and the teacher’s rate; there may also be bulk lesson packages available.
While language lessons do require a certain level of commitment, you can find an instructor that fits your price range and your schedule. A language tutor can offer real-time feedback, and adjust the pace of the lessons to accommodate the student.
Even if there are not be many language teachers in your area, you can take online lessons and connect with a teacher using platforms like Skype.
If you want to learn a foreign language, there are a number of methods to choose from and several things to consider. In some cases, a combination of learning tools, like lessons and a software program for example, may be the best approach.