How Much Would You Pay to Learn a Language?

The cost of language learning varies greatly. There is a plethora of free resources on one hand, but an equally diverse range of paid options on the other. Learners in theory have the freedom to splurge or spend nothing. But often how much the learner is willing to pay is determined by what learning a new language means to them. Taking learning English for instance, most learners are economically motivated. English skills often mean access to better opportunities and salary prospects. Hence learners are willing to invest more to brush up their English skills. An average 1 year course in leading English institutions costs at least $3000 to $4000 in China. And there’s no shortage of people paying. But if you’re not learning a language out of economic motivation but taking it up as a hobby, you’ll probably allocate less budget for learning. However, you might spend much more time researching resources and engaging in self-directed learning which are a cost on their own.

Price vs Results

I’m not convinced that you need to pay big bucks to learn a language well. I believe that much more important than price is focus and methods. Many learners outsource their learning to a school or teacher because they’ve paid the money and expect the institution to deliver results. While many learners who pay a lot less succeed because they’re actively involved in their learning.

Debundling of Learning

Being focused and getting the mix right (learning methods) far outweigh price. The mix being ‘input, study, output, feedback’. Learners who know that they need these ingredients in language learning and really apply them tend to be the ones who do better. More often than not the four ingredients don’t come from a single source. Learners need to find resources in each category that best suit their needs. The bliss and problem for learners are that there are massive amounts of free and paid options. How do you go about choosing and which element should you spend more money on? In the traditional classroom model, all of these elements are thrown together though teachers and students use a lot of external resources. For the student, it can be a simple and hassel free experience, though often not the best. But we’ve been seeing the debundling of language learning where students are getting each element from different places rather than relying on one class or teacher. This is true for both learners with no easy access to teachers or classes and increasingly for those who do.

How much would you pay to learn a language?

I want to throw it out there to fellow language learners: speaking from your personal experience, how much are you willing to pay to learn a language (what language did you learn)? Do you think it was money well spent? How would you allocate your budget differently if you were to do it again? Looking forward to hearing from you!

4 thoughts on “How Much Would You Pay to Learn a Language?

  1. M.Siddiq

    I’d pay nothing for learning a language. I’d be looking for learning a language which I want to learn, through different possibilities which learning the language is available through internet programs being announced gratuit

  2. The Easiest Languages Blog

    I agree with M. Siddiq — there are many free language learning resources online that simply didn’t exist a few years ago. From an opportunity standpoint, it’s cheaper than ever to learn a language.

    You can learn a language without spending a fortune. It’s of course fine to buy a few books or other resources, but the days of paying hundreds or thousands for an all-inclusive language learning course are gone, thankfully.

  3. Janette

    I have been learning Chinese for a number of years and have tried many different methods, all of which I have paid for in the belief that a quality language program has to be produced by a team of people in the first place and those people deserve to be paid, just as I am paid to teach English! So I have no issue about paying for my learning and will happily pay more if I feel the learning outcomes warrant it. I think combining different methods has been beneficial to my learning, but at the end of the day, the method which has worked the very best, without a doubt, is having skype lessons one-on-one with a native Chinese teacher (based in China) once, sometimes twice a week. The second thing, which unfortunately due to time and financial restraints I have been unable to do, is actually spend time living in China. It’s amazing how when I have holidayed there I have quickly picked up – and retained – little phrases and expressions that I’ve heard spoken in the street.

  4. Langoo

    I have no problem paying for language learning resources as long as I can afford them.

    It is true that there are many great free resources but there are also some paid ones which can greatly facilitate the learning process. Every learner should set a budget for the purchase of learning materials if they are serious about mastering the language.


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