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How to learn a language

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11. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 11y

Quoting tway

I'd always liked to think that, if I moved to another country, I'd fit right in with enough time and practice...

LOL. I think the same too, tway.

I picked up Italian about 7 years ago (on and off), and got to a stage where I was doing fine reading papers in Italian, but was shy about speaking it other than in class. Besides, there was nobody else I could practise with, so my Italian grew rusty. Same thing for French (all of 10 months of it).

I think it's the problem of thinking in English first and then trying to translate it to the language we're learning, that screws things up a bit. Does that make sense??

12. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

Quoting tway

Quoting mtlgal

The younger you are the easier it is to learn a language; it has to do with brain wiring... After the age of 12 or 13 it's very very hard to learn a new language without accent.

Really? Wow. I thought it had to do with certin people just having a knack for languages.

Yes, some people learn languages more easily than others, just like some people are more atheletic and some others are more spatially oriented. But in general, the younger you are the easier it is to learn a new language.

13. Posted by mtlgal (Full Member 1179 posts) 11y

Quoting summer910

I think it's the problem of thinking in English first and then trying to translate it to the language we're learning, that screws things up a bit. Does that make sense??

If you haven't mastered a language, it's perfectly normal to think in your mother tongue (or whichever language you're most fluent in) and then translate. The key to learning a language is to practice in the an environment where you have no choice but to speak it; there's no other way around it.

14. Posted by areinstein (Travel Guru 2788 posts) 11y

Quoting Pardus

I think you need a certain base of classroom lessons, so that you're able to understand the basics, but then go out and talk.
Don't be afraid if people laugh at you, just keep at it, keep talking and trying out things.

I agree with Phil...I took English for years when I was in Peru but when you get out to the real world, you cant really speak it...and everything sounds different than the way you learnt it.

I personally learned English by reading newspapers, watching television (your hearing gets used to it after awhile) and of course it was much improved when I started college. I polished what I already knew once I was able to fix the grammar, the pronounciation, etc etc.

Like Tina said, you also have to have a knack for it, no matter how much you can teach it to someone, they just dont get it...

15. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Quoting summer910

I think it's the problem of thinking in English first and then trying to translate it to the language we're learning, that screws things up a bit. Does that make sense??

When I went to Spain, I found myself trying to speak French whenever I couldn't find the right words in Spanish (which was often). I'd think in English, then put it on autotranslate, and out came French. It would take me a second (and a blank look from the person I was talking to) to realize my mistake.

16. Posted by cikusang (Respected Member 1361 posts) 11y

Like Summer910, I am facing the same situation in French. That's why I make up my mind and grab an intensive course (5 days per week) in Alliance Francais next year and will continue later. In short, I need to spare time and money is needed to achieve these. Later on, make a short visit to France/Belgium/Luxembourg would be ideal. (and probably looking for a course there... environment force is the best way to push our learning determination)

What is your comment?

Lee

17. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Can you visit websites online and study some French on your own, Lee?

18. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

I have been taking Spanish lessons on-line...at first I was skeptical, but there are wav's...so you press it and hear the correct pronunciation...it really is an at your own pace way to learn. :)

19. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Good idea. I've been thinking of something similar after the summer vacation. Haven't decided which language yet.

20. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

At first I thought..."How can you learn a language by reading it?" If they didn't have the sound..so you could hear it, I think the online lessons would be pretty useless...but I have been pleasantly surprised:)
Also it is great not having to have someone else teach you one hour here and there...if your in the mood, you can do it for 10 hours. Or 10 minutes! I really would recommend it to anyone thinking about it!