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Self-teaching languages over summer progression thread!

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    Hai. Is anyone else self-teaching a language over summer? I'm trying to learn Spanish :yep:

    I thought maybe we could discuss our progress in this thread. That is provided that I'm not the only one. :ninja:

    I'm tackling this from a very different angle. Having already two languages to A level under my belt, I kinda figure I know how to learn languages effectively, and my main aim is looking at the grammar right now. It's by far my favourite part.

    Anyway, it's veeeeeeeery early days for me, I only finished A levels 5 days ago. Anyway, I learnt about ser and estar today :yep:
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    Ah, I love ser and estar. Ser in the preterite tense is my faveee ^_^ [how sad is that]. It's only topped by the noun "Alcazar", which means Fortress.

    Anyway, I'm picking up some grammar and vocab books from my ex-head of Sixth Form tomorrow so I can begin teaching myself Portuguese. And, I'm taking the same approach. Cram grammar like mad. The vocabulary will be the slower bit.

    The only thing I'll find hard will be the accent, because Portuguese sounds nothing like Spanish at all. Looks similar, sounds more like Russian, so I suppose the pronunciation will be the longest part of this.
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    Yup, I'm teaching myself chinese
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    I don't really know what to do - on the one hand I want to keep my German ticking over (especially as I'm going to Germany for a holiday over the summer!) so I don't want to half-heartedly dip into something which won't be of any use anyway... but I'm also quite wanting to do something new! If I were to learn a new language I also have no clue what to go for either - I did Spanish until GCSE so I know some of the basics (bearing in mind I fudged my way through the GCSE so my grammar is terrible lol), so that is a possibility, but I'm also quite interested in French which I've never done before. But then French is one of the most popular languages that everyone seems to do, and it would seem cool to do something a bit more obscure like, say, Russian. (and it means I might one day be able to read the great Russian lit in the original language. )

    At this rate, I'll probably end up doing nothing at all this summer
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    I might start doing some basic French grammar and stuff.
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    It's a toss up between french, japanese or spanish :grumble: I've no idea what to choose.

    Or the guitar. I can guarantee that my french will sound much nicer than my music :C
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    I'm doing ab initio Spanish at uni so I'll probably just try and consolidate my knowledge of the language that I learnt up to GCSE level this year. (that doesn't make sense...)
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    I begin Portuguese today. I can't be bothered to keep posting, so I suppose I'll just dip in and out of this thread and edit this post to say how I'm getting on. I'll also be re-trying Japanese, so we'll see how that goes too. [I'll put updates for Japanese in red, and Portuguese in Green. Matches the flags then ]

    Day 1 - Planned to learn pronunciation, and basic greetings. After all, I can pick up verbs as I go along.
    PROGRESS: Seem to have 'mastered' the basics of an introductory conversation - hello, goodbye, how are you, my name is, nice to meet you etc. - fairly pleased with everything so far.
    Day 2 - Dad was home, so progress was hindered a lot. I managed to get through numbers and revision of the stuff I did yesterday
    PROGRESS: Pronunciation is getting on my nerves. The Portuguese 'eat their words' too much, so it sounds nothing like it's said. It's exactly the reason why I hated French.
    Day 4 - After sitting on my laurels for a few days, it was time to pull my finger out. Wow, I sound like a teacher. Anyway, I'm spending the next few days writing stuff up and going over it all.
    PROGRESS - Pronunciation is slowing me down. But, I suppose i've got no rush. Pronouncing things at a 'native' level is better than knowing everything but sounding like an idiot.





    Day 1 - Planned on learning pronunciation and possibly a few basics.
    PROGRESS: overwhelmed by the volume of different sounds, but able to pronounce things fine. Getting things to stick will be a problem, I can tell.
    Day 2 - Nothing done except some random speaking of phrases as I walked round the house this morning.
    PROGRESS: I need to be a bit more committed.
    Day 4 - I QUIT. That's right, quit. It's hard doing a language so similar to one I already speak, so I'd rather concentrate on that one fully, that get in knots over two languages. Oh well. "Ii-desu ka?" "Iie." (No worries though, I still have the audio stuff, I ripped it all. So, I'll be without the scripted stuff when I give back the books, but I'll still have the 'practice' bits at the start of each unit).

    This'll be a project for another summer.
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    Latin!! I just think it could be really interesting, and hopefully help towards my French (as the words are quite similar).

    I would love to learn something like Spanish/Italian/Portugeuse properly in the future as they're really useful, but I think that Latin could be lovely in this summer.
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    I'm making my way through my 'Spanish grammar handbook' from Berlitz, which claims to have eveything you would want to know about Spanish grammar in it. I also have a Hugo CD set that I pinched from my local library, which I'll take a look at later.

    For now, I'm looking at pronunciation and intonation guides. Very interesting - probably the hardest part of it, because I find it difficult not to go French or Italian when pronouncing words. And I'm not really sure how to pronounce 'z' or 'e' when it's the last letter of a word.

    I'm enjoying it so far. Although my mum's telling me to get a job - she just doesn't understand haha. Anyway, I already have a job.
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    I shall endeavour to learn some Already found a native speaker to help me :O
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    I was planning on learning Spanish over the summer, or at least attempting to. I have no idea what the best way to go about this is though, and I don't really have any experience with learning languages, apart from GCSE French. So, erm, how do I get started? Any ideas? Recommended books, resources etc.?
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    I tried teaching myself Japanese when I was 7
    I wasn't very good :blushing:

    Basic French and Spanish and reasonable German should be enough to get me through life
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    (Original post by Fields)
    I was planning on learning Spanish over the summer, or at least attempting to. I have no idea what the best way to go about this is though, and I don't really have any experience with learning languages, apart from GCSE French. So, erm, how do I get started? Any ideas? Recommended books, resources etc.?
    It's quite an individual thing really. I'm the kind of person that can just sit there and read a grammar book and find it really fascinating, and let it sink in. In fact, I predict that I'll have self-taught the subjunctive in Spanish before I've properly learnt the numbers or days of the week!

    Have you gone to your library? They should have a section devoted to learning languages - mine does. (I'm a librarian at the weekend, so I'm promoting this heavily )
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    (Original post by Fields)
    I was planning on learning Spanish over the summer, or at least attempting to. I have no idea what the best way to go about this is though, and I don't really have any experience with learning languages, apart from GCSE French. So, erm, how do I get started? Any ideas? Recommended books, resources etc.?
    #Get out an audiobook from your local library, to help with pronouncing words. [Spanish has different pronunciation to us, in lots of ways, plus you have the dreaded "ll", and "ñ"].

    #If you just want to learn conversational Spanish, then stick to that audiobook. It'll drill phrases into your head. Numbers, letters, days, questions and answers that occur in a basic conversation etc.

    #If you want to get serious, find a grammar book. You'll have to sit down and learn learn learn to drill in the verbs and when to use them. However, in Spanish, you only need to know 55 Verbs to be able to use ALL of them in every one of the 14 tenses.

    All you have to do then is put aside an hour or so every day, and sit and practice practice practice. It might sink in really quickly, it might take three days to remember that "Me llama..." is "My name is/I am called...", and "¿Como te llamas?" is "What's your name?/What are you called?".

    Spanish is, in the simpler 'conversational' tenses, dead easy. You only really need the present, possibly the preterite (past tense, completed action), and the conditional ("I would/I could/I should").


    Although I guess I'm only saying that because I found out Portuguese has a 'future' Subjunctive, while Spanish only has the Imperfect and Present Subjunctives.


    (Original post by johnnythemoose)
    And I'm not really sure how to pronounce 'z' or 'e' when it's the last letter of a word.
    z is a pain to pronounce at the end of words. "Juez", the word for Judge, always gets me. The horrid scraping "j" at the start, and the hissing z at the end :rolleyes:. Not nice at all. BUT, you'll get used to the "th" sound eventually. Just think of The Fast Show "heth-theth-theth-theth-theth sminki pinki".

    e at the end of a word, you'll have to get used to. There' looooooads, mainly in the third person singular of "-er/-ir" verbs. I'm sure you'll get it eventually - come isn't pronunced "come", but I'm not going to make it easy and tell you how to say it either :p: . Put yourself into a Spanish mode and totally forget everything you know about English.
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    (Original post by CatatonicStupor)
    e at the end of a word, you'll have to get used to. There' looooooads, mainly in the third person singular of "-er/-ir" verbs. I'm sure you'll get it eventually - come isn't pronunced "come", but I'm not going to make it easy and tell you how to say it either :p: . Put yourself into a Spanish mode and totally forget everything you know about English.
    No you don't understand - I don't know how to pronounce it. There's no 'put yourself in a Spanish mode' about it, I simply have no idea how to say it. And I speak German and French, so I know about the numerous ways of pronouncing the letter 'e', but I genuinely don't know how to say it.
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    I am self-teaching myself Chinese (Mandarin) over the summer, having started two days ago. It's complicated but fun
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    Mandarin is my big task, though I need to keep going with Turkish and I plan to brush up on a few of my other languages.

    Think I might subscribe to this thread.
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    Am going to attempt to learn to read/write German from one of those "Teach Yourself" books I have.

    I don't expect it to go too well, considering this is my third attempt.

    However, I last tried to learn it around Christmas time, but had to abandon it during exam season -- so I do still remember bits. Not very useful bits, mind: mainly "I come from Austria", "Fluffball" and "treacle". Hey, it's a start.
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    spanish is one of my favorite languages... I'm pretty much self taught... I studied the basics and then I dove into into it reading books in spanish, I started with books I had already read in English like Anne Frank... and then I read new books... I learnt a lot from practicing it in Mexico... we have a house in Cuernavaca... when I was younger I wasn't interested and didn't try to learn it.. but as soon as I decided I wanted to speak it I realized that it's really easy to learn. I recently took the New York University Language Proficiency exam and received full marks and 16 college credits... yay!
    if you need any help... I'll love to help!

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