Bi/Multi-linguals : tips, advice, and warnings for newcomers

 Quincy (@forward)7 years, 10 months ago

Hello HEthens!!!

For many people the desire and will to learn and appreciate other languages is something that quickly depletes with age. For many of you who are not American there is the perceived social stigma that the inability to speak another language somehow makes us “lesser,” for a lack of a better word. Well I am here for those who have the desire to simply broaden my communication skills as a human being!

Enough of that though… For myself, I am learning French and have been but would love to hear from others or even share a few PMs with anyone willing to talk and help myself or any one here improve. We can create a community of higher learning and a world that is socially closer( in terms of communication, not FB, twitter etc… )

What are some tips, advice or warnings that you would give to new learners of languages other than English???

November 19, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Cpt (379) (@CptSleeze) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Idk, I am far from mastering the English language, and currently find great joy in pursing improvement through reading and writing. For me to learn another language would be for purely superficial communication, and in this I can understand Spanish moderately well. However, I have been locked in one spot during my intellectual years (little of high school and all of college+grad school) and have not traveled yet. So I suppose I very well may become excited to learn other languages, thanks for the realization.

stootachtig (8) (@stootachtig) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

For learning a language: try to get to some native speakers ;) hearing the language a lot makes it easier to learn. Most of the movies are in English and that’s how a lot of people learn the basics. If you want to learn French, I suggest watching French movies.

A few advices:
-People tend to link a language to a person. Once you speak in a certain language with someone, it is difficult to change this.
-From what I know in the Netherlands, most people will try to practice their English with you, so you’ll still be talking English in stead of learning something new.

Kello (83) (@Kello) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Hey @forward, I couldn’t really give any advice on learning new languages since the only one I really got to learn is English, not deliberately but because I grew up listening to songs sung in English, found myself reading more and more in English thanks to the internet, and eventually participating in English-speaking communities such as HighExistence…

I guess the best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it enough so that you end up thinking in that languange. For example if you try to learn French, read, hear and communicate as much as possible in French, eventually you’ll get to the point where you can think and learn it as a French person rather than an English trying to approach something different.

But then again, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, if you want to chat in French once in a while (I’m French), don’t hesitate to contact me, I’d be glad to help as I can :)

Faelynn (75) (@Faelynn) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

Hi, I’m a French student in language teaching :-) I can definitely help you with French learning material.
Hi :D

More generally, if you want to learn a second language :
(1) Spend some time in the target country/community (that’s the best and quickest way to learn a language, plus you learn a new culture and question yours which I find extremely important).
(2) Like Stootachtig, I would also advise you to find native speakers to speak to, write to, instant chat with, if possible hang out with.

(3) Watch movies in the target language, first with subtitles in your mother tongue and then with subtitles in the target tongue, and finally without any subtitles.

(4) Read in the target language ! Comics are a really fun way to start, but you can also read short articles or longer stories depending on what you like. Also think of bilingual books. One good thing to do is to read one thing in your mother tongue first, and then read the translation/original version in the target language. That way you will already know what the whole thing is about and learn vocabulary, grammar, etc. way better. If you do it the other way round, you might get bored and just wait for the translated version.

(5) Write in the target language ! Whatever crosses your mind, your journal, a short story, a letter to an imaginary friend, a list of things you like, etc.

Language Learning is language use ! Feed yourself with as many sources as you can in the target language, take some time to practice and your brain will do the magic.

Fernando (68) (@fercgomes) 7 years, 10 months ago ago

@forward, Linguistics are indeed a very interesting subject. I am currently living abroad and learning Swedish and I gotta tell it ain’t easy. I had no knowledge before and my first days were very hard, you still operate in your native language and in some way you still expect to hear it around, that’s the biggest problem for understanding a foreign language. I remember that I heard people speaking Swedish and I randomly my brain recognize some words in Portuguese (my native language), completely out of the context.

A language is an alive thing, it changes from place to place, from circumstance to circumstance, and from time to time.

My tips for you are:

– Let yourself learn. I noticed that a lot people can’t learn a new language because they simply try to adapt their native language in order to speak a couple of sentences. It can be useful for simple sentences, but it won’t get you far. You need to understand how a language works, how vowels sound, how consonants sound, and so on. Then forget your native language. Pretend you’re a newborn learning to speak.

– In order to be fluent in a language, you need to let it flow in your head. You need to be able to think in the language you want to learn. Otherwise you will be just a robot that have pre-defined answers for everything.

– If you have native speakers to help you, QUESTION EVERYTHING. Didn’t understand something? Ask. Ask the difference between things. It’s really important that you don’t develop bad habits that will further be a pain in ass to get rid of.

– Put effort into it. :)

This is what I had to add into the subject, I think the rest you need was already mentioned above. Good luck with your new language :)

Bye. Tchau. Hasta luego. Hej då.
(The 4 languages I know, none of them are perfectly fluent though :P)

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