Jump to content
Linguaholic

Absurd ways to learn languages


Recommended Posts

Has anyone ever used an absurd method of remembering a phrase or word in your chosen language? I don't mean mnemonics, I mean really daft.

For example, to learn the phrase "don't worry" (ne valnuytes), I walked around for 15 minutes translating the chorus from the song "dont worry be happy". Quite memorable.

Sure the neighbors must have enjoyed the chorus of "dont worry be happy" in Russian whilst I was putting the washing out!!!

Anyone else acted like this :wacky:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the most awkward thing I ever did to study a language was actually when I first got to China. There, when going out, I always took my translator with me. And then, in the Bars & Discos, I translated everything from English to Chinese and showed them the output on my translator. Then, after reading my message, they wrote down their answer (with a special pen) directly on the screen of my little translator and I translated it back to English  :grin: This was the only way I could communicate with Chinese people when I first visited China about 10 years ago:=) I do speak Chinese now and this definitely makes things much easier, hehe :=)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the most awkward thing I ever did to study a language was actually when I first got to China. There, when going out, I always took my translator with me. And then, in the Bars & Discos, I translated everything from English to Chinese and showed them the output on my translator. Then, after reading my message, they wrote down their answer (with a special pen) directly on the screen of my little translator and I translated it back to English  :grin: This was the only way I could communicate with Chinese people when I first visited China about 10 years ago:=) I do speak Chinese now and this definitely makes things much easier, hehe :=)

Oh my! But how the wonders of technology do help the world. What if one day, we have Star Trek Universal translators soon?! We will be obsolete!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I learned korean by translating songs.  I would go out dancing, find a song I really liked, and then translate the words into english.  I still remember a song about  black cat named Nero because of that!  Great song to dance to by the way.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

We used to create songs when we were in primary school so that we could remember the colors of the rainbow. I haven’t done that in a long time and I find it refreshing that it works for you. There is something wonderful about singing that makes the day appear brighter.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To remember the African name of an elephant, I named my wood carving 'Kukupo' and it has stuck for over a decade now. So I suppose if you could sentimentally name things in your house after their actual name you would remember. I believe this is what Disney did in the animated film Lion King and or Jungle Book. I think Ballou is actually the Swahili name for bear and so on and so on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a definitely absurd technique I used when I was younger. My mom taught me a Mandarin prayer of the sign of the cross. I memorized it by half-chanting, half-reciting it for just a few hours. Until today, I can recite it by heart. But what happened was I gave it a different accent and tune that Mandarin speaking Chinese might not even understand. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Singing is definitely a good one. I also tend to use word associations. It may not necessarily mean anything to the next person, or even make sense to them, but it works for me. These word associations often have nothing to do with each other, which is even more bizarre!

For instance, when I first started learning French; to remember "Merci beaucoup" I'd associate "beacoup" with a word in my language, "borokhu" which sounds very similar but actually means tree sap. Weird I know, but it worked for me!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the most awkward thing I ever did to study a language was actually when I first got to China. There, when going out, I always took my translator with me. And then, in the Bars & Discos, I translated everything from English to Chinese and showed them the output on my translator. Then, after reading my message, they wrote down their answer (with a special pen) directly on the screen of my little translator and I translated it back to English  :grin: This was the only way I could communicate with Chinese people when I first visited China about 10 years ago:=) I do speak Chinese now and this definitely makes things much easier, hehe :=)

Hehehe, now that is an interesting way to communicate!  It sounds like you met a lot nice and cooperative people over there! It must have been really interesting! I must say I really admire you for learning Chinese, sometimes I complain about dutch, but then I remember you learnt Chinese, and somehow I feel motivated to go on doing my best to learn dutch (but also feel kinda silly for being such a crying baby, because dutch is so easy compared to Chinese), lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone ever used an absurd method of remembering a phrase or word in your chosen language? I don't mean mnemonics, I mean really daft.

For example, to learn the phrase "don't worry" (ne valnuytes), I walked around for 15 minutes translating the chorus from the song "dont worry be happy". Quite memorable.

Sure the neighbors must have enjoyed the chorus of "dont worry be happy" in Russian whilst I was putting the washing out!!!

Anyone else acted like this :wacky:

I haven't tried any odd way to learn yet ;)  But I'm thinking of writing short stories using the words and phrases I have learnt, otherwise I might forget them.  Actually I'm tarting to forget a few things already!  I met a guy who makes up short (very silly stories) to help him remember all the words and phrases he has learnt. I think it's a good idea, I'm also planning on using mind maps ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I learned simple Japanese phrases by watching anime, and listening to how they phonetically pronounce everything and with my limited understanding of Romaji, I was able to talk and sing in Japanese perfectly. I've even gotten stared at a couple times.

I may not understand the entirety of what I'm singing, but I can almost perfectly mimic syllables and pronunciations for different words down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes when I find it difficult to remember something I'll append the words to a tune and repeat it to myself like a song throughout the day. This way, I can remember whatever I need to in a similar way that a song gets stuck in your head. The only problem I have with this method, really, is that I don't always remember to use it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say that my method of learning a new language is "absurd", but I accidentally learn them by watching subtitled tv shows or movies, and by listening to foreign songs that I happen to like and using the internet to find out what they roughly mean, since Google Translate isn't a great translation tool.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree singing and translating songs into the language you are learning is a good way of doing it! I usually do that as well but I also would translate all the proverbs I knew and found funny or ones I used on a daily basis and continually spoke them out any chance I got. Whether the proverb was related to the conversation I was having at the particular moment was besides the point. I used to get weird looks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago when I was in college, I’m really into Romanian music so I decided to study the language even just the basics. I have a notebook beside my table when I’m using the computer to search for lyrics and their translations and ofcourse using the translator. I’d list it all down in my notebook and if I’m having difficulty with the pronunciation, I’d write it down in syllables.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I don't know if it qualifies as absurd. I remember being told by my boss that apart from hiring English tutors for his Korean kids, the most effective way that his kids learned English is by having them memorize film scripts. Each night, he would ask his kids to speak the parts they've memorized from the movie Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, anyone?).

When I heard of it, I find memorizing film scripts absurd. But perhaps it's effective because we once had to search the Internet for movie scripts for the kids in his language school to memorize.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I' not sure if this counts as "absurd" since it works using a basic principle of learning languages: repetition. A friend of my last English teacher's apparently wrote a bunch of vocabulary every day onto those yellow sticky notes and stuck them onto her bathroom wall, so every time she went to the toilet or did something at her sink, she'd see the words and repeat them.

Personally, when studying for the SAT, I managed to learn about 350-400 new words in 3 weeks using anki... :grin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it qualifies as absurd. I remember being told by my boss that apart from hiring English tutors for his Korean kids, the most effective way that his kids learned English is by having them memorize film scripts. Each night, he would ask his kids to speak the parts they've memorized from the movie Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, anyone?).

When I heard of it, I find memorizing film scripts absurd. But perhaps it's effective because we once had to search the Internet for movie scripts for the kids in his language school to memorize.

Awesome, so now his kids know how to pick up a prostitute!!

On a side note, another thing I always found useful was to watch the news in a different language.  The newscasters have excellent pronunciation and if you follow the news in your native language, you already know the theme they are talking about.

Link to post
Share on other sites

haha! most likely :) a lot of parents at the school probably complained, because they've changed the film to "Wally!" (which was totally weird because I think Wally only had few speaking parts. That definitely qualifies as weird  now, does it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont have much time to spend on learning languages at the moment, so I'm only focusing on French for now.  I write the french vocab for things in my room on masking tape, then cut the words out and stick them on the objects.  I try to do 5 words a day and write 50 words using the nouns and 5 words I have to look up before I go to bed.  I also switched the language on my Nintendo DS to French, lots of DS games sold in Europe have a French language option, so I play my old games when I'm in the car or on the bus, I can't understand a lot of it, but I pick up a couple more words each week.

*I use masking tape so it doesn't leave a mark and I can replace "le mur" with "le mur jaune" as I go on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when I was in high school the teacher would always create songs with the help of the students. We were also given crossword puzzles to solve using the words. Writing stories was also a very useful method. These ways were probably not absurd but not common either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when I was in high school the teacher would always create songs with the help of the students. We were also given crossword puzzles to solve using the words. Writing stories was also a very useful method. These ways were probably not absurd but not common either.

Our minds remember songs and rhymes easier than just normal spoken words, that's why people can sing songs in foreign languages without knowing a lick of that language. The crossword thing is probably just your teacher being lazy and grabbing some off the internet, haha

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say that my method of learning a new language is "absurd", but I accidentally learn them by watching subtitled tv shows or movies, and by listening to foreign songs that I happen to like and using the internet to find out what they roughly mean, since Google Translate isn't a great translation tool.

Same here. I listen to a lot of foreign songs so I tend to memorize ones that I keep on loop, so I more or less have memorized many phrases I don't know the meaning of by now. Although I'm sure I could just easily look them up and figure out but for now I just prefer to keep them mysterious. Plus the translation doesn't always come off as pleasing so I tend to get disappointed when I find out sometimes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our minds remember songs and rhymes easier than just normal spoken words, that's why people can sing songs in foreign languages without knowing a lick of that language. The crossword thing is probably just your teacher being lazy and grabbing some off the internet, haha

Unfortunately, in those days we had no internet. We were given words to unscramble and place in the crossword or small sentences to complete and place the answer or missing word in the crossword. This way we were more able to retain the new words.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...