How to improve fluency?
Nejsem dobrý na česky (promiňte!), ale chci se zlepšit. Nevím, jak zlepšit :/ Má kdokoli rada?
Okay that was terrifying :'D I think I'm one of those terrible English people that is intimidated by the thought of using a foreign language, but I really do want to improve. I'm just not very sure on how to go about actually learning a language to a degree of fluency D: Duolingo has been wonderful and the course has helped me so much, but I really do want to improve understanding and speaking the language; I feel like I can say some basic things but a lot of what I want to express in Czech I can't. Any advice would be wonderful (and please correct my abysmal Czech :'D)!
a few thoughts for you, focusing mostly on what duo can or cannot help you with.
- i don't think you extracted all you can from the course yet. try reaching the next crown level or two for everything from the animals/food row on. (not even the accusative has sunk in yet for you.)
- try the timed practice trick to force yourself into faster production. (start a lesson, then replace the number in the url with "practice", choose timed.)
- you can get pretty good at reading comprehension on duo, but the vocabulary from this course alone will be too limited. the trick there is exposure to outside reading material with the right percentage of unknown vocabulary. sites like memrise/anki may help the vocabulary directly, but flashcards bore me to no end, don't know about you. i'd rather just read.
- writing ability and listening comprehension will be weaker. for the former, the reverse course and participation in its sentence discussions may be of some use. for the latter, start doing the regular tree exercises translating from czech without looking at the display. if you like czech music, get into it, to hear the sound more than anything else. then simple podcasts. here i defer to our more advanced students.
- speaking ability is the least developed aspect of duo's teaching. there is no substitute for actually speaking, preferably with a live interaction to provide instant feedback. others may have pointers.
and the fixes:
- Nejsem dobrý na česky -> Nejsem dobrý v češtině/Neumím dobře česky.
- Nevím, jak zlepšit. -> Nevím, jak se zlepšit. (but you knew about the reflexiveness of "zlepšit" in the first sentence.)
- Má kdokoli rada? -> Má někdo radu?/Může někdo poradit? (here was that missed accusative.)
1) Read svrsheque's post above.
2) Think about your motivation and reasons for learning Czech. This is the most important part.
3) I would suggest using Anki / flash cards. It's a good way to practice and expand your vocabulary. Using flash cards / spaced repetition is one of the most efficient study methods (and that's not me saying it, it's backed by research)
4) Watch videos / TV news / series etc. in Czech. (Czech TV, Stream.cz, and there's this site called YouTube...)
5) As Czech is a language that is fundamentally different from English with lots of very different concepts, I'd suggest getting a good grammar reference book. Perhaps start with Wikipedia articles, those will give you a solid background :)
6) Don't forget that learning is supposed to be enjoyable :)
Přeju ti hodně štěstí!
thank you very much for the advice and the corrections! I'm very much a beginner to both Czech and to learning languages in general, and so it really does help. Czech is such a challenging language (I've only ever studied German at school previously) but I really do love it and I'm determined to learn it well :)