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Learning Another Language?


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#1 Newtoitall

 
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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:35 AM

I was just thinking about trying my hand at learning German, I'm not really sure why but I always wanted to learn a second language and it seemed fun, I've heard it's difficult >_>

I was wondering how many of the people on this forum have learned a second language and how you did it?

and maybe tips for learning it faster or easier.

How long do you think is a good amount of time to spend each day to really learn anything, without burning yourself out on it.
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#2 elye

 
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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:42 PM

I am an English as a Second Language teacher, and I'm bilingual (English, French). I commend you for wanting to tackle something like this -- like learning a musical instrument, language acquisition gets progressively tougher the older we get, as our brain receptors for language and music that are active and thriving from birth to about age six decline, slowly at first and then steadily.
I instruct my beginner students to spend as much time as possible listening to English dialogue/conversation -- radio and/or television. Bought tapes/oral online programs and courses are good, too, as long as you are actively listening. You probably cannot do this too much. May be a bit difficult for you, readily finding German dialogue. :rolleyes:
I would say that reading the language should take up 30 minutes to an hour a day. And speaking it, of course -- it's ideal if you can be involved in actual conversations with another, and that is why group classes, I have found, are most effective for adult learners.

The absolute fastest way for you to learn German would be to move to Berlin for a year. I often tell Dear Husband that I need to brush up on my French, and research proves that the best way to do this is through total immersion -- so we need to spend a year in Paris!
Haven't gotten him to see things my way yet. <_<
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Emily

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#3 Newtoitall

 
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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:12 PM

I am an English as a Second Language teacher, and I'm bilingual (English, French). I commend you for wanting to tackle something like this -- like learning a musical instrument, language acquisition gets progressively tougher the older we get, as our brain receptors for language and music that are active and thriving from birth to about age six decline, slowly at first and then steadily.
I instruct my beginner students to spend as much time as possible listening to English dialogue/conversation -- radio and/or television. Bought tapes/oral online programs and courses are good, too, as long as you are actively listening. You probably cannot do this too much. May be a bit difficult for you, readily finding German dialogue. :rolleyes:
I would say that reading the language should take up 30 minutes to an hour a day. And speaking it, of course -- it's ideal if you can be involved in actual conversations with another, and that is why group classes, I have found, are most effective for adult learners.

The absolute fastest way for you to learn German would be to move to Berlin for a year. I often tell Dear Husband that I need to brush up on my French, and research proves that the best way to do this is through total immersion -- so we need to spend a year in Paris!
Haven't gotten him to see things my way yet. <_<


Lol, great advice thanks! A year in paris is one long vacation o.O As a Canadian I really should learn french over German but I would LOVE to go to berlin! although originally I wanted to travel there to try the food o.O

But I hear Berlin has some pretty crazy clubs =D
soon as I get celiac under control, I'll get right on going there, I feel it my duty as a staunch supporter of the linguistic arts *serious face*
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#4 elye

 
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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:08 PM

soon as I get celiac under control, I'll get right on going there, I feel it my duty as a staunch supporter of the linguistic arts *serious face*


:lol:

If anywhere is going to have quality gluten-free beer, it's gotta be somewhere in Germany.. ....... ;) B)
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Emily

diagnosed type one diabetic 1973
diagnosed celiac winter 2005
diagnosed hypothyroid spring 2006

But healthy and happy! Posted Image


11 year-old Son had negative blood panel, but went on gluten-free diet of his own volition to see if his concentration would improve, his temper abate, and his energy level would increase. Miraculous response!

The great are great only because we are on our knees.
--Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

#5 ciamarie

 
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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:24 PM

I've recently been attempting to learn French, since I took a few years of it in elementary school and my paternal grandmother's family is from Quebec; and I listened to some of the family speaking in French when I was little. I decided to use the Bible, and found a French one for only $10 online. I have several of them in English, already. But then I realized that I didn't know how many of the words were pronounced, and didn't have several hundred$ to buy some tapes or celiac disease's. After some searching I found some mp3's of a 1910 translation online, free download, yay! Then I ran into the problem that the printed version didn't exactly match the audio, but I have software that has multi-lingual translations and found the 1910 translation there. I just print out the chapters as I go along -- I've only done about 4 so far.

I'm doing 2 chapters at a time, and it gets frustrating sometimes -- but other times I'll listen to it or read something and realize it's sinking in somewhat. It's going to take a few months I know, and eventually I'll branch out to looking for some youtube vid's and other materials in French, to get some 'real world' experience.

Edit: I was reading the posted message above, and where it says I didn't have money to buy tapes or celiac disease's, I actually typed the abbreviation for 'compact discs' and the forum software fixed my abbreviation... and for this forum that is probably the correct 'fix' most of the time, and it was so funny I'm leaving it. But really it should say 'compact disks'. :lol:

Edited by ciamarie, 30 January 2012 - 07:29 PM.

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#6 navigator

 
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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:00 AM

Thelast two years we've gone to rural South of France for holidays, where very few people speak English. I last did French when I was 16 (I'm now 54) but was amazed how many words came back to me. Anyway, I decided that I would like to try and improve upon the few words that I was using to communicate. I've started doing the Linguaphone Just Talk series. It is expensive but I purchased it with my Tesco clubcard reward vouchers. Do you have this in USA?
So far so good. I did the 1st disc a number of times until I was 100% confident and I've now started the second one. I just hope that my committment lasts! I would say that it's the main drawback about doing it on your own rather than in a class.
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#7 aeb

 
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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:06 PM

I lived in Argentina for a year after high school, I now speak Spanish fluently. I took a semester of portuguese in college. But I think that immersion in the language is the best way to learn a language. To get started without a big investment a lot of libraries in the us have language learning discs (good for in the car). Also the bbc has online language learning modules for free.
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#8 Nadia2009

 
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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:41 PM

I started learning English mostly at high school then didn't do much at university. I had to work hard later when I needed functional English and did a lot on my own but then there are proven methods to learn English. I watched a lot of American movies at the time and kept rewinding :)
My challenge was listenning as reading and writing come easy when you already know French. Choose an accent you understand when working on your listening...for me, American English was easier than British. Watching movies in original version has its rewards as ou can finally hear the real actors speaking. You can also watch german TV shows etc.
But did you say you're Canadian? You should consider French alors!
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#9 Jestgar

 
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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:28 AM

I had a friend who had studied Russian, but was forgetting it. She found someone who spoke Russian, but wanted to learn English, and they traded conversation hours.
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#10 Kjas

 
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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:00 AM

I was brought up travelling so I'm multi lingual. English was the last language I learned although I still screw it up fairly often due to having bad influences at school (too much slang).

All I can say is that if you're setting out to learn a new language, listening to it helps the most to begin with. Listen to it as much as you can and you will start to pick up certain words, patterns, phrases etc.

Immersion really is the best tool to learn a language but if you can't do that then listening is the second best thing.

The other really helpful thing I realised over the years that has allowed me to pick up multiple languages is that patterns are incredibly important. I did this without realising it for years, never needing grammar books because I always used learning the patterns already present in the language. Patterns are how kids learn languages so much faster than adults, they don't try to break it down into grammar like an adult will. Since English is germanic and romance based, you should be able to do the same thing with German. Once I started reading the grammar books, it confused the heck out of me, in fact, I'm still confused by them now.

Once you can listen and start to speak the language, your writing and reading will come naturally since once you know the sounds you should have a good guess at what a word should look like. I've seen people who learn the reading and writing first and they often pronounce the individual letters (particularly vowels) as they do in their native language which makes them much more difficult to understand. You can circumvent that to an extent by listening first and then speaking before trying reading and writing.
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#11 Di2011

 
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Posted 03 February 2012 - 09:14 PM

Best: immersion - go live in Germany - but probably not practical
Next best:
* find out where your local German community live/socialise
* ask clubs/community groups etc to put up flyers/pamphlets asking for a language learning "helper" . You would be amazed how many expats etc would love to help you learn their language.
* Google/Find out about any German/Austrian clubs/groups are in your area ((there are a few here in Canberra, Australia so maybe some near you))
* contact your local university that you know (google) teaches German and/or European history/politics .. they will be keen to get you in touch with academics/students who will want to help and/or practice English
* there is likely to be a German/Austrian exchange student nearby so you could check with the exchange student program organisers
* are there schools nearby that teach german ? There will be a teacher to go with the school program that can either tutor or assist you in your language learning in other ways
THESE kinds of face to face things are best for learning a new language. It becomes more than just a language. It becomes an incredibly enriching cultural/historical (etc) experience at the same time - something "passive" language learning doesn't have and it really keeps you motivated.
Other option:
* iTunes university "iTunes U" ; go to iTunes Store and search "german language"
great place to learn about lots of things except gluten intolerance :blink: <_<
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#12 AVR1962

 
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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:13 AM

I have lived in Germany for 10 years. Lived in Italy for 2 years. Took took years of Spanish before the move to Europe. In italy we lived in an area where you had to know the language so we all picked it up very quickly. In Germany however, we live in an area where the locals speak English very well so matter how much I try my German they reply back in English so basically I have not been able to learn to very conversational. My Spanish helped me with my Italian but found it pretty worthless in Spain with some exception.

I am a music teacher and when I hear adults say they want to learn to play the piano, I let them know it is like learn a foreign langauage. You learn to read symbols and sometimes the brain is slow to grasps this as adults. However, their are studies that show this (music and foreign language) is a great way to keep the brain active. Adults tend to find other obligations and committments a priority and the progression can be slow because of it. A person really has to commit the time to it and somehow apply it.
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#13 love2travel

 
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Posted 10 February 2012 - 10:47 AM

One of my huge projects is learning Croatian which will be very practical as we own a home in Croatia. Several books with CDs were recommended to me by a friend. I agree that immersion is absolutely the best way of getting a grasp on the language so you can hear the pronounciation and pick up little eccentricities. On our last trip I purchased a few Croatian music CDs as well and play them nearly daily while I cook, clean and so on. It is amazing what you can pick up that way! An Italian friend of ours learned English partially by listening to his radio and singing along to the songs.

Croatian is very difficult but I am doing my best. Even a few little steps gives me a great feeling of accomplishment and definitely does keep my brain sharp.

Good luck with your venture! :)
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#14 UKGail

 
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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:52 AM

Immersion by whatever method you can cobble together is absolutely the best way to go. As Kjas said, listening as much as possible to native speakers to pick up the patterns of the language, will help you most. Supplement that by learning some of the basics from more formal teaching materials, but don't get too hung up on that. Just use the materials to crystallise your understanding of what you are hearing.

German is a good language for English speakers to learn as the root vocabulary is similar, and the grammar, although more like Latin than English, is very regular (unlike English!) with straightforward rules.

I learned to speak and write German through a mixture of immersion in the local community and school lessons after moving to Germany at 15. I did have to make the effort to mix though, as I was attending an English speaking school and lived on a military base with my parents. It was a crash course as I covered in 3 years a course normally taken in school over 6 or 7 years, with the first year of lessons being after school. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding.
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#15 xjrosie

 
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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:33 PM

I love German! I have a basic understanding. I take classes at college (have taken beginner's German twice so that I would be able to keep up in the advanced stuff).

I am hoping that once my kids graduate I will be able to go there. I would love to actually utilize my German skills outside of teaching my kids a phrase or two.

Anyway, I would take it at a college. It gives you a good understanding of the building blocks of the language (unlike the celiac disease's you can learn from) and it's more focused per semester. Also - at least at the community college I go to - they teach you about the culture and the different dialects that are used in each region.
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