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Learning a new language

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Zel, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Careful that you don't conflate an accent, which chiefly stems from interference from one's native language, and for examples see Goblet of Fire and most any fanfiction with Fleur in a speaking role, with new and unfamiliar phonemes. Accent is a wee bit broader. One of my cousins married a woman from Dublin, and while her command of some of the nastier Dutch phonemes is pretty decent, she retains the slight sing-songy accent that is one of the Irish stereotypes. Another example: the infamous (and often overblown for edgy jokes) R/L distinction issue in East Asian English is just one of the tells that inform others that the speaker is probably from that region.

    And, obviously, phonemes have their own set of issues even inside a single language, leaving accents to the side. Think of Jonathan Ross's problems with pronouncing the R, for example. (And for a mixture of the two: the many, many, many accents of English that shift the eth (ð) and thorn (þ) to d and t respectively. )

    The digging deeper, and indeed that entire paragraph, wasn't a reference to when it should happen in your studies. It was more an example of what you could be expected to find out while looking for a language to study, and orthography is a wee bit more complex / hidden an issue than sentence order at first glance.

    It can be, but as I've been arguing, caveats are required to make the lists actually usable for people, and in those caveats lies the difficulty of actually creating a meaningful list. You'll note I started from the perspective of having people rate a language's difficulty, implying the personal and subjective.

    For the quick record: I can see why the FSI would put German in its own separate slot, but I'm not sure I completely agree. It's got some nasty parts, sure, every language does, but the slots are also time-based, and German is, if I recall, rather dense on the grammar. There's simply quite a bit to learn, or at least that's my guess as to the why of the separate slot.
    I'm not (as you may have inferred), which is the sort-of issue. I just took to English like the proverbial duck takes to water.
     
  2. Bolingbroke

    Bolingbroke Squib

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    I've been learning German for around 7 months, and haven't been finding the grammar *too* difficult yet. I work as an English lit teacher though, and having a decent handle on English grammar helps a lot. If you understand subject, object, indirect object, and define various things like subjunctive clauses, you'll be off to a head start.

    Re Duolingo, I've only found it helpful when combined with concentrated vocab study. Memrise has loads of language decks - the one I use actually uses all the vocab from the German Duolingo course, and they work fantastically together.

    Now that I've got a decent amount of vocab, basic grammar, past tense and separable verbs down, I started reading books properly a couple of weeks ago. With Charlie und die Schokoladenfabrik I've got c.a. 70% comprehension, which is imo where someone should be aiming for, as you still learn new words, and get practice with figuring out words from context, which is crucial later on.
     
  3. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I've been planning to do some reading in French, but my brain is being a stubborn blockhead about it. Working my way through some of my dad's vintage textbooks for practice. When you've largely gotten used to English phonemes, pronouncing a word like "mercredi" can be a real bitch.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  4. BTT

    BTT Death Eater

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    "Un chasseur sachant chasser chasse sans son chien."

    I've never actually found French particularly difficult to pronounce, but maybe that's because I started from Dutch instead of English and started younger?
     
  5. Paranoid Android

    Paranoid Android Groundskeeper

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    How long does it take to learn russian? I'm going to be going there in 3 months.
     
  6. Oz

    Oz UNQUESTIONABLY THE MOST HETERO MAN IN THE WORLD Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Takes more than three months.
     
  7. Jarsha

    Jarsha Slug Club Member

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    If you put in thirty minutes a day or so, that's more than enough time to learn the alphabet and the basics of grammar and speech. You're not going to be anywhere near fluent, but you should be able to get around a restaurant or ask some basic questions and understand the answers.

    Руски grammar isn't too difficult, though the alphabet tripped me up for a good two weeks. I still can barely read russian cursive. https://www.gwu.edu/~slavic/golosa/ is the book my class used a few years ago. If you decide to go through with learning a new language, just put in the time, and you'll get it eventually, just remember that repitition is key. Do it till a native says you have the pronunciation down pat, then do it a few more times.

    Also, learn to squat properly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  8. lolerdsa

    lolerdsa Squib

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    It really depends what you mean by "learn a new language." If you want to be able to ask where the bathroom is, or know how to point out that "the dog is on the chair," and that "the kids are running," use something like Rosetta stone or Duolingo.

    Anything else, though, needs a lot of grammar work. Especially for a language like german. Without a thorough knowledge of grammar, you'd never be able to read a book or a newspaper or really watch a movie.

    Imagine if you were learning Portuguese as a non-native speaker and took an immersion class. Would you know the real difference between preterite and imperfect?
     
  9. Inexistence

    Inexistence Seventh Year

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    I'd counter that by saying that my goal in learning a language is being able to communicate with people. And that doesn't mean I know every rule, every tense, case, or piece of grammar.

    I spent three months in Brazil learning Portuguese, and came out being able to live my life in Portuguese sufficiently well, without having taken any grammar classes, and definitely not knowing the difference between preterite and imperfect. I do wish I'd taken language classes, as hopefully it would've cemented the language a bit more, but I definitely don't think they were necessary or would've made me feel like I knew the language "more properly"
     
  10. Sorrows

    Sorrows High Inquisitor Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Since I'm living out here I'm taking 3 lessons a week in Vietnamese, costing a fair chunk of cash but I will kick myself if I let it slide. So far concentrating on pronunciation, tonal languages are a right bitch for that, if you get it even a little wrong you are essentially spouting gobbaldygook. At least they use a (modified) roman alphabet though.
     
  11. AndreasE

    AndreasE Squib

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    French, for me, was the easiest foreign language to learn, but admittedly I was living in a French speaking country when I learnt it. If you get a chance to go somewhere where they only speak the language you are trying to learn, it's super helpful. Not so much if you haven't already learnt a bit, but once you know a bit of the language, it helps a tremendous amount.
     
  12. Red

    Red Groundskeeper

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    Bumping this old thread to co-opt it into a discussion about what languages DLPs are currently learning. Are people working on anything interesting? I am American which means I speak only English, but I took several years of Spanish in high school and college which means I speak not an iota but I can follow a conversation well enough. Realistically, I have a decent grasp of the language and it would only take some dedicated/consistent practice on my part to see some leaps in that area. The problem is, I never really loved Spanish, I studied it out of practicality really. I am debating whether I should pick it up and commit to some serious Spanish study since I have a good foundation in that realm.

    I seem to have a fondness for languages that spoken in one (or very few) countries. I would love to learn Dutch (I have an odd fondness for the Netherlands based on one Holiday spent their) or Japanese. I embraced my inner weeb and started learning some Japanese during the past year using Memrise, Duolingo and watching TV shows, and gained some basic speaking/reading skills. It was hard to find a language partner, so my study tapered off. I also learned a lot more about Japanese culture and cuisine, but it isn't really a practical language to learn. So right now my conundrum, in a nutshell, is should I pursue Japnese study which I enjoyed more/was a bit impractical/difficult to self study or should I go with my solid foundational/good background in Spanish?

    Inb4 learn English grammar first.
     
  13. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I mean profitability wise? Japanese is more beneficial than Spanish if you go to Japan and like teach. Spanish is more relevant in the US for translation jobs, it's easier to pick up. But if you're doing this for the fuck of it I'd do what you enjoy more and not because you have a foundation.
     
    Red
  14. Nevermind

    Nevermind Sixth Year

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    I don’t have any experience with Japanese or Spanish, but just in case Dutch is still in the running, here’s my experience with it. With my background as a native German speaker taken into consideration, it is quite easy to pick up, however, the smae would probably hold true for most others as well, for the reasons very briefly outlined below.

    I would argue that if you want to pursue a new language on the side for the sheer sake of it, Dutch is perfect, because you can get reasonably proficient in a relatively small amount of time. Even better if you’re inclined to spend future holidays in the Netherlands or in Belgium as well. You can get the grammar down quickly, and in terms of vocabulary it’s not that hard either. Certainly much easier than German, for example. Depending on one’s circumstances, I’m prepared to admit it’s probably not the most useful language to learn, though.

    All in all, though, I would say…

    dat ik het je kan aanbevelen. (that I can recommend it (to you).)
     
  15. why?

    why? Sixth Year

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    What did you use to study it?

    I'm currently using Jenneke Oosterhoff's Basic Grammar workbook and watch Zondag met Lubach. It's quite fast, but knowing basic German makes the book easier to follow. It's like a more stripped down version of German, with more words borrowed from French. Always had a terrible time with the 4 cases and the der, die, das. Granted, I was not very conscientious.

    It's a pretty fun language and while progress is slow (I feel like I'm close to A1 right about now), I have higher hopes for this than I ever did with German.
     
  16. ScottPress

    ScottPress The Horny Sovereign Prestige

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    I'm currently working my way through French with Duolingo. One language down, now I want to break into the next elitist echelon. For the 5 years of French I took between high school and college, I feel like a couple weeks of literally 15 mins a day has taught me more than public education. Polish public schooling generally sucks when it comes to foreign languages, which is why there's a private school on every major street in bigger cities. And you know, I'm teaching English.

    A language is a lot of work, but being able to use it is great. Fluent English is probably my best asset.

    I'm mainly doing French because it's a bitch and I won't let it beat me for the third time.
     
  17. Nevermind

    Nevermind Sixth Year

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    We didn‘t use any particular book, but instead utilised a lot of pop culture material (songs, short stories, etc.) to get a feel for the language and the grammar issues involved. The latter would then be expanded upon for the theory part of the lesson. I actually took a liking to Guus Meeuwis‘ music but can‘t recall any of the stories or book excerpts, sadly. Meeuwis enunciates pretty clearly, his texts aren‘t too difficult to follow and lyrics are available on the interwebs if you want to check it out.
     
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