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Where to start when learning a new language?


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Hi, I'm new here and am wondering if anyone can help me. I've been trying to teach myself Russian for about a month now and I'm not getting very far. I've familiarised myself with the new alphabet and can do basic introductions (the whole hi, what's your name, how are you etc) but I some to a standstill after that. I guess this applies to all languages, not just Russian, but where exactly do you start? I always struggled in school because I thought it was all quite useless learning to say what I had in my bedroom and how to ask directions to the library. Despite knowing that that is the wrong approach I still don't know what the right one is. What topics do you prioritise, for any experienced linguists out there, what are the most commonly used phrases and areas of discussion? Also, and I think this may be down to personal preference but I'm putting it out there anyway, is it best to learn a big list of vocabulary then how to fit it into sentences (breaking apart the grammar side of things and the vocab then putting it all together) or learn sentences as a whole (focus on the grammar and learn new words as and when you need them)? Thankyou :)

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I'm a big fan of interactive online courses. There are several that I use, one of them is Memrise.com . It's a free to use platform where natives and fluent speakers create courses for the languages they know. More on - http://www.memrise.com/about/

You need to make a free account so you can view the courses, registration is very easy. You can see all the Russian courses here - http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/russian/

A good explanation on how to use Memrise(in the article from point 1 to 5 are most important) - http://www.wikihow.com/Learn-Languages-with-Memrise

Some "hidden gems" I found that can be useful are:

If you want to practice the Cyrillic alphabet - http://www.memrise.com/course/85443/russian-alphabet-9/

The most popular Russian course on the site is(but don't rely only on it) - http://www.memrise.com/course/78454/learn-basic-russian/

"Russian grammar through sentences" - http://www.memrise.com/course/163312/russian-grammar-through-sentences/

"Conjugating Russian Verbs" - http://www.memrise.com/course/94006/conjugating-russian-verbs/

"Common Russian Vocabulary"(The first 1000 words of Russian, most commonly used) - http://www.memrise.com/course/49168/common-russian-vocabulary/

A memrise user can take multiple courses. Also every course has a forum.

Also I recommend the Russian subreddit on Reddit.com for resources -  https://www.reddit.com/r/russian

And remember, self-motivation is very important.  :wink:

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  • 3 months later...

Skype and Anki (flash cards app).

Talk to native Russian speakers on Skype for 2 or 3 times a week for 1 hour a day max.

During each session, record all new words into flash cards (or otherwise: note down all the new vocabulary somewhere and put them in your Anki deck afterwards).

Outside your speaking sessions, try reading 1 page of any Russian book each day, visit 1 Russian blog post or anything else and take any new words you read to your flash card deck and practise your decks every day.

Practise your self-made decks for 5 minutes per session.

Take a 15 minute break, continue your session and repeat.

I personally found this the most effective way by far.

Those textbooks, apps, games, etc. have been a waste of my 7 years of Japanese studying.

Changing my methods to speaking and flash card exercises helped me to succeed in as short as 4 months.

PS: For the ones who don't learn Russian but learn something else, just change the word "Russian" to any other language you're learning.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, I'm new here and am wondering if anyone can help me. I've been trying to teach myself Russian for about a month now and I'm not getting very far. I've familiarised myself with the new alphabet and can do basic introductions (the whole hi, what's your name, how are you etc) but I some to a standstill after that. I guess this applies to all languages, not just Russian, but where exactly do you start? I always struggled in school because I thought it was all quite useless learning to say what I had in my bedroom and how to ask directions to the library. Despite knowing that that is the wrong approach I still don't know what the right one is. What topics do you prioritise, for any experienced linguists out there, what are the most commonly used phrases and areas of discussion? Also, and I think this may be down to personal preference but I'm putting it out there anyway, is it best to learn a big list of vocabulary then how to fit it into sentences (breaking apart the grammar side of things and the vocab then putting it all together) or learn sentences as a whole (focus on the grammar and learn new words as and when you need them)? Thankyou :)

I think learning languages is depend upon the basic level of language. Everyone must have to start from the scratch. As you have started learning Russian alphabets then grammar and after that introduction.

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I think learning languages is depend upon the basic level of language. Everyone must have to start from the scratch. As you have started learning Russian alphabets then grammar and after that introduction.

I would actually suggest to save grammar for later (except for the most basic ones).

Start with the alphabet (if different from a language you already know), then on speaking AND vocabulary (yes, at the same time!), then grammar after you become conversational (end B1/start B2).

It's much more effective than the other way around.

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Hello and I am also just a newbie in this forum! Based on my own experience learning a new language is not that easy especially that it is not the language that you used to express and grew up with. Like me when I got married to a Korean there are really fears in my mind on how I can adapt to their language and culture if I am already living in their country. The first time I arrived in Korea the first thing I like to do is of course is to study their language first. Although my Korean husband is fluent in English that is why we do not had any communication barrier but still I said to myself that I should really study their language since most Koreans do not know how to speak English.  So how I can communicate with them if my husband is not on my side. There are multicultural centers here for foreign spouses that teach Hangukmal which is the Korean language and I studied for free. In learning any new language the first thing you should do of course is to learn how to write and say their alphabet. If you had already mastered it then everything follows and you can already adapt yourself writing, reading and speaking the language. And one thing that I did is I tried to watched everyday television especially their  news and dramas which had their language being written on the television screen. And when I heard new words and phrases I tried to copied it and searched for what it means or I will ask my husband to translate it for me. And if you are really interested to learn a new language you tried at least to have yourself to have conversations with people speaking that language and for sure you will learn fast and easily.

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For me it was definitely better to learn a basic amount of grammar and vocabulary first and then move on to interacting with native speakers. Once I was clear with the fundamental tenses and conjugations I pretty much left grammar alone and just concentrated on my listening skills. Listening is the number one priority. If you can understand well you will attain a high level. I think it is vital to be brave and get stuck in to conversations with native speakers early (most of the time just listening), watching TV, reading, writing, etc. Just like kids do when they learn their mother tongue. Skype classes are an awesome way to get in contact with natives and they internet provides us with all of the material we need to practice. Here are a couple of good articles discussing what you shouldn't do and what you should. The most important things are to enjoy what you are doing, be prepared for the long haul, be open minded and curious, and mix with native speakers.

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I have gone though the experience of learning a new language myself, and my advise is to start with the basics. It might sound silly but start out with colors, places, animals, foods, family etc. Mix it up with the general introductions and grammar. You can find free books online where you can see how Russian is taught from the ground up. Below I've included some Android apps websites that can be very useful for you, and will help your ear get acquainted with the Russian language. Good luck!

SpeakEasy Russian App by Pocketglow Inc.

Learn Russian App by WagMob.com

Russian Flashcards by Movable Tech

Russian Audio Flash Cards by Declan Software

Audio Collins Mini Gem English-Russian & Russian-English Dictionary

Youtube.com

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  • 3 months later...
On 2/2/2016, 4:56:44, kristbernard said:

I am sorry to say, but it is very difficult, near impossible, even, to learn a language without the help of a teacher. 

This is false. It might be near impossible for you, but not me. How are you affiliated to the site you posted?

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One may first learn to read language in IPA script before learning grammar.

You may convert IPA characters to traditional spellings

 For Example :

 

Through poetry, we learn how each of these make up the parts of speech.

 

θru ˈpoʊətri, wi lɜrn haʊ iʧ ɑv ðiz meɪk ʌp ðə pɑrts ɑv spiʧ.   ......IPA
 

Thru poatri, wi larn haau ich aav dhiz meik ap dha paarts aav spich.

 

થ્રુ પોઅટ્રિ, વિ લર્ન્ હાઉ ઇચ્ આવ્ ધિઝ્ મેઇક્ અપ્ ધ પાર્ટ્સ્ આવ્ સ્પિચ્. ....Gujaraati
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On 2/2/2016, 6:56:44, kristbernard said:

I am sorry to say, but it is very difficult, near impossible, even, to learn a language without the help of a teacher. I'm speaking from experience. I've been learning Russian for 3 months now during my free time at Preply.com (  http://preply.com/en/russian-by-skype  ) by Skype. I decided to hire a tutor because I had a really hard time trying to learn by myself. I tried them all: apps, communities, books. Nothing really helped me. So I suggest you hire a professional to help you.

Wow,   please take your marketing somewhere else.

There are a ton of good websites like duolingo and memrise which will give you a really good start with vocabulary and some grammar.  You absolutely do not need to have a ´teacher´ stand in front of you saying words when there are websites that do it on your own schedule, and for free.   I frequently binge when I have time, and will do a few hours on those websites.... try scheduling that with your tutor.

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8 hours ago, petesede said:

Wow,   please take your marketing somewhere else.

There are a ton of good websites like duolingo and memrise which will give you a really good start with vocabulary and some grammar.  You absolutely do not need to have a ´teacher´ stand in front of you saying words when there are websites that do it on your own schedule, and for free.   I frequently binge when I have time, and will do a few hours on those websites.... try scheduling that with your tutor.

Professional tutors normally have time for the most time of the day actually, it's their job for a reason.
And besides, Duolingo and Memrise should be used as extra aids and not as main tools, if you want take your language learning seriously.

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I have always been under the impression that diving right in is the best way to go.  Speaking to people who it is their native tongue will really get you thinking and in the mood to learn to communicate, and you really will surprise yourself at how much more quickly you can pick up on some things versus reading them in a book or going through a program on the computer.  Of course it all depends on your learning style, and trying every option is probably the only real way to know.

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1 hour ago, rz3300 said:

I have always been under the impression that diving right in is the best way to go.  Speaking to people who it is their native tongue will really get you thinking and in the mood to learn to communicate, and you really will surprise yourself at how much more quickly you can pick up on some things versus reading them in a book or going through a program on the computer.  Of course it all depends on your learning style, and trying every option is probably the only real way to know.

I personally enjoy movies when learning new languages as well. It helps a lot due to there being audio and visuals at the same time that someone on the screen is speaking. It was one of the ways that I was able to become fluent in Tamil. Of course, I also surrounded myself with people who spoke the language and took classes, so that helped as well.

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Flash cards are very useful ways of learning basic words in a new language. Movies can help a lot as well; friends online can be helpful when they communicate constantly to you with the language you are trying to learn. 

Dedication and perseverance helps people learn a new language in their adult level; it really is not an easy task.

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