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Introduction to ways to approach language learning

by Carol J. Orwig


People have approached language learning in many ways over the years. The self-directed language learner or the language teacher may well ask "What approach should I use" Or, hearing about a new language learning method, such a person might ask, "What method should I use? What's the difference between an approach, a technique and a method?"


In 1963 the American applied linguist, Edward Anthony defined these three terms (approach, method and technique) in a way that has been used by Richards and Rogers (1986) and is cited by H. Douglas Brown (1994). These same definitions will be presented here to help you decide how you want to approach language learning.


In brief, a language learning approach refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning that serve as the source of practices and principles in language teaching. A language learning method is an overall plan for presenting language material, based on the selected approach. A language learning technique is a particular strategem or procedure used to accomplish a particular objective.


In the modules that follow, a brief survey of language learning methods and techniques currently in use will be presented, along with the approaches they are based on, according to Richard and Rogers.


Most of the material in this modular book is based on Richard and Rogers 1986.

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

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