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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: 13  Next >>
robarb
Nonaglot
Senior Member
United States
languagenpluson
Joined 3191 days ago

361 posts - 921 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 9 of 20
28 May 2015 at 7:29pm | IP Logged 
alans wrote:
Do people think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?

No.
Do people know it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?
Yes.

In fact, linguists have even deciphered and learned how to read some ancient languages for which teachers do not
exist, and instructional materials or grammar explanations are not available. All you really need is a sample of
language and some way to associate it with its meaning (canonically, a translation). Everything else just makes it
easier.

Edited by robarb on 28 May 2015 at 7:30pm

6 persons have voted this message useful



rdearman
Senior Member
United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3368 days ago

881 posts - 1812 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Italian, French, Mandarin

 
 Message 10 of 20
28 May 2015 at 8:54pm | IP Logged 
If you wanted a balanced discussion you've come to the wrong place. Just about everyone here is learning one or more languages without a teacher. :)
6 persons have voted this message useful



Spanky
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 4088 days ago

1020 posts - 1714 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 11 of 20
28 May 2015 at 10:42pm | IP Logged 
alans wrote:
Do people think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?


Repurposing your question a bit ‘cause I am bored at work:

Q. Do all people in the world uniformly think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?
A. No, some (including teachers) are committed to the view that teachers are required.

Q. Do some people think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?
A. Yes, definitely.

Q. Do people on this site think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?
A. Almost all do, except those who have crashed and burned and have concluded that the fault lies not with themselves but with their perception that a teacher is required.

Q. Do people think it is possible to learn Icelandic?
A. No sane person would think it possible.

Q. Do marketing people at Rosetta Stone think it is possible to learn a new language without using Rosetta Stone?
A. The official line is no, that is not really conceivable.

Q. Do teachers think it possible to learn a new language without people
A. Probably not, though if this is intended as a zen kona, then I decline to answer on principle.

Q. Do people learn to think a possible new language is without a teacher?
A. Sorry, a little obscure.

Q. New is possible:
    to learn without a teacher,
    people think language.
A: Not really a question, more of a haiku?

10 persons have voted this message useful



SladeWilson
Newbie
Canada
Joined 1588 days ago

17 posts - 26 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, French

 
 Message 12 of 20
15 June 2015 at 10:53am | IP Logged 
I think yes, but I also think you have to be very structured. I have really struggled with picking up French because of time, effort, and a lack of practice which kind of falls under the other two as well. I've been a very bad learner, but I have learned a little. Over time I think I have made some improvements in the way I approach learning a language, but I still have a long way to go. One thing I could say is probably the most important factor (at least it is to me because it is why I'm still here) is a persistent attitude. I keep coming back to the language, and it seems now I come back to the language more frequently. Enough about me. Be structured, invest the time and practice the skills you're picking up. And be persistent. You have to be, or else you won't get very far.

Edited by SladeWilson on 15 June 2015 at 10:53am

1 person has voted this message useful



Zegpoddle
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 1598 days ago

7 posts - 29 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 13 of 20
01 July 2015 at 10:30am | IP Logged 
alans wrote:
Do people think it is possible to learn a new language without a teacher?


It probably depends on (1) the language, (2) the teacher, (3) the skill, (4) the level, and (5) your personality.
(That's a lot of variables! But language-learning is an extremely complex, intricate, many-sided, context-
dependent activity.)

LANGUAGE: Is your target language relatively close to, or distant from, your native language? I started teaching
myself Spanish and German with some success before I ever took classes in those languages. Romance and
Germanic languages aren't such a huge leap from English, my L1. But I'd be more cautious and hesitant to take
up Mandarin Chinese on my own. I wouldn't even be sure how to locate the best self-teaching materials for a
language that linguistically distant to my own, unless I asked about it on this forum (and then I would get a
thousand different conflicting answers). The nice thing about HTLAL, of course, is that everyone will cheerily
insist that you can learn *any* language on your own.

TEACHER: As with any other subject, a bad language teacher is usually worse than no teacher at all, but having no
teacher is not as good as having a great teacher. This applies to tutors as well as classroom/group teachers. You
will have to define for yourself what makes a teacher good or bad (or perhaps I should say "effective" and
"ineffective"). That's a topic for another entire lengthy forum. For me, a short list would include: knowledgeable
about language (language in general as well as his/her own native language) and able to provide better
explanations of features than simply "That's just the way we say it"; experienced in having learned a second
language as an adult him/herself and in having taught it to others; personable, tolerant, and upbeat; attentive to
my goals as a learner and my learning style and preferences (more important with a tutor than in a class setting);
curious and able to provide me with input on a wide variety of interesting topics. I'm sure there are more factors
that I will think of later.

SKILL: Without a teacher, it's probably easier to teach yourself the receptive skills (listening and reading) than the
productive skills (speaking and writing) because the latter two depend a lot more on feedback from other
speakers of the language (who of course don't have to be teachers, but if they are, and if they are good, the
feedback will be more valuable and useful to you).

LEVEL: I imagine it is easier to teach yourself many languages to a fairly basic level of proficiency (A1) than to
achieve higher levels (A2, B1, B2, and so forth) on your own without a teacher. I've always found the first level or
semester of a language very easy to absorb because the content is so simple: basic, concrete, high-frequency
vocabulary, short sentences, just a couple of verb tenses such as the present and *maybe* the past. It’s at the A2
level and, especially, the B1 level that the challenges become more daunting, when I start encountering less
frequent words and have to juggle multiple verb tenses or cases in longer sentences. (It’s also difficult to teach
yourself beyond the A2 level because the vast majority of published language-learning materials and resources
are aimed at the A1-A2 levels, with very little after that, depending on the popularity of the language. At the A2
level, unfortunately, you are not ready to make the leap to full-blown native-speaker texts and conversation, or
at least it is very hard to make that jump.) Maybe the upshot is that teachers are most valuable at the
intermediate stages? Of course the truth of that depends very much on the language, the learner, and his/her
goals. I can see how not having a teacher/tutor at the initial stages of Chinese or another tonal language could
be detrimental to acquiring even the most basic foundation or orientation in it.

PERSONALITY: Having taught for 20 years, I regularly see students who don’t really need to be in my classes at
all–-they are so motivated, organized, and diligent that they would make progress with or without a teacher-–
and, at the other end of the spectrum, students who are so passive about their learning, and who need so much
hand-holding, that even taking a class isn’t going to do them much good. No teacher can really "teach" language
or anything else to a student; teachers can only facilitate their students' learning. What kind of learner are
you? You need to understand yourself and your language-learning personality in order to know whether, and
when, you need a teacher/tutor or not. Even the questions that people post on this forum often reveal a wide
variability in confidence and independence. (By the way, too much confidence and independence can also
make you a poor learner in any subject.) Some people need and crave direction and guidance; others feel
oppressed and stunted by it. If you do elect to study with the help of a teacher/tutor, it's important to find one
whose personality and approach meshes well with your own.

Hiding behind most simple questions are some very complicated ones. I guess my final answer is: Yes, some
people can learn some languages to some extent for some purposes without a teacher. How's that
for hedging? Ultimately, success in language learning depends on too many variables for a short blanket
statement about it to have much validity.



4 persons have voted this message useful



Begather
Newbie
United States
Joined 1593 days ago

4 posts - 3 votes

 
 Message 14 of 20
02 July 2015 at 8:31am | IP Logged 
I do not think that it is possible to learn without teacher because if we accept it as a
fact then there is no need of teachers in the world only the authors and publisher of the
books are enough to spread knowledge.
1 person has voted this message useful



1e4e6
Octoglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2422 days ago

1013 posts - 1587 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Italian
Studies: German, Danish, Russian, Catalan

 
 Message 15 of 20
02 July 2015 at 9:11am | IP Logged 
Begather wrote:
I do not think that it is possible to learn without teacher because if
we accept it as a
fact then there is no need of teachers in the world only the authors and publisher of the
books are enough to spread knowledge.


This should be in the other discussion about bullshit that one used to believe.

Edited by 1e4e6 on 02 July 2015 at 9:23am

5 persons have voted this message useful



cod2
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 2686 days ago

48 posts - 69 votes 

 
 Message 16 of 20
02 July 2015 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
I have never taken a German class. I hold general adult conversations with native
Germans who all seem very impressed with what I have accomplished on my own - in fact
most say that they find it hard to believe.

I of course know this means I still have a long way to go. It's only when native
speakers stop correcting you AND stop complimenting you AND laugh at your witty
comments, that you know that you are speaking like a native.

I also think that unless you deeply love the target language and culture, it's very
difficult if not impossible to learn on your own.

Edit: What I said above is mostly true, except when it comes to English as the target
language. If you are an intermediate learner, no native English speaker would ever
compliment you on your good English, because everyone is EXPECTED to speak English. If
anything, they might be slightly annoyed that your English is not good enough, or that
you have a heavy accent, or that they have to repeat what they said.

I speak from experience :-)

Edited by cod2 on 03 July 2015 at 10:46am



3 persons have voted this message useful



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