xxxx

Learning New Languages

12 posts in this topic

A few questions:

1) What’s your process like?

2) What are the tools that you use?

3) How many different languages can you  learn at once? 

4) How long did it take you to become proficient?

5) How often do you revise? Also, are you able to recall it if you haven’t revised it for a while? 

6) What are the things I definitely need to do?

7) What are the things I definitely need to avoid? 

8) How many languages do you know?

9) Miscellaneous material / resources / videos / articles / books.

.

Thank you

.

 

 

Edited by xxxx

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1 hour ago, xxxx said:

1) What’s your process like?

I learned languages both in school and through actually moving to different countries. The difference is huge. You can’t really get proficient in a foreign language on paper I find. Especially not if it’s a difficult one. (Difficult meaning far different from your mother tongue)

So in school: wrecking your brain, endless study, never getting ahead and ultimately giving up.
Locally: Being totally lost for some time, slowly piercing it together and then getting in a real flow.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

2) What are the tools that you use?

I heard there are good apps like duo lingo but my experience is that you can’t learn a language proficiently unless you’re interacting with locals. The best thing I’ve done so far is supplementing talking to locals with a language course in their country. 

It makes a huge difference whether you’re still switching back to your mother tongue to explain something or whether you rely completely on the new language. You have to get out of translation - mode for real proficiency. Learn it from a teacher that is local and only speaks the language you want to learn.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

3) How many different languages can you  learn at once? 

Depends on how difficult they are. I’d focus on one at a time. Once you’ve mastered that, move on. Or I mean, if you just want to tip your toe into them, that’s fine. I’d just rather not learn a language than be sloppy.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

4) How long did it take you to become proficient?

In school: Years and I didn’t really get ahead.

Irl: Depending on how difficult the language is, 4-8 months. But you see great progress before that. That’s just the point where I thought “Ok, I can really convey everything I think and feel in this language now”. You just have to exercise your vision enough to get through the first 1-2 months. 

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

5) How often do you revise? Also, are you able to recall it if you haven’t revised it for a while? 

That depends on how well you’ve learned the language beforehand. Once you’re proficient for a long enough time (say 1-2 years of daily use) you won’t have to revise often. Most of it just sticks. It’s good to keep conversing from time to time (or watch a movie, read some books) but you’re not gonna loose your ability to communicate in this language anymore.

If you’ve only learned it on paper though, revising is basically all you do. It's not fun and the skills leave you after just some weeks.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

6) What are the things I definitely need to do?

Talk to locals, be compassionate with yourself and go all in.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

7) What are the things I definitely need to avoid? 

Going in half-heatedly, not knowing what your aim is and thereby giving up before making progress. Make up your mind before and cut out all other possibilities.

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

8) How many languages do you know?

 4

1 hour ago, xxxx said:

9) Miscellaneous material / resources / videos / articles / books.

Again, your local language school. Also any topic that interests you now, but in the new language: videos, movies, books, etc. If you wanna learn extra fast, get yourself a boyfriend in that new language. Hehe;) 

I'll say this: Our schooling system is quite backwards in many areas, but languages is one of the worst. Your theory-practice ratio should be somewhere around 10/90. And you should only be taught by native speakers. The regular system is failing badly at both of these so you need to be smart enough to take another route. 

Have fun!

What languages do you want to learn? Maybe I can help you out with a few specific resources ^_^


My YouTube channel: "The Inward Morning"

Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est

 

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Thank you for such a comprehensive answer, Flume. I really appreciate it. 

5 hours ago, flume said:

So in school: wrecking your brain, endless study, never getting ahead and ultimately giving up

I totally agree with this. I learned French for almost 7 years of my school life, and became pretty fluent in it, too - mastering the grammar part, which is supposed to be abstruse - but once I left the confines of academic life, the usage of this language was pushed to the corners, and I forgot a large part of it. 

Only if school had focused more on the practical part, than the theory part. 

5 hours ago, flume said:

You have to get out of translation - mode for real proficiency

Absolutely. 

5 hours ago, flume said:

Depends on how difficult they are

How does one assess the difficulty of a language? Are there any specific parameters? 

5 hours ago, flume said:

 If you wanna learn extra fast, get yourself a boyfriend in that new language

Point noted, kind ma'am, haha - shall definitely look into this in the future as a possibility --- according to the language, region and availability, haha! 

5 hours ago, flume said:

What languages do you want to learn? Maybe I can help you out with a few specific resources 

I know, I'll sound pretentious here, but I wish to learn all the major languages of the world. That's a deep desire that I ardently possess.

Want to brush up my French, ab initio; thereafter, the others. 

I am giving myself 3-4 years time. 

You can give me the requisite resources; I'm sure they will be of immense help.

.

Thank you.

.

Edited by xxxx

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15 hours ago, xxxx said:

How does one assess the difficulty of a language? Are there any specific parameters? 

Well "difficult" means relative to your mother tongue or the other languages you already speak. But consider this:

- There are different language groups like

  • Germanic (German, English, Dutch, etc.)
  • Romance (French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.)
  • Slavic (Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, etc.)

You'll generally have an easier time learning languages in "your group" since they developed from the same roots. Vocabulary and grammar will be somewhat similar and pronunciation feels more natural.

- The difference in grammar is another difficulty. English for example has only one kind of article ("the") while French and German have 3.

- If you have to learn a new kind of Alphabet like in Russian for example, that's gonna make it way harder as well.

- You can just check the level of difficulty intuitively on yourself. Do you understand anything the person is saying in the new language? Can you gage a few words? Look at written sentences: If you're totally lost it's gonna be a steep journey.`

15 hours ago, xxxx said:

Point noted, kind ma'am, haha

Glad to be of help:D

15 hours ago, xxxx said:

I know, I'll sound pretentious here, but I wish to learn all the major languages of the world. That's a deep desire that I ardently possess.

Beautiful aspiration. I bet it will widen your horizon quite a bit! There's some amazing research showing that just by switching languages you can find new ways of thinking and problem solving if you're stuck somewhere. It'll make your mind super flexible.

In that case it's probably worth to invest time into learning Latin. I personally never did but it'll be a lot easier to learn most languages once you have Latin down.


My YouTube channel: "The Inward Morning"

Dei nostri templum terrarum orbus est

 

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11 minutes ago, flume said:

English for example has only one kind of article ("the") while French and German have 3.

German articles drive me crazy!

Thanks for the info. I just added Latin to my list. I would appreciate your input on Chinese.

Edited by Gesundheit

If you have no confidence in yourself, you are twice defeated in the race of life. But with confidence you have won, even before you start.” -- Marcus Garvey

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I'm fluent in English, German and Spanish.

In my experience you can reach fluency in a language that belongs to the same language group (as @flumementioned) as your native one within 3 months. I know it because some of my German friends had to learn Dutch in one summer to be able to study at a Dutch University.

To learn a language from a different group, you can reach fluency within 6 months if you're dedicated and it helps a lot to actually be in a country where they speak it. I learned Spanish on my own for 3 years, but it was only until I actually moved to Spain that my progress went really steep. Being in Spain I improved more in one month than I did in a year previously.

Learning very foreign languages like Asian ones, probably takes longer. I started learning Korean, but it's just so different to what I'm used to that it's very hard to improve my own.

Pro tip: Focus on vocabulary and learning phrases rather than individual words and grammar. Grammar is nice but I find it's over-emphasized especially during the early stages of the learning process.

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@xxxx There are tons of things you can too & if you use all the tools you can learn very fast. 

On 19/01/2021 at 1:35 PM, xxxx said:

A few questions:

1) What’s your process like?

2) What are the tools that you use?

3) How many different languages can you  learn at once? 

4) How long did it take you to become proficient?

5) How often do you revise? Also, are you able to recall it if you haven’t revised it for a while? 

6) What are the things I definitely need to do?

7) What are the things I definitely need to avoid? 

8) How many languages do you know?

9) Miscellaneous material / resources / videos / articles / books.

1. Process will be different for everything (depends how much free time you have, where you live, your living environment, social environment).

2. Tools : 

  • Google translate 
  • Word reference 
  • Italki 
  • Conversation exchange 
  • Youtube
  • Memrize
  • Physical tools > Best 1 = use sticky labels in you home & attach them to objects so that everyday you're reminded of your table as "la mesa" ect.. 

*Can go in to a lot more dept in how you'd want to use these tools specifically, & your laptop & living environment in general.

For example you can make a separate youtube account & structure it to be just designed for languages, subscribed only to the best teachers that's style resonate with you ... 

I could go into way more dept., considering creating a whole course on how to learn languages efficiently using technology. 

I can send a screenshot of how I would organize my browser for language learning by favouriting different websites ect.. this is important. 

 

3. I would be careful about learning multiple languages at once. I think this is possible but at least drill in the basics & familiarize yourself with 1 language before you start trying to learn 2. 

Having said that the mind is very powerful, anything is possible. 

 

4. Is a silly & common question 

There is no exact end point when you become "fluent", it's a gradual ongoing process. 

Also do not focus on this, focus on "being able to hold a conversation or enjoy a film ect.."

You'll start to "feel" when you're doing good in a language, if you focus on fluency it will demotivate you.

I focused on being able to enjoy a conversation, & I defo can do that in spanish & I love it its great, but i'm far from fluent

 

*BEST TIP FOR READING ARTICLES >>> Pick something you find super interesting anyway (for me it's psychology, technology) & then find an article in your target language for that topic 

 

To answer no.5 > You have to revise frequently or you will forget it. The good news is you don't need 10 hours a day, even 10-15 minutes per day or at least multiple times a week will help it stick.

There's tons of words I "learnt" & then later forgot because I had an all at once then dump it mentality. 

No, you have to have patience & accept you will forget a majority of what you learn, but as long as you keep exposing yourself through reading, talking ect.. it will all eventually stick for good. But it will take months at least. 

 

Any video that says "I learnt Italian in 7 days" is a scammy clickbait video. Yes they learnt it, but they will forget everything  just as fast ... unless they keep doing it for months/years. So they didn't even really learn it. 

 

Lastly, the general idea of "immersion is so key and why many people forget what they learn & it doesn't stick. You need constant immersion to learn very quickly & this is why moving country is so powerful.

However the typical Brit might go move to Spain, but then they only stay with there English friends, refuse to engage & so they are not actually "immersed", they're just now in a different country. 

It's being in a different country vs "becoming" the country. 

If I were to move country I would be really motivated to study the language, but the double benefit is I'd improve my social skill because I'd just start convos in the target lanugae with foreigners non stop, every shop, bar ect.. you go. 

 

 

 

Edited by Striving for more

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Let's say you wanna learn french from scratch...

First go to Youtube and search something like "200 most common words in french".

After you memorize those words by listening to them everyday, next go and write/type them down so they really sink in.

Then go and do another youtube search like "100 most common phrases in french"

Do the same thing you did before, listen to the same video (while focusing on what's being written of course) everyday for an X of days and write/type them.

Now all you wanna do is to expand your vocab words and phrases.

After that watch 5 children short stories, but intensively, you need to follow the words and how they pronounce them and most importantly watch every video for 5-10 times. until it gets very boaring..., (if you're one of those crazy people to type with 9 fingers like me, than head on to 10fastfingers.com and change the language to french. And just type!... this typing thing is very very very useful cuz on one hand you increase your WPM and the other you're typing which means memorizing more words. maybe even type every kids story you watch 5 times if you wanna go crazy)

Now you're a beginner, so go and watch one of those guys on youtube for example: https://www.youtube.com/user/francaisauthentique

But what is most important is the reason. why do you wanna learn that language?

Your life has to be that language! you wanna the langue of your tv, phone, social media accounts, windows, listen to french music, watch french movies, follow french cooking, french comedy... everything (at this stage you should be intermediate). to really make a commitment.

but never learn grammar, it will come naturally,

So that's how i learned English (my native is Arabic), it has been 5 years and i still collect new vocab. i quit learning french because english is more than enough for me :) maybe in the future i'll meet a french girl or something ;)

On 1/19/2021 at 2:35 PM, xxxx said:

5) How often do you revise? Also, are you able to recall it if you haven’t revised it for a while?

Go big or go home. but if you wanna take your time, you can skip all the above and start with grammar lol.

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@flume Thank you so much for your answers, Flume. They have been of immense help.

I know a bit of Latin (legal maxims, haha) --- but shall delve into it in a wholesome manner.

.

8 hours ago, datamonster said:

Being in Spain I improved more in one month than I did in a year previously.

Yes, I totally agree. It has been the case with the places that I have travelled to; while I may have not been able to communicate with the locals fluently, I was able to understand, to a considerable extent, what they were trying to say. I usually learn a few phrases from the locals, and use it for the purposes required.  

Anyway, thank you for the tip regarding grammar. 

.

7 hours ago, Striving for more said:

1) Can go in to a lot more dept in how you'd want to use these tools specifically, & your laptop & living environment in general.

2) I could go into way more dept., considering creating a whole course on how to learn languages efficiently using technology. 

3) I can send a screenshot of how I would organize my browser for language learning by favouriting different websites ect.. this is important. 

Thank you so much for the detailed answer.

If you could do all the three above, it will be of help to many of us here. I look forward to this. 

.

3 hours ago, StateOfMind said:

if you're one of those crazy people to type with 9 fingers like me, than head on to 10fastfingers.com and change the language to french. And just type!

I checked the website out --- amazing. I know a bit of French; did it for 7 years in school, so this will be helpful in brushing it up. 

Also, no --- I am not one of those crazy people who types with nine fingers. I type quite fast, though, but just with two fingers, haha. Only if I knew how to use the other seven. I feel so ordinary right now - thanks, man. 

Anyway, your approach is very interesting, and I am sure it will be quite useful in this endeavour.

Thank you. I really appreciate the help. 

.

14 minutes ago, Ibgdrgnxxv said:

Also listening a lot. Learning writing is harder than learning for communication purposes only. 

Thank you for your advice.

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Posted (edited)

Also great way to start off is to not do boring stuff like gramma but use movies or series.

You should pick a critically acclaimed film or Netflix series that you'll love & add subtitles. 

You may gain nothing but it will give you an emotional boost to start because you see how they talk differently & different culture, I found this is what motivated me to learn a new lingo, because I felt excited by watching their accent, customs, different city & wanting to talk like that  

 

Another tip is to study "forgetting curve" graph > Set a schedule in google calendar to return to your key vocabulary according to the curve, (you shouldn't try to study for hours at once or anything, what's more effective is to just read the list for 10 minutes but do it regularly & at least aligned with the curve) 

https://www.mosalingua.com/en/memory-the-forgetting-curve/

Edited by Striving for more

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