A discussion about language learning and how to best learn languages.
Hello, I was wondering what ways you all learn languages. This thread is meant to help each other out by sharing how we learn languages. Also please discuss why you are learning the languages you are learning and what interests you the most about languages. Please feel free to discuss language learning outside of Duolingo as well. Here are a few questions to get started:
Do you think everyone should learn a language and if so why?
What was it like learning a language for the first time?
What motivates you the most to learn a language?
Have you noticed any differences in your self when you learn a language?
What's the hardest language you have ever learned and why was it so difficult?
Do you think learning a dead language is as important as learning a living one?
Do you think learning a dying language is important if so why?
1/ Yes. Why? This: "if you speak to a man in a language he understands, you speak to his head. If you speak to him in his language, you speak to his heart."
Also, bilingualism can help to prevent Alzheimer's. :)
2/ Awful. I was 12 when I first started learning languages, and it was compulsory at school. More than 20 years later, the language I hated to have forced upon me is my favourite.
3/ I like talking to people. There's no better way to communicate than doing it in someone's native language. The more you learn, the more people you can talk to.
4/ Selective memory. I'll be able to remember a word in every language I know instead of the one I'm currently speaking.
5/ Mandarin. Every time I try I make progress, but I think that I'm doing it because I feel like I should rather than because I love it.
6/ That depends entirely on the language and what you're going to do with it. Importance is entirely relative to the individual. It's impossible to quantify objectively.
7/ See the answer to 6.
Do you think everyone should learn a language and if so why? - Yes. I think it is a great way to expand one's horizons.
What was it like learning a language for the first time? - It was... a very mixed experience. The first foreign language I've learned was English, in school. I loved being able to speak a completely different language, but I hated the teacher.
What motivates you the most to learn a language? - I'm learning Spanish, Dutch and Italia because I love to Spain, The Netherlands and Italy for vacation and I want to talk with the people there in their native langue, and not only the basics. As for Russian and Portuguese, I just find these languages very interesting, so I wanted to give them a go. French is my old enemy. I hated it in school and I'm giving it another go now. Swedish has always interested me, and I'll give it a go soon.
Have you noticed any differences in your self when you learn a language? - Um... no, I don't think so.
What's the hardest language you have ever learned and why was it so difficult? - Hm, I'd say Spanish. Why the language itself isn't that difficult, it was the first language I've completely taught myself, and finding the best resources and the balance between learning vocabs and grammar, was a bit messy.
Do you think learning a dead language is as important as learning a living one? & Do you think learning a dying language is important if so why? - I'd say it depends on why you want to learn this language and what you're going to do with the knowledge. I, for one, want to communicate with people, so learning a dead language isn't important to me, personally.
Do you think everyone should learn a language and if so why? No. This is something personal, at least for English speakers. For speakers of other languages English is very important in many careers.
What was it like learning a language for the first time? It is challenging and it is an adventure.
Have you noticed any differences in your self when you learn a language? No
What's the hardest language you have ever learned and why was it so difficult? German. The grammar is different.
Do you think learning a dead language is as important as learning a living one? Depends, for some people languages such as Latin or biblical Hebrew or ancient Greek are very important, for most people they are not.
Bonjour! To answer your questions, in order:
- yes, I do believe everyone should learn a language. I think it is good for your mental health (I know, I know, grown up talk ; ) ), and also just fun.
- learning a language for the first time was ... well, I can't really remember, because I started learning French when I was like, er, nine?
- what motivates me : ) I'd say for French, in Canada that's an important language to learn. For Norwegian and Italian, they are my parents' background languages. As for Swahili ... well, I hope to help poorer countries one day, Kenya and Tanzanian included (Swahili is spoken in both, and a couple more).
- I don't think I've changed much - but, well, other people would be a better judge of that.
- Swahili, so far, has been the hardest language for me to learn, but Italian was easier because I had already learned French, and Norwegian I find to be easy. But I think I'm getting a grip on Swahili.
- I would say, yes! dead languages are as important (or nearly) as living ones. Latin is super cool, with all it's words where you can find derivatives. I find Latin to be like a puzzle, because the sentences can have words in all sorts of orders ; ) Also some dead languages are good for reading old things. But then again, living ones are cool. I would learn living languages first for the most part, and then learn the dead ones.
- well ... I basically already answered the last one: you can read old stuff, they're fun to learn, and there are tons of cool derivatives to find.
What's the language you're level three at? I don't recognize the flag : )
1. Do you think everyone should learn a language and if so why? Definitely. You're not just learning a language, you are learning a bit of culture as well.
2. What was it like learning a language for the first time? I was in 3rd grade and had to learn French. It was awesome. Since my dad is French I knew all the vocabulary we learned... though not much more, since I wasn't raised bilingually (which is a shame really!) and only got taught some words while playing. In 5th grade I started a bilingual school and I knew how much I didn't know... But I also wasn't used to it being actual work and I was lazy and my parents just got divorced (which made me hate my dad and French) and well... I hated language learning. Then in 7th grade English got added to the mix (my native language is German) and my Harry Potter phase began. It took a while until the books got translated, but I had to read the fourth book, I just had to, so I tried with a dictionary and I didn't understand a thing, but I was damn proud and started watching English movies with subtitles, read some more and fell in love with languages. Now that I'm older I also regret my hatred for French way back then. I understand everything in French, but since the grammar is more complicated than English I can't actually speak or write in it. And my active vocabulary isn't exactly extensive. (sorry for rambling...)
3. What motivates you the most to learn a language? I don't know. It's a tool to communicate, but it's also a lot more. Everyone of my grandparents comes from a different country, so I think the interest in it is just in my blood in a way?
4. Have you noticed any differences in your self when you learn a language? I'm sometimes thinking in English without noticing. So that's fun. But the weird thing is I'm using it so much, that I'm sometimes sitting there writing (I write as a hobby) and I just can't think of the right word to say what I'm thinking because my brain only gives me the English one, not the German one I need. But I had no "the Arrival" like epiphany change of my thinking.
5. What's the hardest language you have ever learned and why was it so difficult? Greek. I kind of like it, but to have a different alphabet was hard, especially with a different keyboard and having to remember where they keys would be. So I concentrated more on that than on the words and how they looked like written out and well...
6. Do you think learning a dead language is as important as learning a living one? It depends what your goal is. I don't know any dead languages, but I know Latin helps a lot with understanding grammar, but it is not any less important than living ones.
7. Do you think learning a dying language is important if so why? Basically the same answer as 6.
- Yes, Because of the effects on the brain and also because it is a very useful tool to connect to people and better understand different cultures.
2.My first time in a language class was in first grade and they would teach us Spanish and German. But the teachers would basically just speak to us in those languages and I didn't learn much. I was then blocked from learning languages because I was in learning center. So I figured I would find my own way to learn languages and started learning Italian on Duolingo and Arabic on my own. Italian was fairly easy to learn because of the way Duolingo teaches it however, Arabic has been much harder because there is no Duolingo course for Arabic also I sometimes lose motivation to learn Arabic.
- I started learning Italian and Portuguese because I'm part Italian and Portuguese and I was very interested in those countries. My mom used to be able to speak French so I started learning French to help her re-learn the language. Now I mostly learn the language because I'm in my school's French exchange program and I'm interested in traveling to Francophone countries. As for Arabic I'm interested in the language as a whole and the culture and politics in the countries where it is spoken also because it is becoming an increasingly important language to learn. For Spanish and Romanian they interested me because of the connections with other language I have learned.
4.I've noticed that I'm doing much better in school after I started learning languages. However, I don't think my personality changed much because I'm still very shy which is a problem because there are several native speakers of Italian, Portuguese and French at my school but I'm too shy to speak to them. I also noticed that sometimes I speak somewhat differently.
The hardest language I've learned has so far been Arabic because I can't learn it the same way I do other languages. It also has the hardest pronunciation of any language I've learned.
Yes. Because a dead language can be used to uncover how people saw the world and can teach us more about ourselves and where we came from.
Yes. Because each language is unique and has a unique outlook on the world and is a reflection of the speakers and their culture.
1: Ideally, but it's a choice. It does come with a lot of benefits and is usable knowledge, so I think it should be suggested from an early age (unlike we are here in the UK), but not forced with the manner "Everyone should learn a language, or else..."
2: Well, this is the first time - I only started learning languages exactly 55 days ago. What's it like? I'm glad I finally started, although it's very tough. Thinking about it can actually be quite daunting - it's an enormous project I really want to succeed on, despite the fact I have no previous experience succeeding and therefore it's not possible to be certain. I can't imagine the devastation I'd feel if all the hours spent become wasted... although I have researched how to learn, and I have my ideas and plans, so let's hope. I imagine this fear becomes a lot less after a learner the second language is done, unless there's a significant increase in difficulty.
3: The benefits at the end, and there are multiple. I have family from France whom I would like to be able to talk to, as well as other people. I also feel that being able to only speak one language is not good enough, and I really want to change that. I would also like to be able to watch French videos on YouTube and overhear conversations etc.
4: Not so far.
5: Not really applicable to me - I haven't actually "learned" any languages yet, apart from English... though I am learning French, and I do intend to be fluent one day. I don't even know if I will learn any more after.
6: A waste of time and memory space is a better way of describing it for me. Some learn languages as a hobby, which is fine... but my goal is to speak and converse and use the language, so for me: absolutely not. I would never learn any language that I'm unlikely to ever use anyway.
1) Yes. Research suggests that being bilingual is beneficial to many cognitive processes. Learning a foreign language teaches you tons of things about your own language and then there's the cultural aspect. I would almost argue that you can't really experience a culture and a country without at least basic knowledge of the language (but that is my own experience and may very well not be universal).
2) I remember being excited about having my first English lesson, but I was only seven, so I don't remember any details...
3) Depends entirely on the language. Usually it's something like travelling, culture (especially literature), work, family origins or linguistic interest.
4) Not really sure what you mean, but I don't think I do.
5) One of Hungarian, Hebrew and Japanese. In Japanese, of course, the main challenge is writing. In Hebrew, I struggle more with hearing; being an auditory learner, the lack of vowels in a written word makes it extremely hard for me. In Hungarian, my main problem so far have been the cases.
6 & 7) Entirely personal. If you're interested, it is important.