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What is the hardest part for you?


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I've always had trouble with the vocal and listening part of a language.  I can usually figure out how to write really simple sentence antiquely within a couple weeks.  But I don't have an ear for languages even when people speak slowly to me.  When I was learning Spanish in high school I didn't understand a word my teach said until they wrote it on the board.  But with Korean, I find that because I listen to k-pop, dramas, movies, and show that I have a better ear.  I can pick out simple words like sorry, I love you, and other small words despite how fast they speak.  What is the hardest part of learning a language for you?

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Historically, I have had problems adapting to different accents. I have had to interact with people from various English-speaking countries; I found I can  understand American English really easily but often U have to pay a lot of attention to understand dialects such as those of Australian folks.

Some European friends also give me headaches. For instance, an Italian fellow who learned in the United Kingdom speaks UK English with an Italian accent. It makes me sharpen my hearing every time to grasp his particular pronunciation conjugating both of his accents simultaneously, but it is a very good practice! 

I feel that interacting with people from the five continents and adapt to their particular accents and peculiarities in real-time is the ultimate test.

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I am the same as you, Rooks57. I am always better at reading and writing a foreign language than speaking it or understanding others. However, I decided that this was probably because the same is true of English for me. I'm a much quieter person than many, so I spend more time reading and writing than I do talking! Although, I do listen a lot, so I'm not sure why I find listening comprehension so hard.

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Sometimes I would have a hard time on the listening part of learning any language. This comes most especially when I hear a whole lot of different accents for just one particular language. I would sometimes think about what I heard in my head and wonder what language it is and then I suddenly realize that it's the same language I know of, but it was spoken in such a different accent that I wasn't able to immediately recognize it.

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Understanding native accent is very hard for me. When I was learning English language, I could understand what a person who is using English as a second language was saying, however, I could not understand what a person who was using English as a first language was saying. We will be able to understand native accent only when we practice language with natives. We need to learn communicative language.

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When I studied languages, I had occasional issues with the vocal and listening aspects of each language. Sometimes my nerves would be all over the place causing me to forget words or sentence structure.I don't enjoy exams so I sometimes would get flustered and not perform as well as I would want to but you have to learn to recollect yourself and focus and get it done. Listening was like my worst enemy, lol, particularly when you had to listen to a very fast speaker. Ugh, that used to kick my behind but sometimes it was not so difficult and I managed to capture what was said. Learning a language takes a great amount of concentration so to me it's best to be mentally prepared as much as possible before taking on the challenge. In addition, practising helps a great deal with your fluency. 

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For me it would be retention and accents. I always have a hard time remembering phrases unless I have a reason to keep using them daily but otherwise I just end up forgetting about them after a week or so. Second one would be accents because I always try my best to be accurate so that my words would sound as close to the locals as possible but of course since my tongue is trained a certain way it won't be easy especially for languages far from mine. 

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I am surprised nobody has mentioned the memorization of stuff as the hardest part of learning a language: the gender of a noun in languages that still have those, grammatical rules, all that stuff, not to mention irregular verbs conjugations, and, in the case of German, even the plural of nouns since those are weird.

I don't have much trouble remembering the nouns themselves, but, at least for German, the gender is a big problem for me, and this is problematic since the gender of the nouns affects the inflections all over the sentence, it is a nightmare.

All languages some have strict rules with a few exceptions, that would make everything so much easier.

 

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For me it would have to be the phrasing and nailing down the pronunciation, so anything that has anything to do with the spoken aspect. I find it easy to soak up all the information and  have no problem learning how a language works, the grammatical side of things etc. But then I seem to clam up when it comes to speaking, because in my head I know what needs to be said but just can't seem to get my tongue to cooperate! My French friends and past teachers have often complimented me on my writing skills and will often be surprised and impressed with the level of knowledge I possess when I write in French because I just don't have the confidence to speak LOL This problem has often led to my French tutor maintaining that I'm not being serious, that I'm too playful!

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I agree with fcuco that memorizing stuff might just be the hardest part of learning a new language. I can learn something today and really feel that I've made so much progress, only to find out tomorrow that I've forgotten everything. The way that I try to address this problem is by using 6x5 cards and writing what I learned on them and then reviewing them throughout the day and just before my next lesson. It helps me to retain a lot of the stuff that I've learned. 

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The hardest part for me is retaining and recalling what I have learnt. I used to give the excuse that I wasn't a child anymore but I have people older than I am who are still learning languages.

I intend to make use of flash cards which I know help with retaining knowledge.

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Accents in languages have always made learning them difficult for me. Even within my own country accents can be very diverse and I find this also has an impact on how much I understand, even in my own language. I have friends with many different accents and this has helped somewhat. I'm getting better at understanding different accents now than I ever used to be. But certain accents I find really hard to understand still especially when people are speaking fast and it makes picking out the words, especially in a language I'm not very familiar with, much harder. 

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I find that each language presents their own challenges - but it might also depend on my 'luggage' at the time. Once you learn basics in one Latin language, it's easier to learn a second - or once you learn a Scandinavian language you can also communicate with the other (only with some adjustments).

I remember struggling with German grammar, French pronunciation and pace and dialects in Italian...

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Learning the language is hard, but its the accent that always gets me. Its the little things that can separate you from being bilingual and a complete amateur. I've been really trying to learn french, and that is by far the hardest accent to master in my opinion, but the language is beautiful. 

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In reference to @fcuco, I did touch on the mental aspect of it all a little bit, just didn't go into great detail. I had said it takes a lot of concentration, practising and a healthy mental space to conquer learning a language. I agree that memorisation is a major part of the challenge as it relates to the grammar, nouns, verbs and phrases or idioms. Language may differ from place to place but some elements are standard. Therefore, you must be willing to learn those elements and continuously revise them for them to become cemented in your memory

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I have a hard time learning language in general, I really have to focus and use it everyday.  I would say the vocal aspect of it is very hard and also hearing it and understanding what I am hearing.  Writing it is not as hard as having to understand what others are saying.  Many languages I feel are fast spoken, and I am not very fast spoken in general.

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On 7/29/2016 at 6:53 PM, abonnen said:

I have a hard time learning language in general, I really have to focus and use it everyday.  I would say the vocal aspect of it is very hard and also hearing it and understanding what I am hearing.  Writing it is not as hard as having to understand what others are saying.  Many languages I feel are fast spoken, and I am not very fast spoken in general.

I like the way you expressed your take on it because I share those sentiments. The more fluent the speaker, the faster they might speak which makes it difficult for the non-speaker to catch on to what is being said leaving a cloud of confusion.

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3 hours ago, Yoshie said:

I like the way you expressed your take on it because I share those sentiments. The more fluent the speaker, the faster they might speak which makes it difficult for the non-speaker to catch on to what is being said leaving a cloud of confusion.

I it can be very confusing, I truly think that to be fluent in a language you have to understand someone that is fluent in the language you are studying and be able to reply. I do not think I will ever get to that point but I hope.

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On 7/29/2016 at 4:14 PM, Yoshie said:

In reference to @fcuco, I did touch on the mental aspect of it all a little bit, just didn't go into great detail. I had said it takes a lot of concentration, practising and a healthy mental space to conquer learning a language. I agree that memorisation is a major part of the challenge as it relates to the grammar, nouns, verbs and phrases or idioms. Language may differ from place to place but some elements are standard. Therefore, you must be willing to learn those elements and continuously revise them for them to become cemented in your memory

Not to mention that the only way to really learn a language is to also understand the underlying culture that speak said language, and I am not only talking about idioms, that you have to learn, but about the appropriate social context and usages for every word that you learn. Take Japanese for example, you can't say that you speak Japanese if you simply know all the different words that they use for "hello" and "good bye", each greeting is completely different in terms of the nuanced message that you wish to give it and the person that you are talking to. 

Take other languages like Spanish or German that use an informal and formal treatment,  it is not simply another form of verb conjugations that you need to learn, but you also need to understand when it is appropriate or not to use each treatment and with whom.

And don't get me started on terms and words that simply lack a meaningful translation in your mother language.

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Me too. I have to actually listen and read at least one time a word to fully understand It in a speech. My listening is always my weakest skill for all the languages I know, even my native one. I'm more comfortable with reading, but I think is just because my habit is to sit idle and read rather than speak with others.

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It is the listening portion which I am having difficulty.  I don't have problems in the first few chapters of my Elementary Japanese I. but as the chapters progress I am having trouble with the listening portion during my examinations, especially when the sentences are sounding a bit complex.  Conversations can be especially tricky.  It is ironic that I have no problem with the grammar and understanding the basics of the language, but when it comes to listening as well as receiving information I am having some degree of difficulty.  It is for that reason why I had to stop studying for a while because it is my listening ability in Nihongo which is my weakest spot. 

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Yes, the social context is extremely important in knowing when to use which sayings in particular situations as you not only want the listner or recipient to understand but you also don't want to offend anyone, unless that's your intention haha. For example, a certain saying might be used in one area as a friendly greeting while on the other side of town persons may not be so accepting of it.

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On 7/28/2016 at 9:55 PM, VinayaSpeaks said:

Understanding native accent is very hard for me. When I was learning English language, I could understand what a person who is using English as a second language was saying, however, I could not understand what a person who was using English as a first language was saying. We will be able to understand native accent only when we practice language with natives. We need to learn communicative language.

I think that is the best part of learning a foreign language because it's always a challenge to learn from a native, especially if they have a deep accent. The one thing for me is writing in different languages because they don't have the English alphabet. 

I remember when I started trying to learn Mandarin, the first thing I was looking for was the alphabet so I can see how they wrote their letters in their language, but then found out there is none. Remembering the symbols is what is hard to me. 

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If the language does not use the script that you are familiar with, then it could be hard for you to learn the language. Remembering how a certain alphabet is written or spoke could be quite challenging. However, if you are learning the language that uses the same script, most difficult thing is to remember the sound, how it is spoken. If you are English,you can easily learn French, but will be difficult to learn Russian because script is different.

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