I've studied many languages over my life, but the only one I ever really got beyond a beginner level at, was German, and that was because I was able to take classes with a teacher who was from Germany.

I've neglected my German for years. I dropped it after I found that I knew and understood multiple German words that I didn't know the English translation to (I was afraid that I was forgetting English because I had studied so much German).

Now, I'm thinking of picking it back up again, and possibly other languages. But how effective is solo learning really? Has anyone actually done a study on it? I personally haven't had much luck. Yeah, I know there's websites, but I was banned from wordreference a few years ago for being an American (lovely site). So now I really have no site I can go to if I need help learning any language. I'm at a loss as to what to do. I have my old German books, so I figured I could brush up on my German with that (I was once an upper intermediate). But even if I did do that, what would be the point if I can't actually use it with anyone? I still listen to German music from time to time, but that's the only exposure I ever get to German anymore.

  • Just because you were banned from one website doesn't mean, that you can't use any of the many others. How effective solo learning is, depends on your goals. But if you look for a new website, which you can join to talk to people in your target language, then Google will give you more than enough options to look through and to find the perfect one for your wants.
    – Geshode
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 5:35
  • Possible duplicate: languagelearning.stackexchange.com/questions/3481/…
    – AML
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


Solo learning, in your case, will be slightly more effective because you already know the basics of pronunciation, grammar, etc. As a self-learner it is very important that you obtain materials with audio and concentrate on saying words correctly. Without a speaking partner it is easier to be lazy and to develop bad pronunciation habits. Alexander Arguelles is probably the king of studying alone, and he did it successfully in Korea for years with many languages.

That said, you can only get so far without human contact, and to your other point, what is the point is progressing far in an L2 if you aren't dealing with other people who speak the language? Furthermore, I would guess that your motivation will drop over time without human interaction in the L2.

I think a raw beginner can achieve a max of B2 through self-study and no interaction with other people. But in your case, it sounds like you had previously achieved B1/B2 level, therefore your self-study will largely be dedicated to regaining your lost German.

Finally, you can get plenty of German help at A Language Learner's Forum. There is even a Multilingual Room where you can practice your German. You can also use Lang-8 and italki for language exchange.

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