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Are there any studies done to see if the same learning methods can provide different results depending on the language being learnt? Are there certain methods that have been proved better for certain languages, setting personal choices and preferences aside?

  • Off the top of my head: probably not. There are certain differences in what you learn depending on the language you learn. For example, many people learning a character-based language also learn stroke order, and people learning classical language usually only learn to read and write. Certain teaching methods may be more popular in some countries than in others, but that has more to do with scientific dissemination than with the languages being taught. – AModHasNoName Aug 10 '16 at 14:56
  • On top of what Christophe Strobbe said, the methods also depend on your choices, learning style(s), and personal preferences – Anthony Pham Aug 10 '16 at 15:17
  • Your question has received four answers. Is there any answer you would like to accept or do you still miss something in the current answers? (If you still miss something, can you specify what?) – AModHasNoName Nov 4 '16 at 17:17
  • IMO, yes. In languages with relatively simple grammar, the grammar can be understood mostly conceptually, with just a bit of memorization of exceptions, etc., and this is a good way to do it. In languages where the grammar is very complex, I find that the only way to learn certain topics is to train your ear. So listening is a great strategy for these languages. – SAH Feb 19 '17 at 14:35
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No and definitely no.

Are there any studies done to see if the same learning methods can provide different results depending on the language being learnt?

The studies wouldn't even be possible. The control group would be like clones of the perfect average human with the perfect stats and preferences for learning a new language. If you do though, the stats would waver since each person you study would have a different preference for learning a new language, the desire to learn, and other factors. All of these non-controllable factors would cause your data to actually be wrong.

Let's take me as an example. I have my preferences for learning a new language and let's say the learning method used conflicts with my preferences. Already the data is skewed because I do not desire to learn with that method and maybe even don't even want to learn in the first place. Then every person has their own style of learning but by forcing them to follow the experiment, the data will be even more skewed than before.

Are there certain methods that have been proved better for certain languages, setting personal choices and preferences aside?

There is no such thing as a method that is better for any other language because of the effects of your opinions and preferences. Then add in the parts where you need to figure what you need to learn in the first place makes the decisions even harder.

So really, go with your heart (or gut) and stick with your own preferences and opinions. If you don't like the method(s) you are using, use a different one.

  • Exactly. For such studies to have statistical power, with using existing population with such variability, huge number of people would have to be involved, which would be prohibitively expensive. – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 4 '18 at 16:30
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I can't tell you about studies done for this, but it is actually an interesting question. Take Esperanto, for example, a language that has given rise to its very own language learning method(s): La rekta metodo (Cseh-metodo), which uses a method of simple conversation, avoiding text books and the use of one's native language. A film such as Mazi in Gondolando shows the 'whole' of the language (one originally done for English, but that could only teach parts of the English language). Also the Zagreba Metodo, which teaches the learner the 500 basic and most oftenly used morphemes, is a language learning method that originated in Esperanto for Esperanto. I think none of these three would be as effective for teaching any other languages as well as they do Esperanto.

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You are probably mixing up the cause and the action here.

Different study methods are applied NOT to the languages you study. Rather, they are applied TO YOU to allow you to master the language quicker, with less effort, on a higher level of proficiency etc.

What you are probably asking for is whether there are some adopted practices in teaching specific languages?

And yes, there are some practices which are very language specific.

  • Like if you learn German they recommend you to learn every noun directly with its grammatical gender (for in most cases it can't be safely derived from the word itself and might impact its declination).
  • If you learn Russian, they recommend to learn every word with proper stressing, because stress is irregular in Russian and might completely change the meaning of the word.
  • If you learn English, they recommend to learn word along with its pronunciation, for it is irregular and might be very deceiving.

So, there are some language-bound tricks which you might benefit from, but usually if you are an experienced language learners you can find a course according to your preferred method for almost every major foreign language.

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There are two ways to look at this question: some people may think that there are different learning methods for different languages because not all languages are taught in the same way (i.e. a learner may have experienced different teaching methods for different languages), and methods or techniques to reduce confusion or interference between two languages.

As far as language teaching is concerned, people may have experienced different teaching approaches and activities for the following reasons:

  • Some languages are easier to teach directly in the target languages than others, especially when the target language is similar to the learners' native language or languages that the learners are already familiar with. (See also advantages and disadvantages of the direct method.)
  • Language teaching methods change over time and some teachers are more creative with language teaching activities than others.
  • Native speakers from other parts of the world may have learnt other language teaching methods than teachers from your country. Certain teaching methods may be more popular in some countries than in others, and this has more to do with scientific dissemination than with the languages being taught.

These reasons have little to do with the language being taught, except for the reason related to language distance. Of course, there are certain differences in what you learn depending on the language you learn. For example, many people learning a character-based language also learn stroke order, and people learning classical language usually only learn to read and write. But this is not so much a matter of teaching method but the skills that are required for certain languages.

The other angle is about methods or techniques to reduce confusion or interference between two languages. I have already discussed about this in my answer to the question What are some techniques to better differentiate between two languages?.

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