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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cair Paravel :)
    Posts
    16,045

    The Language Thread!

    (I'm prefacing this with my fear that this thread will be a total flop, and I'm not sure what I'm even hoping to get from this, but I thought it would be a nice idea, if it does work.)

    I thought it might be a cool idea for those of us who are learning (or at least attempting to learn!) another language had a place where we can talk about our language learning, which languages we're learning, and maybe even get some suggestions if we're getting stuck (almost like a little language-learning mini-group). (Personally, I just think it'd be fun to talk about languages!)

    Any other Berries out there learning a language? I'm most advanced at French (I think I'm almost conversational!), but I'm attempting to learn German and Portuguese, too, and I'd like to learn Italian, American Sign Language, and Russian, too. I've been using a free app on my iPod--duolingo (which also has a corresponding website, duolingo.com!)--that has given me a really strong French base (and I'm using it for German and Portuguese right now, too!). I can use it for Italian once I'm ready to start that, too. I took Spanish in college, but it was never a huge interest of mine, so it's sort of slipped away, for the most part, unless I'm really trying (especially since I'm more focused on French; they're similar enough to be confusing when I'm trying to remember my Spanish!). I also have an old French book from when I was going to take it in college; I'm slowly making my way through it, but it's really basic stuff, so I'm not sure I'll learn too much more from it.

    Does anyone have any favorite methods to learn/brush up on a language, when you're self-teaching?

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Room 94
    Posts
    4,439
    I know quite a bit of French, but it was mandatory in school until I turned 15, then I chose to take it until I was about 17 I also know a little bit of braille and a bit of ASL. I had a placement in high school at a school for the visually impaired/deafblind, so I ended up picking up on some of it I know numbers 1-10 in Braille, and certain names/objects (bathroom, Haley, Colyn, Daniel, etc). I wish I could properly read it, I know most of the letters in the alphabet, but I normally get them all confused as I'm trying to read it! With ASL, I can say 'thank you', 'I love you', 'lunch' 'Haley', 'camera' and 'Noah'. I learned some of the students' names

    I'd love to finish learning Braille and ASL, I know a tiny bit of BSL (British Sign Language) as I have a penpal called Melissa who is fully deaf, but I don't know too much of it :/ I've always wanted to learn Welsh as well.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    1,243
    My mother tongue is European Portuguese, which has more diverse phonetics than any other Romance language so I'm lucky (I admire anyone who is able to learn Portuguese verb conjugations). I speak English fluently, Spanish decently, and a little French (I don't speak it very well although my reading and oral comprehension is good) and know some basic German. I studied English (for 7 years) and French (for 3 years) in school and now I'm reading Languages at University (English, French, and German).

    I learned English almost intuitively by watching cartoons, movies (luckily here dubbing is for little children —*we are exposed to foreign languages from a very early age), listening to English music and later reading books in English. Romance languages like Spanish and French are very easy to pick-up by Portuguese speakers so it's very intuitive process as well (for instance, I understand Italian fine even though I've never studied the language). German is another story —*I love languages so to me is fascinating to learn one virtually from scratch. I started at 22, so unless I move to a German-speaking country I doubt I'll ever become fluent (I don't find the Grammar especially difficult but I do have a hard time memorising gender and declensions) but my goal is to get to a European B level. In this case I think I'm benefiting a lot from a structured, class environment. I also think having a native teacher is very important.

    I like the Pimsleur method a lot even though as an adult I find the written word very useful in the acquisition process.

    I'd love to study Italian or a non-Indo-European language like Hungarian or Japanese (I used to watch Japanese cartoons when I was younger).
    Last edited by sugarplumfairy; July 4th, 2014 at 08:20 PM.
    Arabella, Thibault, Sophia, Alfred, Eleanor, Rémi, Charlotte, Achille, Olivia, Clement, Elizabeth, Frederick, Maud, Benedict, Adèle.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    169
    My mother tongue is Dutch, and I think I should at least be a fluent English speaker now after all these years. I'm currently trying to focus on French and I hope I'll get a C certificate next year currently working on B2, but it's hard because my main motivation is not because I love it but because it'll give me a major advantage on the job market. Luckily I've had French for 6 years at high school so I don't have to start from scratch and I am currently trying to immerse myself in the language and hoping it'll trigger my interest more. Speaking of high school I was forced to take German too for a couple of years but we had to choose between either Latin, Ancient Greek, French and German (English is compulsory) and I chose Ancient Greek with French as an extra subject because there was no way I was going to pick German. As a Dutch speaker you're a bit misled because when they just start with simple grammar like verb conjugations and vocabulary you're like: oh this is SO easy.. and then the real grammar kicks in and you just want to give up. So I did give up and I can think of about thousand other languages that'd have my priority. It's mostly because I know that informal communication with Germans will work out just fine with my current set of language skills. I have been studying Swedish, Norwegian etc. since I was 14 though and that's been a great pleasure especially since you just pick one of these languages and it's also a gateway to another language and even the obscure ones like Icelandic and Faroese. I am not quite sure whether my grammar is really up to the standard but I can watch movies in Swedish without subtitles. Again this was a matter of immersion but I didn't have to force myself, it all came naturally. I'm currently trying to learn Russian through a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) and I'm wondering how that will work out and I'll try to take Spanish at uni this year as an extra course and maybe take Russian there too but not as an extra course just as a paid course. French, Spanish and Russian are all career choices though, but I do find the countries intruiging (I love Russian and Belarusian TV, the culture shock is amazing) so that's not the problem it's just that I'd rather waste my language learning time on Hungarian or something. Russian is actually more of a guilty pleasure too, but it's not such a 'waste of time'.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,279
    Ah.. I've learnt french when I was in high school (self teaching and only for a bit, but yeah.. ). I forgot almost everything after a while, but now I want to start over (I have duolingo app too! ) I've tried German and ASL too a few years ago so I know a little. And oh, Mandarin Chinese, just because that's my heritage and my parents made me learn it when I was in elementary school. But again, I forgot almost everything after years..

    So my question is, how do you manage to remember the language you do not use after a while? That's my main problem, really. I had no one to practice with and/or I got busy with other things. And then I forgot and had to start over..
    Call me Cynthia, Angie, or Luna. 22. Name nerd.

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