The process of learning a language, as well as the process of teaching that language, is referred to as language education. It can refer to either learning a native language or learning a second language for the first time. The term “language education” is more commonly used as an academic term to refer to learning a second or additional language in addition to one’s native language. Another type of language education that allows users to learn a language independently and on their own time is language learning computer software.
Depending on the teaching style used, the age of the students learning the language, and whether the students are developing more in-depth skills with their first language or attempting to learn a second language, the process of language education and language acquisition can vary greatly. Because vocabulary words and verb conjugation principles are the foundation of most second language education practices, it is common for language educators to start there. Some teachers will teach a language in an immersion style, in which students are encouraged to speak the new language as much as possible; this can be difficult for beginning students, but it is a very effective method of language acquisition for more advanced learners.
Other methods of language education, which are considered to be a form of applied linguistics, are also used. The most effective methods are generally thought to be those that combine memorization and grammar studies with natural conversation and language exploration. Memorization may aid in the acquisition of a few new words or even the development of the ability to read in the target language, but it rarely results in students being able to communicate in the target language. Another method that is much simpler now with voice and video communication over the Internet is a language “exchange” program, in which two people who speak different languages but want to learn the other’s communicate and practice with each other.
Though classroom learning was once the most common method of language instruction, this is changing. There are now a variety of software programs available in almost any language imaginable, and many of them can provide a comprehensive language education up to near fluency in the target language. Some even let users practice their pronunciation using a computer’s microphone or through simulated conversations. Language programs that promise fluency are usually quite expensive, and not all of them deliver completely, but they can still be a good deal compared to the cost of a traditional university language program.