What are the best ways to acquire a language?

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ashtolga23
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I'm just curious to discuss different methods of language-learning, especially for languages that aren't as common as French or Spanish.

I've been trying since last year to master a course on Duolingo. If there's been a problem area then I might have looked at some YouTube videos, but I haven't really extended much beyond that. Everywhere I look it really seems that immersion is the best approach, but I have a few problems with this; firstly, I'm not exactly sure how I'd manage to find a way to immerse myself, and secondly, I'm not sure if I know enough of the language for it to be useful.

If anyone has any tips, or just wants to share their experience with trying to pick up a new language, I'd be interested to hear
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Quick-use
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I learned Japanese at university (alongside French and Spanish which I had already been studying since school). For me, the most progress I made was when I lived in Japan. If you're unable to travel to a certain country in the near future, then I would strongly recommend you to get a good textbook that is very thorough and beginner friendly. Make sure to not get anything dense as that'll just put you off and be incredibly monotonous to commit to.

You could try to Google textbooks on Reddit as people usually share their opinions of various linguistic resources there.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Quick-use)
I learned Japanese at university (alongside French and Spanish which I had already been studying since school). For me, the most progress I made was when I lived in Japan. If you're unable to travel to a certain country in the near future, then I would strongly recommend you to get a good textbook that is very thorough and beginner friendly. Make sure to not get anything dense as that'll just put you off and be incredibly monotonous to commit to.

You could try to Google textbooks on Reddit as people usually share their opinions of various linguistic resources there.
That's a really interesting approach. Thank you!

Also I'm mightily impressed by the languages! It's always been so fascinating to me as I've never been too good with MFL, but this is the most dedicated I've ever been to learning one. The fact you've achieved so much in this area is really something to be proud of imo.
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Napp
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Depending on the language, and what you actually want to do with it, i'd still recommend focusing on vocab as opposed to the tedium of grammar (which puts most people off) If you just want to learn a language to be able to have a chat with the locals and possibly read some books in it then being an expert in the grammar really isnt required.
As the other user said though, shy of actually being able to go to the country, find some text books and go through them every night, also some childrens books.. they tend to be quite helpful for mastering the basics
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Napp)
Depending on the language, and what you actually want to do with it, i'd still recommend focusing on vocab as opposed to the tedium of grammar (which puts most people off) If you just want to learn a language to be able to have a chat with the locals and possibly read some books in it then being an expert in the grammar really isnt required.
As the other user said though, shy of actually being able to go to the country, find some text books and go through them every night, also some childrens books.. they tend to be quite helpful for mastering the basics
I'm learning Turkish, mainly just so I can have a fair conversation in it. I think I was a bit too worried about perfecting it at first, so I'm trying to just get as much vocab as I can while hoping that the more experience I get with it the more I'll become used to other factors. You're definitely right that it can be intimidating otherwise, and I'm glad to have someone confirm that this is a decent attitude to have.

Textbooks are a good idea that I haven't really considered much before, so I'll be sure to look into them. Children's books are also a very good shout I think. Thank you so much!
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Napp
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
I'm learning Turkish, mainly just so I can have a fair conversation in it. I think I was a bit too worried about perfecting it at first, so I'm trying to just get as much vocab as I can while hoping that the more experience I get with it the more I'll become used to other factors. You're definitely right that it can be intimidating otherwise, and I'm glad to have someone confirm that this is a decent attitude to have.

Textbooks are a good idea that I haven't really considered much before, so I'll be sure to look into them. Children's books are also a very good shout I think. Thank you so much!
Oh Turkish could be interesting, i tried it briefly but the Duolingo course for it irritated me so i stuck to the Russian :lol:

It's also worth checking out some of the online resources such as on youtube, fb and instagram as they can really help with some of the pronounciation and what not

Out of interest, have you looked at any of the apps such as 'hello world' which connects you with native speakers as pen pals?
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Quick-use
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
That's a really interesting approach. Thank you!

Also I'm mightily impressed by the languages! It's always been so fascinating to me as I've never been too good with MFL, but this is the most dedicated I've ever been to learning one. The fact you've achieved so much in this area is really something to be proud of imo.
Thanks, that's really kind of you to say. It's quite a rare reaction as most people in my immediate life don't take any interest in other languages and cultures, or they don't understand the difficulty of learning a language which makes them unimpressed... Lol

As an aside, I never really considered myself good at languages in school. I was pretty average in comparison to my friends, but the difference was that I was the only person who continued with my studies at A level (the Scottish equivalent of it) and beyond. All I did was persevere.

If someone like me who was pretty average at languages at the beginning of secondary school and GCSEs etc could manage to continue with them for this long, I don't see why you can't. :hat2:

Languages have the beauty of intertwining both logic (grammar rules etc) and arts/humanities (culture, media, literature etc). I always did well in English and my social sciences and that's why I initially viewed my languages through the lens of literature or history. Over time, however, I became really interested in the mechanics of grammar/linguistics, and now I find myself viewing my languages like jigsaw parts that I can fluidly connect or mould. I even pay attention to the rhythm of my language.

Apologies for nerding out, but there's something for everyone when approaching a foreign language. You also don't have to be innately talented in them to do well; all you have to do is persevere little by little.
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Anonymous #1
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The best way is to live in the original country of provenance of the language for a number of months, ideally a year or two for real mastery.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Napp)
Oh Turkish could be interesting, i tried it briefly but the Duolingo course for it irritated me so i stuck to the Russian :lol:

It's also worth checking out some of the online resources such as on youtube, fb and instagram as they can really help with some of the pronounciation and what not

Out of interest, have you looked at any of the apps such as 'hello world' which connects you with native speakers as pen pals?
I've made a fair bit of progress over the last year, and it's definitely been quite fun, if frustrating at times haha! Russian is incredibly difficult from my experience so kudos to you for that; the closest I've ever come to touching it is Nadsat lol.

YouTube and Instagram I've had a brief look at, but Facebook is a good idea! I'm okay with writing most of what I've come across so far, but speaking is a different issue lol, so that could be great.

I haven't actually, and I admit I'm actually a little ignorant to them. Sounds like something worth looking into!

(Original post by Quick-use)
Thanks, that's really kind of you to say. It's quite a rare reaction as most people in my immediate life don't take any interest in other languages and cultures, or they don't understand the difficulty of learning a language which makes them unimpressed... Lol

As an aside, I never really considered myself good at languages in school. I was pretty average in comparison to my friends, but the difference was that I was the only person who continued with my studies at A level (the Scottish equivalent of it) and beyond. All I did was persevere.

If someone like me who was pretty average at languages at the beginning of secondary school and GCSEs etc could manage to continue with them for this long, I don't see why you can't. :hat2:

Languages have the beauty of intertwining both logic (grammar rules etc) and arts/humanities (culture, media, literature etc). I always did well in English and my social sciences and that's why I initially viewed my languages through the lens of literature or history. Over time, however, I became really interested in the mechanics of grammar/linguistics, and now I find myself viewing my languages like jigsaw parts that I can fluidly connect or mould. I even pay attention to the rhythm of my language.

Apologies for nerding out, but there's something for everyone when approaching a foreign language. You also don't have to be innately talented in them to do well; all you have to do is persevere little by little.
It's my pleasure!

That's quite surprising to hear actually. Well done for sticking to it, and I'm glad you've reaped the rewards.

I actually think that makes a lot of sense. I begin to feel pretty accomplished if I spot patterns or start putting things together, so I think I'd like that aspect of things too. I'd love to get into linguistics more as it seems right up my street; I take psychology and English literature at A-Level, and I'm planning to do English at university (I have a combination of Lit and Lang/Lit in my choices). Unfortunately my school don't offer English language but I might try to go into it anyway when I have the time because it really does fasciate me. Anything I've come across surrounding language, for instance the topic of religious language in A-Level RS, truly enthrals me, even if it's a small fact about etymology or something. It's such an interesting area, so I'd love to be more proficient in it.

Please don't apologise, as I really do love to hear different perspectives on this. I think your view is very interesting, and I can see how it would work. It's reassuring to hear that perseverance plays a big role, because at least I can have some control over that. I greatly appreciate your contribution.

(Original post by Anonymous)
The best way is to live in the original country of provenance of the language for a number of months, ideally a year or two for real mastery.
We'll see how dedicated I am to it in the future haha! Thank you for the input
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tinygirl96
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Hello.
Flashcards are super handy for visual learners. Alternatively you could use a notebook for pictures and the well known colour coding method of recalling information on top of that. I would recommend a tape recorder and having simulating oral discussions as well. Also try reciting things out loud occasionally.
Another effective recalling technique is to make brief notes quickly. Other methods include use of a translation tool and so on. Definitely watch a few educational videos on YouTube and see if you can access old works of literature. You may also want to use a app to boost retention. Find a method that works for you.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by tinygirl96)
Hello.
Flashcards are super handy for visual learners. Alternatively you could use a notebook for pictures and the well known colour coding method of recalling information on top of that. I would recommend a tape recorder and having simulating oral discussions as well. Also try reciting things out loud occasionally.
Another effective recalling technique is to make brief notes quickly. Other methods include use of a translation tool and so on. Definitely watch a few educational videos on YouTube and see if you can access old works of literature. You may also want to use a app to boost retention. Find a method that works for you.
Thank you so much for all of your suggestions! That's really helpful
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