Learning a new language: how to go about it?

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Interesting, thanks! Now, can you read this? it's Standard American:

Screenshot 2021-09-14 130953.png
:-P

When you are interested in this, IPA can help notice nuances that you wouldn't unless you have a very attentive ear and lots of training. But, like I said before, I don't think it's for everyone. It's a lot of work for a very small return to language learners, OSIT. And, like you pointed out, accents can then vary so much, that the transcription above may not give you an accurate depiction in the end.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In case some of you don't know about it, I've found this app to be quite useful.

It allows you to basically watch any video in your target language AND get subtitles, both in your mother tongue and in the target language as well. You can export a PDF or copy the text. The translation is not perfect, but it works quite well.


It's handy to listen to interesting people in foreign languages too even if you aren't learning the language and are just interested in the content. :-)

Another extension I've found useful is called Toucan for Firefox and Chrome/Brave, which does that for text pages. So it will insert words from the language you wish to learn into web pages that you can look up via mouse-over, or have whole sentences or paragraphs translated.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
a) always reading material that I had audio for (never separate until level B1 was reached)
If somebody is interested in French, and wish to read a text along with an audiobook, then this page Lectures Cle en Français Facile offers more than 50 easy readers in mixed genres and of varying difficulty. The audiobooks are on the webpage for each book. If you download the audio file, you can adjust the speed of the playback on a VLC player or similar.

Probably other companies provide similar services. One could look for "easy readers in English" or or alternatively: French/Spanish/Russian/Chinese etc., or one can translate the words into the target language and search that way, which may give different publishers. A few searches that worked for me: FR, livres en français facile/ES, libros fáciles en español para extranjeros/RU, книги на легком русском языке для иностранцев. I did not forget Chinese, but after a few translation variants in different search engines, also www.baido.com, I concluded the most consistent results actually appear to come in English. If needed one could ask in a social media group for the learning of Chinese.
 

Goemon_

Jedi Council Member
There is a good overall summary of the construction of the French language in this video. IMO

Yt channel: Langfocus / video : La langue française Link
 
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Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I used the Pimsleur course to learn some Spanish before a trip to Puerto Rico. It is a 30 minute a day listen and repeat drill program. In a month I was comfortable asking directions, ordering food, getting around, having simple conversations. I tried this also with Russian and German, which were much harder for me. I recommend the Pimsleur courses overall. I've looked at Rosetta Stone, but I found Pimsleur to be easier. I also liked being able to do it in the car. I didn't do the reading/spelling part, just the listen and repeat drills. For the few words and expressions I know and use, I've had several native speakers remark on my good accent, asking me where I learned Spanish. The common languages come in 4 course levels. They are kind of pricey, but they get you speaking and understanding the basics quickly.
My only complaint is that they don't offer Bangla/Bengali, which is the 7th most commonly spoken language in the world.
 

stellar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
As for learning, for me anyway, it was living and interacting within a non English speaking community day in and day out, trying to develop an ear and a tongue (the harder part) for the language. Writing a different language seems a lot more more difficult (masculine/feminine etc.). When traveling in Europe, would write down as many things as possible that I thought I would need to ask, and then really try and listen to the responses to sort out nuances, pronunciations and meanings - usually people would smile knowing I'd said it all wrong.
It has been my experience that that is the simplest way to learn; from ordinary people in every day life where it surrounds you and you absorb it more easily.
As a small child I spoke Hungarian fluently, thanks to my babysitter, until my mother decided to fire her. Mum was, apparently, ashamed of our maternal Hungarian genes and didn't want me to speak that language. Funny enough, some 50 plus years later I can still pronounce the words with a bang on dialect which I think is awesome.
In high school I learned German for four years and it also came fairly easily but it felt too complicated learning from books compared to just being around German speaking people.
So today, Serbo-Croatian remains my formal mother tongue but English also as I have been learning/speaking it since 8 years of age. It is most effective IMO to learn in the community.
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'd also like to plug a language learning program called Yabla. _Yabla - Language Immersion - Learn Languages with Authentic Videos
It was started by the child of a local colleague, which is how I learned about it. I subscribed for a while, but did not have the time to do much with it. I forwarded some of the videos to Spanish speaking friends for their opinions, and got very good reviews on their quality. It is kind of a subject focused immersion in casual conversations, staged at various levels of difficulty/learning. I think short-term free subscriptions are offered to see if it is a good fit for prospective students.
I also used My Language Exchange to try to learn Bengali and to help another learn (better) English. To this day I still have that individual as a penpal, albeit in English.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Available as Docx and Pdf, here is a compilation, “EN Help with Reading and Writing in English”, written for forum members for whom English is a secondary language and who rely on translation machines when reading and writing. Since the previous version, the information about DeepL.com and spell checkers has been updated. The document can be translated using Google Translate.
 

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