How you learn a language

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I think all of you here are learning, or has learned a foreign language. What I want to say here is how I learn, and after that, how I speak that language.

When I learned English, my teachers gave me a bunch of structure formula, how a sentence is made up, when to use singular or plural, etc, stuff like that, you know. When I took the exams I did remember SOME of it. But when I speak English (like to an American), these formulas and stuff are out of my head. I don't even remember any of them now. But I still speak English fluently (although I do make mistakes)

But the same cannot be said about my first language. I forgot the formulas the moment I learned them, and I still speak it fluently, make sentences and phrases that can NOT be understood (maybe) by a foreigner who knows how to speak Vietnamese. Of course the same applies when an American said something and I don't get it.

What makes that difference ? Should we reconsider how to teach a foreign language ? Should children be taught multiple languages when they're still very young, or just their mother tongue ? How can we learn to speak a foreign language as fluently as our mother tongue?

  • Sep 05, 2007
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My first language is Polish, but I can also speak (more or less fluently) English. Now I am trying to learn Korean (my friend sent me phrase book, so I'm pracricing now^^) and Japanese.
The most efective way to learn language is for me.. well.. listen how other people speak (native speakers). I learned a lot from movies and dramas (also anime!).. I usually don't think about grammar while I speak English, somehow it become natural for me..

Generally it's hard to create one system or rules of teaching foreign language, because there are people who learn while they listen, there are people who prefer to write and make notes and there are those have to read something in foreign language few times to memorize it. I think every single person need to find his/her own way to learn language.. ^^

  • Sep 05, 2007

Alden

Alden

Lose the Pride.

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Read and write. I learned how to speak english in a timespan of about 11 months or so.
Repetition comes in handy also, as so do reading.
Well, as for pronunciation and grammar.... those I worry about later.

Click ----> Japanese Lover! ^_^

  • Sep 05, 2007
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i think the best way to learn a language is to use repitition, like Alden says. also to get down grammar and stuff like that i beleive that you should just be around people who speak it fluently already, and you will pick it up pretty quick, that really helped my spanish.

  • Sep 06, 2007
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Watching movies is one of the best way for that, yeah, it helps my listening, and I learn to speak like them. That way my English doesn't have the Asian accent.

  • Sep 06, 2007
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The only languages I speak fluently (Mandarin and English) are because I learned them young.
It's very difficult to learn a language I almost never use (ie Latin)
However, I've picked up bits of other languages simply from hearing them a lot, though I can't actually reproduce it with speech and writing.

Watching movies does help too. It's all about exposure!

I think that people should be taught foreign languages in kindergarten or something, when the mind is still impressionable.

THERE ARE SECRETS WHERE FAIRIES DON'T LIVE.
Saltici Comics : Salty: the Misunderstood Spider (updates every Monday)

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ah the stress of learning a language i forgot almost all my French ans Spanish since i don't use it on a daily basis, what a waste

  • Sep 07, 2007

Mnemeth

Mnemeth

Rider of the Currents

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I think the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it. I always enjoyed language classes where after about the first two weeks you had to start speaking in the language while in class and after a while pretty much everyone had caught on at least some and you were able to have basic conversations.

Do not interfere in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

  • Sep 22, 2007

BlackSponge

The master of yuri and RPGs

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If you really like a language and you want to speak it,then learn it.Try to read books in that language,but most importantly pay attention in class no matter how frustrating it may feel for some.

We are all born and look different, but one thing makes us equal, our admiration of Japanese animation and comics.
Live life the way you want to live it.
GOD bless you all and I wish you all a happy life.

  • Oct 05, 2007
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I think grammar should only be used as a reference, you shouldn't try to memorize it, as you'll never be thinking about grammar and language rules while speaking another language, specially during social interaction. In fact, there are some things that are grammatically correct to say, but socially wrong. It's all a matter of practise and getting involved with the lessons, with the conversations, reading magazines, articles, etc. in the language that you want to learn, and doing writing execrises in that language too. Also listening to audio, songs; watching videos/movies in that language... I think this is the best way, doing it step by step. When we are children, we don't have to learn the rules/grammar of our own language, do we? (One of the most important things is getting the ability to think in your target language, as if it were your mother language)

Of course, there are some things we have to study, repeat and use, such as regular and irregular verbs, articles, nouns...

I think I can tell you this because I'm studying to be a languages teacher. Hope this helps you =)

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i study through conversations, i will fall asleep if i read a book

  • Oct 13, 2007
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I find that the best way to learn languages is
1) Repetition of learning, past, present, future, conditional, etc forms of verbs. EG: to go, have gone, will go, etc. This especially goes for French, in my opinion.
2) Speak the language every day with someone. Every damn day. Don't just listen, use what you have learned, and continue to learn. Try reading some texts as well just on the side, but mainly speaking is the big part of it.

  • Oct 13, 2007
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You're damn right Tsuji.
Find someone to speak with (Even on MSN for geeks, it's a good training)

  • Oct 22, 2007

Soroga

Soroga

Is busy again

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I can only seem to learn a language if i want to, as you can see, if you don't have the willpower to, and am lazy like me, then you'll never succeed in it >.<
For instance, i'm Chinese, but i can only barely speak Cantonese, i can't read nor write cause i gave it all up. But i'm trying to pick up Japanese now, i figured i can learn it as i listen to Japanese songs and watch anime most of the time (so i'm pretty fluent at reading romaji) That's when i thought, "since all the things i'm interested in originate from Japan, why not learn Japanese?"

Well, i can make up some simple sentences and all, now is the time to move onto read and writing...let's see if i can do this :P Afterall, i'm a lazy person on the whole, so this'll be a struggle for a while

^_^

  • Oct 22, 2007
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In learning a language, you should (in no particular order):

1. take time to learn the verb forms and adjectives
2. diligently memorize words and expand your vocabulary
3. learn the different sentence patterns
4. listen to and speak it as much as you can

Do these and I'm sure you'll be speaking any language that you set your mind to.

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welll lets juz say that i was forced to learn 3 languages when i was young

i mean i come from malaysia and i am a chinese so i need to be able to speak engish, malay and mandarin. and bloody hell bcoz i like to play japanese games so much that i am forced to learn jap as well

so ther u go i can speak 4 languages

all in all i learn by reading, writing and watching ppl speak and pronounce

  • Oct 26, 2007

BobaFett2ha

BobaFett2ha

Mandalore

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The best way is definitely to immerse yourself in that language, for example by living in the region where it is the primary language. There is a line of software called Rosetta Stone that more or less tries to emulate that. I haven't done much of it myself, but from what I have done it seems pretty successful.

"The ugly and thin cattle ate up the seven sleek and fat cattle." - Genesis 41:4

  • Oct 26, 2007

Komaka

Komaka

Aoi Hime

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Watching movies or playing games will help you to learn a language without hard feelings.But most is to try to use it,don't be shy if you make a mistake,we're learning right?And also don't be lazy to open a dictionary.LOL

  • Oct 28, 2007

hajimemizuki

hajimemizuki

~Forget everything~

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Letsee*scratch nose*...English,Malay,Chinese,used to learned French and German but fell in love with the Japanese language.Everything learned by listening.....then check the dictionaries

With my eyes,I'll watch over my future that had been set.With my hands,I'll rip my path and make my way.

  • Nov 02, 2007
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Through exposure.
Through studying.

  • Nov 05, 2007

FutatsuNoNegai

FutatsuNoNegai

Our Utmost For the Highest..

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Don't really remember how I learned English,I know it started since young and I've got tuition to sharpen it...This is one of the ways to communicate with each other in my country since we're all of different races.

As for Cantonese,my whole family used it,it's hard not to know how to use it...I guess it starts with simple words and then gradually harder.We have a native language as well but I never mastered it due to lack of use.

Mandarin was from watching Taiwanese shows...their pronunciation are similar to Cantonese.

Malay,thats also started from young at school...If we failed this subject...we failed everything,so it's natural that you'll learn besides it's one of the ways you could communicate with the others..

Japanese,anime and japanese songs as well as checking the dictionary..I've already learn how to string the words together and I know some basics already,I could write Hiragana but not Katakana and Kanji though...

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DepressedYoukai

DepressedYoukai

Old Timer~

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I actually learned English in my community (which at the moment was my apartment complex block). I was in the fourth grade and though I was taking ESL (I forgot what that stands for xP) classes in my elementary school, I learned mostly from the kids I used to play with. My first language is Spanish, and by middle school, I was completely fluent in English- I find English to be much easier to use.
I don't regret learning English but I regret learning it too quick. I stopped speaking Spanish except at home for a few minutes a day so my Spanish has not gotten to a higher level than my English has.

AppleInsight

AppleInsight

-A Little Apple in Sight-

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ESL = English Student Learner :P

I used to have that class back in elementary too as I didnt speak an ounce of English at ALL while starting first grade in the US. @.@ I dunno how I made it, haha. English isn't my first language and when I started school in the US, I didnt even know my ABC's. After I reached fourth/fifth grade, I got taken out of that class as my English was up to par or it seemed. ^o^ I dont really remember the method that they used...it has been quite a lot of years now hehe. Looking now to back, you wouldn't have notice that I didnt know any English back then. I'm happy at how far I've gone from since first grade. I still speak my native language at home, so that's no worry.

During my junior and senior year of high school, I was learning French. :D I wanted to learn Thai..but I dont have anyone to teach me, and my brain isn't working by itself on this matter. XD

  • Nov 29, 2007
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Learn the basic first through repetition.
Make you interested... this other language isn't just something you get marks for. Read things in this language on whatever you like, play videogames (I nearly always play in english though i am french), watch movies, serie or listen music... there are many ways to see the language is alive.
And the defining step is to speak with native speakers.


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  • Nov 30, 2007

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