The_Dragonborn
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...without formal study at a college/university? As in, what are the actual steps that you do to learn a language and become fluent in it. Do you get phrasebooks, grammar guides? How does you actually study?
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lostonearth
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You ought to check out this guy, Benny. http://www.fluentin3months.com

It's really aimed at polyglots, but very unique in that he started learning in his 20s, with a background in electronic engineering.

I've really grown to love languages now and find that I learn a language better outside of a classroom. Actually hated it at school! You should check out what's available online, especially on youtube. Listening to people pronounce the alphabet, words in an actual conversation is a good start. I'll admit, it really depends on how popular your chosen language is. Get the basics sorted and maybe once you've got some grounding, join an evening class for practice on speaking and listening?

What do you plan on learning?
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xtinalouise
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I think the best way to learn a language is to actually go to the country, learn about their culture and use the language as best as you can. Even in restaurants, shops etc, they will appreciate you trying to speak their language, even if it's not perfect.
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hellodave5
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Use this mate: www.duolingo.com
I also try and make use of youtube lessons, in which you can repeat words.
I enjoy films, so I try and watch the occasional Spanish films - there are some great ones.
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ssingh9
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(Original post by hellodave5)
Use this mate: www.duolingo.com
I also try and make use of youtube lessons, in which you can repeat words.
I enjoy films, so I try and watch the occasional Spanish films - there are some great ones.
Duolingo is amazing for picking up languages, especially new vocab.
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Hunayda
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Yea duo lingo is amazing


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Ronove
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(Original post by The_Dragonborn)
...without formal study at a college/university? As in, what are the actual steps that you do to learn a language and become fluent in it. Do you get phrasebooks, grammar guides? How does you actually study?
I expect there are as many approaches as there are people doing this. I've had a vaguely different approach to every language I've learned. I'm currently bordering on fluent in Danish and I haven't had a lesson in it in my life. I've done a lot of different things with it though. I think any approach has to be multi-pronged. The more prongs the better. Especially where you get bored of them as time goes on - **** it, try a new method/resource. You'll be learning regardless.

Edit: To clarify, I'll try to remember the early stages of my Danish-learning:
- learning a couple of phrases from a Danish friend/his friends at a party, and putting my pronunciation to the test
- buying a Where's Wally book in Danish (awesome btw)
- buying a giant book of H C Andersen tales with an accompanying CD on which some of them are read out so I could follow the pronunciation
- pay for a language course by some kind of amateur that seemed good from the free bits on the internet
- buy A Reference Grammar of Danish (or something like that, can't check because it's propping up the desk my laptop is on)
- read stuff, listen to stuff, watch stuff with subtitles, thereby absorbing grammar rules and vocabulary and pronunciation
- join a Danish guild on World of Warcraft with new Danish boyfriend, listen to guild members on Ventrilo and read their chat in guild chat
- find a Danish qualification to work towards
- sign up for said Danish qualification to provide motivation
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scrotgrot
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After the very earliest stages the only way to do it is to go to the country, look at the road signs, buy things in shops, talk to the people in a variety of different settings.

A good grasp of English grammar helped me too. I never understood other people's confusion about verb conjugations in French and Spanish at school, I was there thinking, "It's literally exactly the same as English ... word for word"
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beau-malheur
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Do everything you can to pick up new vocab and grammar. That could be from study guides to watching videos/films with subtitles, listening to music in the target language, using duolingo, maybe listening to the radio or reading the news...? Its important to hear how words are pronounced as well as seeing how they are written. Try to mimic the sounds of new words when you hear them.
Hmmmm what else....... If you play a lot of games on Xbox/ps3 or whatever you could change the language settings so that everything comes up in the target language which could help you pick up some vocab? But yeah, all this really depends what level you are starting at and how you like to learn.
Some people think it is better to get an understanding of grammar first, whereas others prefer to build up vocabulary so that when it comes to putting sentences together with grammar you already have a load of words to use.
Okayyyy this was quite long but I hope it helped somehow


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Ronove
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(Original post by scrotgrot)
After the very earliest stages the only way to do it is to go to the country, look at the road signs, buy things in shops, talk to the people in a variety of different settings.

A good grasp of English grammar helped me too. I never understood other people's confusion about verb conjugations in French and Spanish at school, I was there thinking, "It's literally exactly the same as English ... word for word"
Going to a relevant country is great for boosting motivation at any time, but if you don't get the chance to go often, I would save it for much later on in the language-learning process, when you can really benefit from it. Though any time your motivation is really flagging is a great time to go.
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