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C30N9

Learning New Languages

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What's the best way to learn language? Is it by books? Courses? Or online?

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I think you should take several approaches and use the one that fits you better. I know I've seen some language courses that offer their first few lessons for free, maybe you can start there. Also, consider what you want to do with said language: bussiness, just for fun, etc. For example, if it's just for fun, you can just practice at your own pace, but if you need it for bussiness you might want to try an intensive course. And practice a lot, preferably interacting with native speakers of your target language. In the long run, I think that's the best way to learn.

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One thing that helps many people is to put sticky notes on objects around the house, each one having the word for the object in the language you're trying to learn. It won't help with grammar, but it's a great way to get many common nouns engrained in your mind.

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Move to another country. This is probably the easiest way to learn a new language, if you don't count the physical moving part.

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A combination of all of the above. Computer-aided courses have the advantage that they combine sound, pics and texts, in ways that the traditional combination of books and audio media (tapes, CDs etc.) cannot do, and some even offer speech recognition and pronunciation training.

However, most interactive courses don't focus much on grammar, so it's always best to have an old-fashioned self-learning method/grammar book and an old-fashioned dictionary handy, in case you're trying to read an actual book/article and encounter some unknown word.

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Move to another country. This is probably the easiest way to learn a new language, if you don't count the physical moving part.


Yep. Plus, you're a student, aren't you? Living at least one year abroad as part of some exchange program might as well be mandatory resume padding, these days.

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Phml said:

Yep. Plus, you're a student, aren't you? Living at least one year abroad as part of some exchange program might as well be mandatory resume padding, these days.

Absolutely. It's also pretty damn fun and it broadens your horizons without having to fend for yourself and wash dishes for food.

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Phml said:

Yep. Plus, you're a student, aren't you? Living at least one year abroad as part of some exchange program might as well be mandatory resume padding, these days.

Happy Europe. :(

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Combine courses with immersion. Traveling to a foreign country is always nice, but even when you stay at home you can immerse yourself in a different language just by reading and watching it a lot. Watch movies or series in that language, first with subs, then as you learn more and more try without. Play video games in that language -- many games nowadays come with a selection of languages you can use, so if the language you want to learn is among them, do it. Read comic books in that language, then move on to novels. Read the news in that language, for example use Google news and change the edition to that of a country where the language you're trying to learn is spoken.

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Memfis said:

Happy Europe. :(

Erasmus is surely one of the best things about EU for young people, but universities have exchange programs with partners around the globe. I've met Americans, Australians and various Asians during my stay in Denmark. Dig around, your uni should have some exchange programs of its own.

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The basic prerequisite you really need for language learning is a very healthy dose of motivation.

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j4rio said:

The basic prerequisite you really need for language learning is a very healthy dose of motivation.

Pretty much this.

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