Learning a language today is more important than ever with integration, outsourcing, or simply learning for fun.
However, learning a language takes hundreds of hours. Many online resources allow you to learn the basics for beginners. But to truly progress, just like for any other skill, you’ll need to invest time and some money.
Read on to find out more about learning a language online and where you can learn effective techniques and strategies.
Reasons to Learn a New Language
The technological advancements of the world make learning a language more necessary with people of different backgrounds coming together.
Pew Research found that 92% of European students enroll in learning a new language via the classroom.
However, only 20% of students in the U.S. from K-12 enroll in foreign language classes. As a result, people in the United States are lagging behind Europe and the rest of the world.
In some European countries, 100% of the students will enroll in a foreign language class.
Let’s explore other reasons why it’s important to learn another language.
Learning a new language, especially a popular language in the U.S., can boost your marketability.
For instance, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the U.S. after English. Learning Spanish can boost your chances of getting a job in an area that may have a large Spanish-speaking population.
Many job openings may have “bilingual preferred” or “bilingual only,” which can reduce your chances of obtaining that job.
A study found that being bilingual may increase your earnings by 2%. While that looks small, it accumulates over time, and also, being bilingual may have increased your chances of getting the job in the first place, depending on your region.
Having a job where you can travel can be exciting, although people who know the language of the country they’re visiting will more likely be hired for that position.
Also, if you’re looking to be a frequent traveler, learning the language of the locals, especially to a country you enjoy traveling to each year, can be beneficial.
Get a Side Gig as a Translator
Side hustles are increasing more than ever, with the chance to earn more income.
Translators are hired as freelancers for transcribing or language interpretation.
Learning a new language can boost your income with increases in salary, marketability, and the opportunity to earn money on the side.
How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?
Most people agree it will take hundreds of hours to learn a new language. For some, it may be longer or shorter, depending on their background, learning ability, prior experience, and other factors.
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI), which is part of the U.S. State Department, categories various languages into four categories and estimates each class hours to obtain proficiency:
Category 1: Languages similar to English, such as Spanish, Italian, French, and other Romance languages. About 24-30 weeks or 600-750 class hours to be proficient.
Category 2: German, Haitian Creole, Swahili, Indonesian, and Malay are considered more challenging and may take 36 weeks or 900 hours to become proficient
Category 3: This category is for “Hard languages” such as Urdu, Slovenian, Hindi, Estonian, and much more. These languages have linguistic and cultural differences. It is estimated it will take 44 weeks or 1100 classroom hours.
Category 4: This category is for “Super-hard languages,” deemed difficult for native English speakers, such as Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin. It can take 88 weeks, which is 2200 classroom hours.
The earlier you start learning a language, the better, as it will take 600 to 2200 hours to become proficient, depending on the language you choose.
Popular Language Learning Resources Online
This section will cover some of the most popular resources to learn a new language online.
Duolingo is an app with free and premium features that aim to help those with vocabulary. It is best for beginners starting a new language, although it lacks context and is more about vocabulary than conversation.
Amphy is the largest platform for live learning. Learning language live is far better than learning from an app or recorded classes. In a live class your teacher can correct your pronunciation, tailor lessons to be relevant to your intention and interests, teach you slang and cultural details as well as help you stay engaged and committed to achieving your goals. You can also learn in group classes to get a more social learning experience.
Rosetta Stone is one of the most well-known programs to learn a language online.
It began with buying CDs in packages and has transitioned to online software.
Rosetta Stone is more interactive and allows you to use your computer microphone to compare your accent to native speakers. This also helps with your pronunciation. The company now has a subscription-based payment structure or a lifetime membership.
Rosetta Stone is also accessible on mobile apps.
Babbel offers interactive exercises, repetition, and a subscription-based model—similar to Rosetta Stone. Although, Babbel does not offer a lifetime membership.
Babbel offers 13 languages and is available as a mobile app for iOS and Android. So far, it has sold 10 million subscriptions.
The Pimsleur method is a popular language strategy from Paul Pimsleur, who was a linguist and a professor.
His method is audio-based, which is meant to help others with pronunciation and boosts memory recall.
He also researched the concept of memory and found that if you are introduced to a new world in intervals, you will eventually remember it permanently. This was later documented as the “optimal spacing of information.”
Pimsleur is now an online platform that teaches over 50 languages.
Through Skype or Zoom, people pay private tutors to learn languages.
However, this is the most costly strategy, as private language tutors can cost roughly $50 to $100 per hour.
Private tutors are good for conversations and practice, but they may not be suitable for everyone.
Learn a Language With Amphy Live Online Classes Today
Now that you’ve read our guide on how to learn a language online, the next step is to take action.
Consider choosing our live online classes where you can find a class for your preferred language, book a time that suits you best, and go live!
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced, there are classes for all levels. Enjoy a private or group class to learn a new language or develop one you already know.