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Study Tricks For more Effective Learning or a website to speak with native speakers

I just wanted to start generating a conversation on any study tricks that people use to help pick up languages quicker. I make an effort to think about the situation the sentence describes and then "act it out". It may sound crazy but it is effective for me. I am always trying to learn new things and really want to hear what other people are doing on here that is effective.

Having said that the only way to truly learn a language is to speak with a native. Does anyone know of any websites that have this feature. I recall hearing about something like this once but don't have a definite link.

Thanks in advance!

January 11, 2013



I've learned English mainly by reading a lot (really a lot): that builds up a tremendous dictionary and - expecially at the beginning - you are not limited by your speed in translating. When you have built some dictionary, next best thing are subtitled videos (for English I use ted.com, but I don't know for other languages, i.e. for German: I would be very glad to receive suggestions on this ....)


*especially not expecially (sorry to be pedantic but I thought it might be helpful)

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One interesting website is lang-8.com; you can write in your target language and have native speakers of that language point out mistakes and fix your grammar, and you do the same to those writing in your native language. Pretty interesting concept, and it has skype groups you can join for talking practice. I'm planning to try it out once I get far enough in duolingo.


One tip that I would like to give to every language learner who wants to do a language exchange is don't search "language exchange" to find pen-pals.

Search "pen-pals" in your target language.

German - brieffreunde (I recommend www.brieffreunde.de)

Spanish - amigo por correspondencia

Italian - amico di penna

www.hipenpal.com looks good and http://www.postcrossing.com is a good way to find a pen-pal for old fashioned mail and people come to this site from all over the world. I haven't tried penpalpalace.com or ipfeurope.com but they both look promising.


I listen to radio programs in French every day. It's getting me used to hearing French. At first I just tried to pick out words and phrases without trying to understand. I'm surprised at how much I'm improving and enjoying this. You can find radio broadcasts on the internet in your target language.

Also, have a look at lyricstraining.com where you learn by listening to songs in your target language.


Gracias. I think I will be spending a lot of time on that site.


Great ideas. I will check out both of them.


Another tip is if you are speaking with a native who also knows English (or for non-natives to English who are reading this tip, your native language) but you don't know a lot of the words instead of worry about speaking one hundred percent in the target language, you can speak in the target language mixed with your native language (for words you don't know.)

I did this with German and it helped me pick it up faster and when I realized words I didn't know I added them to my list of things I needed to learn. It may not work for everybody but it works for me and I have heard of it working for some other people as well. It may depend on the person but it is worth a try!


I was looking for some books on tape in italian to familiarize myself with the sounds of the language and I stumbled on this website. Free audio books for anyone thats interested.



Good suggestion. I would add that many if not all of the books are available also as text (.pdf or epub ) on liberliber (Latin for "free book") or at least on Gutenberg.org One notable case may be "Q" www.liberliber.it/audiolibri/l/luther_blissett/index.htm which is a rather impressive recent book that can be downloaded (as book) in a lot of languages on its authors site www.wumingfoundation.com/italiano/downloads.shtml. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Blissett_(nom_de_plume)



You submit a post on any topic you like and other people who natively speak the language you are studying read it and correct your mistakes. Then they can read the final, mistake-free version and you can download the audio.

It's kind of like duolingo in that it works because people are helping each other out -- in this case, correcting stuff for each other. The cool thing about it: the helping is pain free. All you do is add or delete (no need to format and highlight, change font color, etc. because it is all done for you, automatically).

I have a bunch of friends on there, and we converse back and forth about our posts, and sometimes (usually based on how much time I have) we meet over Skype to do language exchange.

Honestly, I think that you should start producing the language right away when you are learning it -- not just take it in. The language you produce is more meaningful to you, and you tend to reuse the same stuff over and over (just like in your native language), so it tends to be a gold mine as far as learning goes.


I listen to Spanish telenovelas on Hulu.com while I work. You need to have a Hulu Plus (paid) account to have access to all the past episodes but it's pretty cheap (about $8 a month I think). This has vastly improved my understanding of the spoken language.

However, I would really like to be able to converse with native speakers on a regular basis. If I could find the right person(s), it would be great to meet by Skype or Google Hangout a couple times a week. I could also help improve the other person's English.


I got the Spanish translation of the first Narnia book, El León, La Bruja y el Ropero (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), which I'd never read. Before I started, I decided not to look up anything in dictionaries, verb books, etc., because that would take most of my attention away from the actual reading. Better, I thought, to trust my language center to do its work.

It did. The reading was hard going; the book was considerably above my level, though not so far above that I couldn't read it at all. For a long time I couldn't tell whether I was really following the story. But I pushed on, getting what I could and not worrying about what I couldn't. And at about page 60, everything kind of came together and I realized I was understanding the story. When I finished, I was still unsure how much I'd missed, but my reading ability improved considerably.

That was several years ago, and I've just started El León, La Bruja y el Ropero again. I'll get to see how much I retained from that first reading, and what I get this time that I missed before.

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