Technology – Help or hindrance?

German Language CoachTechnology has without doubt made language learning far more accessible and may have even been responsible for some people taking up a foreign language as it’s a great way to have a little taster before committing to a formal course. However, it can also be incredibly tempting to use the technology at our disposal as a shortcut which may actually be detrimental to learning; when it’s possible to translate in one click, the temptation to do so rather than work through difficult passages can prove too much. Yet that process of puzzling over the challenging parts is immensely important in committing the new language to memory, so perhaps in the long run, technology is not as helpful as we might think.

If German is your language of choice, the most effective way to learn is by taking private German lessons with a native tutor. There’s simply no substitute for this two-way interaction. Your computer may be able to tell you what the translation of a particular phrase is but it can’t tell you why. In a language like German where grammar and word order are so important, relying on technology as your tutor will not make for the best learning experience. Widely available translation tools also often produce errors in identifying grammatical cases, so take care how much you rely on them!

Having said all this, I’m not against technology per se. Each and every means of practice is valuable when you’re learning a new language.

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