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The Learning a New Language Thread

Discussion in 'Education, Learning, Books' started by Fox, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. Fox
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    Fox Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Who else here is learning a new language?

    I just started Russian and I can tell I have a few hard years ahead of me! I only know the letters and around five actual words but it is a lot of fun already. I have always wanted to visit (I go for New Years for the first time) and generally have found Russian people to be super friendly, interesting people.

    I would love to hear what others are learning and also about any travel involved too. I will keep this thread updated on my Russian adventures as time goes on.
     
  2. WinTheDay
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    WinTheDay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I'm actually taking Chinese right now, one of the toughest languages to learn I can have basic conversation and read a small amount of the characters now, I know plenty of words tho.

    I suck at the pronunciation, thinking about finding a few Chinese friends because it's definitely a difficult language. Also might do study abroad in Hong Kong in the next semester or for summer, nothing set it stone yet.
     
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  3. Longinus
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    Longinus Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm learning Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. luniac
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    luniac Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    learning new languages is one of my planned future habits when I finally get financial freedom.
    at least I was raised speaking Russian, dodged a bullet there. I think Chinese would be the wise choice for me.
     
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  5. Xavier X
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    Xavier X Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I'm learning Spanish and Portuguese.
    I can carry on a basic conversation in Spanish, as I've been learning it on/off since 2014.

    My last 2 - 3 months spent in Spanish speaking countries has also helped with practice and improvement.
    I've been learning with the free Duolingo website and app. Very simple interface to get started with many common languages.

    I've completed the Spanish course in it, and just started Portuguese. I'm moving faster through Portuguese, as it's very similar to Spanish - on paper.

    Brazil is next on my list of destinations to spend a month or two.
    It would kill me to be unable to carry on conversations with those heavenly Brazilian ladies. :cool:

    The fastlane venture I'm currently building involves a lot of localization activity. So other than travel, the languages are also beneficial to my business.
     
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  6. Ninjakid
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    Ninjakid Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Been learning Japanese since I was 17, can pretty much speak it fluently.

    Started learning Korean about three years ago. Not fluent, but conversational.

    Thinking about adding some others to my toolbox.

    EDIT: I've also spent time learning French, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, and Hindi, but I'm not particularly impressive with these
     
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  7. Longinus
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    Longinus Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Did you learn these languages just with Duolingo? That's pretty impressive.
     
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  8. TheDillon__
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    TheDillon__ Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Glad to see this thread is young. Let me give my input as a serial language learner.

    1. As with your first business, successful song, successful book, whatever - the first one is always the hardest.

    Whenever you begin learning a new language, you don't simply learn Spanish. First, you often have to learn about your OWN native language before you begin to really understand everything your textbook talks about.

    For example - before you can understand "adjectives often follow nouns" in Spanish, you have to know what an adjective even is in English!

    2. You will have to SPEAK the language.

    It can be nerve-wracking practicing your speaking. Stagefright comes through very easily as ideas of making a fool of yourself fly into your head every time you're faced with the opportunity to speak your language aloud. However, unless you nip this in the bud, you will fall into the trap that numerous college graduates (with degrees in their languages!) fall into where they can "understand, but not speak."

    Imagine this as a game of tennis, and every time you speak is another serve.

    If you are understood - the person you are speaking to can piece together what you are saying, then your ball went over the net.

    For example, you're talking to a friend about their weekend plans and they say "Ah yes! I am tomorrow dancing going!"

    You get what they mean, even though the order was a bit off. (Notice how you don't think your friend is an idiot, nor are you mocking them for trying. This also applies to you when you try to speak your foreign language.)

    Then, once the message has been received, the other person serves back "Oh! You are going dancing tomorrow!". Now you have learned the correct way to express that thought. Tuck that away for next time, and you've just gotten a little more fluent then you were before.

    I have more thoughts I'll add in on the topic when it's not 1 in the morning.
     
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  9. TheDillon__
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    TheDillon__ Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Keep in mind that with Duolingo, the jury is still out on whether or not one could say that they've "learned" a language via the app.

    Duolingo is a phenomenal language learning tool, and makes a wonderful first step in the right direction if you're looking to learn a new language.

    You will learn a lot of the basic vocabulary you will need, and hopefully you can start to get a grasp on the syntax ("flow") of the language once you get to the end.

    For example, by the finishing of a Duolingo course, you will more than likely be able to carry on a small conversation in which you can introduce yourself and have some small talk, but you're still a ways off from reading the news or effortlessly watching movies / listening to music.

    Once Duolingo is finished, you will want to supplement with more real-world application, and some Intermediate-level learning resources.
     
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  10. TheDillon__
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    TheDillon__ Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Look into resources like Duolingo, Babbel, LanguageTransfer, and Memrise.

    All of these are free if not negligibly cheap, and you can use them to get a great start on your language learning now.

    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
     
  11. YanC
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    YanC New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I wanna learn how to speak Japanese. I had always been interested in Japanese culture, and after traveling there last year I fell in love with it. Amazing country and people. As a rugby fan, my goal is to go back to Japan for the World Cup in 2019 speaking some Japanese.

    If someone needs it, I can help with French (native speaker), Spanish (school and traveling) and Portuguese (lived in Brazil for 2 years and a half). I had basics of Mandarin, but lost most of it.

    May I ask how you learnt Japanese?
     
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  12. tristano
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    tristano New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    As an italian native language, I studied english in school and had some practice in Uk and USA. Now I'm studying german for few days on youtube, learngermanwithjenny is a quite complete course and I'll buy Assimil course for better results. My goal is to speak german quite fluently for the end of next spring.
     
  13. NightFury
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    I've done a bit of Russian on Duolingo, I wanted to see how quickly I could pick up a language I've never been exposed to, with no experience of learning a second language. Turns out I love it, but I got a bit frustrated that it's completely useless in my country, and I don't know anyone who speaks it.

    I recently found that I have a few friends who speak French, so I've switched over to that. I haven't seen them since, so I'm looking forward to surprising them!
     
  14. Ninjakid
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    Reading a lot of books, watching anime and other Japanese shows, listening to music, and occasionally speaking with speaking people
     
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  15. swipka777
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    swipka777 PARKED

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    I would like to learn German language
     
  16. Waisec
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    Waisec Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I took the decision to move to Colombia earlier this year and I plan on finally getting there sometime in early December.

    So, I figured no-one over there speaks any English, so I better get started on learning Spanish, right? Plus I've always liked how the language sounds.
    Currently done 145 consecutive days on Duolingo. That's what...? Nearly 5 months now?

    Right off the bat, I set the exp level at the maximum 50 and just kept going every day. I finished the Spanish tree, then kept all the lessons gold for a while. Then did the reverse tree, which means you 'learn' English through Spanish, which was a lot more difficult, but also taught me A LOT more than the original tree. Finished that also and have kept it gold for a while. Definitely recommending Duolingo, it's far from perfect, but it gives a solid base if you put in the work and hammer at it consistently.

    Now I'm re-watching Narcos with English and Spanish subtitles running simultaneously, doing a lot of pausing, rewinding, checking how to conjugate different verbs, writing down unfamiliar words with translations etc. Have watched a bit of Colombian TV online, gotten really into Spanish rap... just full on immersing myself.

    I'd say I'm conversational at this point, but far from truly fluent. I think the hardest part is getting used to the fact that I can now speak a 3rd language when not that long ago I thought I'd never have any interest in studying another language ever again.

    Going to tackle Russian next year. Thankfully, I wouldn't have to start from scratch like I did with Spanish, since I did learn that a bit in school and some of it has rubbed off on me from the slavic girls I've dated.
     
  17. Vanderbilt
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    Vanderbilt Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    its the same language bro !!! just serbian have other letters! (or was that just a joke :D)

    iam learning spanish but i lack of discipline!! i should do it everyday but sometimes 2 weeks go by and i did nutting(working on my irish accent too, i listen closely to McGregor haha!
     
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  18. Raoul Duke
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    Raoul Duke The Horrendous Space Kablooie Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Latin.
     
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  19. Xavier X
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    Xavier X Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Yes, I learned most of the Spanish I know on Duolingo.
    However, having the opportunity to practice in Spanish speaking countries now is helping further.
     
  20. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    So - I've learned Spanish, French, and Thai. I've got limited experience with various books and software, I learned Spanish in college, French on the job, and Thai at an immersive 20hr/week language school for over a year. My verdict is that for return on time/effort (ignoring money for now), an immersive school is infinitely better than the other options.

    By immersive I mean: 3-4 hrs/day, 4-5 days a week. Go to a program where the instructors either can't or won't speak your native language. You'll basically be learning language the way a baby learns language.

    It can be expensive, but not as expensive as you might think. I think I only paid about 500/mo for the Thai school.

    Intangible benefit is that being thrust into that environment helps you quickly get over your anxiety, which is the biggest hurdle.
     
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  21. ZF Lee
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    ZF Lee Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm Chinese, but I'm in a similar position with you. I was English-educated, so my Chinese isn't refined. I wouldn't be able to understand Chinese idioms and poetry lol. Nor would I be able to catch up with rapid communication, especially in arguments.

    But at least I can still order food, ask people on the current trends and catch a bus lol.

    Hong Kong is still fine, and they have lots of English speakers there if you'd like some support. A total lingual shock would shake the nerves out of you lol. However, note that Hong Kong is still dominantly Cantonese. The enforcement of Mandarin as an official language still hasn't been very effective yet. Cantonese is a much steeper slope as it has no written language...and more challenging as well in terms of the tonality.

    Take for example numbers. In Mandarin, 'ten' would be 'shi'. But for Cantonese, it would be 'sap'. You might tend to pronounce 'sap' with you nostrils closed lol. 'Eat' in Mandarin would be 'chi'. Cantonese would be 'sec' (similar to 'sakes', minus the 's'). Of course there are a few similarities. The pronunciations for 'water' or 'drink' would be the same on both sides, which is 'shui'.

    IMO, learning any language is like entrepreneurship. You'll eventually that:
    1. Most courses touted out there can be a waste of time and money...akin to get rich courses. Most Chinese courses out there will only teach kindergarten level Mandarin that will make any pure-blood 9-year old Chinese laugh. And I find that online, they teach the han yu pin yin quite poorly especially when catered towards the Westerners. The phonetics tonal system is also very important to distinguish different pronunciations, or else you'll say strange shit.

    For example, in Mandarin, 'da' can be either 'beat' or 'answer'. (The full version of 'answer' would be 'hue da' as in 'give an answer in return' or the stately 'da an', 'answer'). I mistook those two miserably and got laughed at....at a CNY dinner. Geesh...embarassing. 'Answer' would be, in romanised Chinese, dá, while 'beat' would be dǎ.

    dá tends to be pronounced less condensingly will less pressure on throwing your voice...something like having your tummy a bit down lol. (trying to provide some kind of visual imagination to help Chinese speaker wannabes lol). dǎ is pronounced much lower, dull and almost crestfallen.

    2. The best of any language, especially Chinese, is best learned by using it.
    I am fortunate to have relatives, friends and parents to communicate in Mandarin. Not perfect, but it helps. At some point you will find book reading or course taking will not be enough, although you should read if you want to develop the writing part. But for Fastlane uses, speaking might be the more vital component.

    On finding more people to speak to, I found this forum recently.
    Learning Chinese

    But offline is actually better. There's a YMCA across from my college that offers good classes. Not like some of those 'baby baby classes', but more street smart kind of classes. Go find clubs or meetups. I found two meetups when I was looking for entrepreneurship events in my region. You could find more than that! Look up meetup.com

    Listen to lots of Mandarin programmess. But then again, you cannot listen to all of them. Never watch dramas...horrible arguments full of unladylike usage. Documentaries, news, movies(but not the ones which they keep swearing...don't build bad lingual habits in the first place) and speeches are good. I am presently watching the historical series Justice Bao and The Three Kingdoms...very well done although their language is just about as ancient as Martin Luther English lol. If you subscribe to a religion and can find religious materials in Chinese, you can use them with your friendly English text as a support. My mum actually learned English this way, while using a Chinese text as a support.

    Make lots of mistakes, but also have fun. I can tell you people hate learning languages, and they are just missing out!

    3. When you get to a point when learning the language is fucking hard and you want to quit, do all you can to bring back the feedback mechanism loop into action.

    We survive and excel in entrepreneurship because we work hard for market feedback, be it in the form of praise, criticism or money. Same goes for learning languages. When you feel shit is about to get dull, use what you have learned to produce an outcome that invites either praise or call for improvement. Talk to a Chinese businessman to discuss shop. Tell a joke and see if they laugh. Help someone weaker than you in the language. Write or tell a story in Chinese and post it...see if someone likes it. I used to write fanfiction and there were not a few times when I found CHINESE fanfic, despite the field being predominantly English.

    It's a grind especially when you are learning Chinese, which is best mastered young when you are a kid. But well, it is learnable as they are lots of deep structure lingual similarities as China and the English world get more connected.
     
  22. Roulf
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    Roulf New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I started to learn the japanese alphabets a while ago. Hasn't been consistent on the time I'm putting on it but it's not that big of a deal.
    I love the japanese culture and want to spend 1+ years that when I cash out, and come out close to fluent =)
     
  23. The-J
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    The-J Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I do. The languages I learned are easy, though (Spanish, then French; knowing Spanish made French much easier with grammar and vocabulary), and I just started a 'hard' one recently (Mandarin; learning to recognize characters while I learn to understand and speak. I'll leave the writing for later). I know a little bit of Swedish and Portuguese as well but I can't say that I speak them.

    My native language is English.

    I find that the 'low and slow' method works for me. Study a little (20-40 min a day), over a long period of time. Create your world to be immersive, rather than relying on immersion programs. Speak to people, read in the target language, listen to radio and watch shows, and try to LEARN in the target language.

    My favorite tools are good old book-and-audio courses (Teach Yourself, Living Language, Berlitz). Duolingo helps a little as an auxiliary. HelloTalk is one of my favorite tools I used to speak to people. I don't study grammar until I'm able to speak, and I learn new vocabulary by reading/watching stuff and looking up words I don't know.

    Instruction may cut your learning curve but it will not erase the REAL barrier of language learning, which isn't time or language difficulty: it's ego.

    It sucks when you're speaking a language not-so-well and you come off as a fool, when you know you're not a fool. It sucks being laughed at for your accent. It sucks when your level is plainly revealed to you when you forget the word for 'scissors'. That's why people get discouraged, and sometimes they mistake these events for failure when they're simply inevitable when learning a language.

    Leave your ego at the door and the language learning process becomes fun and easy, even if you're learning a language as hard as Chinese.
     
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  24. G-Man
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    I have good friend that works at the state department that speaks 7 or 8 languages and he does this. It takes some discipline to avoid media in your own language especially, but it clearly works for him.
     
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  25. TheRegalMachine
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    TheRegalMachine Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Japanese and Spanish languages I extensively studied but was lazy about it so I have the vocabulary of a small child. I can understand the jist of conversations but if advanced or technical terms get tossed around I'm confused, have to ask questions, and try to piece it together.
    If I earnestly studied I'd be better than I am but as stated: "lazy".
    Which is a shame because learning languages was never difficult to me, but I didn't take the proper steps to get a lot in my brain's long term memory.
    To me it has nothing to do with the difficulty of the language it's hard when you make it hard.
    In my opinion learning by a book where it teaches you grammar and structure from the ground up ruins the ease and fun of language learning.
    We don't learn how to speak our native tongues that way but every language book tries to teach this way. With Japanese I stopped using books and listened to the language. I dissected what I heard and put the pieces together as I went along. Which is why I can understand Japanese being spoken but I can't speak, read, or write it very well. Just like a child understands those around them but lack those functions , but they pick them up easier when they do start to learn them in school. Which is why when my nephew tells me I'm "getting on his nerves" and I tell him to spell it he gets flustered, because he knows what he saying, he just doesn't know the spelling, rules of grammar, and so on.
    Books/apps/etc are a nice reference but nothing tops immersion, word association, and mimicry.
    You kind of have to revert to a child like state when learning a new language.