How to learn a language
How to learn a language

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

How to learn a language

1 Challenges you may face

Take a look at this video describing some challenges in learning a language over time.

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_lll_1_video_week2_voxpops.mp4
Skip transcript


Two things worry me about learning French. One is the amount of vocabulary that you need and also the grammar-- when writing French, to get the grammar correct. 
Well, what worries me most about learning a language is not really understanding the concept of language and the things that go into constructing language. So it's not having been taught English in a way that they try and teach you foreign languages. So I don't understand a lot of the concepts they're trying to explain to me. So as I'm trying to understand these things in German, the language I'm learning, I don't even know what they mean in English. So that's a barrier for me right from the start. 
Learning a language, I find it difficult in the beginning before you have a set of vocabulary available to you so you can say complete sentences and understand what somebody is saying. You don't have to be able to read difficult texts or to say difficult things. But the first basic vocabulary-- to have that right there and then to use, that's always the first stage I need to go through. And once I've gotten that, I'm away. 
The interesting thing about Japanese is that the construction is very different from English. And you've got to learn a different way of thinking when you're speaking.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

All these experiences are a normal part of learning a language. However, when you encounter them for the first time, they can be difficult to deal with.

For example, difficult grammar can often only be mastered not through memorising rules, but by an ongoing process of attention, exposure, experimentation and so on. Otherwise intelligent people can be left exasperated by a problem that can’t be solved through brainpower and hard work alone. How do you react to challenges that can’t easily be quantified and controlled?


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371