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Learning another language
Old 05-19-2012, 01:36 PM   #1
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Learning another language

I am curious if anybody has used the various language training courses to learn another language. If so, what did you think of it? What was the language? Was it worth the money?

One thing I know for sure, I am not going back to what I did in high school - memorizing lists of vocab words, etc. I forgot it all and was very frustrated.
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Old 05-19-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut
I am curious if anybody has used the various language training courses to learn another language. If so, what did you think of it? What was the language? Was it worth the money?

One thing I know for sure, I am not going back to what I did in high school - memorizing lists of vocab words, etc. I forgot it all and was very frustrated.
I am pleased with Rosetta stone. You'll still need to do some book studying with it, but it's great for giving you an intuitive feel for the language. Like anything you need to put in the time. i dabble, so my progress is slow. The kindle book "speak like a native" has great tips.

SIS
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:06 PM   #3
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I learned "conversational" French in the 9th and 10th grades where we wore headsets with mics and watched a lesson on film and repeated the actors conversations. The actors were re-enacting everyday situations and encounters. The teacher (born/raised in France) switched in to listen and corrected you if you missed the pronunciations.

That was a great way to learn. There was no text book, no tests, you got a grade once per week based on a 5 minute conversation with the teacher.

Then I took a year of French in college and it was grammar, syntax, etc. and I thought it was a total waste of time.

Maybe try some of the internet stuff on YouTube and following along.
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Old 05-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #4
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If they are available in your area, Berlitz small group or private lessons are a great way to learn. It is amazing how quickly you can pick up a language using their method. That's how I learned Italian.
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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I'm trilingual and had to learn another (Swedish) for work.

Rosetta Stone was great!
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #6
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We homeschool our daughter and she is doing Rosetta Stone Vietnamese and has been very happy with it.

Look for specials. You can often find it for very off list price.
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Old 05-19-2012, 08:42 PM   #7
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Our daughter enjoyed Pimsleur's Russian CDs while she was driving the car. I guess it's a good thing that she never had to discuss it with a police officer (as far as I know).

The best ever for her turned out to be the three-week Russian immersion summer camp up in Minnesota. Not cheap, but she validated Russian 101 in college so it turned out to be "cheaper".
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Old 05-19-2012, 11:59 PM   #8
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I enrolled in a French language class (20 students). I enjoyed 6 lessons and then went on holiday and missed 5 lessons. I could not catch up thereafter and dropped off. Will I join again? Only if I know I won't miss more than 2 classes. I find french difficult but joining a class is very inclusive.

I have also done one to one Mandarin classes and these are very successful. I don't get penalty charges if I postpone the class. I now study on my own since I have built a good foundation. I did try to join conversation chat groups for Mandarin language and find that it does not work as attendance is not reliable. Sometimes, students drift in and out of english and mandarin and the coordinator does not do help much.
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Old 05-20-2012, 12:12 AM   #9
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Prior to a trip to Italy a few years ago, I borrowed the Pimsleur language CDs from the library and listened to them while driving around town. I thought they were excellent.

Depending on where you live and what language you're interested in learning, there may be meetup groups (Do something, Learn something, Share something, Change something - Meetup) in your area for conversational practice.

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Old 05-20-2012, 04:23 AM   #10
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Also trilingual here + notions of a fourth language (in any order, German, Spanish, French and English). I would argue that there is nothing better to learn a new language than living in a place where they speak it. I agree that learning lists of words is useless - learning a new language is easier when contextual.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I am curious if anybody has used the various language training courses to learn another language. If so, what did you think of it? What was the language? Was it worth the money?

One thing I know for sure, I am not going back to what I did in high school - memorizing lists of vocab words, etc. I forgot it all and was very frustrated.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:26 AM   #11
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I found that Rosetta stone is lacking on the systematic grammar learning, but it's excellent on pronunciation of some basic words and simple sentences in our daily life via repeated drilling and review. As already pointed out by ShortInSeattle, you need to do some (good grammar) book studying with it.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:52 AM   #12
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I don't mind looking up some grammer from time to time, and certainly don't mind reading either. After all, one must be able to read signs, messages, etc, when in a foreign country.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:04 AM   #13
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While learning lists of words & vocab may not be helpful, learning vocab and words is very important if you want to function in the language.

I learned that 90% of any language is found in 1000 words or less. 99% of any language is found in 3000 words or less.

So when I lived in a foreign country, I set a goal of 3 new words a day. This was easily accomplished by the use of a couple of those vocab calendars. At the end of one year, I knew more than a thousand words. To get those words to stick, one has to use those words that day several times. That was easy to do when immersed in the country where everyone including colleagues, radio, TV, etc are all communicating in that language.

So Chuckanut, when you write, "One thing I know for sure, I am not going back to what I did in high school - memorizing lists of vocab words, etc. I forgot it all and was very frustrated." I have to ask you directly:

If you are not gonna learn the language how are you gonna learn the language?
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
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If you are not gonna learn the language how are you gonna learn the language?
You can read novels, with a good dictionary beside you. You can read popular magazines. I recommend Cosmopolitan en Espaņol. Learn something of "los orgasmos buenos". You can watch movies, and often learn a lot of vocabulary and grammar by context and listening. Some movies even have subtitles in the language spoken in the movie.

Ha
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:46 PM   #15
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I learned English by translating articles from the NY Daily News, and various magazines, with the help of a dictionary. Dreadfully slow, but effective. Special mention to the cartoon series Mr. Magoo.

Advanced descriptive and colorful language training courtesy of the US Army drill sergeants.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:31 PM   #16
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Check with your local library system. Ours offers online language software that's maybe not on par with Rosetta but it's free and I've had a good time with it. Once you have an account you work at home on your computer, it's great.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:07 AM   #17
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LOL, memorizing long lists of words, in isolation from using the language is what I was referring to. I do not have the advantage of living in a foreign country at this time.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:48 AM   #18
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If you want to learn the words without trying to memorize them, try the gold list method. I used it for a while learning russian and felt like it was definitely helping me out with word familiarity.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:05 AM   #19
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+1 for LOL's ideas. Read magazine, look up and underline unknown words, use a mnemonic device to memorize, shoot for a few per day, then go back and read the same article a week later.

For example hängiven means devoted in Swedish. It is pronounced hen yeevan. I pictured being surrounded by a flock of devoted chickens.

The mnemonic devices are killer.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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I have used Rosetta Stone for Mandarin Chinese and like it a lot. I think it is a bit expensive but better than any other self-study method I have tried. They use some old-fashioned terms and other things that most people no longer say. My wife is a native Chinese speaker and helps me with some of the stuff. She'll hear something on a lesson and say "nobody says that, we say this...."

The hardest part is just getting through it all. I have yet to finish all 3 levels. By the time I get near the end of level 2 I always get busy with something else. I also use Pimsleur's lessons when I am commuting to/from work. Each lesson is about 30 minutes, which is my one-way commute time so it works out perfect. Pimsleur is not nearly as advanced as Rosetta Stone but will get you to a basic conversation level for a quick business trip.
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