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Everything posted by starshinesis

  1. When I studied in Europe for a year I first took an intensive language course over the summer. Part of the class was to listen to news reports and figure out what they were saying. In the beginning it was very difficult and we had to listen several times to finally understand them, but as we learned to understand better then we could understand much more easily. This gave us practice with real language not someone slowing down so we could get it. It was a wake up call how much I couldn't understand at first, but a real confidence booster that I could understand it in the end.
  2. Listening to music helps to stimulate more of the brain so listening to music while learning a language would logically help you learn better because more of your brain is engaged in teh learning process. Also music tends to bring out emotions and we tend to remember things better that cause an emotion in us thus music with language will most likely be remembered better than just language learning alone.
  3. I've only traveled in Europe and I didn't know the language of all the places I traveled. When I did know the language I would try my best. I would often apologize for not speaking the language very well, and in response I had many people say that they appreciated my effort in trying to learn it. One time when traveling in Germany neither my friend nor I spoke German. She spoke Dutch, though, so she used that when people didn't speak English and it was close enough to usually get the message across with a little work.
  4. Your responses are exactly what I told my student, that perhaps was more formal. However her teacher (non native speaker) insisted that there was a distinct difference and specific times to use each one and marked lots of the problems wrong that I had helped her with. It was really annoying. I think her teacher may have just been on a power trip.
  5. I'm a native English speaker. I used to be able to sense when a word was spelled right or not, just like you mention. But then I learned French and spent a year in Europe speaking and living French. After that my ability to sense if a word was spelled right went out the door. No longer able to do that.
  6. When I was tutoring English in Switzerland my student came home with a paper about perhaps and maybe. The teacher wanted them to use each one in the correct sentence. Even though I am a native English speaker with a Masters degree in education I had no clue how to help her with that page. To me perhaps and maybe are interchangeable. I figured it was probably a British English thing. Or was her teacher just focusing on unimportant details. The teacher was not a native English speaker, but did focus more on British English.
  7. Using music to learn a language can be very helpful. This especially would be useful in the beginning to learn some basics. Interestingly much of language is based in the temporal lobe of the brain which is also where music is based. I wonder if this has any affect on combining music and language.
  8. I agree that a real person as a teacher or using an app or computer program depend on the person. Your schedule or your personality has big impact on choosing one or the other. I think that even if you have a live teacher then an app or computer program can be very helpful in reinforcing what is being learned.
  9. I have always heard that Chinese or Japanese are the hardest to learn because just little changes in intonation can completely change the meaning of the words, but this is coming from the perspective of a native English speaker. As others have pointed out how closely the languages are related to your native language has a huge impact on how difficult it is to learn.
  10. Sometimes learning a new language we come up with what are almost our own idiomatic expressions when we try to describe something that we don't know the name for. I know these are not actually idiomatic expressions but they do make the language more colorful.
  11. I've never heard of this before. I think that it is more based on practice. There are some people who with lots of practice and living in the area are able to learn to speak so that they are indistinguishable from a native speaker. I think it depends more on the individual as well as practice.
  12. Even though it may not be necessary to learn a language to visit, I think that it is polite and shows your hosts that you are trying. I've traveled to places where I could speak the language and other places that everything was done by hand gestures and nods. Having a sense of humor and laughing at yourself when you don't get it right are essential either way.
  13. I grew up in a small town. There were less than 100 students from K-12. The only language offered was French and that was taught by the 5/6 grade teacher. I was able to take 3 years of French because the third year no one was interested in taking 2nd year Spanish so I became her only student for that year. I went on to take more in college and then studied in Switzerland for a year. When I came back from my year my highschool French teacher had to ask me to slow down so she could understand what I was saying.
  14. I agree that learning languages early would be beneficial. Geographical isolation isn't really a reason because Canada teaches both French and English. Students in elementary school have the option of attending school in French as well as English (at least that is my understanding). Children are so much better at learning languages.
  15. Being able to understand idiomatic expressions and proverbs often mark the difference between a native speaker and one who is learning the language. It is also the reason you can't translate word for word but instead have to go by the meaning. And unless you live where the language is spoken then you always have to work on keeping up with new and changing expressions.
  16. I agree that a real live teacher or even a teacher over the internet have definite advantages. You can quickly get corrections for the subtle differences in pronunciation for example. A real live teacher can also adjust and adapt for areas that you learn quickly or that are more difficult. I think that apps can be very useful for practicing or expanding vocabulary or even for making it fun in different ways, but a real person is best.
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