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Filipe

What do you use for learning languages?

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@dbon721, perhaps you'd like FluentU too.
I really liked their system, but I never had the motivation to watch videos on their site, because they were mostly either too hard or too easy.

FluentU is a comparable service, but instead of re-uploading others videos with subtitles, they use the original source and add subtitles outside the video (while still being in-sync) (and you can enable/disable any subtitle you want).
And they offer a flash card system too.

It would look like this:
94fwiB3.png

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I prefer the good old paper coursebooks for my language learning. Of course, I do use the Internet but mostly when I need a dictionary - or when I want to bring in a bit fun by playing a game in a foreign language. Most of my learning is done offline though. I have a coursebook + teacher's and workbook for each language and at least one grammar book with exercises to practise difficult grammar issues.

When I'm feeling sufficiently fluent to be able to talk, I also try to add Skype or real life conversation to the bunch.

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1 hour ago, anna3101 said:

I prefer the good old paper coursebooks for my language learning. Of course, I do use the Internet but mostly when I need a dictionary - or when I want to bring in a bit fun by playing a game in a foreign language. Most of my learning is done offline though. I have a coursebook + teacher's and workbook for each language and at least one grammar book with exercises to practise difficult grammar issues.

When I'm feeling sufficiently fluent to be able to talk, I also try to add Skype or real life conversation to the bunch.

Questions:
1. When you say "paper coursebooks", do you mean multiple books per language or just one?
2. Do you think it's important the author is different for each language, or do you prefer the same author for multiple languages?
3. Do you find it important the book includes an audio CD, so you can practise listening?

I'll let you answer those questions however you want to, but my answers:
1. At least 2 per language, because then you can fact check if you're unsure, and you can switch when you get tired with one.
2. I prefer different authors, because then you may know for sure he or she is specialised with that particular language.
3. Yes, my goal is to speak the language, so listening is a necessary fact.

I ask these questions because I'm currently experimenting with Study Spanish, Russian for Everyone and Learn Russian at RT.
None of these are perfect, though.

Study Spanish is specialised with Spanish and their method is very straight forward, but includes no audio unless you pay much more.
RT is maybe specialised with Russian, but I'm not sure and it includes audio, plus it's free. But the doing the exercises can be a real pain (especially where you need to type yourself, since I'm unable to type a few letters with my Russian mnemonic keyboard).
Russian for Everyone is currently on hold, so I don't know about this one yet.

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On 13 January 2016, Blaveloper said:

Questions:
1. When you say "paper coursebooks", do you mean multiple books per language or just one?
2. Do you think it's important the author is different for each language, or do you prefer the same author for multiple languages?
3. Do you find it important the book includes an audio CD, so you can practise listening?

I use one set per language until I finish it (student's book + workbook + teacher's book), as I find it hard to concentrate on two courses at the same time. I actually don't take the author or publisher into consideration, all of mine are different but that was not something that I specifically had in mind while buying the books. I chose them based on their usefulness for me, ie:

- well-structured lessons (no jumping from one thing to another without any connection between them)

- progression from easy to difficult neither too slow nor too fast

- vocabulary that's relevant for me

- grammar well-explained and many exercises for each grammar point

- all or at least some part of the texts and audio are authentic

- decent paper quality and nice pictures (but not to the point of having more images than text)

- audio and a good workbook with additional exercises are both obligatory

- not too many activities requiring a group or a partner (I mostly study by myself)

- the whole thing should also be appealing and motivating

It takes some time to browse various books to find "the one", but once I have it, learning is pleasant and I'm making some progress, even if I don't study regularly.

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Being a high school student, I am currently taking Spanish as one of my classes. Honestly speaking, however, I do not find that this class if very helpful in regards to making me fluent in the language. I am learning to read and write Spanish more than I am being taught to speak it. This is very frustrating, because the goal of a Spanish class should be to make students fluent in the language, but at my school this is simply not the case. If I had the time, I would utilize other means of learning Spanish, such as taking a course at my local community college, or using Rosetta Stone, which I have heard is very helpful for people learning a new language for the first time. There are multiple ways you can learn Spanish, but the best way is to practice is everyday. Find a friend and practice with them, or meet someone knew and practice with them for any given amount of time. When it comes to learning a language, you get out of it what you put into it. 

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I use all available resources, both online and ordinary, in order to learn a certain language.  For Nihongo, I have my Nihongo language textbook as well as practice writing materials.  My learning is supplemented by various Nihongo language websites such as Memrise and Nihongo Master.  For English, I read various blogs such as Grammar Girl.  Though I'm more or less fluent in English, I still have some mistakes along the way, therefore I make it a point to read up on grammar and vocabulary.

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Hi Filipe,

I learned English in Highschool with old traditional books and non-native teachers. My level was not as good as I wanted and after school I really wanted to improve my skills. A friend recommended a vocabulary trainer online and learning during my university career was more or less successfull. After uni, I went some month abroad to travel and to learn English.

I visited a language school in Cape Town and this was finally the best way for me. I lived in a host familiy and was "forced" to speak English the whole day. Cape Town is probably one of the most beautiful cities ever and learning there is a lot of fun. Especially the native teachers and the atmosphere at the school were really good. We did a lot of activities in our free time and I found a lot of local and international friends. My language school was Ailola Cape Town, a small and very private school directly at the sea. I can only recommend to visit them, they offer a lot of special courses. http://www.ailolacapetown.com/

I think there are multiple ways of learning a language. For me, the most effective way was to go directly to a native country. You get to know cultures and international contacts and my level improved a lot. I try to repeat regulary what I did in my language school and to read books, magazines and english newspaper :)

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Thеrе аrе а lоt оf аnесdоtаl аnd mаrkеting сlаims аbоut thе еffесtivеnеss оf diffеrеnt lаnguаgе lеаrning mеthоds, but thеrе is usuаlly littlе sсiеntifiс еvidеnсе tо bасk thе сlаims. Wе wаntеd tо сhаngе thаt, sо wе соmmissiоnеd а study tо find оut hоw wеll pеоplе lеаrn а lаnguаgе оn Duоlingо.

Sоmе intеrеsting pоints:


1.       Оn аvеrаgе, it tаkеs 34 hоurs оf Duоlingо tо lеаrn thе еquivаlеnt оf оnе sеmеstеr оf соllеgе. Аs а соllеgе prоfеssоr I'd sаy thаt а sеmеstеr соursе gеnеrаlly tаkеs а lоt mоrе thаn 34 hоurs оf wоrkt Саrnеgiе Mеllоn thе еxpесtаtiоn is thаt а sеmеstеr соursе tаkеs 9 hоurs pеr wееk fоr 14 wееks).

2.      Thе study wаs dоnе by аn еxtеrnаl rеsеаrсh tеаm thаt prеviоusly еvаluаtеd thе еffесtivеnеss оf оthеr mеthоds suсh аs Rоsеttа Stоnе. It is оf nоtе thаt it tооk 55 hоurs оf study with Rоsеttа Stоnе tо rеасh thе еquivаlеnt оf оnе sеmеstеr оf соllеgе. Sо Rоsеttа Stоnе соsts mоrе, but it tеасhеs lеss.

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I personally started playing the games I liked the most to practice / learn and improve my english skills, you can also do many other things but the point is to learn whilst doing something you you really enjoy or like doing, for example, playing games, reading books, listening to music, chatting with strangers may work as well, also watching series and movies with subtitles, there are many ways, you might just get results with only one of them, however, you can try all of them at the same time if you want to, but as everything in life, it takes time and dedication, also love, mix all of them and you will surely get it done really quick.

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I use things that I like to get to know the language. Not only the words and phrases but from the point of culture and character of people speaking it. I usually watch movies or listen to music. Sometimes traditional music, instrumental only. It helps me to find the emotion of the people and their language. You know. When learning for example Hungarian it is good to know who was who. Attila the Hun was murdered by Ildico. A Hungarian beautiful girl killed him in sleep I believe. Not sure, actually but some research could help about this. A lot of nice history books really blend reader with culture of one people and their language.

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Media. YouTube is a personal favorite of mine, but things such as television, movies (dubbed or with captions!), books, news, articles, podcasts, games. I've always said it's the best you can do when learning a new language to surround yourself with it. Everything you use on a daily basis is probably quite easy to use as learning technique. I also pair this with translation as a handy hobby - translate in your head or even on paper as you go along!

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 I use everything I have at my disposal because it is a good way of learning without having to go to classes everyday and it really improves your vocabulary because you have to search through pages or talk to people and you can learn in a more efficient way everyday however my main way of learning languages is the everyday practice because it forces you to learn something new every-single-day of your life whatever you do just practice and fail everyday and you'll see results.

 

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I have to have a combination of methods, because I am that type of person who gets too bored with something and cannot keep attention.  I think that is best for most people to have multiple sources though, for a variety of reasons.  The one method I do use that many might overlook is flash cards, especially when it is more learning certain words than the actual language itself.  It has worked thus far, so I have no reason to change it now.

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I use duolingo, and also I just use plain old memorization.   Every week I write down 100 words I don´t know in spanish, and then just memorize them throughout the week.  I would give my right arm for like a HS or College spanish book, but they just are not available where i am.   Having a good vocabulary is one thing, but the grammar theory makes it easier to take what you learn from one verb and transfer it to another verb.  The rules of conjugation etc.

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It's interesting to see how diverse everyone's preferences are! Back when i was learning French and Italian, I didn't have access to as many resources, and I wish I did. Maybe that's why i tend to prefer the traditional method of learning over and above anything else, you know the textbooks and classroom situation? But on the recommendation of this community, I've been having a casual look at the iTalki website, and I'm really liking what I see. It's teeming with all sorts of resources that I can't wait to tap into. Now if only I could find the time :(

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While grammar books are very useful when you want to learn a new language, I think you can't rely only on them, it would get boring after a while and you'd give up. I like to vary my methods and I'm always looking for new and stimulant ways that would allow me to learn a language and have fun doing it.

So far in learning spanish  I've been using duolingo and reading grammar books, short stories and books to improve my grammar skills and build up my vocabulary, once I'll feel confident enough I'll start watching tv shows and music and I'll do the same thing I did when I was learning english: I'll watch a movie/tv show in spanish with italian or english subtitles to understand the meaning and then I'll watch it a second time with spanish subtitles to understand the pronunciation. Audiobooks are a great tool to understand pronunciation too, so it's music.

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One thing I found useful and fun is to find your favorite songs on youtube that are subtitled into the language you are trying to learn.  Because you already know the real words, it is easy to follow the foreign language.   If it is a European language, you are almost assured to find your songs translated into any language.

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I like to think of it as having an edge for my resume. The more languages I have on my resume the more I have an edge over the competition. I love to be able to show off that I know how to read, write and speak other languages and it helps when I want to get a job in an international market. 

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When I started learning French and Japanese, my first resource was audio and video.  I listened to French and Japanese songs, watched movies, and tried to mimic the sounds I was hearing.  Then I started applying grammar books and worksheets.  With Japanese, I took an extra step.  I went to Japan to attend a Japanese language school and immerse myself into the culture.  Now I'm living in Japan, so I rarely pick up my textbooks since I'm always using the language and learning rapidly.  Still, I write down words I might not understand in a notebook than research them later.  

As for my current French learning, I'm using apps on my iPad and still listening to music.  It helps that I have French Canadian friends too.

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I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned it, but I've used Duolingo (app/website) on occasion. It's not the most reliable, but it's fun and I've picked up some more French on top of what I learned in school and also learned basic Welsh from it.

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There are a couple of good phone apps that you can use to learn the basics of certain languages. Especially on android.

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I tried Rosetta Stone and I can see how it would help someone learn a new language, but it was not my learning style.  I personally am an audible learner so for me, the visualization of words to objects did not help me.  A visual learner would benefit greatly from Rosetta Stone in my opinion.  

I like to listen to audio books, watch tv in a different language, read books (after awhile), listen to people speak in the language, and eventually practice from language books.  

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