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Best Methods


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Not sure if a thread like this has been created, but I wanted to know from some of you that have learned languages fluently..  What was the best method for learning?

I've heard some people say that you can't fluently learn a language unless you go to that country to learn it.  Is this true, or is it possible for me to learn Romanian from studying on my own?  How much time a day do you think it would take to learn it?

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I think you need a base before you go to a country and expect to pick up a language. I say so because I'm in a foreign land where they speak a tongue I know not much of, and I have struggled to pick it up well. However, other languages, like Spanish, I excel at since I formed a base for the language and built on it (using audiobooks). I may not have been to Spain, but I know the language better.

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I do agree that it's best to learn a language when you're living in the country for a good amount of days. My father learned a hefty amount of Japanese when he spent 6 months in Japan. But as for me, I learn visually. So watching movies or listening to music that I already know in English and is switched to a different language with that language being written (sub-titles) on the screen helps me immensely. I'm currently trying to learn Hebrew and right now, I'm working on the song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" from Disney's Frozen. I know all of the words, but now singing the Hebrew phrases by heart, I can break all of that down and realize what each word means (vocabulary) and why certain words are in certain areas (structure).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Going to the country of the language that you are learning and immersing yourself with their culture will really take your learning far. But that doesn't mean that it's the only method to get a good command of the language, given the technologies that we have now. If you really want to converse with a native speaker, there are many ones out there who would be willing to converse with you given that the price is fine, which is still less expensive than going and living in their country.

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I agree with everyone else, I have been learning Spanish for 3 yars now, and have not been to a Spanish speaking country yet, the only chance I get in immersion is watching Spanish tv channels, reading Spanish articles and stuff that interest me online and making friends with natives from several Spanish speaking countries,  it brings the language close to home.

I can't say I am fluent,  although I can make conversations in it, I can read and understand a CNN Español article.  I do think going to a foreign country that speaks the language helps a lot, but it also helps to study the language and build a foundation.

I go to Philippines every year, and I learn a new word or phrase every time I'm with my Filipino friends,  so yeah it does help to go there.

You can always bring the language closer to home though and improve pretty well.

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For me it was learning the language on my own.  I tried with books and even classes, but I just couldn't learn that way.  At one pint I thought I'd never be able to speak English, actually I thought I'd only be able to speak my mother language  for the rest of my life, lol.

I know that way I learnt isn't very usual, but it did work for me.  Books and grammatical rules don't work for everyone, so that's why knowing what works for you is the best way to find a good method to learn a language.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think the best method is just what works best for you. For some, immersion might be necessary, and I myself think this to be true as well, but for others, I'm sure that just learning from a book or some online resources is sufficient as a basic start wherein you could branch out and expand on the existing knowledge down the line.

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I think if you want to learn a language fluently, it's either you have a buddy that is fluent in that language who is willing to teach you, or you hire a tutor. Also immersion can help a lot in your quest to learn a new language because I think self studying can only help you get by and speak and know very basic words and sentences, but being with a tutor or learning through immersion can make you fluent. Remember that we have learned our native language through immersion.

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There is nothing in this world that you can't do on your own. Wait. On the second thought, there are lots of things you can;t do without some sort of help, and learning a language other than your native one is one of those things.

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This is what I have tried, and it has worked very well for me:

Stage 1: Get native input. Get your hands on everything you can, any TV shows, movies, music, radio programs, spoken in the language you wish to learn. Subtitled or not. (Never stop getting native input)

Stage 2: Acquaint yourself with the language. Read a grammar. You don't need to remember all the grammar points. You don't even need to practice. What you want is to have a big picture of how the language's syntax and morphology work. For example, does the language have genders? Does it have cases? How do you express an interrogation? This may seem like a lot at first, but the benefits will be tremendous once you get to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Get a self-learning  book. Study, study, study. Write, write, write. Do not skip vocabulary. It's easy to concentrate on grammar at first, but having an extensive vocabulary will pay off in time.

Stage 4: Practice. Talk to yourself  :laugh: Talk to your cat! Practice by creating your own examples. An example that you create yourself, especially if it relates to yourself, is most likely to be remember than an example picked up in a book (My Cognitive Processes 101 class taught me that)

Stage 5: Get a linguistic partner. Find someone to practice with. And never stop practicing.

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I also agree that nothing beats living in the actual country that speaks the language you are trying to learn, but you can get pretty close to learning a language without actually having to go to another country. The best thing to do is be diligent.

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It would be practice, practice, and lots of practice.  If you at least force yourself to read, listen, speak, and then write a language, you won't be able to forget it.  It's so much like sports where you really need to allocate a good amount of your time in order to finally master it.  If you are not consistent in your efforts, then it would really be difficult to learn.

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The best method for me when learning a language is normally in a group setting. I grasp more, maybe because I am motivated when i have challenge. During my studying, I always like to be drilled on new topics, which helps me to retain what I have learnt.

I believe that you first have to know at least the basics in a language before actually settling in a country that speaks the language you are learning. If you are not fluent enough I would suppose that learning would then become more of a challenge.

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I think the best method is just what works best for you. For some, immersion might be necessary, and I myself think this to be true as well, but for others, I'm sure that just learning from a book or some online resources is sufficient as a basic start wherein you could branch out and expand on the existing knowledge down the line.

I couldn't have said that better!  I actually no longer believe there is a best method out there, not after giving  thought to the fact I learnt English in the most unorthodox way!  I really think everyone learns differently and needs to search for a method that works well for them, that method cant be the same for every single person, it just can't!

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  • 2 weeks later...

A weird tip that I could recommend to people would be to watch TV. Especially for those that are trying to learn the more common and popular languages such as English or Spanish. Any language which has a TV show links to it then I would say that you be able to grasp some concepts of the language by watching the TV show. There would be a lot of words that you could pick up and also being able to see the actions as well as the words at the same time you'd be able to pick up a lot of the language. TV really helped me grasp a lot of the English language so I would recommend it to a lot of people.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I don't think that it is necessary to go to the country where the language is spoken in order to learn your target language. I'm pretty sure that you can immerse yourself from the comforts of your home, if you are willing to put in the effort. It may be harder to get the food and vibe of that country in your own country though. I think a combination of everything (reading, listening to podcasts, watching tv shows and movies, speaking with natives) is the best way, but this is just me. I think the most important thing is that people have fun when they are learning a language, or else the motivation will be fleeting even quicker.

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