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How to learn a foreign language?

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How to learn a foreign language?

Postby serendipity » Tue, 25 Jul 2006 11:19 pm

Since some of you have learned or even mastered a foreign language or two or three(?) I thought this would be the place to come to to seek advice.

My theory right now is to just start out with a CD of the most basic phrases. Greetings, simple questions, shopping, traveling, dealing with cab drivers and waitors and so on.

I figure that once I master these I'll move on to grammar and try to memorize vocabulary while keeping up with "listening" to French being spoken whenever possible (read: whenever I'm on the subway).

Then, maybe after about six months I want to start studying toward a French language test. I think about at that point I will focus a bit more on the reading/writing but until then focus mainly on being able to speak and listen.

But is this a good idea?
Do you think I should learn basic grammar first, and then phrases?

Any suggestions on how to learn a foreign language would be very helpful. It can be about study methods or mindset, or of course, actual courses, classes, books, CDs/DVDs or teachers.

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Postby Miss Swan » Thu, 27 Jul 2006 2:27 pm

Ah you want to learn french?

Trust me, I've tried DIY-ing myself before. Bought a French dictionary, went to French websites (not a lot out there though), bookmarked tons of learn-basic-French website, but NOTHING beats taking up a language course and have a native French speaker teach the language to you.

I swear, 3-4 months of weekly lessons and exercises/homework have made me a much more fluent speaker than religiously studying books/websites/tapes.

Language is an active subject. If you have a French teacher, you'll be corrected on your spoken part as well. And also explain to you the intricacies of the language.

I'm also more keen on spoken than written. Take it from the old bird ;)
No matter how much you work at it, a proper structured course will bring you a much longer way than DIY.

P.S. French words are a killer because not only the verbs are a nightmare, but what you see is NOT how you say it...

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Postby Plavt » Thu, 27 Jul 2006 3:09 pm

A few websites for starters; (Radio Transmissions in various languages)


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Postby jpatokal » Thu, 27 Jul 2006 7:41 pm

I'll second Miss Swan. But instead of just finding a native speaker, you need to go to a country where they speak (only) that language and immerse yourself. It takes about 3 months to get to survival level, and 6 months to minimal fluency.
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby Bafana » Fri, 28 Jul 2006 1:26 pm

As my Army buddies say: Get a long haired dictionary.

That is if you are a man and you are single.
Be Like Water

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 28 Jul 2006 3:33 pm

Bafana wrote:As my Army buddies say: Get a long haired dictionary.

good one! :lol:

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Postby scarletr0se » Sat, 29 Jul 2006 8:57 pm

the best way to learn a language is to be in that environment where everyone speaks that language. that way, you can pick up that language really fast.

like me, i'm half korean and i've lived in korea since young. that explains why i can speak korean now. i still think the best way to master a language is to be in that environment so that you can fully utilise the language. :wink:
You should be beautiful in your own eyes.

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