Learning a Language is Too Expensive!

11 January 2021

Myth #5: It’s too expensive to learn a new language, I can’t afford it!

Truth: It doesn’t have to be expensive! There are ways to learn new languages that are very inexpensive. Please do not use money as an excuse for not learning a new language. Years ago, when we lived in Kolkata, India, we knew a young woman that could not read or write since she didn’t have any formal education. However, she spoke five different languages! She had grown up extremely poor and had learned to speak the different languages as she pursued different work opportunities. It’s amazing what a person can do in life when he or she is determined and relentless, such as this young woman.

Limited resources may mean limited money to buy things or limited availability of materials and teaching. Anthropologists, sociologists, and missionaries around the world sometimes have to learn new languages in places where there are no courses, classes or materials to purchase. Techniques and methods have been developed to help learners in such situations. In contrast, some learners find themselves in situations where courses, classes and materials are available, and they simply cannot afford to pay for them. It is most common in these situations where the excuse is used that it is too expensive of an endeavor. Although resources may help a lot, you don’t have to have a lot of money or very expensive resources to learn. Good resources are valuable, and we should never turn a useful resource down. At the same time, I also know that there are some overpriced for-profit resources. Some commercial vendors pay a lot of money for advertising so that you will believe that you have to have their product to really learn the new language. This is where the myth was created! They are selling you on a false idea!

Refugees who are displaced from their home countries have been documented as learning new languages. Thus, having fancy equipment or expensive programs or books is not a necessity for learning. I am not advocating for using no resources. I feel that resources can be extremely valuable. What I am expressing is that having a limited amount of money should not be used as an excuse to impede learning a new language. There are many alternative ways to learning the new language that are less expensive. Think critically about your situation (evaluate what you have/don’t have available to you) and be creative with the resources you do have. More of this is discussed at length in the Conexión Training Language Course.