Whenever someone wants to study a new language on their own, they tend to rely on some support, be it books, CDs, DVDs, Websites, etc. Are questions of the style

What would you recommend to learn Spanish the fastest?

A la software or hardware recommendations.

And if such questions are on-topic, should we consider some constraints?

  • 1
    This could lead some primarily opinion based questions.
    – Kolappan N
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:12
  • It would, but as noted, there are two sites dedicated to such. And I'm pretty sure it would be of some interest to many people. So I'm just saying that we should consider whether or not we want to accept the opinion for such questions... Apr 5, 2016 at 20:14
  • Those sites are very careful not to allow opinion-based questions... as such, they aren't truly recommendation sites, except in the broadest sense of the word.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:15
  • @bilbo_pingouin Recommendations for books, CDs, Online tutorials, softwares, or all of them combined cannot fit into the 2 sites you mentioned.
    – Kolappan N
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:17
  • I'm not taking a stand for it. But it should be cleared. And can then be referred to in the future. Apr 5, 2016 at 20:19
  • Not for methods, but a "resources" posting should be OK as a meta article. For example, Japanese Language SE meta has an excellent posting Resources for learning Japanese which was written and is added to over time. Of course, for LL SE the resources have to detail language learning resources but cannot be language specific, and need to include factual information but not opinions or recommendations. Resources questions do come up and being able to point to a reference meta article can be useful to the OP.
    – user3169
    Apr 7, 2016 at 3:46
  • The term "method" is ambiguous. In this question, it refers to resources for self-learning. In other contexts, it refers to theory about how to teach or learn a language (e.g. direct methods, Total Physical Response, Task-Based Learning, etc.).
    – Tsundoku Mod
    Aug 19, 2016 at 16:42

3 Answers 3


Recommendations are not on topic. On any of the SE sites. Even Hardware and Software recommendation sites aren't about recommendations, despite their names.

What does that mean for us?

What would you recommend to learn Spanish the fastest?

Absolutely off-topic.

Is there an audio course to teach me Spanish, which I can download (legally) to play on my iPod?

Probably on-topic. Just don't make the question about opinions.

The difference? The first is asking about opinions. For that, use Amazon.com, Goodreads, or some other book/resource reviewing platform.

The latter is asking an objective question: Does such a resource exist?


No/it depends

By itself, this could be very opinion-based ("I used X and it was great!").

However, if you ask for studies ("Are there any studies about which method is the most effective at learning X") to back up to the responses (to eliminate the opinion of it), this makes it less opinion-based and more statistic based.

  • Asking for studies is great, and I believe very on-topic. But that's not really the same as asking for a recommendation. Even so, +1 for proposing a way to ask these types of questions in a constructive, non-opinionated way.
    – Flimzy
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:25

Recommendations should be addressed in meta

I would find interesting to have something in a format like Tips and Tricks subjects on PPCG.SE. I mean we could have a CW question (tagged ) per language in which we can list a collection of learning materials for each language. The question post would be used as an index to a list of answers. Each answer would present a learning material with zero, one or more review.

  • No. This would be entirely off-topic. Anyone asking for recommendations on meta will have their question closed as off-topic: "This question does not appear to be about Language Learning Stack Exchange or the software that powers the Stack Exchange network, within the scope defined in the help center."
    – Flimzy
    Apr 7, 2016 at 11:40

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