Language Matters: The Right Way to Learn a Language

The best way to learn a foreign language is with strict grammar instruction, lots of vocabulary drills, and forcing yourself to speak the language, even if you’re uncomfortable, right?


We learn languages best when we understand what we read (Washington Post, 16 June 2012) — it’s called getting “comprehensible input.”

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Vocabulary is best learned in context, when a language learner can connect that word’s meaning to the surrounding sentence.  Learners can also pick up on the meaning of unfamiliar words with clues from the rest of the sentence.

The complexity of grammar makes it difficult to study directly, but reading — “comprehensible input” — can help learners absorb the subtle rules of grammar without having to memorize them.  Memorizing grammar rules isn’t usually useful, as it doesn’t teach learners how to use grammar.

Surprisingly, language learners don’t need to force themselves to speak the language if they aren’t comfortable doing so.  Forced speech doesn’t help to learn the language, and it could even be harmful because it makes the student anxious.

At VocabNetwork, we put vocab words in context with stories that interest you.  Learning English at VN provides “comprehensible input” in snippets about all kinds of topics, from news and gossip to science and arts.

For the most fun and effective way to learn English on the web, sign up with VocabNetwork today!

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