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    1. #1
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      Talking Tell me about learning Languages

      Hello.

      I'd really like to start learning new languages again. English is my first language and Canadian French and Spanish are my second and third (respectively). However, while I was learning both French and Spanish I wasn't truely motivated. I went to class, passed, and that's it. I remember little to no French, and very little Spanish.

      I've decided, as a sort of hobby, to get back into learning Languages. I've started learning Japanese, and made some good progress. I know that this will be a long Journey and I'd like to hear some stories, advices, hints, tips, tricks, disaster stories, triumphs etc. from other people who have decided to learn a Language.

      edit: Also, it'd be interesting to include your First, Second, Third... Language along with how, why, and when you learned them.
      Last edited by mindwanderer; 09-13-2011 at 02:31 PM.

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      I've been taking French classes at my school for a decade now, from grade 1-10. I stopped taking it two years ago because even though we learned a lot about basic vocabulary and stuff, they didn't teach us how to understand the French accent. I can't carry a normal conversation with a French-speaker because I don't know what they're saying; I think this is because our teacher babied us a lot in terms of slowing down to pronounce every word. It didn't get any better in high school. So learn the accent too, even if it means listening to people speak fluently in the language. If you don't know anyone, find someone. I didn't know anyone, so I didn't get the chance to further learn French.

      I'm probably not much help; you might already know that, but yeah. I wasted... (1 hr class period x 5 days a week x at least 100 days ) = 500 hours or more learning french, only to stop using it because I wasn't given enough chance to take the language outside the classroom.

    3. #3
      I love kebap Ilumirath's Avatar
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      Well I only know English and Dutch, Dutch being my native tongue and English was just something I picked up because we subtitle everything. I used to be able to speak and understand German perfectly with the TV being the reason again. But the intresting German TV channels disappeared when I was a kid so I forgot all about German.

      Becuase my country is bilingual we must learn French at 5th and 6th class, but I didn't cared about French and still don't. So I never payed attention lol. But I do plan on learning Russian, it's an awesome and beautiful language. And if it wasn't for my mother thinking it would be unnecessary Russian would've been my native tongue with Dutch coming second. Now I have to do all the trouble to learn it wich isn't that bad, but speaking will.
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      Only good advice I can say about learning languages are these two :

      1. The more languages you know already the easier it gets everytime. When you pass the point that you do not think anymore with your own language when speaking other you are good to go.
      2. Speak it. Best way is to move somewhere else where they speak it or get creative.

      For languages I once studied include Finnish, English, Swedish, German, Spanish and bit of Latin. Funny thing is that I can barely speak any of them anymore, but English. Granted I once did fairly good with most of them and studied them from 2-7 years.
      Jujutsu is the gentle art. It's the art where a small man is going to prove to you, no matter how strong you are, no matter how mad you get, that you're going to have to accept defeat. That's what jujutsu is.

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      Switch Spanish with German, and you sound exactly like me. I went into French Immersion in junior high and high school. I did pretty well, but I didn't like it and I've forgotten a lot. After I make some good progress with Japanese, I want to review and improve my French.

      In university I took a beginner course in German. Sometime I'd like to continue with that and become fluent. It would be really useful in my genealogy research since a lot of my ancestors were German.

      I'm trying to teach myself Japanese now. I've been interested in the language for a few years, but never really got motivated enough to seriously learn it. It was going great for a couple months, but a few weeks ago I slowed down quite a bit and have mostly stopped, and I'm having trouble getting back into it. I was trying to memorize some kanji along with the grammar lessons, but reviewing them takes so much patience and discipline. It's simple to flip through a deck of kana flash cards, but the kanji are so much more complex, and then you have to memorize the ON readings and KUN readings and stroke order and meanings and aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

      There are a bunch of other languages I'd like to learn in the future... Korean, Russian, Spanish... who knows how many I'll actually manage to get through.

      Do you have a Japanese tutor or are you taking classes, or are you just teaching yourself too?
      If you're feeling hungry, take a look at my friend's awesome food blog:
      unhipsquirrel.blogspot.com
      Chai-spiced almond cookies
      Sizzling beef with cilantro and hoisin sauce

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Puffin View Post
      I've been taking French classes at my school for a decade now, from grade 1-10. I stopped taking it two years ago because even though we learned a lot about basic vocabulary and stuff, they didn't teach us how to understand the French accent. I can't carry a normal conversation with a French-speaker because I don't know what they're saying; I think this is because our teacher babied us a lot in terms of slowing down to pronounce every word. It didn't get any better in high school. So learn the accent too, even if it means listening to people speak fluently in the language. If you don't know anyone, find someone. I didn't know anyone, so I didn't get the chance to further learn French.
      This. I'm in French Immersion in school still, my 13th year of it (sucks trying to get enough credits to graduate with the certificate x_x) and while I can carry on a conversation with a French person, it's not very natural and kind of hard to understand at times, and I can't understand French TV/music/radio or anything normally. Mostly because of the speed though. It's like, I can conjugate any verb in whatever tense, but I can't speak naturally, haha. So yeah, definitely practice with people who actually speak it if you can, or at least listen to it.

      I went through an "omg I wanna learn Japanese" phase a few years ago when I first got into anime, but never actually put in the effort. I can read kana really slowly and that's it, lol. I still think it would be cool someday though, I'd like to know more languages, even if I probably wouldn't use it. I don't use French that much either but it has come in handy.

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      My first language is Russian, second English, third Chinese.
      From my experience the most important thing is not even to speak the language, but rather listen to it a lot. That's how all of you learnt you native language (in the most of the cases). You get into the language in no time by doing this.

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      Quote Originally Posted by MischiefManaged View Post
      My first language is Russian, second English, third Chinese.
      From my experience the most important thing is not even to speak the language, but rather listen to it a lot. That's how all of you learnt you native language (in the most of the cases). You get into the language in no time by doing this.
      Sorry, but I've got to go there. "Chinese" is not a language.

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      I took 3 years of German in high school and now I have forgotten most of it. Though the few basic things I do remember, I think I will always remember. Which goes to show that if you learn something really well it will stick with you forever. On the other hand all that stuff you 'kind of' know, you will start to forget if you don't practice or use it often.

      I just finished(this week actually) taking a semester of Japense in collage. I did not do all that great in the class, but I do feel that I learned a ton from it. Vocabulary has always been my weakness when it comes to learning languages, so its hard for me to take classes some times. Especially in that class where we had to learn like 30 new words every week or two.

      I think collage language classes are a lot more difficult, though you also learn more quicker if you manage to stay in it.

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      I am a native English speaker (English English) and spent 7 years learning German and have no problem wenn ich auf Deutsch denken müssen. I loved it. In high school they tried to make me learn French, but I didn't like the language, so I learned enough to pass (well) then left it. I have started on Mandarin, but lack the motivation.

      I would say that I have a talented tongue - I have been told by Germans that my accent is nearly indistinguishable from a posh German, and I can copy any accent and do impressions. The way I was taught really helped though: the stuff you think is boring is necessary. From the age of 12 or so, I learned 120 German words per week. French was taught differently, as you would teach a small child, where a card was held up with the word chat or poisson written on. That was not so good for moi. With Mandarin, I'm trying it the 'For Dummies' way which tries to teach you no grammar or vocabulary. I can just about say hello (and curse) after 6 months.

      Something can be said for learning by rote.

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      Quote Originally Posted by mindwanderer View Post
      Sorry, but I've got to go there. "Chinese" is not a language.
      Ok, Mandarin Chinese then. Putonghua...Hanyu...

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      120 words per week is pretty good. I was having some trouble learning the 30 per week, though that was for perfect recall. Being able to hear the English word and knowing the Japense word, or hearing the Japense word and knowing the English and being able to read and write it in the Japense alphabet, and doing it on demand any time. Then push that up to 50-60 per week if you include mostly knowing the world but forgetting it now and then.

      I am just not to good at it, plus I find it pretty boring at times so I can't focus on memorizing words for to long at one time. I am much better learning the grammar and stuff though.

      If you are going to try learning things while ignoring the grammar, I think it helps if you memorize complete sentences as well, instead of just words.

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      I took 2 years of Spanish in high school, and instantly forgot everything. I just finished my first of 3 semesters of Spanish in college and I have to say that I learned more this semester than I learned in 2 years of high school. Every day I would speak in class, and that made the difference. Writing, reading, listening, and speaking are the only way to learn a language. It's gotta be all of it.

      I took a linguistics class and I feel like it really helped me with pronunciation. The part on phonetics was extremely interesting and has helped me learn to speak Spanish much better than before (and the rest was boring and useless!). It also alerted me to how much I am not going to even try to change when and where I aspirate my plosives in Spanish. And even though I know the difference between [v] and [β] I can't hear it.

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      I speak dutch and also know english, french, and some german. My french and especially my german is not good I just started learning arabic but I don't seem to find the time lately to properly keep up with it. I think the best way of learning languages is by immersing yourself in the language, speaking it regularly, watching movies in that language, listening to music in that language, stuff like that. There's this program as well called Rosetta Stone which I've heard is really good.

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      As long as your consistent and close when pronouncing stuff, I think people will understand you. Even if you sound like you have an accent or something. That reminds me of my Japense class though, and it shows that she enjoys linguistics because she spent a lot of time explaining how to pronounce stuff and how your lips should form and where your tongue should be and stuff like that.

      For most things however, you can just pronounce stuff by comparing to similar English sounds. Though she would always say not to do that, and not use romaji(conversion of Japense to roman alphabet.) because its a bad habit that beginners rely on, and slows down your learning.

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      First Language: Mandarin Chinese - I'm a Chinese.

      Second Language: English - I'm a Chinese born in a bilingual country.

      Third Language: Hokkien (It's a dialect) - I'm a Chinese born in a bilingual country however my grandma is unable to understand both languages, thus I picked up her language to communicate with her.

      I'm thinking of picking up Cantonese, it's another dialect and uses almost the same words as Mandarin Chinese, so I'd probably need to just work on the listening, speaking and some slight reading.

      Quote Originally Posted by MischiefManaged View Post
      Ok, Mandarin Chinese then. Putonghua...Hanyu...
      Does Mandarin or Chinese makes a difference? I've read up that it actually meant the same thing.

    17. #17
      A quest for knowledge Firebat11's Avatar
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      I'm learning bokmål

      gjør noen andre her forstår Norsk?

      Meep.

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      Spanish eh....then you'll certainly have no problem with correctly pronouncing: 'ra, ri, ru, re, ro' in Japanese. I found that more progress was made when I focused on speaking and listening, and not reading and writing. Again, much like how you would learn your first language: you want the rules to be as unconscious as possible to minimise stuttering due to conscious analysis.
      Last edited by Wolfwood; 12-31-2011 at 05:25 PM.

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      Edit: Thanks for all the replies folks!

      Quote Originally Posted by Carrot View Post
      Does Mandarin or Chinese makes a difference? I've read up that it actually meant the same thing.
      I'd imagine that you, being Chinese, would know the answer to that.... but if you don't, the answer is no.

      That's like saying "Isn't Canadian and English the same thing?" Well of course not, because Canada is a country... and both English and French are it's languages. Thus, "Chinese" is not a language as China is a country and Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese etc are it's languages. The other thing to note is that the "major" languages in China (Mandarin, Wu, Cantonese etc), as in Canada (English and French), are largely mutually unintelligible.

      There is "Standard Chinese", which is Nation wide and based off of a single Dialect of Mandarin... but it mostly came to be to simplify political interactions and the like since there are so many languages (or variations of several languages) spoken in China.
      Last edited by mindwanderer; 12-31-2011 at 10:39 PM.

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      If you want to retain any language... just start applying it to everyday life! If you say a basic sentence in your first language, repeat it in your head or quietly in whatever language you wish to pick up (considering you have basic, rudimentary knowledge picked up from classes and whatnot.) "Hey guys, the door is open!" "Oye, muchachos, la puerta esta abierta!"

      That's how you learn when you're a child, by associating "Abierta" and "puerta" with the door and the fact that it's open. Classes need reinforcement elsewhere.

      My first language is English, and my second language is Spanish (I took four years of Spanish in High School; two of which were required, but I wanted to continue because I enjoy learning and think that Spanish is a very useful language.) Textbook learning only gets you so far, but once I started applying it, it became a breeze! Immersion immersion immersion!

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      Ahhh, Japanese. I keep trying to teach myself, but I'm sooo bad with dedication. What helps is to find motivation for learning the language. Maybe you want to travel to the place one day or something. For me, it's because I'm a total otaku and want to watch anime without subs, read manga in it's original language and understand songs (ie. Vocaloid) without having to look them up. It's probably a terrible reason for learning a language, but I want to know it so bad. I have problems applying myself and actually studying it though.

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      There is no such thing as a bad reason to learn a language. Learning something useful isn't a bad thing, and even if you learn it totally on a whim, it is still useful.
      Anthonyyy0 likes this.

    23. #23
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      REALLY WEBSITE

      I JUST WROTE A HUGE FREAKING POST AND MY TOKEN HAS EXPIRED. ugh . . . .

      I cant re write it all so here are main points:
      I am learning italian now
      Resources I use:
      English to French, Italian, German & Spanish Dictionary - WordReference.com
      Lomas Tv
      Pimsleur highly recommended, 30 minute lessons, 30 lessons per unit, 3 units
      I have a workbook I got from a book store - has crosswords n word searches to make it fun
      Learn & Think Italian , another book with short stories and bolded words with translations down the side with a cd and them all read on audio

      I speak russian/english, learned spanish in school+college, 3 years later I didnt speak well, I went to central america for a month 25 hours a week spanish lessons, I was fluent by the end. Enough to hold long conversations and grasp the language.
      I was taught french grades 1-10 plus 2 years college and I mastered the art of memorizing verb conjugations which got me A+, but speaking and understanding, NO CHANCE.

      Also, I dont like french because its hard for me, Spanish was easy to pick up because I love the language. so pick a language you like.
      If you pick french or spanish to learn now, you will grasp it fairly quickly because all those old classes you took did a good job of hammering verbs and conjugations into your head. So you have the basis, you just gotta refresh yourself.

      if you have questions about resources msg me


      just DANCE

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      My original language is Hungarian and i also know English (who would've guessed? lol).

      I started learning English just thanks to games and the internet, then i decided to join classes at my school. At my primary school everyone was forced to learn German... but i never liked it, just passed with good grades as the teacher liked me English was optional, but i decided to join those classes, it was worth it

      Now my English pronuncation is not so good, because i can rarely talk with anyone in this language.... but the funny thing is that nowadays 50% of the time i think in English... back then i wouldn'tve been able to imagine this... but it just comes naturally

      Anyway, in my opinion the most important thing is to be interested in the language you want to learn, not just try to pass, but try to be better at it always
      I realize that i'm dreaming.
      I realize that i'm dreaming.
      I realize that i'm dreaming.

      <--- My Dream Journal Contains ONLY Lucid Dreams

    25. #25
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      My original language is of course German

      English is mandatory in schools here and aswell as Spanish and French so I came across those.I started learning swedish for fun,but that seems to be a long way ...

      My English is almost as good as my german because...well I use the internet and the rest comes naturally.Sometimes I think in english or even dream in english but thats a bit rare.
      I do speak a few english accents fluently because I like to have a variety to chose from so I can modulate my voice and sound more interesting.

      Obviously I also speak all german accents and dialects perfectly fine.

      Quote Originally Posted by TheSkies View Post

      I would say that I have a talented tongue - I have been told by Germans that my accent is nearly indistinguishable from a posh German, and I can copy any accent and do impressions.
      Ok then show us
      Last edited by ColdCrisis; 04-29-2012 at 11:04 PM.

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