Anybody Else Learning a Foreign Language?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by westv, 1 Jul 2019.

  1. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Started on Spanish a few weeks ago. I had a short attempt to learn it years ago but got too distracted. Let's see how it goes this time!
     
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  3. Fredtheshred

    Fredtheshred Member

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    I downloaded an app about 3 weeks ago to start learning French. The only problem is that it doesn't use the system schools used to teach.

    We used to get verbs....with I do/you do(s)/ we do/ he does/ they do etc.

    Now they try to give whole phrases, to learn 20% of the phrases we use 80% of the time.

    Im still unsure which is best as its too early.
     
  4. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    Have either of you two tried Duolingo?

    Used it in 2016/2017 to better my knowledge of German, best thing about it is the fact it keeps a log of your German skills so if you haven’t done Verbs for a while it gently prods you into redoing them to keep up your knowledge.

    Far superior to Rosetta Stone as that one you really do need to get the pronouncing of the words spot on, Duolingo is far more approachable!
     
  5. J-2739

    J-2739 Established Member

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    Just finished German; never again...
     
  6. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Dutch. Been trying for years but don't get the practice. I need a holiday in st Maarten, or at least half of st Maarten!
     
  7. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    Adds, at school I rebelled against compulsory French as we spent our holidays in Italy and I wanted to learn Italian to chat up the Italian gi......get fully into the Latin culture. We didn't have an Italian teacher and they wouldn't allow me to teach myself in school time using linguaphone. First part, fair enough, second, petty.IMO, naturally!
     
  8. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I have Duolingo on my tablet, and started learning Swedish, partly to impress a couple of Swedish friends, but mainly to understand the dialogue in "Beck" and other Scandinavian television dramas. I think it has been about four years since I opened the app.

    At school we had the choice of French or German (I chose French), but we were allowed to pick up other languages in 5th and 6th years. I dabbled with Russian, but in the end I didn't have space for it in my timetable.
     
  9. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Wouldn’t say I’m learning it as such, but I’m certainly picking up Welsh, elements of it at least.
     
  10. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I've long thought that I'd like to learn at least some Welsh. Tried it in my teens -- got several chapters into the "Teach Yourself..." book. Had the idea of giving it another try, a couple of years ago: got a couple of introductory books -- but in the event, was too lazy to actually do anything about it.
     
  11. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    When I was in the 6th form, the school offered Italian as a new alternative to German, French or Urdu - although we had the teacher available of the entire 6th form only two students expressed a interest so it was withdrawn as it made no sense financially to run the course.
     
  12. Fredtheshred

    Fredtheshred Member

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    I use the Mosalingua app for French, though they offer loads. It seems pretty good, but as I said, alot different to school.

    The advanced version costs a fiver, but im plodding through without that so far.
     
  13. takno

    takno Established Member

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    Duolingo has managed to eliminate most of the things that made it good since 2017 like all the timed repetition, whilst keeping the dependence on weird sentence exercises for absolutely everything. They are gradually adding explanatory notes, although not in a way that's particularly usable. Mostly they just seem to be pushing things that make you watch more ads or force you to pay. Overall it feels like a nice idea that's taken on tens of millions in venture capital and now needs a payday.

    I'm mostly using Babbel, which is pay-to-use, but only 30 quid for 6 months (or a year if you wait for the offer). It's more of a traditional structured textbook, but with everything read out to you as you learn it and listening/speaking exercises added in. I'm combining that with watching a lot of Netflix in Spanish and Polish to learn those languages.

    So far it's going better than previous attempts, but it's a slow business and really works best if you can tie it in with things you would already have been doing. The Netflix for example is mostly time I'd have spent watching TV anyway
     
  14. Giugiaro

    Giugiaro Member

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    Currently learning Japanese, as I'm planning on studying/working over that country.
    I once used Memrise but stopped as soon as I spotted some dubious translations.
    I currently only rely on a Kanji dictionary and talking with my teacher and my Japanese friend. The Japanese taught to foreigners is typically very artificial and technical.

    In school I had English, French and Spanish classes. Of the three, French is the one I disregard completely, though I can still speak a bit of it. But I'd rather not! XD
     
  15. splashoutradio

    splashoutradio Member

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    Languages are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Currently speak Welsh and Toki Pona with a resonable fluency (as well as some passable English :D )

    The way we were taught in school didn't really work for me - I had a decent enough grade at GCSE, but in terms of actual practical usage, my School French and Spanish is of very close to zero use.
    The best tool I've ever come across is saysomethingin.com. The list of languages available is a little small at the moment, but it's growing, and has genuinely helped me in the conversational language. I also use Duolingo and Memrise, as well as a few other bits and bobs unique to the individual language.
     
  16. gingerheid

    gingerheid Member

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    Did Latin at school because it's easiest and I'm not good at languages.

    About 9 years ago I fell in love with Estonia and have been struggling to learn Estonian ever since. I'm finally getting there, but when I started I didn't appreciate that there are easy and difficult languages to learn. The point at which things started to happen was when I started using the Memrise Decks courses alongside the books I'm learning from.

    I tried Duolingo because everyone I knew seemed to be playing with it. It's terrifically addictive and I couldn't cope with losing my 1500 day streak. It's also very good for certain things, like pronunciation and reading. I started trying it with Dutch as I wanted to see if I could learn a language with just it and nothing else. The results were a) you can't and b) I got to like Dutch and am now doing an online course from Groningen University. I keep my streak up by doing French, and undoubtedly it's helping my French in a certain small but perhaps insignificant way.
     
  17. takno

    takno Established Member

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    I keep my streak going with Esperanto. It's criminally easy, and kind of interesting for being so relentlessly logical
     
  18. 175mph

    175mph Member

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    I've been trying Russian since at least 2014.
     
  19. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    I gather that Estonian is one of those languages -- like German, Russian, and Latin -- whose nouns and adjectives have "cases": a word is modified according to its function in the sentence; whether "doing to", "being done to", "being in ownership of", etc. The abovementioned languages have only a round half-dozen of such cases, or fewer; Estonian has about fifteen of them. As soon as I discovered this fact, I decided that -- admirable though Estonia and its people appear to be in many ways -- I want nothing to do with their language !
     
  20. alex17595

    alex17595 Member

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    At one time I wanted to learn German and move to Germany but since Brexit put an end to that dream I haven't really tried rather than a few attempts at Duolingo.
     
  21. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Member

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    German’s a lovely language once you’ve got to grips with the grammar.
     
  22. J-2739

    J-2739 Established Member

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    Nah, I liked German (nice to the ears), and actually got good with the grammer and vocab (to the point where I could translate any sentence chucked at me).

    It's just so bloody difficult sometimes!!!
     
  23. J-2739

    J-2739 Established Member

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    On the other hand, French: awful, awful, with it's nasal sound... :frown:
     
  24. gingerheid

    gingerheid Member

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    The pronunciation is a dream.

    The number of cases is intimidating, but some of them are actually your friends and make life easier by replacing prepositions or moods with something nice and regular. The first three are a minor problem as you have to learn each word three times, but you eventually sort of see a pattern (there's maybe kinda 17 patterns, plus exceptions, so it's not worth trying to learn them) that sees you good for almost all the others. Things relating to number are a problem as there are an unnecessary number of cases involved and it's not always obvious where you need a plural (!). One particular plural form effectively prevents you from ever speaking fluent correct Estonian as it is too irregular, but nobody cares and if you make it up you'll either be close enough or people will get what you meant.

    Having two infinitives is what really screws the language up :(

    It has been a remarkable country, though recently even it has started to fall to the same disease of populism as afflicts us :(. I started learning when I realised I loved the country and wanted to explore all of it, thinking that one day I'd need it. It was maybe a bit slightly useful when I once ended up in hospital in a rural area a long way from Tallinn (certainly not necessary though), but otherwise it's surprising how even older people in very isolated areas often have pretty good English!
     
  25. gingerheid

    gingerheid Member

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    I might be alone in this, but I feel that the combination of Brexit and America's unpredictable isolationism could make learning French or German quite useful. It may be that 10 or 15 years from now less people that we need to trade with will be learning English.
     
  26. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    Any tips on learning a different language?

    Might be useful to put some here?
     
  27. S26Crewe

    S26Crewe Member

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    I'm attempting to 'relearn' german having not spoken it for a very long time.
    Duolingo is definitely helping with the basics.
     
  28. Calthrop

    Calthrop Established Member

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    Hmm -- still strikes me as a nightmare, with maybe a redeeming feature or two ! I continue to feel re this language, the way Rebecca West -- in her magnificent book Black Lamb And Grey Falcon, about travels in the late 1930s in what was then Yugoslavia -- felt about a different tongue. West (not a naturally gifted linguist) was in Bosnia, at a place called Vakuf (which incidentally, was on the long-vanished Yugoslavian 760mm gauge system): with that part of the country having in the past, spent many centuries under Turkish rule, various bits of Turkish had been borrowed into local parlance. She writes: "Vakuf is a Turkish word meaning religious property; I have never heard anything that made me more positively anxious not to study Turkish than the news that the plural of this word is Evkaf ".
     
  29. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

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    I learnt French when I was at school and I speak basic French, its easier to learn a language when you are older particularly an Indo-European one as you see that many words are similar to English versions of the same word.
     
  30. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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    I was forced to do French in school although I didn't particularly care about languages at the time and we weren't really taught anything practical. I can still remember odd bits of it but I don't enjoy speaking it, I'm in agreement with J-2739 above as far as French goes!

    After leaving school I took German evening classes which I really enjoyed, and having made many trips to German-speaking countries I've been able to practice and improve considerably. I've also taught myself some basic Dutch given that it's somewhere between German and English, the key to that is definitely the pronunciation!

    I did try Duolingo to learn a bit of Czech before going there last month, but I find Slavic languages incredibly difficult, despite having some Slavic blood! I now use it to practice and continue to improve my German skills.
     
  31. takno

    takno Established Member

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    Slavic languages are very far from English, and involve more new sounds which is difficult. The Czech course in particular isn't really good enough to learn from though. I'm struggling to follow it and I've spent most of the last year learning Polish, which is fairly similar
     

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