Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences you can undertake. With so many different language learning methods and approaches available today, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Whether you are a beginner just starting out, or an experienced language learner looking to take your skills to the next level, there is a language learning method that can help you achieve your goals. In this blog, we’ll cover the top 5 of them so you can understand them and pick one or two that match your learning goals and style.

So, let’s just dive in and explore the world of popular language learning methods and best practices.

Table of Content

  1. The Pareto Principle
  2. Transcription Method
  3. TRP or Total Physical Response
  4. Task-based Language Learning
  5. MAAL or Mobile-assisted Language Learning
  6. Final Thoughts
  7. Read More:

1. The Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is also known as the 80/20 rule. It states that approximately 80% of the consequences come from only 20% of the causes. This principle came into existence after the name of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. He observed that there is a great imbalance in Turkey when it comes to land ownership. Because only 20% of the population owned 80% of the land in the country. Since then the Pareto Principle is used to illustrate this idea and concept that if you put your efforts in the right place, you’re sure to achieve significant results.

The principle today finds its application in so many contexts from time management and human resources to production, manufacturing, and more. Let’s talk about its significance in language learning.

In terms of learning a new language, it means that we should focus on the most commonly used words and phrases (20% vocabulary) in order to develop a large percentage of comprehension (80%) in a new language. This is because many cultures rely on a very limited number of words and phrases as a core vocabulary for everyday communication. English, for instance, is rooted in just 300 words which account for almost 65% of its day-to-day communication.

That said, you can use the Pareto Principle to manage your time effectively by only mastering the vocabulary and grammar that will help you communicate in a wide range of situations. However, determining what vocabulary and rules make up that core 20% isn’t an easy job. Also, you should note that the Pareto Principle will not help you build an in-depth comprehension of the language. So, it should not be the only approach to use for mastering a language, but consider other methods as well.

2. Transcription Method

The transcription technique is another great strategy to improve your language learning skills. It involves listening to spoken content and writing down what is said in the recording. For the purpose of learning a new language, this method can have two primary parts. In the first part, you’ll listen to a recorded message in your target language and type out everything you hear. In the second part of it, you will record yourself while speaking the content you just transcribed. The key is to repeat these steps to the extent that you have mastered all the text.

For language learners, transcription is a very helpful tool. Because it provides them a chance to practice listening, interesting vocabulary, and complex grammar in a real-world context.

Suppose you’re transcribing a conversation, you’ll definitely come across new words or phrases in context. This will not only help you learn vocabulary but also reinforce your existing knowledge. Additionally, you will come to realize the right pronunciation and use of words in context, thus improving your overall language comprehension.

Another good thing about transcription is that it requires active listening from the learners. For instance, if you’re in class and feel like you can’t maintain your focus then transcription provides you with active learning. It will push you to practice careful listening, attention to detail, and type out everything you hear. Thus, your mind will not wander aimlessly like the way it would if you were just reading or listening and not typing out the text.

What’s more, transcription gives you the opportunity to practice four different language skills all at once. These are listening, writing, reading, and speaking. So, it increases your learning curve and makes it much faster compared to other methods.

3. TRP or Total Physical Response

Dr. James Asher developed the TRP learning method in the 1960s. This method is based on the idea that if learners are engaged in various physical activities then language learning becomes much more effective.

In TRP, the teachers and instructors give verbal commands and instructions to students in the target language using their body movements. The learners then respond to this teaching method with physical actions. For instance, the teacher might ask students in their target language to just “stand up”. The learners in response will stand up. The same goes for various other commands and actions that gradually increase in difficulty and complexity.

The goal of the TRP learning approach is to create an engaging learning environment that combines both language and physical actions. What learners do is that they associate the meaning of different words and sentences with suitable actions. This makes the learning process more effective and memorable.

Young learners and beginners will find this approach quite useful. It helps build confidence among learners about using the desired language while reducing anxiety. Moreover, advanced learners can also use it to strengthen their grammar concepts and vocabulary.

4. Task-based Language Learning

Task-based learning is a healthy approach to learning a language that focuses on using authentic and meaningful tasks as a way to help learners acquire new languages. In this approach, you did not learn the language as a separate subject. You learn it as a tool for completing a certain task or goal.

In task-based learning, teachers and instructors create activities or tasks and define them clearly. But these tasks often involve a knowledge gap and learners have to bridge that gap by making use of linguistic resources at their disposal. An example of such tasks could be planning a weekend trip or ordering food at a restaurant.

N.S. Prabhu, the biggest promoter of this approach to learning a new language, highlighted the existence of three distinct types of gaps. Learners have to bridge these gaps using their language skills. The first is the information gap which involves the transmission of specific information from one to another. The second is the reasoning gap in which learners have to derive new insights or knowledge from the already given information. The third is the opinion gap in which a learner has to identify and express their personal preferences, feelings, or attitudes.

Now if we compare the task-based approach with other traditional methods of learning languages, then it definitely stands out. First, the learners get authentic language inputs and outputs which have higher chances of use in real-life situations. That’s how their retention becomes easy. Second, task-based learning works to develop communicative competence in the learners. Instead of just building their vocabulary and grammar rules, etc. Last but least, it lets learners choose tasks that intrigue their interests and needs. Thus they take an active role in fueling their own journey toward learning a target language.

5. MAAL or Mobile-assisted Language Learning

As the name implies, mobile-assisted language learning utilizes mobile devices to support and boost language learning activities. The use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has become increasingly popular in learning a language. It’s simply because learners already have access to and are using these devices daily.

Mostly, individual learners prefer this technique. They will access language learning tools and materials from the comfort of their mobile devices, no matter where they are. Hence, learning becomes much more flexible and there is so much convenience in acquiring new languages. Learners enjoy this method because they can study as well as practice their target language whenever and wherever they choose.

Unlike traditional textbooks, MAAL activities can actually take a number of forms, like mobile apps, videos, social media platforms, and podcasts. These tools provide learners with language content and practice activities while also facilitating communication with other language learners.

Moreover, learners get to choose activities and materials that align with their needs and interests. This helps create a personalized language learning experience. Also, this approach encourages autonomous learning by allowing learners to be in charge of their own learning. Plus, they are able to make progress at a pace that suits them.

In addition, MALL can offer opportunities for authentic and meaningful language use, as learners can engage in real-world language tasks and communication through mobile devices. This can help learners develop their communicative competence and increase their motivation and engagement in the language learning process.

Final Thoughts

Learning any new language could be a rewarding and enriching experience. The success key is to find a method or approach that works best for you and be consistent with it. Sometimes, even the most effective language learning methods yield no results because you don’t use them on a more regular basis. Similarly,

Similarly, you can use a combination of different language-learning approaches such as the transcription method, task-based learning, or any other aforementioned technique. You can also come up with various other techniques, methods, and best practices to reach your goals.

Just keep in mind that your success will depend largely on your learning style, goals, and individual preferences. Be a dedicated learner and show persistence. Make sure to set smart and achievable goals and practice regularly. You can also seek out help and resources that help you make steady progress in mastering your target language.

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