♛ ♜♚ Tried and tested language learning methods- ya dig?! ♝ ♞ ♟

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 28, 2011 10:25 PM GMT
    As above.

    For those of you who are self-taught in secondary languages, which methods worked best for you, or were most handy in the learning process?

    E.g., buying dictionaries/software/apps/trips abroad/language classes/language teaching exchange with a native, etc. If so, which specifically?

    Which worked best for you? Do you have system in your learning process which you follow (i.e. from beginner to fluent level)?

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    Curious minds are curious.




  • tennsjock

    Posts: 349

    Oct 28, 2011 10:39 PM GMT
    Rosetta stone is amazing! It really does work, but it's also pretty expensive. I've only tried two methods: taking courses in Spanish for high school, and using Rosetta stone to learn Farsi. RS is much more efficient, in my view.
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    Oct 28, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
    tennsjock saidRosetta stone is amazing! It really does work, but it's also pretty expensive. I've only tried two methods: taking courses in Spanish for high school, and using Rosetta stone to learn Farsi. RS is much more efficient, in my view.


    Ah yh, i've been researching this software a tad. It has some pretty decent reviews online. Along with the Pimsleur software (some people seem to prefer it- any experience with it?) .

    How often would you use it/how long until you were reasonably fluent? Money spent?



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    Oct 28, 2011 11:01 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidIn my case, I started studying Spanish at the age of thirty. To help me learn the language and improve my skills I have:

    1) Taken college courses as well as classes outside of college accredited schools to provide me with interaction in an academic setting.

    2) A good trick is to also buy foreign DVD's of movies from the country that speaks the language you're trying to learn. Hearing the language and watching them with the subtitles helps me to visually see the words in the foreign language and to also acquire a context as to how people commonly speak. This typically helps with a lot of colloquial expressions and will greatly improve your grasp of a foreign language. It's also great to just let the movies play in the background so you continually bombard your sense of hearing with audio in the language you're trying to learn.

    Sometimes I will put a DVD in the player and simply listen to it like a story on the radio without even turning the television on. This is after I've already watched the movie for the first time. I have about eighty Spanish movies I've collected over the years that I buy second hand from amazon.com and typically buy them for a few dollars.

    3) Another good tip I have sort of invented was to read over my own Spanish language notes or Spanish books while making recordings of my own voice. Then I play the recordings on my MP3 player or aloud on my CD player at home while I'm doing chores or just hanging out. This helps me improve my pronunciation and helps me memorize new words to expand my vocabulary. Curiously, when I do this with regularity I start dreaming in Spanish to the point that I can't even understand what I'm saying (because it is so advanced).

    4) Recently, what I've started doing was to have a language exchange with people who speak Spanish but need to improve their English. So we get together once a week and we spend half the time speaking Spanish and the other half speaking English. This way we both help each other learn and gives us the opportunity to practice and it's a lot of fun. I consider the people I do this with as friends. I do it twice a week with two different people. It helps a lot.

    5) To help with memorizing verbs I will also make flash cards with the foreign verb on one side and the translations on the other. Not very cutting edge but it works.

    6) There are typically language forums that you can join to ask people how to say something or ask for help with grammar or translation. Wordreference.com is a good source to look for many European and some Arabic. For Asian languages I'm sure a Google search might procure some reputable sites.

    Lastly, you have to use your language skills with regularity so as not to lose it.

    I'm curious to read what others might contribute because I'm always interested in learning new tricks or methods to help me improve my Spanish.


    Kudos!

    Some really effective/varied techniques you've acquired there. The DVD's/MP3 methods both seem like a particularly creative use of technology too, which should work well with the sub-conscious during multi-tasking/my lazy moods i'd imagine lol.

    Also, re the rest, duly noted.

    Grazie. =]
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 28, 2011 11:59 PM GMT
    Ohmahgad the little chess pieces in the title!!!!! <3!!!!!!
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    Oct 29, 2011 12:33 AM GMT
    Ariodante saidOhmahgad the little chess pieces in the title!!!!! <3!!!!!!


    INORITEEEE?!

    ...You noticed! XD <3!!!!!!

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    Hmmm i'd imagine you grew up bi/multi-lingual.... Lucky-culturally-enriched-sod, you ;]
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    Oct 29, 2011 12:43 AM GMT
    _SAGE_ said



    Hmmm i'd imagine you grew up bi/multi-lingual.... Lucky-culturally-enriched-sod, you ;]


    And learning it so young I didn't even really have to try :/ You can slap me now. In the rear.

    Harder.

    I said harder >:/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 29, 2011 12:59 AM GMT
    ^ Believe-you-me, 'soft' isn't in my (english) vocabulary

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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:03 AM GMT
    This is a good forum. There are sections specific to methods of learning, courses, and individual languages. Participants include native speakers of many languages and there are discussion areas in different languages.

    http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:31 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidThis is a good forum. There are sections specific to methods of learning, courses, and individual languages. Participants include native speakers of many languages and there are discussion areas in different languages.

    http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp


    Ohh, sick. Just been having a nosey over there, strong resource indeed - bookmarked! Merci icon_cool.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 1:54 AM GMT
    _SAGE_ said
    socalfitness saidThis is a good forum. There are sections specific to methods of learning, courses, and individual languages. Participants include native speakers of many languages and there are discussion areas in different languages.

    http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp


    Ohh, sick. Just been having a nosey over there, strong resource indeed - bookmarked! Merci icon_cool.gif

    Пожалуйста. You can use that site to find skype language partners too.
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    I started learning foreign languages at a young age. In the case of Russian, I pretty much submersed myself in the language as much as I could for a number of years. Most of the learning I did completely on my own. Everything paid off as I managed to get by without much trouble when I spent a semester in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Though there certainly are major advantages to living in the country of your target language. There's nothing quite like it when you have no choice but to learn it and speak it everywhere you go. It was also helpful that most Russians aren't too keen on foreign languages, so you can't get by just speaking English like you can in many EU countries. It's all Russian - EVERYWHERE.
  • BardBear

    Posts: 533

    Oct 29, 2011 2:25 AM GMT
    I started with library books when I was 14 to talk to some Deaf kids at my school. I started with words and phrases that I used over and over again. Things like "cool,""yes,""no," just to get the practice in. Then, I started to communicate with the kids. As I got older, I started to pick up more and more.

    Then I started to take formalized classes throught the local parks and rec. I took odd jobs interpreter for simple stuff and then, finally, found a job at a Deaf school as a dorm supervisor.

    How does that translate to a foreign language?

    Start with simple words and phrases that will cause you to have major repetition. Increase as needs arrive. Then, whenever possible, find native speakers and communicate with them. That way, you get both receptive abilities and expressive abilities.

    In fact, I recently attended a conference with colleagues who are hearing impaired, broke off into workshops and I sat down. I had an interpreter sitting in front of me. They thought I was deaf, because of the skill in signing.

    Been doing it seemingly all my life. I'm a big advocate for learning a second language.

    Peace,
    Bardy
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:31 AM GMT
    There are so many resources these days especially with the internet. One thing that's awesome is the availability of foreign films on places like Netflix. Hell, you can even manage to find some interesting things on Youtube in your target language.
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Oct 29, 2011 2:40 AM GMT
    I took five years of Japanese in college and never had the opportunity to study abroad, so my graduating year was quite a challenge when everyone else was prattling on and I was still struggling. But, I managed to kick their asses in vocabulary and reading/writing comprehension.

    I pretty much read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I made insane flashcards for character recognition and vocabulary, riddled with extra information to try and help me learn as much as possible.

    I don't recommend watching anything that is subtitled, though, as nuances in the languages are more often than not lost in translation. I have my own misgivings about the wonderful world of translation as I myself dabble in that very field.

    As for the Rosetta stone, I can't say much for that software. I played around with it early on and thought it was more of a joke than anything (of course this was after six years of French growing up futzing around with it).

    What language are you interested in learning?

    Nothing tops total immersion in a culture though. It forces you to utilize what you've learned in ways you cannot imagine.
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    Oct 29, 2011 2:42 AM GMT
    I agree that films and programs with translated subtitles aren't too helpful. However, you could put captions so that you can read what they're saying in the target language. I definitely did this with many Russian movies so that I could learn vocabulary and get used to the speed of their speech.
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:28 AM GMT
    This is the absolute best trick that I learned in school in France.

    Find some music that you like in the native language that you are studying. Get a copy of the lyrics, and memorize the album. Sing each song, (in private if you need to!) but really, sing the lyrics! It helps to loosen and re-train the muscles of your native language--and which are restraining you from pronouncing the phonetics of the foreign language. It is the most amazing way to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.
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    Oct 29, 2011 3:33 AM GMT
    westanimas saidThis is the absolute best trick that I learned in school in France.

    Find some music that you like in the native language that you are studying. Get a copy of the lyrics, and memorize the album. Sing each song, (in private if you need to!) but really, sing the lyrics! It helps to loosen and re-train the muscles of your native language--and which are restraining you from pronouncing the phonetics of the foreign language. It is the most amazing way to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.


    I disagree with this because the way you pronounce words in music is not nearly the same as you would in speech. Well, pronunciation in music isn't completely unreliable, but it's still not the same in actual speech. French is actually a perfect example of this. The silent "e" in many French words tends to be pronounced as a schwa in song for the sake of fitting into a song's meter or rhyme scheme. Otherwise, it's hardly ever pronounced in real speech along with other minor peculiarities. Funny things happen with English (especially American and Canadian) and Russian in music vs speech too.
  • He_Man

    Posts: 906

    Oct 29, 2011 3:53 AM GMT

    I had four years of high school spanish and two semesters of it at the college level, and I can barely speak and write it now. I mean I can have a conversation with a child but that's about the extent of it. To be fair, I never really use it. I live in South Florida, and I still don't use it. icon_redface.gif

    I also took two semesters of German at the college level, and again, I really don't recall most of what I learned. Same with French, I took one semester at the college level and can order from a French menu and use it in small talk.

    One thing that I remember from all of my professors in each of the above languages is that you must completely submerge yourself in the language. My German professor was honest with us and said that she could teach us everything that she knew, but we would never really learn German unless we lived in a German speaking country for at least six months or more. You have to be forced to use the language or you'll lose the ability to speak it, unless you're a polyglot. So, in my opinion, the best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with native speakers and to use it as much as possible.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:09 AM GMT
    So far, the best method I've found is Fluenz. However, the biggest part of learning any language is to stick with it. I actually used to be able to carry on conversations in Spanish and German (which I learned as a student in high school and college respectively). Both are gone now, though I could probably relearn them.

    I self-taught Polish, but never really learned to speak it (I could read decently). However, again, I let it go through lack of practice.

    Fluenz is helping me learn Mandarin Chinese right now, but I'm not as far into it as I was with the other languages. It's great for the speaking part. I'm a little disappointed that the writing is only Pinyin, but I think I can supplement that with other resources. It's expensive, like Rosetta Stone. I chose it over Rosetta stone because it explains how everything works, like I'm an adult, rather than expect me to figure it out.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:16 AM GMT
    pocketnico said
    westanimas saidThis is the absolute best trick that I learned in school in France.

    Find some music that you like in the native language that you are studying. Get a copy of the lyrics, and memorize the album. Sing each song, (in private if you need to!) but really, sing the lyrics! It helps to loosen and re-train the muscles of your native language--and which are restraining you from pronouncing the phonetics of the foreign language. It is the most amazing way to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.


    I disagree with this because the way you pronounce words in music is not nearly the same as you would in speech. Well, pronunciation in music isn't completely unreliable, but it's still not the same in actual speech. French is actually a perfect example of this. The silent "e" in many French words tends to be pronounced as a schwa in song for the sake of fitting into a song's meter or rhyme scheme. Otherwise, it's hardly ever pronounced in real speech along with other minor peculiarities. Funny things happen with English (especially American and Canadian) and Russian in music vs speech too.


    I think you missed the point. The goal of doing this is to get you past the constraints of your native language, and to allow you to *play* with the phonetics of the foreign language. If you are truly studying the foreign language, then you will rationally be able to distinguish between singing a language and actually using it in speech. This is precisely the dexterity that this method is good for.

    At any rate, I still stand by it. I'm not the best at writing academic prose in French, but conversationally I'm still fluent after nearly 15 years, and native speakers will tell you that my accent is nearly perfect. I give credit for that to singing French pop songs icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:20 AM GMT
    westanimas said
    pocketnico said
    westanimas saidThis is the absolute best trick that I learned in school in France.

    Find some music that you like in the native language that you are studying. Get a copy of the lyrics, and memorize the album. Sing each song, (in private if you need to!) but really, sing the lyrics! It helps to loosen and re-train the muscles of your native language--and which are restraining you from pronouncing the phonetics of the foreign language. It is the most amazing way to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.


    I disagree with this because the way you pronounce words in music is not nearly the same as you would in speech. Well, pronunciation in music isn't completely unreliable, but it's still not the same in actual speech. French is actually a perfect example of this. The silent "e" in many French words tends to be pronounced as a schwa in song for the sake of fitting into a song's meter or rhyme scheme. Otherwise, it's hardly ever pronounced in real speech along with other minor peculiarities. Funny things happen with English (especially American and Canadian) and Russian in music vs speech too.


    I think you missed the point. The goal of doing this is to get you past the constraints of your native language, and to allow you to *play* with the phonetics of the foreign language. If you are truly studying the foreign language, then you will rationally be able to distinguish between singing a language and actually using it in speech. This is precisely the dexterity that this method is good for.


    I definitely understand. I'm just a stickler for pronouncing words as precisely and realistically as possible. icon_twisted.gif

    On an interesting note, considering the vast majority of Americans and Canadans have a rhotic accent in Englsh (pronouncing vocalic and final R's unlike most Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis), they typically become non-rhotic in music!
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:23 AM GMT
    Pocketnico:

    I am also a stickler for pronunciation. The goal of language is to communicate. You can have perfect grammar, but if you have bad pronunciation, you will fail to communicate. I think it is the most important part to speaking a foreign language. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:26 AM GMT
    westanimas saidPocketnico:

    I am also a stickler for pronunciation. The goal of language is to communicate. You can have perfect grammar, but if you have bad pronunciation, you will fail to communicate. I think it is the most important part to speaking a foreign language. icon_smile.gif


    It still amazes me though how different French sounds in music vs speech, particularly Quebec French. I've noticed a lot of Quebec musicians typically sing in an accent closer to standard Parisian (in hopes of attracting the French-Euro market, of course) instead of their local accent when they speak.
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    Oct 29, 2011 4:37 AM GMT
    pocketnico said
    westanimas saidPocketnico:

    I am also a stickler for pronunciation. The goal of language is to communicate. You can have perfect grammar, but if you have bad pronunciation, you will fail to communicate. I think it is the most important part to speaking a foreign language. icon_smile.gif


    It still amazes me though how different French sounds in music vs speech, particularly Quebec French. I've noticed a lot of Quebec musicians typically sing in an accent closer to standard Parisian (in hopes of attracting the French-Euro market, of course) instead of their local accent when they speak.


    But do you speak French? The most amazing thing to listening to native speakers in plain conversation, everyone will agree, is that they sing when talking. There is even a definite pattern to their conversational intonation, where they will run up the first two phrases into a higher tone, and then descend on a third phrase to a lower tone. No kidding!

    Je suis en TRAIN...d'acheter un billET...pour ALLER en France.

    Ta ta TA...
    Ta ta TA...
    TA, TA, ta.

    It's a fun language to speak icon_smile.gif