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Silliest Ways You've Learned a Language


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What are some of the weirdest things you've done to help you learn a language?

I'm sure a few of you have done the sticky note method.  You know, you write down vocabulary for household objects on sticky notes and stick them on the appropriate thing, right?

I took that a step farther.  When I wanted to memorize body parts, I would just write down the words on the corresponding parts of my body.  Yes, I was bored the day I did that.

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I usually try to learn the curse words of a foreign language so that it will be easier to remember, lol also the foreign translation of the private parts too, so that I'll be sure to remember it because it will make me laugh especially when I try to incorporate it in my everyday use an a banter line.

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Singing. I could listen to songs in a language I didn't know then try to get the words and sing along. Most of the time, I didn't get the words right and native speakers of the language would make fun of me. But of course they'd correct me once they'd had their fun but hey, I'd I've learned a few words along with their meanings.

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When I was just learning, it was truly hard for me understanding they lyrics of my favorite songs and I used to buy magazines to be able to sing along.

However actually I can understand the lyrics without having to read them and I'm always surprised about this because all those songs that never had the lyrics and were understandable to me, now are so easy to comprehend and I don't longer need to read the lyrics to sing along.

This is really a good method as Denis points at :)

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I earnt english by paying a lot attention to the tihngs people on the Yahoo main chat wrote... I also listenedv to the people on the mic, but I remember I started to learn the language by paying a lot attention to the words and phrases the people in that chat used.  I guess I started learning the language by memorizing full phrases.... to be honest the whole process is still a mystery to me! 

I made a lot mistake on the way tho, but I learnt from those.  Everything turned out well considering I learnt the language on my own.  I've always considered the way I learnt english to be really odd and unorthodox, lol.

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I perfected bits of my second language (Spanish) through watching telenovelas.

Anyone who's ever seen one of these soap operas knows they are over-the-top.  From the clothing characters wear to the story lines, telenovelas are unforgettable. For this reason, they always kept my attention and made me want to understand the Spanish language better.

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My step-father learned English from Steven Segal and Jean-Claude Van Damm when he decided to walk off the boat.

I learned my first polish words by asking my baba and jaja for shots of vodka. They thought it was so cute they gave me one everytime (I was about 10 years old at the time).

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I usually try to learn the curse words of a foreign language so that it will be easier to remember, lol also the foreign translation of the private parts too, so that I'll be sure to remember it because it will make me laugh especially when I try to incorporate it in my everyday use an a banter line.

Wow. That's different! Have you gotten trouble by using curse words to people who speak the language in which you're learning?

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The silliest way I have ever tried to learn language, is more like an experience. I remember when my high school teacher use to try and tell us to think in the language we were learning. Which was nearly impossible since we could not understand the language anyway.

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Silliest thing I remember doing in order to learn a language was German Christmases. During High School, German teachers would organise small Christmas school parties, where they had everyone singing german Christmas songs - to this day if I hear one damned Oh Tannebaum I grind my teeth in anguish. The worse part was the food. There were all kinds of German Christmas sweets we usually didn't get in Portugal at the time, but if we wanted any, we had to ask for them in German, and maybe make some small talk in between. Judging from my level of German these days, you can guess I went hungry during those events.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I perfected bits of my second language (Spanish) through watching telenovelas.

Anyone who's ever seen one of these soap operas knows they are over-the-top.  From the clothing characters wear to the story lines, telenovelas are unforgettable. For this reason, they always kept my attention and made me want to understand the Spanish language better.

Watching telenovelas is one of my favorite things.  I loved watching them while I barely had a grasp on Spanish, but now I love watching them even more since I can understand them!  I actually used to turn to a Spanish station whenever I was doing homework back in high school, since it provided nice ambience while studying.  Somehow though, it always ended up with me absorbed in watching the show instead of doing my work ...

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Writing the names of the body parts in the language your learning is absolute genius to me! I have done the sticky note method of placing sticky notes virtually everywhere in my apartment, but to label body parts is on the next level and I must say I want to experience that level!

The only thing I've done that some saw as weird was to change the audio and subtitles on every movie or show that I'd watch to whatever language I was trying to learn at the time. It helps give a better idea of how dialogue should sound.

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I don't know that I've really done anything terribly silly, exactly. I've learned songs in the languages I'm learning and sung them to remember, I've tried to whole telanovela thing but it wasn't really for me...I will do movies/shows with appropriate subtitles, though. I had a friend who was into theater who liked to learn plays in other languages and then act them out.

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The silliest (and by far my most favourite) way of learning a language is by listening to my favourite Latin, Ancient Greek or gibberish songs. Then replace their lyrics with vocabulary or sentences I'm currently learning... then sing them aloud with passion.

The lyrics then do not make sense, but it is entertaining, effective and addictive! Silly as it may seems yet there is fun and deep memorization taken place as I re-sing my favourite songs' lyrics with the words I am currently learning.

Sincerely,

The Antiquarian.

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What are some of the weirdest things you've done to help you learn a language?

I'm sure a few of you have done the sticky note method.  You know, you write down vocabulary for household objects on sticky notes and stick them on the appropriate thing, right?

I took that a step farther.  When I wanted to memorize body parts, I would just write down the words on the corresponding parts of my body.  Yes, I was bored the day I did that.

Interesting, I'm not too fund of putting markings on my skin...though sometimes I find myself writing in the middle of my hand. Writing is helpful...but you asked about silly things done? Well, I've tried speaking to my invisible friend in the foreign language. Well, it worked...my invisible friend's voice could be heard in my head as she replied to my questions and statements in the foreign language.

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As an English teacher IMHO a lot of these ideas like writing names on parts of the body and soap operas are good ideas! As long as you have fun and you remember the language then it's working.

I had a colleague who had a really wacky system to learn languages, he was on language number 12 when I last heard of him. He travelled around Europe teaching English, one year in each country and read "Lord of The Rings" in the local language! Obviously he often started the book not having a clue what the words meant but picked it up as he went, knowing from before what the story was.

Personally I wouldn't recommend this system!

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I used to go to karaoke by myself (Sad, I know) but in Japan they have private rooms that you can rent, so that's basically what I did. I rented a karaoke room for a couple hours and sang along reading the lyrics in Japanese from the screen.

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Bravo!  Labeling your body parts is a new one on me and it made me laugh.  I do believe in visual reinforcement (like labels or the stickies) but it seems you took it to a new level.  I am sure you did learn the words well.

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