Monolingual materials to learn/practice a language
As much as I like using Duo to start learning a language - as I'm doing now with German - I am of those who strongly believe translation can only get you so far.
So, I am looking for good monolingual materials, especially for advanced vocabulary and sentences/sayings. (I'm mainly interested in Spanish as I'm a beginner in German, but I though the subject could be interesting in any language.)
I've looked into Anki but haven't found any monolingual material
I've found a few courses on Memrise, but they aren't that good and I don't like their spaced repetition algorithm - too often for me!
Livemocha kind of does the trick as the whole lessons are in the target language, but there is no review mode i.e. you have to schedule yourself your practices
So far, Babbel is the closest one, as even if it is in theory based on translations, it associates a picture and a recording, and I've noticed that once I've learned the word in Spanish, just looking at the pic triggers the Spanish word without having to read the English translation.
Books/Radio/Movies/Music help general understanding, but I don't feel I'm actually broadening my active vocabulary - i.e. words I do not only understand but also can remember and use.
Does anyone have any good tips?
When you come across a word in a book, which you don't know, make a note of it. Look it up in the dictionary, and consider later adding it (with example sentence/s) to Anki.
Something like reading, can be a great help with vocabulary, if you bother to investigate, and make note of, new words. Especially as all exposure will be in the context of natural sentences.
It can be a little more difficult to look up words you are exposed to through movies and audio, but these things are good for working on your listening comprehension (assuming, you've selected material of reasonably appropriate level).
If you prefer, you can create your Anki cards using only the language you are learning on the front, with the meaning of the word or sentence on the back, in your native language.
TV series ? With subtitles in the language of the audio in a first time then no subtitles. Useful for day-to-day vocabulary, IMO.
Though it does work, it takes an incredible amount of time to truly learn a new word. You have to hear it a thousand times before it sticks into your head. So yes, it will work for everyday words, but as I mentioned, I'm looking for more advanced vocabulary -more than the very basic vocabulary used in Un paso adelante :-)
Well in this case I would go for written press. I learned a lot of more advanced vocabulary there.
I read almost everyday at least one article and, as I do for books, TV series, movies etc., I add the new vocabulary into my Mnemosyne-Project Spanish-French dictionary and work on it every day.
This process worked for me.
Indeed, as I read the New York Times, I did notice vocabulary and turn of phrases are way more refined than in movies or even most novels. I did try to read El País but I dreadfully lacked context to properly understand the articles. Did you encounter the same problem? If so, what did you do about it?
Yes at the beginning it's hard for two reasons:
1. lack of vocabulary, but with a dictionary you'll understand almost every word --- still some that can have a lot of meanings and you don't really no which one to pick )since you don't understand always the rest of the sentence) and also some regionalism could not be in the dictionary. But
2. the lack of knowledge about the culture, the current problems in the country, the political context, the name of the "actors" of the public life (politicians for example) etc. make it difficult.
But it's also a very good way to learn far more about the country, the culture, the history etc... So that's why I almost read only one (elmostrador.cl, for instance): to have a chance, with time, to know the names etc. and so little by little to know the context and so to understand each day better.
It worked... with times. :)
Thanks for the advice and the encouragement, I will get back to El País, then :-) I think I'll start by reading explanatory materials about Spain political life first, though! That should give me at least some context about the current issues (besides unemployment I've heard all about, obviously...)
My personal advice would to not try too much to "know" the context etc. Because, at least for me, reading too much more or less technical stuff or serious subject would be boring.
What I did was to read the "main" news/subject on the home page. So it varies and so sometimes something funny, sometimes some science, sometimes some culture/art and, many times (but not always), some serious stuff.
For explanations, what I did was, for example, if I read the name of someone 3-4 times in a month, I went to the Spanish wikipedia page to start. Then from here let me be lost (from link to link) about the surrounding of the the guy. etc.
Well, personal advice. ;)
Hello, can you help me were you found Un paso adelante online? I found some on youtube, but I can not find english or spanish subtittle for download :S
For Spanish learners -- News In Slow Spanish and the podcast series ShowTime Spanish and CoffeeBreak Spanish
"Democracy Now!" is amazing in the way that you can watch the show in English with English subtitles, then you can hear the headlines in Spanish and get the Spanish translation:
The program in English: http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2014/1/16?autostart=true
Open these 2 at the same time for Spanish text and audio: http://www.democracynow.org/es/2014/1/16/titulares http://traffic.libsyn.com/democracynow/dn2014-0116-es.mp3
At my current level (Spanish 8) I can understand most of the audio if I read the text and all of it if I see the show in English first.
And it is free.