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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chrisphillips71

Learning language using non-native language

I have recently begun dabbling with studying German using Spanish, which is not my native language and learned before the days of Duolingo. I have to say that it is quite an interesting challenge and really intrigues me. My initial impression is that my Spanish may get better because I will be made to think more deeply about it. I am curious what others who have done the same thing (it does not have to include Spanish and German) think. Any thoughts are appreciated.

June 30, 2017

22 Comments


[deactivated user]

    My native is Russian, but I am learning everything from English, because it is closer to languages I learn. And I suppose that english-based courses are just better and deeper.

    Some other people around here do the same thing.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yasmina008

    Hello.. I'm learning Spanish, German, Turkish using all English which is not my mother tongue... Yea it helps me enhance my skills in this latter and get to use it very often.. And I like it this way :D it's much fun . Good luck :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RRDesiree

    I learn all of the languages that I learn using my second language, English, because I use English way more often than my first language :-) (Feel free to correct that sentence because my English's still not really fluent)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

    This can be very useful, depending on how well the "learning-from" language has been assimilated. It helps w/ both languages. I work this way from French or Russian and sometimes do this from Spanish or Latin (which I do not read as well as the first two). If things become too difficult, then just back off and wait for later, when you'll probably have more success.


    [deactivated user]

      Do you mean you tried to learn a language from different source languages?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chrisphillips71

      I am playing around with the idea. I am currently learning German using my native language (English). I already learned Spanish and I thought about switching my native language on Duolingo to Spanish. However, it is very difficult. Hats off to all of the non-native English speakers using English to learn another language. It is quite a challenge.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      I'm not personally familiar with the German offerings here, but I've read that the German for Spanish course is an unusually good complement to the German for English course, comprehensive in its own right but with a good deal of distinct vocabulary.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chrisphillips71

      Thanks for the input I am not ready to study German from Spanish full time as I am worried it will detract from German from English studies, but I plan to occasionally review it.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

      Yes. "This" refers to the title of the original post. Maybe that wasn't very clear.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeridaPeters

      My native language is English. I started the German for Turkish speakers course just to see what it was like. I found it incredibly challenging, and it wasn't a good way for me to learn German. I could do the lessons, and I got the answers right, but I never really felt like I understood what I had learned. It was more like memorizing the words and sentence patterns and solving a puzzle, rather than learning a language. I didn't do a lot, so I don't know whether it would have gotten easier or not. I may go back to it at some stage. My feeling is that Turkish and German are so different that it is not efficient for me to learn German or to improve my Turkish doing this course.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      For context, could you give a general idea of your Turkish ability? I fancy that, were such a course to exist, I could probably learn something like German from Catalan, despite being far from a fluent speaker. I'd probably have to look up quite a few Catalan words, but it would be an enjoyable challenge. But in some (wonderful) alternative universe where there were a German for Guaraní course, I would expect mostly massive difficulty, irrespective of being a good deal more comfortable with the tree overall. I would peg my Guaraní supposition as the more relevant for Turkish, being an equally unrelated language to German, or anything else of much relevance.

      Otherwise stated: I think laddering is great, but I suspect it works a whole lot better when learning from a Romance or Germanic language (for an English speaker), barring the case where one is effectively fluent already.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NeridaPeters

      I've basically learned Turkish here on Duolingo with a few other resources. I took an online test a while back, and tested out at B2. It was just a basic multiple choice grammar test and that doesn't really show ability in a language. I can write short paragraphs on familiar topics, speak using easy sentences about familiar topics, and my listening is appallingly bad.

      I think that when the languages are completely different, laddering is not an effective tool, unless you can tolerate a great deal of uncertainty. It didn't suit me, but it might work for some people.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      Thanks! My immediate reaction is to be surprised by the "uncertainty" word choice. Then I realize that it'd be well nigh impossible to find a more apt term to describe my experience of learning Japanese here. It's exactly like you said above: "memorizing the words and sentence patterns and solving a puzzle." Of course, I could go find external resources, but call doing it this way an experiment for me, albeit one I certainly wouldn't have undertaken in quite the same manner were the Tips & Notes available or the sentence discussions accessible on iOS!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nusete

      Just because of learning in English - my English has improved. Now I don't forget to use 'a'/'an' and 'the' so much.

      But when I am learning French and German sometimes I would really need to learn from my native Polish. Some words and also grammar is more similar to Polish than to English. And sometimes I have to use a dictionary but eventually I think that is good to learn like that. German is really misleading but in French it isn't so bad.

      Sometimes i easily get the meaning like "cravate"(French) - krawat "Polish".

      In German there many words similar to English or to Polish so I never know. "Dach" (German) - dach (Polish), but "Tür" (German) - door (English).


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Floria327

      I'm learning Italian both from Spanish (my native language) and English, and also English from Spanish, and French from English. Since the recent changes in Duolingo, I can see my four courses and switch easily between them, except when I go to "my status", which only shows three levels: English, French and my highest Italian level (Italian from English). I have no idea where I'm at in terms of XP or level for my Italian from Spanish course. Anyone seeing the same thing?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      Yes. You can still see it on a phone, or as an admittedly awkward workaround, you can go to Italian from Spanish course, then log out of your account, and go to your profile page.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Floria327

      Thanks piguy3! Weird enough, the second method worked! (On my phone, even having updated the app, I can see neither levels nor XPs for any of the courses!)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      Interesting, do you have iOS or Android?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Floria327

      Sorry, I forgot to mention that. I have iOS but maybe it's just me, and I don't know where to look.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      It's kind of hidden:

      1. go to Clubs
      2. click on "Profile" in the upper left-hand corner
      3. click on yourself on the leaderboard

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Floria327

      I don't know why your latest comment doesn't have to option to reply. Thanks for the suggestion, but if I click on myself, all I get are options to add friends (email, Facebook, etc). It doesn't really matter since I hardly use the phone app. I don't like it much. Thanks again.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

      I don't know why your latest comment doesn't have to option to reply

      There's a limit to the level of comment nesting. Looks like it's six :)

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