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Study Tips for a Language with Little Online Resources


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Okay, so I am studying a bit of the popular languages- like English, French, German and Spanish. But I also recently moved to Serbia. I am from Bulgaria, and the language is somewhat close to ours...but different enough. The first months here I had to think more about earning enough money online (because I don't know the language enough for work) and I didn't think about the language side that much. I learned to somewhat understand people if they talk slower (sometimes I understand 70-80% and sometimes-30%)...Anyway, now I am really settling here a little more. I would like to learn the language faster, so that I can speak to the new friends I have more freely, and may be find a part time job as well.

What are the best ways to learn? Do you have any suggestions?

There aren't that many movies with translation in Serbian (at best you will get subtitles) and I don't know which Serbian movies are good, but the movie industry isn't as developed as I would like.

I have magazines and some books in Serbian, I have small dictionary, Grammar for children (fully in serbian) and I found 1-2 sites which I think offer some translation and some grammar rules on Serbian.

I don't really like Serbian music all that much. I have 1 of those tiny books about learning the language for when you are traveling, but it's not that big as a textbook.

My usual ways of learning language before were magazines, movies, songs, and mostly programs like duolingo and Rosetta stone, so I find it harder to learn in the absence of most of those...any suggestions?

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I think the best way to learn a language is through study and interaction. Every day do some studying. Make flash cards, do workbooks and learn something new. Then, when you go out, immerse yourself in the language and pay close attention for what you were just studying about.

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If you have little online resources, watching everyday tele drama on television is also an educational way of learning a language. You can see and hear the pronunciation of the words, when and how to use it in different situation and time. This what I am doing and for a span of time that everyday I am hearing words and phrases being said it is already stored in my mind. For me it is very useful in my learning a language.

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You're lucky that you're living in a country where your target language is spoken! I thought this was going to be about learning an obscure language spoken only by a handful of people on the other side of the world.  :wink:

You have magazines and books, that's a start. Assuming you have a TV or can watch TV shows online, you could do that. Even if you're not actively watching everything, it'll help you pick up on a few words and phrases and get a better notion of how you should sound when speaking. Even if you don't like Serbian music, you could still listen to Serbian radio shows and podcasts; things like talk shows or anything that relies on conversation is good for this. You could also try to find some audiobooks if there are any.

Part of the principle behind Rosetta Stone, if I recall correctly, is to simulate immersion in a language and the experience of being completely surrounded by it and learning through that. You don't have to simulate it now because you're actually doing immersion. Try to think in Serbian sometimes and learn names for basic things as well as phrases. Even if it's weird in the beginning, don't give up, soon you'll realise that you understand and remember more than you think. You could also try to write down phrases or words that you have a hard time remembering or which are unfamiliar to you, and then study them. From a quick search I've found a few resources and a couple of textbooks, you could try to use them if you need some more structure.

Something that will definitely help is getting native speakers to talk to. Even if you don't know anyone in your new city, you can use sites like couchsurfing.org or that meet-up site (I can't remember the name as I've never used it) to find people to talk to, even people interested in doing a language exchange or helping you practice. It might also help to find some classes if you can, since even native speakers can make mistakes or have lots of variation in their speech, even if you don't have much money, there may be some options in your area like cheap classes aimed at people who are new in the country.

You could also take the structure of courses like Rosetta Stone to guide yourself on what you need to learn. For instance, most textbooks and courses start with greetings, then may discuss nationalities and the verb "to be", and so on. You could apply that structure and sort of create your own course.

Generally, just get out there and learn, and try to expose yourself to the language as much as possible.

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