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Linguaholic

How Do You Study?


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How do I study? Very carefully :tongue:

I've written over 100 pages on this, so let me summarize. Basically, I'm a big believer in well rounded study methods. I'm saying you shouldn't neglect studying any skills, but that doesn't mean I advocate spending equal time on each aspect. So here are my basic steps:

1) Learn orthography & pronunciation

2) Learn everything else (reading, writing, listening, conversing, grammar, vocabulary, etc)

3) Use the language, all 4 skills (conversation, reading, writing, listening), until you reach your goal

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Repetition. Lots and lots and lots of repetition. I'll usually make flashcards and go through them until I can get them all (I'll sort them into piles too: words I'm having trouble with and words I know already. I'll go through the former pile a couple extra times). When memorizing Chinese characters, I tend to just get a blank piece of paper and write a character once, cover it up, and then try writing it off the top of my head. Then I compare the mistakes and just rinse and repeat until I have it (takes anywhere from 2-20 times depending on the complexity of the character (了 doesn't take as long as 赢).

When learning to speak, I listen to audio (usually the stuff that comes with my textbook) and try to mimic it until it sounds right. It's harder to judge my own pronunciation though, but it definitely helps to just repeat repeat repeat.

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I find one of the biggest challenges about studying a foreign language is being able to practice and speak the language.  This is especially true for languages that aren’t so common in my area.  In addition, I found this was the biggest challenge when studying Latin.  The only time I was able to speak the language was in the classroom as it is not a spoken language anymore.

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Hello Cerescat. I definitely do not study the way you do. But I know I should because the more senses you're engaging in learning, the better and faster learning becomes. I just follow a course online, mostly, speaking and listening. I have not progressed beyond lesson 1. I know I should push myself more. I just do not have enough urgency right now since my need for the language is in the future and it might not even materialize. Time and other priorities are also the hassles for me now.

Anyway, for me, I'd rely more on application, like conversing with a native speaker. So if there is immersion, I will be faster at learning a language. Though I must also do a bit of your methods as they will make me prepared in my immersion process. 

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I usually start off with a textbook that goes for total beginners, then I try to learn the basics of any given language as best as I can, then I move on to audio books, so that I can learn proper pronunciation and such. This all sounds quite easy, but in reality, it takes a long time. Maybe even a year. If I get a good grip on the language that I am trying to learn, I move on to more advanced stuff. :P

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