View context for this page View table of contents for this book View table of contents for LinguaLinksLibrary Go to LinguaLinks home page

Independent language study



Independent language study refers to following a language instruction program someone else developed, without a teacher and other students. You do it at your own rate of speed, and at the time and place you choose.


Here are some ways independent language learning is like learning in a classroom:

  • A lot of practice may be given to develop automatic control (drill and practice activities).
  • Language material is generally graded.
  • Language material may be accompanied by presentation of specific grammatical structures and vocabulary lists.
  • Learning is structured.
  • There is often an emphasis on accuracy.

More and more materials are available for people who want to study foreign languages on their own.


The possibilities include:

  • Courses combining written materials and audio recordings.

    • Correspondence courses, where a teacher is available to correct work and assess progress via mail.
  • Video courses, often with accompanying workbook.
  • Computer-assisted language learning materials (CALL). These may include programs using

    • compact discs
    • videodisks.
  • Books with no accompanying video or audio materials.

Be skeptical of any courses that promise you can learn to speak German in three weeks or three months by listening to a recording for thirty minutes a day. Whatever these courses promise, they cannot deliver communicative competence with that amount of exposure in that amount of time.


There may be no classes in your area that teach the language you need to learn. Your schedule may not permit you to attend classes that do exist. In these cases, self-instruction may be your only option.

See also
  For other structured language study options, see

Context for this page:

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.]

Page content last modified: 15 September 1998

© 1999 SIL International