https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr

In which way(s) do you learn a language faster? (hearing, reading, speaking, or writing?)

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I am curious on which ways you personally feel that you learn a new language faster. Whether that is via hearing the language spoken, reading the language, speaking the language, and/or by writing the language.

Maybe there is even a specific combination of 2+ mechanisms, which help you build your language skills faster.

Just so curious, because I am wondering what would work best for me too.

Thanks.

1 year ago

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Judging from a number of language learning blogs that I've come across and read from time to time. The most effective way to quickly USE a language is to active listen and speak.

Reading is singular and passive. You will accumulate a great vocabulary, learn grammar but as too many high school and universities students realized, it will only get you so far. You can speak fluent Spanish without ever learning the word refunfuñar or how to properly conjugate difficult irregular verbs on paper. You can go online and find a number of videos of Japanese/Korean students discussing their difficulty speaking English after passing TOEFL or doing well in their university. UPDATE: Why Korean and Japanese Students Can't Speak English . . . 4+ minute video

Writing like reading will not help you pronounce the correct word or quickly answer a question. However, I would state from experience that chatting online (via text) is fun and will help you string together words in your head . . . but it is not speaking.

I would guess that most language learners want to be able to speak more than anything else. You don't learn how to ride a bicycle by studying the mechanics of its motion or reading the manual. You must get on it. There are many great musicians that can mimic masters, but can not read a sheet of music. Yes, some of those aforementioned musicians later on eventually realize the importance of learning the grammar of their craft.

Actively listen and go out there in the world (or online) and SPEAK to human beings. It is rewarding and fun.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
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Additionally, if you don't interact with native speakers, you end up sound unnatural. There are many, many, signs in Asian countries with terrible word-for-word translated English.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90
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For me is speaking and writing. I have read that speaking is the most demanding activity, you have to think, recall words, understand and talk.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/7895123G
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And all in real time.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorel90
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That's right. That is why I like Benny Lewis recommendation, to have some scripts ready, I do not do it, but maybe I should.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeridaPeters
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A number of years ago, I was learning Japanese with a teacher. I could read and understand and I could do the grammar drills, but I was not really progressing as fast as I had hoped. I just wasn't internalizing the language. We then included conversation time at the beginning of the class. At first, it was really hard and I could only talk for a minute or two. Over a period of some months I gradually got better and more confident, and the time increased to half an hour or more of just talking. Although this cut into the learning part of the lesson, I found that I was progressing much more quickly than I had been before. I now believe that speaking practice really important for progressing. Reading helps with learning vocabulary, and listening with pronunciation but until you use the language you are not going to really understand it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr
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Thank you for sharing. This process is EXACTLY what happened to me when I was learning French, with my professor. Adding those speaking exercises increased my fluency level and confidence DRAMATICALLY. I just don't know how to do this type of structured conversation OUTSIDE of university and in my daily life. :(

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeridaPeters
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Finding someone who knows how to listen and help you is really difficult. The next best thing is probably writing. I like to use Lang-8 to practice writing. I choose what to write, post it, and native speakers correct my writing. While I am working out what I want to write, I am learning quite a lot. Getting corrections also helps, especially as more than one person corrects it. I have found this really helpful. You may even find someone to practice speaking with on this website.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TseDanylo
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Personally, I like reading. Even though it's not the most effective method, I find it the most enjoyable and also the most accessible (my country is very monolingual and homogenous)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
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Personally I learn quickest by reading. I find it impossible to remember a word until I have a visual of it, and by reading you absorb so many more words and a much deeper level of familiarity with grammar. So by the time I need to use a certain grammatical structure when writing or speaking, I've read it so many times it's not hard for my brain to piece it together.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deo.
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I would say hearing and speaking. That's how babies and little kids learn languages in their early stages since we use language verbally.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ethem1000
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I think the best way is speaking.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matfran2001
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Hearing and speaking (that is, interacting with real people in everyday situations) is the best and fastest way.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
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Well, the 90 days http://add1challenge.com challenge and it's 3-4 video recordings is NOT about reading books or writing, isn't it ;)

But I would guess that chatting online (e.g on IRC) and writing shorter sentences on forums could be a good basis for speaking?
At least that is what I did regulary with IRC a longer time with English.
English RC model flying forums are nice to further train your language skills.

Somehow it is a shame that the DuoLingo discussion forums do not work like Immersion or lang-8.com, that written texts have no review support function by natives and further enhancements and corrections....

Challenge down to up:

  • Writing
  • Instant chatting
  • Speaking

How shall i be even speaking e.g Portuguese if I can not (quickly) formulate my thoughts well for chatting or writing?
The more time I have to express my thoughts, the easier would it be (for me).
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Recently I encountered a link of a smartphone app which allows you to send a pre-recorded voice message to your chat partner :-) (sorry, I have not written down the app name or link)

Good idea to add another 4th layer to express your thoughts :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MelvilQ
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Listening and reading. This builds up a strong comprehension and thus I feel comfortable in conversations because I understand (almost) everything the other person is saying.

I could never use a "Speak from day 1"-approach. If I can't rely on a strong basis of passive knowledge, I won't find the right words to express what I want to say, and even if I did, I wouldn't understand the answer of the other person.

Of course it's a great feeling of achievement/self-efficacy and I enjoy it very much when I am able to express myself well in a foreign language, be it in a real conversation or just while speaking to the wall of my room. I can understand that this motivates many people who learn languages. However, to me understanding what people say to me is even more important. Maybe some of you have read "The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People", in that case you know the principle "listening > speaking".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ken335502
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I mostly listen to different media and occasionally read, for my better languages. I find that my memory of a word improves a ton when I've heard it spoken in a sentence.

I also make a point of getting good pronunciation early in learning the language. I recommend learning a little of the IPA, learning how letters and letter combinations are usually pronounced, and listening to and imitating recordings of the language.

I see a lot of people saying that grammar is the hardest part, but I personally find it very enjoyable. I find that by figuring out the grammar and why it is, my learning process is much streamlined. This is just a personal preference, however, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you enjoy it.

I don't have any friends who are native in foreign language, but I would definitely suggest speaking with them if you do. They can teach you vocabulary, colloquialisms, pronunciation, and how to speak more naturally far faster than any dictionary or webpage.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aroboticist

I personally believe that you need all 4 aspects to truly learn a language. It is very possible to learn only reading/writing, or only hearing/speaking, but for me, it's easiest if I consistently do all 4.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Espiraden

Personally,I learn the most by writing and speaking.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Hannah492601

I learn best by speaking and writing, i feel that they're more interactive than hearing and reading. And writing is proven to boost your memory of what you write.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/J1ng3rT41ls

I believe it is by speaking it with other people and hearing it from people. That is how my mom is fluent in 2 languages!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Portofan
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If you don't have a sound vocabulary or grammar knowledge, you cannot understand spoken language or produce it. So, I think, reading and writing are the foundation for listening and speaking.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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There is strong evidence of people, many people are able to learn a language without a strong command of grammar knowledge or vocabulary.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr
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i believe this is true because this is how babies and children first learn to communicate with their parents even before starting school. Via sound memorization and interactions, even before learning their alphabets and complex vocabularies. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MelvilQ
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Grammar knowledge is not very important, that's true, but without a decent vocabulary you are very limited when expressing yourself. If you just know the 1000 most frequent words of a language, you can speak like a child but not like an (educated) adult. Lacking vocabulary is also the most important reason for bad listening comprehension.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Your vocabulary will grow with active study and passive acquisition. I'm speaking from personal experience and documented observation from a professional linguist. I wouldn't worry about it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MelvilQ
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I also believe that. The way how we increase our vocabulary is not important, just the fact that we do it instead of being satisfied with knowing just the frequent words.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Portofan
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But with reading and writing and knowledge about grammar it's more efficient.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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I'll be honest, I don't know if that is a fact or a theory. If it were more efficient, then I would wonder how efficient? How much writing, reading and grammar in a specific time period would make it more efficient. Please note, there are high school and college programs that does not produce efficient second language speakers.

It is something to think about, but I don't know and I haven't seen any evidence that proves that oft repeated assertion for 2nd language acquisition.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr
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This is true. My professor did something SO different when teaching my French class: he simulated an immersion experience, and never ONCE spoke English at us. All of a sudden, with the combination, of course, of reading and writing, but with an added FOCUS on listening and speaking, we were comprehending the language faster than any language class in the area.... it was phenomenal! I am still shocked at how I started learning French, as a college adult, and still retain it at the level, and confidence, that I do now. I have YET to go to a French-speaking country (which is my next dream, to solidify my fluency).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Without struggle there's no growth. Most language learners, particularly native English speakers, love their comfort zone. That's why there are many English speakers in foreign countries connecting with other English speakers. There are Chinese students in the UK socializing with other Chinese speakers but they want to improve their English.

BTW, with the internet (iTalki, or chat forums) you can easily simulate an immersive experience. There are many french speakers that would love to talk to you online. I would strongly suggest that you take the time to read other language learners rules, and steps to finding a language exchange partner online.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Niquelle7
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I prefer speaking and writing the language, but it's different for everybody.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Annosh_04

writing well be the best because you will remember the shape of the word in your mind

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/H_Harvey214

hearing

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
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How do Pimsleur or Michel Thomas methods work only hearing the audio? (have not tried them)

I tried that with 50languages www.50languages.com (free) MP3 recorded audio phrases by natives.
It is fine to hear older MP3 levels, if I had studied that vocabulary previously on Memrise / DuoLingo so it is not completely unfamilar to me.
Replaying seems to work and greatly refreshes those.
Anyways, I believe that they play it too fast, with not enough pause time for repetition (speaking the phrase yourself).
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No, personally I must see the text / word written in parallel, not only hear the audio.
So I failed listening / remembering to the MP3 on the later levels on a walk which phrases I had not seen before, even they played the German/English word/phrase right before the Portuguese sentence.
But I can hardly (not) remember them (I do not even get a clue about what the speaker is talking) in that way.
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I believe that is the reason why the makers of www.language101.com describe that they developed a "new / better" Pimsleur?!?
You do not only hear the phrase and can repeat it and rate your answer (e.g not remembering it), but you also see the text in parallel in repeating/learning mode.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knudvaneeden
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> How do Pimsleur or Michel Thomas methods work only hearing the audio? (have not tried them)

Pim Sleur repeats the same (audio) sentence very often. And uses e.g. the back chaining method.

In the Michel Thomas method they take several speakers and a teacher together and let them correct themselves while speaking.

http://www.michelthomas.com

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Amandaene1

for me reading helped me learn German

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/favour406491

same reading helped me .

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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Get a good balance between repetition and new stuff. Too much of either is bad.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fractal_shadow
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I really like reading in my target language, but if you want to be able to speak, the best thing is to do all of the above.

Personally, I don't necessarily want to be able to speak my target languages - it would be an unrealistic goal considering how monolingual and homogeneous my home country/town is [and also how shy I am]. I just want to be able to read newspapers or online sites. I like reading because 1. it's easier than speaking; 2. I can learn about things I enjoy in my target language; 3. it reinforces vocabulary and grammar.

I've noticed my pronunciation improves faster when I listen to my target language. It doesn't even have to be something I understand. This might sound weird, but I attribute listening to my target language while falling asleep for the improvements in my pronunciation.

Studying or reviewing while sleepy seems to really help with retention for me.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr
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Hi. I completely understand the phenomenon of listening to a language and it helping in pronunciation. I experienced this taking place when I listed to Mexican Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. My pronunciation was superb, even before I actually learned these languages, because of having listened to them for years, even while I slept.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/macatmil
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So many have answered your question already, I've only been able to read half through ; maybe this has already been said, but here is another point of view: teaching somebody else what you learn as you go along, really helps understanding and memorizing and being able to use what you've learned. In fact for many years, that is how schooling was organized, students learning and then teaching to other students.

Of course, the difficult part may be to find someone else ready to learn!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mirmyr
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Wow, very true. This is a truly helpful style of learning. For me, though, the issue is teaching the wrong thing, which I did, sometimes, when I did not realize what I was missing and would teach the wrong thing to a learning student. I guess this brings up the importance of really KNOWING what it is you are teaching, even if it is just bit by bit. But yeah, this does, then, help motivate the "teacher-student" to study very thoroughly in order to teach the RIGHT information. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/macatmil
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I agree, there is a risk of having understood and memorized wrong and teaching the same. Maybe by keeping the material to be taught underhand, close by would help to be more accurate?

1 year ago
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