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From an early age we learn our native language. Perhaps ‘learning’ in this context is not the most proper term, perhaps it is more accurate to say that we simply grow up and assimilate our native language because we grow with it and encounter it with every new experience in life and use it as we discover everything around us. Without any initial effort, the words of the native language and how they are to be used become ingrained in our minds. It is only later, at school, that we also learn the rules or laws by which we can use our language correctly and to its full potential.

But learning a new language from scratch takes effort, dedication, time and patience. This is because we are no longer in the situation we were in at the beginning, growing up with that language, but we simply have to assimilate everything new about a foreign language.

Let’s say you want to learn Romanian…

Suppose you want to learn Romanian. Well, there are countless ways you can start the process. We live in a world where we are surrounded by technology at every turn, and we always have at our fingertips a device that no more than 100 years ago would have been considered truly magical – the mobile phone. Small, always available, increasingly easy to use for all age groups, always connected to the internet, the mobile phone has slowly become an indispensable part of our lives, and we use it for much more than just making a call. Even when trying to learn a foreign language. Nowadays the offer of apps for learning a foreign language is extremely rich and this is true even if you want to learn Romanian.

But… is this the best solution?

Should I learn Romanian using an app?

One of the advantages of this method is indeed that you can do a lesson absolutely anytime you want. You don’t need to make an appointment, just take your phone out of your pocket and use the 5 free minutes you have at that moment.

The problem is that the learning material in these apps is not personalised. So there’s always the risk that you’ll be forced to omit an important grammar or vocabulary item, without knowing it’s happening. In the same sense, even if the apps have some extremely efficient algorithms behind them, their product is only based on some repetitive statistics. But the app will never be able to know – as a teacher can – what your weaknesses are, or those chapters that need extra work. Everyone has a certain style of learning effectively. For some, visuals that easily stick in the mind work better, while for others it’s much more efficient to work directly on the text, starting from grammar rules and adding vocabulary items to this structure through repetition.

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What you need to understand is that these apps are made in such a way as to seduce as many people as possible. They need to appeal to the widest possible range of users, but this also means that they need to remain as… general as possible, so that they can be used by all the types of students mentioned above. This is why none of them will ever be able to appear as a solution designed specifically and particularly for YOU.

And while we’re on the subject of statistics, why not mention here one that reveals that most people retain on average 20% of the material of a lesson in such an app, whereas they retain somewhere around 90% of the material of a lesson that takes place through interaction with a real person.

The way an app works and the way it structures material is limited by a set of pre-defined conditions: that it must take up little space, that it must have an internet connection, that it is displayed on a fairly small screen, vertically. Of course, all app manufacturers have managed to implement an attractive and modern display. Still… why limit yourself? Why not benefit from the full experience involving the warmth and attention you get during interaction with a teacher? A teacher will always know how to take a break from what you’re working on at the moment and take you back to a particular chapter you need to repeat. An app will never do this.

We should not forget that in many cases the learning material in apps is the result of software that translates this original material into many languages. So the app promises to teach you almost any language on the face of the earth, from English, French and Spanish to Hebrew and Greek. But the end result is not the most satisfying most of the time. Also, an app won’t be able to customize the content to your immediate motivations and needs. In other words, there’s no point in learning to say , “The little boy swims and loves ponies” when you actually need to learn how to initiate a conversation with a business partner 🙂

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What is the right way to learn Romanian?

Far be it from us to downplay the usefulness of these applications entirely. But we have to say that the most effective way to learn Romanian (or any foreign language) is to study with a teacher. You can ask a teacher questions when something is unclear. A teacher can give you personalised feedback at the end of each lesson, and a teacher will also keep track of your ongoing progress and adapt the syllabus of your next lessons to this progress. Finally, a set of Romanian language lessons – such as online Romanian language courses – gives you the chance to experience what is guaranteed to be the best way to really learn a new language, namely interacting with a native speaker and being able to converse with them about situations you encounter in real life.

Romanian language courses from 15 €/hour. Cursuri de limba romana de la 15 €/ ora.

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