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Chit Chat > Learning a new language

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Some of us were chatting about learning a new language and/or reading in a language besides English. So, I hope the discussion will continue here on this thread.


message 2: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (leekat) | 3959 comments Mod
Thanks for starting the new thread Jeannette!


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Yes, Thank you, and sorry for the confusion.

When I'm more awake and have more time I'm a uniligual person who's really interested in this topic.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm glad Katri wants to continue the discussion. I was thinking we had "over-powered" the "What are You Reading" thread. Just follow the thread whenever you like, Lisa! I am awestruck by people who master multiple languages.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Jeannette wrote: "II am awestruck by people who master multiple languages. "

Me too, and envious.

I took Spanish for a couple of months when I was 9 and learned quite a bit. But, by the time I was 12 languages were hard for me to learn. (I so wish I'd learned a few before then. I'd love to speak Spanish, French, American Sign Language, and so many others.)

When I was in college I tried French, which I spoke with a Spanish accent, apparently, because that was the foreign language I was used to trying to learn. Ha!

People who learn early and who live in countries (much of Europe!) where multiple languages are used nearby, have an edge.

But some people just learn easily. I know a few people who didn't start learning languages until their teens/adult years who are multilingual.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I learned German when I was 35. So, it's doable. I was very impressed by the people I met in German class on their fifth language and second alpahbet!


message 7: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Jeannette wrote: "I learned German when I was 35. So, it's doable. I was very impressed by the people I met in German class on their fifth language and second alpahbet!"

Jeannette, I'm glad that you could. The ability differs drastically depending on the person. Also, immersion would help even me, I suspect. Or class after class after class with chances to use the language with others outside of classes.


message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Thanks for that link, Abigail! It's very interesting, and somewhat overwhelming.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

What a great mix of languages, Abigail. While visiting Ireland is was interesting to see that the English place names were mostly phonetic representations of the Irish. And it was fun learning how to pronounce some of it!

I love playing around with languages, but haven't studied nearly enough of them. I had always imagined tackling Russian someday.

Being in a country is the best way to learn conversational skills. When I moved to Germany I made up my mind to learn the language, even though I could have gotten by on English. I have forgotten a lot of my vocabulary, but this thread is getting me inspired.


message 10: by Katri (new)

Katri (Valancy) | 68 comments Thanks for starting the thread, Jeannette! I so love discussing languages, but I was afraid continuing it in the other thread would get uncomfortable for those who aren't so interested. So a separate topic just for language discussion is the best!

It's true that language-learning depends a great deal on the individual. And also different people have an easier time learning different languages, I think, because the challenges are different.

I started my language-learning career when I was 9, which is the time when Finnish children usually begin their first new language. It was English; at the age of 13 I began Swedish, and at 14 French. For quite a long time I just focused on learning these three as well as I could, especially English - I went to high school in the IB programme where most of the teaching was in English, so for three years I was constantly learning, dicussing, reading and writing in English and learned to use it nearly as well as my own native language. After that I've kept it up especially in my free time - it pretty much keeps itself up because reading and writing in English is so natural for me now. The only slightly difficult thing remains speaking and listening if I haven't done it for a while; it can take a while to get my tongue entirely comfortably around the language then, and I also sometimes find it hard to understand people who talk fast in their local accent, especially Americans or some Brits with a heavy regional accent. It picks itself up after some exposure time, though.

I don't fancy I'll ever control another language as well, but that doesn't stop me from trying. :P French was really difficult to achieve fluency in, but after studying it in school and university for almost ten years and then spending an academic year in France, studying entirely in French, I got pretty good at it. :) Mind you, in the past few years I've focused almost entirely on learning German and Hungarian, my newest language passions, and as a result I find my active French has gotten a lot poorer. This summer I was taking a language course in Hungary and there were quite a lot of French people there, and I found I could follow their conversation quite well, but as soon as I tried to speak, within two sentences I'd end up speaking Hungarian instead! It's funny because my French is really better than my Hungarian, but my Hungarian has become so much more active. So I'm trying to reactivate French now...

How do you all go about learning languages? I find that while language classes are all good for learning grammar and having some quirks explained to you, they're usually not the most helpful in really learning the language. They say that the best way to learn a language is to get a romantic partner who is a native speaker - well, I haven't tried that, but I've tried the second best method, living in the country where that language is spoken, which works quite well. But if you can't do either of these, the best way is to immerse yourself otherwise in culture products in that language. Read books (start with children's books and short magazine articles if needed), listen to music, watch movies and theatre, listen to radio, read websites and online discussion forums and Facebook status updates in that language... And if at all possible, use it yourself - write even just brief e-mail messages or talk a little bit whenever you get a chance. That's really the only way to become fluent, also using it yourself. But if you mainly want to understand, then surround yourself with cultural products. Preferably ones that you're yourself interested in so you have other motives helping you get into them.

My extremely successful method for language learning has been to get obsessed with musical theatre in that language. I happen to be a big musical geek and so this can get me really passionately into learning a language - in fact, I started both German and Hungarian because I was getting into musicals in those languages and wanted to understand, though afterwards I also fell in love with the languages themselves. I listen to my favourite musicals over and over, so it's a really easy way to memorize words, phrases, grammar and sentence constructions. Watching/listening to shows I don't yet know is a good way to train my listening comprehension, especially if there are also some spoken bits (though on the other hand I find it easier to first identify new words in songs, because they're often slower and, if you've got good actors, very clearly pronounced). I translate song lyrics to myself, I read articles about musicals and interviews from actors or creators and try to understand them... I go to musical forums to read the postings, and so on. This method is definitely recommended! Or apply any other art form you're interested in.

I've lately also found the use of podcasts in a foreign language as a way to learn that language. I've started subscribing to podcasts in French and German, and so I can revive my French while sitting on the bus!


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments during my academic and professional life, I have studied some German ( I was too young at that time, I almost forgot everything), a lot of French (total of 6 years of studies - it was my second language for quite a long time since I really love French). Then I rendered to English as a matter of survival in Sweden since my Swedish wasn’t enough for full communication. Of course I understand Spanish and some Italian since they are both Latin languages as well as my native language (Portuguese). Now, I would like to take some German studies more seriously.


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura | 294 comments Abigail wrote: "Ooh! Languages are a real passion of mine - I'm so glad you started a separate thread! Good going, Jeannette!

I studied German in high school (mostly because, when I asked the guidance counselor w..."


great link Abigail, thanks!!


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Katri wrote: "Thanks for starting the thread, Jeannette! I so love discussing languages, but I was afraid continuing it in the other thread would get uncomfortable for those who aren't so interested. So a separa..."

Reading your post, Katri, anyone can see that your English is as good or better than many native speakers! You really have a natural ability for language acquisition.

I chose the "romantic interest" method for learning German. I moved to Germany while my (not-at-the-time) husband was finishing his PhD. I went to Adult Ed classes, 4 hours per day, 5 days a week. The students were from all over, so we all started with "My name is..." and went from there. When I got home, of course, I wanted to speak English, so my husband and I got in the habit of speaking English and never stopped. He speaks German with our daughter; she speaks English with me. They even have private jokes that I'm not a part of -- mostly stuff from reading Asterix & Obelix in German together!

The hardest thing for me while learning German was that people are just too darn polite! I really wanted my in-laws to correct my German, but I had to press them or ask them to do it! I was relentless with my husband, a real langauge cop, but his English improved quickly. He had a hard time when we moved from Germany to Mississippi. The Southern accents were very difficult for him! But that's another story! :)


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Chrissie,

Please tell us more about your visual learning style. I'm intrigued that you remember the cover pictures of your books and think about sorting your shelves by color.


message 15: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I'm a visual learner as well, not pictures, but I need to read things and write them down in order to remember and learn them. I'm also a bit of a grammar geek, I need to understand the workings of a language etc. in order to learn it (and pronunciation is always my weakest part, I also don't remember something very well that I just listen to, one reason why I don't generally like audio books etc.). I guess you can say that I think in letters and words, not in sounds (phonetics always scares me, but reading and writing I generally have no problems with).


message 16: by Paula (last edited Mar 01, 2010 07:59PM) (new)

Paula | 184 comments I just enjoy reading the posts here; what an impressive group of linguists we have here! I would love to learn, and tried Latin (I was a history major) and Spanish (it's a popular language around here) and neither seem to have stuck.

The problem that I seem to have is the grammar. When I was in middle school, we were allowed the option to take a test to potentially skip some classes. My reading compression abilities at the time were scored very high, so I skipped a lot of basic English courses. Then, when I tried my hand at Latin, I found I couldn't conjugate a verb to save my life because I couldn't conjugate an English verb either! Passive past tense? No clue.

I often dream of learning a new language, but I think I would need to move to a different country. I also just decided while writing this post that the first step is for me to go out and get a basic English grammar book and learn basic grammar in my native language!

By the way, the tip from Katri about trying to read children's books in another language is something I agree with strongly. The best way for me to improve my poor Spanish was to pick up a children's story I knew well, so that had a sense as to what it should say, and build some confidence because I could pick out a few of the simpler words.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

My mother was always at me to keep up with my English grammar! Years later, when I was learning German and I'd get stuck on the grammar I'd ask my husband, but he could never explain it to me. He just knew it, but couldn't pass the knowledge on to me. I got help from a 19-yr-old Palestinian man taking the language test for University entrance with me. I helped him with note taking and test taking skills and he really explained the grammar! Once I learn the grammar, I don't forget it, either!


message 18: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Paula wrote: "I just enjoy reading the posts here; what an impressive group of linguists we have here! I would love to learn, and tried Latin (I was a history major) and Spanish (it's a popular language around h..."

Paula, I think that's one of the major problems with English in North American schools; grammar is often not taught at all or only sporadically. When I teach German, I often have to actually teach English grammar as well to the students, otherwise they often will not understand all of the rules, forms etc. It slows the class down a bit and is certainly boring for those students who have had Latin or French grammar in school, but necessary. Strangely enough, some of my students have later actually told me that my (small) bits and pieces of English grammar embedded in my German classes, have helped them with English writing etc. I have also noticed that ESL students, especially those taking academic English or college level English, often have a better understanding of English grammar than native speakers (and that is often simply because English grammar is so disdained at the high school level, to the point that sometimes teachers are even "forbidden" to teach it, how short-sighted and irresponsible is that).


message 19: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Jeannette, I understand your point about the ability to teach others; unfortunately my fiance is lacking in that area. He's very comfortable with languages and grammar - he continually laments the improper use of subjunctives in everyday speech. I had to go look up the word in a dictionary because when I asked him to define it, he just gave examples but had a hard time explaining it (or perhaps it's that I had a hard time understanding! :)


message 20: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks You need both examples AND explanations in order to teach and/or understand grammar (at least that has been my experience). However, many grammar textbooks either don't have enough examples or they have insufficient or complicated explanations. I usually end up printing my own handouts with short explanations and a huge amount of examples (and fill in the blank exercises). I also do grammar songs, dialogues, oral readings and grammar games (as long as the games don't overtake your classroom time, they are a great way to cement learning in a fun and relaxing way).


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I always say, you should never discuss subjunctives until after you're married! :p (I'll have to look that one up now I suppose.)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Gundula,

I homeschool my daughter and I have had college admissions people remark that homeschoolers always score high on Writing and Critical Reading on the SAT & ACT. I guess the schools just aren't doing this anymore, along with the atrocious spelling we get in this country these days! gak!


message 23: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Well, I think Canada is similar. I actually met a teacher who was threatened with dismissal because she "dared" to teach "boring" grammar in her high school English class. But, grammar does not have to be boring, you can make it both creative and fun, while still making sure the students learn the basics.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

When I was a kid, we had to diagram sentences. Talk about boring! So, I made my kid do the same thing.

I think part of the problem, too, is the stuff that kids read these days (grandma Moses speaking here!). I mean whole series of books written as "text speak" l8r, g8r! Kids who have never heard of Little Women!


message 25: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Gundula, I agree - there are so many things that could be done better in American schools, and I'm sure we could go off on a lengthy tangent on just that subject. I have friends who are teachers, another who is a principal, and they are always struggle with the sheer administrative burdens they have to carry just to get through their days. Plus, the principal ends up spending more time writing up elementary school kids for things like bringing knives to school, than focusing on true curriculum. The curriculum is instead handed down by the school board, who are often removed from the true needs of the students.

My mom and I both thought that skipping some of those English classes would allow me more exposure to higher levels of English, but it became a weird vicious cycle. By the time I was done w/ High School, I had earned enough credits for college that I didn't have to take any English/Lit courses then either. Now I wish I had, because there are so many great books I never read, and I haven't spent time learning grammar since I was 13!! No fear, though, I picked up an advanced grammar book tonight at the bookstore and will be starting it soon (yes, I am that much of a geek!)

Jeannette - a full book written in text speak! omg! I think that would make my brain spasm!


message 26: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Paula, if owning and reading books on linguistics and/or grammar means that one is a geek, then I am not only guilty as charged, but proud of it (don't put yourself down for striving to expand your horizons).


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Gundula wrote: "Paula, if owning and reading books on linguistics and/or grammar means that one is a geek, then I am not only guilty as charged, but proud of it (don't put yourself down for striving to expand your..."

Go for it Paula! You are "geeky" in a good way! Even though it is not apparent from your writing that you need to study grammar. Aren't you supposed to be learning French right now?


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Gundula wrote: "Paula, if owning and reading books on linguistics and/or grammar means that one is a geek, then I am not only guilty as charged, but proud of it (don't put yourself down for striving to expand your..."

I think all of us on this thread will second this! I would love to study linguistics someday in a bit more depth.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I just started The Summer Book. I am not very far into it, but I think I am really going to like this book. The writing is beautiful and so vivid in its descriptions of the island and the weather. The characters of Sophia and her grandmother are very interesting. I am captivated by their unusual relationship and dreading some eminent heartbreak.


message 30: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 03, 2010 01:45PM) (new)

Gundula wrote: "Paula, if owning and reading books on linguistics and/or grammar means that one is a geek, then I am not only guilty as charged, but proud of it (don't put yourself down for striving to expand your..."

One of my goodreads friends just asked me to recommend an adult-level grammar course (or book). So, any suggestions from either of you? What's the title of the book you just bought Paula?


message 31: by Manybooks (last edited Mar 03, 2010 02:21PM) (new)

Manybooks I don't know if these are course books, but they might be good:

Collins COBUILD English Grammar (excellent, but it is comprehensive and quite dry, but it is, in my opinion, one of the best grammar references around).

Chartbook: A Reference Grammar : Understanding and Using English Grammar (this excellent grammar reference should be used with Understanding and Using English Grammar by Betty Schrampfer Azar (check the GR database, there are more excellent grammar books by this author, I've tried to list the most recent ones).

How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book (this is good for practice, but the explanations are rather simple, good for doing review and then checking your own answers).


message 32: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Actually, the chartbook I have is the following (it was listed a bit strangely on the database, so I missed it, I like the charts, and while it won't take the place of an in-depth grammar book, it is great for quick reference), Understanding and Using English Grammar Chart Book.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Gundula wrote: "Actually, the chartbook I have is the following (it was listed a bit strangely on the database, so I missed it, I like the charts, and while it won't take the place of an in-depth grammar book, it ..."

Thanks! I will pass these along. She knows that I homeschool, but wants the books for herself. The middle school books are good, too, but a little simplified maybe.


message 34: by Katri (new)

Katri (Valancy) | 68 comments Jeannette wrote: "Reading your post, Katri, anyone can see that your English is as good or better than many native speakers! You really have a natural ability for language acquisition."

Aww, thanks. :-) Though of course when learning languages at school, one learns to use them more "correctly" than people who speak them as a native language, and I'm also the sort of person who writes Finnish more correctly and "bookishly" than most people. Much of my English education has come from reading scientific texts or literature in English, and sometimes I feel my language is quite stilted in comparison to native speakers if I don't take care to switch to a more conversational level. I have such a desire to start speaking Jane Austen's English if I don't take care. ;-)

Though it's also a fact that language-learning seems to come more easily for me than it does for most people, so I try to take advantage of it. I also have the ambition that I want to learn each language I know really well; I don't really fancy I'll learn anything else as well as I've learned English, but I want to be able to converse and read books in the language. So it will be some time before I can pick up a new one! Yes, I'm constantly greedy and want to learn more languages. Russian or Spanish would probably be useful next. But not before I'm fluent enough in German and Hungarian, and still able to keep up my French and Swedish! Yes, I know I'm mad, but I like it that way. :P

By the way, I recently discovered an interesting new tool for language-learning: Lang-8, a website where you can write journal entires in a language you're learning and then have it corrected by native speakers of that language, and be able to talk more in that language in comments or in groups. My profile is here; so far I've only written one entry in Hungarian, but I plan to do some German soon, and maybe a bit of French, too. For someone like me who believes in using the language as a way to learn it, this looks like a nice way to do it. And you get to know other people who are into language-learning and those languages you learn!


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the tip, Katri! I will look into it for my daughter (Japanese) and my husband (Norwegian).


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Here is an interesting link I got today on another group. Batchelder Award

The Batchelder Award is a citation awarded to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.

One of the winners is from Denmark and one is from Sweden!


message 37: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Katri wrote: "By the way, I recently discovered an interesting new tool for language-learning: Lang-8, a website... "

I took only a quick glance at this, but it looks really cool. Thanks, Katri. I will study it more carefully after dinner. (Gotta go do something about the greenbeans...)


message 38: by Tammi (new)

Tammi | 12 comments I enjoying learning new languages too. I've learnt a few namely German and French at school and college, but I can't speak it fluently, mostly because I am too shy or rather too self-concious about speaking in front of others. And that is one of the best ways of learning - practice, practice, practice! I also like to know the inner workings of the language - I like to see it written out and see the grammar and the sentence structure, I think Gundula mentioned something similar earlier in the thread and I was mentally nodding my head.

Thats the problem I am having now - I am learning sign language. And its not a written language or something you can read up on! My best friend is teaching me. She is deaf but prefers communicating by speaking and lip reading when with hearing people, so its taken me a while to decide to learn the language. The grammar is also different but there are no real rules and I think I am driving her crazy with all my questions of why and how and how do you decide how to structure the sentence and why, etc ... but I am loving learning from her. She loves reading almost as much as I do and I think she knows where I am coming from!

Here in SA there are so many languages - we have 11 official languages, 12 with sign language. But I only speak 2 of them - English and Afrikaans. I still have many many to learn :-))


message 39: by Hayes (last edited Apr 11, 2010 11:42PM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Hi Tammi... what a great goal and good luck with it! I think it's really interesting that all the different sign languages in the world are different from each other, just as the spoken languages are different from each other!

I have always been fascinated by sign language. When I was at university I shared some classes (literature, history, and I think economics) with a deaf girl. She had an interpreter who came with her to class and signed/interpreted whatever the professor said, and the comments from the students as well, and occasionally asked questions for the girl.

I confess it was distracting, as I was always trying to make sense of the language and found myself watching the interpreter instead of really paying attention to the professor! I've never had the opportunity to learn, however.


message 40: by Lisa (last edited Apr 11, 2010 11:58PM) (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Tammi, I have several sign language books that have pictures of what your hands should look like, and I found them very, very helpful when I was taking a stab at learning ASL in the mid '80s.

The Joy of Signing: The Illustrated Guide for Mastering Sign Language and the Manual Alphabet was good.

For kids (or adults) for very basic ASL I've enjoyed The Handmade Alphabet. ETA: VERY basic. Lovely art!


message 41: by Tammi (new)

Tammi | 12 comments Hayes wrote: "Hi Tammi... what a great goal and good luck with it! I think it's really interesting that all the different sign languages in the world are different from each other, just as the spoken languages a..."

Thank you so much! ... that's so true that all the sign languages are different from each other. We use a lot of DVD material from the US (in our bible study) so I have to learn American sign language (ASL) as well as SA sign language (SASL)! I thought I would go crazy but its getting better. I am actually glad to ASL - I find it more expressive and we actually borrow a lot of signs from ASL. Also learning these 2 at the same time makes it easier to communicate - even within SA there are different "dialects" so its easier to pick up the different versions of the same sign... and you end up learning so much more!

I must say these last few months have been a real learning curve :-))

I can also imagine how distracting it must have been for you in class... you can't seem to take your eyes off the one signing no matter how hard you try. Funny story: when I watch a movie with my best friend, we watch it with subtitles... even though I can hear exactly what they are saying my eyes are drawn to the words and now, even when I am away from her, I can't watch a movie without it!! Its the same when I am in a room with interpreters - I am drawn to the signing even though I can hear!


message 42: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks On the other hand, it must surely also be distracting and frustrating for a deaf individual not to be able to understand and figure out what is being said in class, especially if he/she is not adept at lip-reading (and not everyone speaks in a way that facilitates easy lip reading, someone who mutters or talks without barely moving his/he lips could be a real problem for a person who depends on lip reading). Tammi, I often also watch my DVD's with subtitles (even when I'm watching a German or an English film). I find you get more of the conversation that way, especially in cases where the dialogue sounds garbled or unclear (and, as I am much more of a visual than an auditory learner, I don't always get all of the dialogue when just listening to it).


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Tammi, great post!

I learned ASL many years ago, but never really in-depth. The teacher was deaf, but had been able to learn to speak from early age, so we weren't sure for the first meeting if she could hear or not, until she revealed the truth. It is fascinating that there are so many different variations of sign language. I never got the time to really study the differences. Then, I believe, there is also dialect and local slang within each "official" sign language, too. And little private signs that friends develop. We all got to "design" a sign for our name, it helped with my name which is 9 letters long, and really cumbersome to finger spell! Good luck!


message 44: by Tammi (new)

Tammi | 12 comments You're absolutely right Gundula, I witness it first hand with my friend; it truly is frustrating not understanding what is going on around you. Even though she is really good at lip reading, if she misses something, no matter how small and it changes the context of the conversation she is lost. And it can be quite embarrassing for the deaf as well: She could continue her train of thought not knowing the conversation has changed. Often times she turns to me so thats good and I can help her along or interpret for her. Which helps me progress as well :-)

Thanks for all your comments and support everyone; and for the recommendation Lee! I will definitely look into that. Anything that can help me even a little at this stage is appreciated!


message 45: by Lindsey (last edited May 26, 2010 01:26PM) (new)

Lindsey (_lindsey_) | 25 comments It's so exciting to see so many of you who love learning languages! I have ambitions to learn at least 10 new ones. The only language I've really gotten somewhat advanced with (just in reading, not conversation) is French since I've been studying it in bits and pieces throughout my life. I really want to be fluent one day though. I also would like to seriously learn Spanish, Italian, Russian, Gaelic, Swedish, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Polish, German, and Arabic. As I've always claimed that foreign languages are one of my passions, I'm seriously saddened by how little time I've devoted to them in the past decade. I get so happy and excited when I am studying a language. I wish I could make a career out of it - kind of like I wish I could with reading :)

Katri, that's a lot of great advice. A friend I had in high school who taught himself about 14 languages told me to listen to music in the language I want to learn. Interesting to hear that advice from two very successful language learners (you and him) now.


message 46: by Rayna (new)

Rayna  (Poindextrix) (poindextrix) | 13 comments I just stumbled upon this thread and I'm so glad I did! I'm excited that there are so many language enthusiasts here!

I've studied a few languages in school/on my own, but I've gotten the farthest so far with Italian. I studied abroad in Florence this past fall and then took an Italian lit course this past semester. Right now I'm also studying Chinese and I'm thinking of going back to studying Latin (if I ever find the time).

I'd really like to learn French, German and Russian so that I can read some of my favorite books in the original. I took Spanish in middle and high school, but after a slew of bad teachers/experiences I'm not sure I'm ready to give it another go just yet.

I find watching tv/movies in the language really helps. I've tried listening to music too, but that can be a little bit more difficult because you have to pick out the words from the music (which can sometimes be difficult in your mother tongue), and they also use slang or different forms of words.


message 47: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Rayna wrote: "I just stumbled upon this thread and I'm so glad I did! I'm excited that there are so many language enthusiasts here!

I've studied a few languages in school/on my own, but I've gotten the farthes..."


It's amazing how a few bad language teachers can really sour you on a language. Also, some languages like German, Chinese or Latin (and others as well, of course) will somehow get the reputation of being difficult to learn and will scare away potential students. Actually, what I would like to see is for more reading courses to be offered in foreign languages, as many students want to learn (or need to learn) how to read and write in a foreign language, but don't really want to learn how to speak and communicate in said language; more options should be made available,


message 48: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (_lindsey_) | 25 comments What a great idea to get a tutor. I may have to do that one day when I really want to improve my skills beyond what I can do on my own.

It's really great to see even more language lovers here!


message 49: by Lianne (new)

Lianne (eclecticreading) Ahh, languages =) Dunno if you'd call me a lover of languages (I wish I was more patient in learning them; I personally think I'm a little slow in picking up languages) but I certainly find it interesting. =) When I was in elementary up until grade 9, it was mandatory that we take French in our school system (but I decided to take it in grade 10 as well). I didn't mind it but I can't speak French beyond the pleasantries though I can read it semi-decently enough (very useful whenever I'm desperate for primary source material for my research assignments, LOL). I wish I had stuck through it for the last two years of my high school, it can be pretty handy.

I didn't take any language courses in my undergrad though I was very close to taking first year German. Can't exactly remember why I didn't end up taking it but yeah, that would've been nice =)

Now I'm currently studying Russian because of my MA program requirements and so that I can read primary source material. It's an interesting language and I love handwriting in Cyrillic (though after a while I start mixing up my Cyrillic and Latin handwriting which can be pretty hilarious). There are days when it's a breeze and there are days when more thought is required to get through the homework but it's cool. I just hope I can pick up enough before my translation test comes around! xD

I'm going to be participating in an exchange program in the fall to Italy so I hope to pick up some Italian while I'm there! That would be fun =)

I also wished I had taken some Spanish; I recently became interested in Spanish history and Filipino's sort of halfway to Spanish (my parents are Filipino so I can speak it) so that would eb cool xD Ooh, and Latin! Sure, it's not exactly a spoken language anymore but there's just something about it that's so cool =D


message 50: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Li wrote: "Ahh, languages =) Dunno if you'd call me a lover of languages (I wish I was more patient in learning them; I personally think I'm a little slow in picking up languages) but I certainly find it inte..."

Li, one time when I was teaching a first year language course (German) at university, one of my students was taking both first year German and first year Russian. Every once in a while I would get answers to written assignments in Russian lettering, it's sure easy to mix up languages (especially if they are closely related, I always mix up French and Spanish).

I'm sure you will be able to pick up some Italian when in Italy, I'm envious (and, if you can read French alright, it might help you with learning Italian, but it might also result in mixing up the languages, like I do with French and Spanish). Anyhow, I hope you have fun. Man, I wish I was at university again, I miss taking courses etc.


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