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Learning without a teacher

  Tags: Yiddish | Self-Study
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
20 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
Joined 2268 days ago

8 posts - 8 votes
Studies: Yiddish

 Message 1 of 20
13 March 2015 at 6:53pm | IP Logged 
Do people think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?
1 person has voted this message useful

Monox D. I-Fly
Senior Member
Joined 3614 days ago

756 posts - 664 votes 
Speaks: Indonesian*

 Message 2 of 20
13 March 2015 at 7:03pm | IP Logged 
I have been learning Japanese autodidactly since I was a 4th grader (about 15 years ago) and can only read Katakana, about half of Hiragana, very few Kanji, and understand several hundreds (?) meaning of words. Still don't know how to translate a full sentence without guessing first.
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3741 days ago

2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Creole (French)

 Message 3 of 20
13 March 2015 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
Yes. That's what this forum is all about. Many people learn a language on their own with no professional instruction at all. I used a tutor for Portuguese along with my own efforts, but not to "teach" me the language but to correct me and guide me along the way. it worked out quite well. I learned Spanish on my own, though I did have two years of it in high school which gave me an introduction. I learned Haitian Creole without any professional assistance at all.

You can too, even Yiddish. It's been done before.
5 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5076 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 Message 4 of 20
14 March 2015 at 7:16am | IP Logged 
I've never taken a single Finnish class.
6 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 2021 days ago

129 posts - 274 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Dutch, French

 Message 5 of 20
16 March 2015 at 3:36pm | IP Logged 
In the first stage of learning, or if you've never learned a second language before (as an adult), the initial learning could be the most difficult. And the right teacher can help. The right teacher. One who can motivate you and put you at ease.

After this initial hump IMO 90% of time should be spent in "consuming" the language. By whatever means is effective for you. Drink it up like it's water that's keeping you alive as if you are stranded in a desert. If you don't drink at all for a day or two, you will die. Approach the language learning like this to make real progress.

So if you don't have a teacher, can you still do it? Yes. With autodidactic methods I believe speaking is more difficult to self-teach yourself, but on the other hand, learning to read, write and listen are not difficult to teach on your own as long as you have the right discipline. It's kind of like working out. It's not like you NEED a trainer to go the gym and lift some heavy objects. OTOH the trainer can give you helpful techniques to get you started.

By the way when I learn autodidactically I find it personally helpful to repeat out loud what I'm hearing either by repetition or shadowing but THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEAN by "speaking". Speaking means hearing something you couldn't predict at all and then reacting to it instinctively to do some kind of communication. When we self learners do drills, shadowing or whatever, this is not "speaking". If you want good speaking then I think it may make most impact to get a tutor after you've reached some level of proficiency. Otherwise the tutor is going to be constantly trying to help you with basic understanding rather than speaking.

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Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3686 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 Message 6 of 20
16 March 2015 at 4:59pm | IP Logged 
Indeed, the forum is all about self-learning!

Some people here do work with tutors and find them helpful, some don't; the subject has been discussed a lot on here (most recently on the Moving from B2 to C2 thread which has covered practically every argument for and against). But those who do so use them as an addition to self-study, not a replacement. To get extra feedback and correction as iguanamon says, or to have consistent opportunities to practise what they're learning with a native speaker, or to prepare for a particular exam, that sort of thing. I don't think anyone here would argue that teachers are necessary or sufficient to learn a language; some just find them useful, and some don't.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Joined 2623 days ago

949 posts - 1686 votes 
Speaks: French*, English*, Spanish
Studies: Tagalog

 Message 7 of 20
16 March 2015 at 5:23pm | IP Logged 
Absolutely! I use tutors, but I ask them not to plan lessons. I lead all of my own learning with tutors, mainly using
them to practice conversation. Nothing that I do with tutors would be impossible with free language partners - it's
just that it's more time-efficient for me to pay someone to speak in Spanish for the full hour, rather than splitting
the hour down the middle.

I'm studying Spanish with the goal of C1 (and perhaps - someday - C2). At the beginning, I used a lot of free
resources for learners, including language partners. As soon as I could, I added in native material (novels, TV shows),
and now almost solely focus on consuming language through reading and listening, and talking to my tutors over

*edited to add more info

Edited by Stelle on 16 March 2015 at 5:28pm

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jason derek
United Kingdom
Joined 1948 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Studies: English

 Message 8 of 20
28 May 2015 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
I think it maybe impossible when you come across some hard language. I learned Chinese
but without a teacher's system teaching, I can only say some easy words and phrases. But
i have no time to attend a Chinese class regularly.Think that you may have the same
question. I solved it by attending an online lesson on e chinese learning(no blank
space:P) .By 1-on-1 lesson I learned a lot ,ignoring the limit of time and place.
Wish that will do a little help to you.

Edited by jason derek on 28 May 2015 at 2:38am

1 person has voted this message useful

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