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How to Learn a New Language


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What are your best strategies when learning a NEW language? Where should one start? Learning new words, grammar, or to speak?

I am a person who really wants to know WHY something is like it is, so I tend to look in the grammar books first. However, it takes some time to go that route.

So, any ideas where to begin?

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I've been wanting to learn French and Spanish since I was in Junior school. I bought books, looked up the net and even tried to learn the grammar and stuff, but somehow it never happened. It wasn't until I took French lessons from an actual French guy that I managed to go anywhere near uttering sensible French sentences. Sadly, now that he's gone and I have no one to converse with in French, my fluency (or whatever little of it there was) is going down.

So personally, I feel the best way to learn a language is to speak it and hear others speak it. I mean what's the point of knowing the grammar if you don't know how to apply it? I'd say, learn to speak it and then follow up with the rules. :)

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For me, getting started is absolutely the hardest part. I never know where to start. With Asian languages or Russian or other languages with different writing system it's important to learn the writing system first, but what then? I have no idea. Most of the time I get stuck at first chapters in textbooks, because I just can't get into it... I see a random string of letters instead of words, so it's very hard to learn the vocabulary. I think it's better to start with grammar.

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Some languages are using  characters,  that makes it harder for me to learn. What I do is I learn first of how to speak it than to write it. Most of the time I communicate with talking but not in writing. To learn, I watch videos. The reason why I want to learn foreign language is to communicate even the basic one. It is helpful when I do traveling. Learning new language also helps me build my self confidence.

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Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

I just love mastering new scripts - Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Hindi I have dabbled in just because they all look so beautiful. Only once I feel confident in the script is it possible to move forward.

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Taking a beginning class whether in person or online might be a good starting point.  This can give some overall structure to your studies.  Likewise finding native speakers and/or a local or online group of people who are working on the language can be helpful for developing skills.

From there you can choose to work on various aspects -- it might be reading in the new language, for instance.  I found this very motivating when I was learning Spanish.  If there is a particular book that you have an interest in try reading it, using a bilingual edition as well as a dictionary.  If you also have an audio book version that is helpful as well. 

Immersion is also important and again, this is something that helped me.  If you have access to media in the language, listen to the radio or watch TV in the language, or movies without the subtitles.  There are plenty of online videos and audio as well.

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Thank you all for your answers. The tip about reading a book is something that I can easily do now that I am actually in Turkey (Turkish is what I want to learn). Fortunately I found a bookstore that has Swedish books in Turkish, so I might as well go for those ones, since I can have the same book in my native language alongside.

Thanks!

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  • 4 months later...

Immersion is also important and again, this is something that helped me.   

Immersion is definitely the way to go. Also, it is always recommended that you learn the basics first such as learning how to read and write the letters and numbers. Then broaden your vocabulary by learning words and commonly used phrases before proceeding with the grammar. By studying some commonly used phrases, it gives you an idea about the sentence structure of a language.

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For me, when learning a new language, I try to immerse my self in that language as much as I can. I speak it often even if I have the accent wrong, I watch movies listen to music whatever I can find to get my mind going in the direction of that language I do it.

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