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Language Learning

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posted on Jul, 9 2005 @ 02:08 PM
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(this was the closest forum for this that I could find; it's really more of a BTS topic except that there is no appropriate forum for this on BTS)

I am interested in learning additional languages. I took french for a few years back in grade school, but I didn't do particularly well at it. I probably just didn't know the proper way to study & learn a language; I'm more of a math&sciences type of person when it comes to aptitude, but I'm interested in many other areas, as well.

How would you suggest acquiring additional languages? Any opinion is welcome; the only one I'm going to nip in the bud is international travel, since I am way too poor for that.

Language tapes? Textbooks? University courses? Internet courses? Something else I haven't thought of? What worked for you? Why?

Oh, I should add, I am more interested in being able to read a language than speak it, although I would like basic proficiency in speaking as well.

I would like to improve my french. I would also like to learn german, since my one grandmother is Austrian, so it's kind of a heritage thing. I am also interested in Greek/Latin/Hebrew so that I would be able to read the Bible in those languages, since those versions are probably closer to the source than the English ones we have.




posted on Jul, 9 2005 @ 02:14 PM
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I found an online Spanish course last year and found it to be quite good.



posted on Jul, 9 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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You may want to check out some audio pimsleur courses. Below is a link to the official site, but you should be able to download some of the popular languages on a file-sharer, or something similar.


www.pimsleurapproach.com...



posted on Jul, 10 2005 @ 10:56 PM
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I have tried to learn different languages before and I believe the best thing to have is someone to practice with, preferably (sp?) fluent in the language you are studying. It's alot easier to pick up stuff and learn grammer when you are around the language. If you grandmother is still alive, having her help you out would be ideal, for the both of you.

As far as reading and writing the language go, a cheap way to do things is by a childrens book in that language. You can usually find them on ebay. Start learning to read and write the language the same way you did with english, start with picture books and work your way up.

[edit on 10-7-2005 by Strigoi]



posted on Jul, 11 2005 @ 10:42 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone
I did manage to, uh, *acquire* a few of the pimsleur courses that purity recommended. My grandmother is still alive, but she lives about 600km away from me, so practicing german with her won't exactly be very easy, although I am going to be visiting her at the end of August, so that would be a good opportunity. The children's book idea is good, but I think I will use the local library rather than buy some, since I'm cheap.

I think I'm going to start with improving my french, since I now have all the pimsleur audio files for it. I also got a bunch of the spanish ones and a few german & hebrew ones, but the last two are very incomplete, so I won't be able to really use them until I get more of the set.

Au revoir, et merci!



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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The most effective methods of learning vary from person to person. Most people are visual learners (learn best by seeing it), but others may be auditory (hearing) or kinesthetic (doing) to name a couple of the more common alternatives.

In second language acquisition one of the most important factors is motivation. Learning a language is a long and sometimes frustrating affair, so your desire to learn must overcome your natural inclination to walk away when something gets too hard[1].

Having someone with whom to practice is very helpful. You may want to contact your local university/college to see if there is a foreign language club. These are usually open to non-students, and give you a good way to interact in your chosen language. If nothing else, since you've indicated a desire for literacy more than conversation, they should be able to point you towards good resources.

One of the big topics in second language acquisition (at least it was in college 5 years ago) is "Tolerance of Ambiguity." Basically this has to do with your comfort zone for not knowing things. When you start out learning a foreign language you're pretty limited in what you can say/understand, often times you can't even "talk around" things. Unfortunately for you, general trends usually show a lower tolerance for ambiguity among those good at maths and sciences. That's not a hard and fast rule, just a general trend. What it means to you, practically, is that you may have to ramp up your patience while you're beginning.

[1] The threshold's different for everyone, and I'm using the generic English "you" because the French "on" doesn't exist, and Americans look at you funny when you start using the British "one".



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 09:59 AM
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Since repetition is the key to learning any language, i'd say get tapes that teach you conversational languages.
You dont have to worry initially about reading or writing.
Good luck



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 10:08 AM
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Another easy way to increase your learning is to find archives (or radio stations) of songs in that language. Singing is usually slower than speaking and it's repetitive, which works on a lot of levels.



posted on Jul, 13 2005 @ 01:53 PM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Another easy way to increase your learning is to find archives (or radio stations) of songs in that language. Singing is usually slower than speaking and it's repetitive, which works on a lot of levels.


Hmm, I never thought of that. Being in Canada, I have easy access to radio and TV in French. I haven't checked it out yet, but I'm sure the libraries are fairly well stocked with French, too; at least, I know I have seen sections dedicated to French in the libraries. I'm a student at the university here, too, so they probably have lots of books in foreign languages, too.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 07:46 AM
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As someone with quite an experience in learning languages my suggestion is: watch TV. You said you have access to french TV, so that is an excellent opportunity to learn.
I learned both english and german watching TV channels in those languages (additional to proper courses, of course). That way you learn to use phrases in situations, it is very very helpful when learning a foreign language.
University courses or online courses are excelent for learning the basics and the grammar. How to speak the language then in everyday life, for that you need either daily talk with someone who already speaks the language, or you have to watch TV, see the language "in action" sort of.

At first, you won't understand what they are saying, but don't worry. Just watch, observe and listen.



posted on Jul, 14 2005 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by PurityOfPeace
You may want to check out some audio pimsleur courses. Below is a link to the official site, but you should be able to download some of the popular languages on a file-sharer, or something similar.


www.pimsleurapproach.com...


I got around to actually starting the pimsleur course for french today. It's really good, although so far it's just review for me. I'm expecting very good things from these courses, now, hehe. Someday when I am rich and retired (in like 4 decades, lol, if ever) I hope to travel and having a couple of languages will really help with that.

For bringing pimsleur to my attention, PurityOfPeace gets one of my WATS votes this month







 
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