Steps to learn a language with books
When we want to learn a language by ourselves, the first thing that springs in our mind is where and how should we start learning it? Is there a better resource? Is there a strategy? If you are motivated enough to face the obstacles and have a good method to follow until the end, so you will reach your goal, but the questions are how to be and keep motivated? And what material should you choose?
The first question is subject of other audio, this one is mainly focused on how to choose and use the available material. Well, let’s start, to start learning/ studying I love phrasebooks, my favorites are Lonely Planet, Assimil de Poche (pocket) and wort-für-wort (the same as Assimil de Poche, but with more dialects and minority languages).
Starting with them you can get the basic grammar, pronunciation and necessary vocabulary to speak from day one (Technique developed by Benny Lewis). Try to study it for one week.
This phase is very important because it’s when you get the fundamentals and this will show you whether this language is the right one for you or not. Many people fail to learn languages simply because they fail to choose a language. If you speak a European language, I will never encourage you to start learning Mandarin or Russian.
Ok, now that you have mastered the main ideas you can follow to the next step, choose an audio course it can be either Pimsleur or Michel Thomas. They will give you the necessary knowledge to get you out of your comfort zone. And you will start speaking very quickly based on the method and on your previous studies. Follow the program as it is, for example Pimsleur recommends one lesson a day, for some courses they have only 15 lessons but for others 160, but the average is 30-60. Michel Thomas you can try one CD a day, both these courses have a different approach feel free to use both if you can afford.
Now, it’s time to consolidate your knowledge, choose one of those books like “Spanish in Three months by Hugo”, or Spanish in 4 wochen by Pons, or whatever promises you fast fluency. They are prepared to summarize the content, and deliver you just what you will really need. Study one lesson per day, divide it into 3 parts: morning, noon and evening. So that you can follow a good and feasible target.
At this point if you have followed every step, you can say many things in the language, you are A2 to B1 level, and depending on your dedication it took you no more than 4 months.
Now, the time has come and you have to study really hard using a consistent book: Assimil, Teach-yourself or Colloquial. The order of my preference is the one I have just written. These books will take you to B2 and sometimes C1 level, which is the goal of everyone. Each book has its own method, follow it Assimil will take you 50 days and the others you should study carefully one unity each week doing every proposed exercise.
Now, welcome to a brand new world you can speak, write and read, now or during the whole process I encourage you to listen to podcasts in the target language even if you don’t understand a single word. I love a podcast called SBS, and My Polyglot holds a collection called News in Slow languages dot com.
Try to follow the news on Internet and read a graduated book or even a common book in the target language. Italki is also a very useful tool to help you to improve even more your knowledge by practicing with native speakers.
Good luck and enjoy your journey.
The last thing to say is never download illegal material, you can do so to check the quality, the good ones will provide samples. If you start downloading material, the companies and authors will simply stop updating them, and instead of encourage them your are showing that their service worth nothing, many companies as Routledge are decreasing their prices radically just buy stop selling the CDs but only the books, now this will depend on us to show our respect and ask for better material. I agree that some people are poor and can’t afford doing so, for this reason there are public libraries. When I was 14, the age I started my language journey I should use what I had and what was available, there was no internet and I grew up in a very poor family. This didn’t make me give up, on the contrary this gave me motivation to create good methods.