The Language-Learning Thread

Fed up talking videogames? Why?
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lex-man
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by lex-man » Tue May 12, 2015 4:34 pm

I've actually subscribed to Crunchy Roll an unlimited manga service and I've been mainly watching stuff for pleasure. I really don't hear that much stuff when I listen. Also I've started to go through NHK easy but don't really listen to the audio. I actually have a hard time translating I can pick up the gist of what's been said but don't get the full understanding.

I'll try listening to more NHK easy. I think I really need to work on learning the conjugation properly I've never made a real effort to learn how it works.

I think part of my problem is that I kind of lost intrest in language learning and don't really know what use the language will be when I leave Japan.
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Hawky
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Hawky » Mon May 18, 2015 12:48 pm

Anyone ever done a language course abroad? Strongly considering heading over to Germany for 2 months in the summer before I start my new job as there are some good career opportunities further down the line in Germany/Switzerland. Interested to know how much progress people who've done it made.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by lex-man » Tue May 19, 2015 6:44 am

Do you speak any German already? I think it helps a lot more if you've already learnt stuff. I'm out in Japan and have improved but I didn't know any when I came and I'm not taking a language course.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Hawky » Tue May 19, 2015 12:44 pm

Yeh I have a basic knowledge already so not starting completely from scratch. Been reading some other sites from people who've done courses and the general consensus is they're very good, but obviously it depends how much effort you are willing to put in outside of the classroom and with talking to other people.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by lex-man » Tue May 19, 2015 1:38 pm

Yeah, if you go I would try and spend every second studying so you get the most out of it, but it'll totally improve your speaking ability.
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Parksey
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue May 19, 2015 4:09 pm

Whenever I go abroad I always try and learn a few token phrases to help me out - usually ordering in restaurants, ordering beer and checking in to hotels. When I went to Germany in 2013 I ended up enjoying it so I went a little more in-depth. I think I started about 2/3 months in advance (presumably a similar length before you go away) and I was surprised at how far I got. I was able to say quite a lot of things, though as I find listening the hardest part in any foreign language, I struggled with any replies aimed at me.

Firstly, without sounding elitist, because German is a European language tied closely to English, you should progress at a decent rate. I like Japanese kanji and, perversely, "enjoy" them, but the big problem is that for a long time, there will be many words I simply can't say out loud. You won't have that disadvantage. You can immediately read any German word in front of you. What's more, your pronunciation should be okay off the bat, though umlauts will need a bit of practice.

German grammar is quite knotty, in my opinion (mainly due to the Cases, and the fact that it has the same roots as old English, whereas Middle English took more of a French/Latin tinge after 1066).

I have said this a few times to people, but try Duoling if you haven't already. Go through the entire course, especially if you have a lot of spare time when you browse crap on your phone. You will be surprised at how quickly you pick it up. It will help your reading and vocab.

I found a lot of web resources on the net for German, but unfortunately they are on my laptop's bookmarks in the UK. I will see if I can find some at work tomorrow. Use these for grammar explanations that Duolingo doesn't really cover - the cases and adjective declination for one (it's as exciting as it sounds).

I would get a textbook too. I think one called "Complete German" and it had a picture of a stein on the fron (that's German for "stone", so there's a word for free to start you off). Don't go massively overboard on textbooks though, like I always do, as there will be plenty on the net.

Firstly, I would concentrate on quantity not quality as well, which is perhaps advice that others would not prescribe. When I came to Japan, I had a few basics absolutely nailed down (not just romaji and katakana but I knew - and still know - a lot of Kanji for my level). This helped a lot with reading, but you won't have this problem in German.

So really, I would just absolutely pound the vocab. To be honest, without class study, a tutor or going over there, your grammar will be extremely rusty to say the least, and you are going to look and sound like a foreigner. I would rely on going there for a while to sort your grammar or (though I am not sure 2 months will quite be enough, as it will fly). But definitely make vocab your priority. You can bluff grammar and fudge it and still be understood. If you don't know a word though, you can be strawberry floated.

All in all, I think you might make decent progress if you do the groundwork before you go. Starting from scratch or from a low level, like I did in Japan, leaves you with a lot of catch-up to do on the ground (I am amazed at how gooseberry fool I must have been last August). You will get more out of it the higher you are. If you are good enough to learn through conversations in your target language - to ask and enquire in German, and understand a German definition - you will be absolutely sorted. That might be a bit loft an ambition.

You also want to speak it before hand too, which is a mistake my Japanese still suffers from. Unfortunately finding speaking practice is a little difficult, but at least do a tonne of listening.

A lengthy post, but just go bloody try Duolingo out.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue May 19, 2015 4:14 pm

One thing you could do, as an aside, is play online with some guys here who speak German. I know Octoroc does, and if you scroll back through this topic, I remember a few others giving me German advice.

I really wish I could have stuck with it, but Japanese study became more pressing. Even know, when I try and go back, I get a nagging voice saying that the hour I have spent would have been far better doing Japanese, which obviously has an immediate use. It's so relaxing to go back to a European language though. It just seems so easy. I tell myself that if I had done 10 months in France, Germany, Spain etc. I would be approaching conversational fluency by now, instead of an idiot who fails to understood 90% of what he hears. Maybe I am mistaken in this assumption. I do fancy living in mainland Europe for a bit after this though.

And, also, how many hours a week is this course? If it is intensive, like five hours or so a day, you will make fast progress. If it is a couple of hours a week, you will be to seriously study and use it outside of class.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Hawky » Tue May 19, 2015 5:39 pm

Cheers Parksey that's a great post. I've already done most of the lessons on Dualingo but will deffo be going over them again and doing the remaining ones before I head off. If I go it's actually going to be pretty soon because I need to be back by late August to get sorted out for my new job so don't have that much time to get through a lot of material before, but I already had a couple of months of learning under my belt so refreshing myself with that should be doable. Its going to be 4 hours a day so pretty intensive.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Pacman » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:32 am

Search found 0 matches: dutch


:(

And not only that, but the thread has been abandoned for a year :shock:

If anyone is learning Dutch I can highly recommend the film Amsterdamned, it's on YouTube with subtitles. The Marathon was also a good watch and a more recent film.

I've just passed the halfway point on Duolingo and looking at iTalki for some Skype lessons soon.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:56 am

I always wonder how good at Japanese StayDead is now. He's been studying for about five or six years so he must be pretty much there or thereabouts.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Gandalf » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:05 am

Does anyone know of any good Spanish courses on-line? I got back from Spain/ Gibraltar last week and tried to use minute amount of Spanish that I know, and I like how they appreciate someone trying. I fly out to Barcelona at the end of July and just wanted to get a little bit of 'pigeon' Spanish in my head before then.
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Pacman
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Pacman » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:10 am

Parksey wrote:I always wonder how good at Japanese StayDead is now. He's been studying for about five or six years so he must be pretty much there or thereabouts.

He progressed an insane amount in the first couple years, by now he could easily be at N2 since the JLPT doesn't have a speaking section.
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Parksey
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:41 am

I'm taking the N2 JLPT next month actually. My plan was to take N4 in my first year here, N3 in my second and N2 in my third (which starts in August).

Unexpectedly passed the N3 last December however (with not much preparation), so I've got an extra shot at N2 now.

Only had two months or so to study for it, so it'll be beyond me this time. My listening especially is still probably a step below where it should be (it's probably always a level below the test I am studying for). Should be alright on the kanji and vocab section, but my reading speed hasn't yet improved from N3, so I won't fluke a pass this time.

Still, hopefully I can pass in December. Only earnestly started studying Japanese in late 2013/early 2014 so to even get to attempting N2 in this time is not too bad. (I actually started from scratch in 2010 but got distracted by the 12 month Mandarin course I did and couldn't juggle Chinese/German and Japanese at the same time. Had pretty much forgotten most except the kana and some simple words by the time I restarted and focused on it).

I imagine SD's listening far surpasses mine. At N1/N2 level, the grammar you have to learn gets less common in spoken Japanese too.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Rocsteady » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:59 am

Pacman wrote:
Search found 0 matches: dutch


:(

And not only that, but the thread has been abandoned for a year :shock:

If anyone is learning Dutch I can highly recommend the film Amsterdamned, it's on YouTube with subtitles. The Marathon was also a good watch and a more recent film.

I've just passed the halfway point on Duolingo and looking at iTalki for some Skype lessons soon.

How you finding it? I've heard Dutch can be pretty simple for native English speakers; went to a couple of classes with a mate since they were free and grammatically it does seem very similar.

I'm currently learning Hungarian. It's really strawberry floating difficult. The locals are always surprised when you can say anything in their language though which is always nice.
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Pacman
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Pacman » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:32 pm

Rocsteady wrote:
Pacman wrote:
Search found 0 matches: dutch


:(

And not only that, but the thread has been abandoned for a year :shock:

If anyone is learning Dutch I can highly recommend the film Amsterdamned, it's on YouTube with subtitles. The Marathon was also a good watch and a more recent film.

I've just passed the halfway point on Duolingo and looking at iTalki for some Skype lessons soon.

How you finding it? I've heard Dutch can be pretty simple for native English speakers; went to a couple of classes with a mate since they were free and grammatically it does seem very similar.

I'm currently learning Hungarian. It's really strawberry floating difficult. The locals are always surprised when you can say anything in their language though which is always nice.

Progress is so much faster than with Japanese for that exact reason, overlapping grammar and words. Pronunciation is harder because there's a couple new sounds to learn like the G and I can't roll my Rs to save my life. I'm told that everyone can learn though, it's just a matter of practice and that practice is frustrating when you can't even do it a little. I can't imagine Hungarian pronunciation but being in Hungary and getting those positively reinforcing reactions must really help!
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Knoyleo
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Knoyleo » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:03 pm

Gandalf wrote:Does anyone know of any good Spanish courses on-line? I got back from Spain/ Gibraltar last week and tried to use minute amount of Spanish that I know, and I like how they appreciate someone trying. I fly out to Barcelona at the end of July and just wanted to get a little bit of 'pigeon' Spanish in my head before then.

I use Duolingo, myself. I've used it before for French, and liked it, so picked it up for Spanish too, before I went out to Seville for a few months. All the online Spanish courses I've found seem to teach a form of South American Spanish, rather than European Castillian Spanish. However, the language basics are the same, just be aware of the pronunciation differences, and that you'll come across some words with different translations depending on which kind of Spanish you use.
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Parksey
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PostThe Language-Learning Thread
by Parksey » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:59 pm

If you spend time community or basically just idly using your phone, you really do need to try Duolingo. Just five or ten minutes will help you pick up the basics quite easily I'd imagine.

I used it a few months before visiting Germany and I was surprised at how much I could read and say. Listening was a bit of a problem mind.

Ah, Romance languages. I'll go back to them once I get a bit better at Japanese. They'll be like a nice shower at the end of a long, hard day.
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Pacman
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by Pacman » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:28 am

DuoLingo is good for grammar, but even better to combine it with Memrise for spaced-repetition learning of vocabulary (the most efficient way to stick things in your head). You can usually search in Memrise with the search term "DuoLingo" to find a course that uses the same words. If the grammar is easy enough to grasp for any given DuoLingo level then I usually just "test out" after completing the matching Memrise level.

Pimsleur Spanish may help too, I love Pimsleur but some people have a problem with it for some reason. I don't think there's a better way to practice speaking without actually having a human person give you feedback (iTalki, etc).
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by SandyCoin » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:04 am

I use Duolinguo. Not for a while though :fp: Italian is quite difficult at times. It's helped me though and I can "get by" with it, though would be easier if I communicated more often with Italians. Sadly I work from home and rarely speak to Italians. Most of the ones I know here speak very good English so they prefer to speak that. My gf is better than me, which is embarrassing as I'm half Italian, as she speak to more Romans with her work teaching. I struggle with listening a lot of the time. Decent at reading though.

I shall get back on Duolinguo though.
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PostRe: The Language-Learning Thread
by BTB » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:12 am

Pacman wrote:DuoLingo is good for grammar, but even better to combine it with Memrise for spaced-repetition learning of vocabulary (the most efficient way to stick things in your head). You can usually search in Memrise with the search term "DuoLingo" to find a course that uses the same words. If the grammar is easy enough to grasp for any given DuoLingo level then I usually just "test out" after completing the matching Memrise level.

Pimsleur Spanish may help too, I love Pimsleur but some people have a problem with it for some reason. I don't think there's a better way to practice speaking without actually having a human person give you feedback (iTalki, etc).

I use both of those apps (learning French), but need to make more of an effort to sit down and do them, taking note of new words etc instead of just going on the apps before bed. As writing down helps me remember new wors a lot better than just typing on an app.

Starting a new job soon and one of the benefits is subsidised language classes so hopefully I'll give those a go as well so there is more of a structure/commitment to learn each week.

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