Since this is an international community using English as its medium I expect many of us have suffered through learning at least one language (English at least!) I wanted to bounce some ideas for learning by oneself off of my virtual mates here to see what you think about some approaches I've taken. Of course learning a language with a teacher, in a classroom or in a tutoring situation, providing the teacher is competent, is the best and fastest way to learn by far. I don't think this is disputable at all! However, if you're learning entirely alone, this is the approach I've taken: Buy "grammar in context" books. What I mean is books with titles like "Korean Grammar" or "German Grammar" that provide lots of example sentences for each point of grammar. I find the grammar is absolutely crucial for learning any language and having example sentences is crucial also to show how to use the grammar. But, in addition to this the example sentences, which had better have translations below them, teach a great deal of vocabulary, which is also in context. I see these thick grammar in context books as both grammar and vocabulary builders, and are simply ideal, as long as they are thorough and thick enough! Since I'm studying alone and learning to converse is out of the question, the immediate goal is to learn to read and write. So, I copy out each example sentence by hand after thoroughly parsing it. This takes a lot of time, but it all mostly sticks in my memory, the new vocabulary included. I'd rather cover the material slowly but retain most of it, than to just read it only to forget most of it. After these books, it's time for easy "readers" of the language. Again, having a translation available to make sure you're understanding the target language properly is critical. I've found that these kind of books are not hard to find and go all the way from easy stuff to high brow literature. Basically, anything that can help me avoid looking up individual words in a dictionary is great, as looking up individual words slows down the process. The last level is to read, preferably out loud to practice pronunciation, real stuff, and using the dictionary when needed. This is as far as I'm concerned the "fluent reader" stage. Anyone who can read fluently should be able to pick up the spoken language with some practice when the opportunity arises. Of course there is video online we can watch in the modern age!