https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB

Finally, The "Self-Immersion" Resources List + Your Ideas!

LaurianaB
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About a month ago, I posted a discussion called The Self-Immersion Technique and How to Use It. I shared a few ideas about how to self-immerse in a language at home, but I didn't expect such a wonderful response and so many good ideas shared with me from this community! So, I promised in the comments to write a resource list with these ideas from you all included. And now the wait is over! Think of this like a community project... ;)


What is self-immersion again?

For those of you who may not know what "self-immersion" means or perhaps missed that discussion, I defined this terminology of mine in the original post as "forcing your target language on yourself until there is no possible mental escape, much like living in an environment where only your target language is spoken."

How does self-immersion work?

Self-immersion employs a series of tactics with the objective described above, to surround you with your target language as much as possible until basics become subconscious and the harder grammar and usage conundrums seem perfectly natural. It mimics an environment of full immersion, in a home setting. Whereas in full immersion you are surrounded by outside forces, self-immersion drowns you in a language through inside forces. It takes the typical things you do every day and makes them atypical, tools for learning. And the best part? There is no escape!

You can choose any of these ideas and alter them to your personal preference. And because self-immersion is done from the inside, as I said, you have the ability to use it to your liking and need!


So, let's get started on some ideas!


The Original 5 "Pillar" Ideas....

1. Change your phone settings so that your device is in your target language. You will start memorizing those words faster than you can imagine. And you are probably on your phone more than you would like to admit.

2. Put labels all over your home in your target language. Table? Mesa. You get the point. And you will be so fed up with looking at those ugly things that you will learn so much faster than usual.

3. Turn off conventional radio. Find a station in your target language, or crank up that playlist of songs you totally don't understand. Print out the lyrics, sing the words, and watch them come together as you learn the meaning. (I have found Google Play to be a gold mine of foreign music, by the way.)

4. Watch movies in your target language. Start with subtitles in your native language, then subtitles in your target language, then none at all. Most of all, really concentrate on what the words mean, their usage, etc.

5. Listen to natives speak. Every day, and all of the time. If you are doing laundry, listen to a radio show in your target language. If you're bored, get on a chat site and listen in on voice chats with native speakers rattling away (and make sure to introduce yourself as possible, and explain why you are there...they are usually flattered or just won't mind at all! You may even make friends...).


The Idea Box (from the Duolingo Community)

  1. "In point 3 I would use to recommend radio.garden/live to choose a station (in any target language)" -Andresb_UY

  2. (expanding on point 4) Watch children's shows and cartoons like a child...repetitively. And you will learn this way just like they do! -Peter594672

  3. "If you make a daily to-do list that varies day to day, write it in your target language. Over time, you will come to think of these things in the target language." -zseech

  4. Turn your apps/games to your target language. -MissSpells and Even148703

  5. Let your foreign friend/S.O. speak in your target language to you non-stop. -ZenAlien

  6. Decide to communicate for a selected amount of time only in your target language. -tech274

  7. Cook using resources in your target language. -Taddea2

  8. Watch makeup tutorials/any tutorials in your target language. -xMira_

  9. Change Siri/Google to your target language. -Dreadlock.Dawnie

  10. Take advantage of Audible foreign language books. (above-mentioned user)

  11. Look up things and listen to interviews in your target language. -RobertNeil4

  12. Watch a 24-hour news channel on YouTube in your target language. -Fuurinkazan.

  13. Switch your directions/ GPS settings to your target language. -NeSmilga and EsmeWx

  14. Listen to LDS Conference talks in your target language. -jennyphrobinson

  15. Change your Netflix settings to your target language and go. -JasonWildm


I am proud to announce that with your help, I went from 5 ideas to 20! Thank you so very much. :) Any more great ideas can be added below in the comments.

Good luck to everyone in their language-learning journeys!

6 days ago

56 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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Oh wow, so happy I could contribute in some way to your post LaurianaB! I was very surprised to see my name on there. I've also taken up what you recommended me since we last spoke! I've been listening to some more traditional Japanese music on the radio lately, 大好きですね!I really like it.

Another thing: One other suggestion is not only speaking in your target language but writing too. For Japanese, writing is REALLY important with the kanji! But it's not only important for this language specifically. Even if the language shares many roots with yours, you should still practice writing in it to get a feel for the words, not to mention help remember them easier.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Even148703,

Thank you for your contribution!

You are right, writing is a very important aspect, especially when the language has a different script from your own. Not only does one need to develop good lettering, but also speed and spelling associations. And this most definitely applies with a language like Japanese! I write English in the Cyrillic alphabet sometimes, or something else...just to keep my "converting skills" at full-speed.

And I am so glad that you found my suggestions helpful! Thank you for your support and your reading this post :)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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I enjoy your posts, so it never feels like a waste to read or respond to them :).

The best part about practicing writing is that if you know the correct stroke order, you can only improve as you continue! Unless you purposefully write badly.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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I am so glad you enjoy these posts! You should make one of your own on the main forum sometime ...you know a lot about Japanese ; )))

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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Haha, I don't know that much honestly (I'm only NOW learning conditionals after almost two whole years!). I'm not sure what I would post about anyways, but I'll think about it :).

Oh yes! I remember you mentioning you have congestive heart failure. How is that going?

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Even148703,

Luckily I don't have congestive heart failure at my still-youthful age...but sadly, my mother does. It's the kind of thing I never expected. You think of people like your parents as eternal, even when you exit childhood, and then you realize that there are no promises with them, with you, or with anyone....

But I really appreciate you asking; I am trying to keep her moral up and hopefully she will be okay. If not, we will take that as it comes... <3

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Even148703,

The worst part is, I almost wish I had it instead. At least then I wouldn't have to watch...but things always happen for a reason, and we will keep doing the best we can. :)

And, I wish the best for your mother as well... as hard as it can seem, a good dose of laughter and positive talk does more for your health than you know. :) So keep your moral high!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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LaurianaB,

Oh my god, I am so sorry! :( I hope everything works out with your mother. I get what you mean completely. My mother isn't in the best health either; I'm not sure what I would do without her.

But, at least you don't have it! But that's not much better when it's a parent, or anybody else you care about.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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LaurianaB,

Oh, I'm aware, I enjoy psychology too much to pass the importance of positive-talk and things related to it up (I probably took this too literally)! But I understand where you're coming from; I almost mentioned that it probably wouldn't feel too great to not have it for that reason, since you have to watch a person you care for deal with it instead.

And thank you, I wish there was a miracle cure for her, but nope. We don't even know what's fully wrong yet, even after years of searching and researching.

1 day ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LendMeName

Though .4 will work, a study showed that having your native language as subtitles has no effect on language learning.
It also shows that subtitles in the target language in your target language movie boosts learning about 7%.

(This is just from what I remember, but)
N for Native & T for Target
T subs & N audio = 0%
N subs & T audio = 0%
T subs & T audio = 14%
T subs & No audio = 7%

I look forward to doing these tips, though my roommates won't like it! Thanks!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Hi! Thank you for reading and for your comment. Can you link me to that study if you find it again? I love this type of thing...

And my housemates learned a long time ago that foreign media= my happiness....tell your roommates that you dare them to become multilinguals ;P

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Even148703
Even148703
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I second this. Aside from psychopathology, I love reading about this stuff as well.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duodawg2

yeah, do you have a link for that study?

and what about no subtitles but target audio?

thanks

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

Do you mean No subs and T audio for the last one?

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xmins
xmins
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wow, thanks Lauriana! you just boosted my motivation and gave me so many new ideas! xo

great post btw ;)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Thank you so much, Faith! Good to see you around again. And best of wishes <3

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Saved_by_Christ
Saved_by_Christ
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My thought is something similar to no.5. Try to talk to a friend who's native language is your target language. That way, you will get a feel for talking in your target language is like and your friend (s) will be able to point your mistakes before you go and embarrass yourself. Thanks for this post @LaurianaB! I think it will be super helpful to me in the future! :)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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You are right, Saved_by_Christ! That is what friends are for, to see us make mistakes and not judge us for them...so, this is a great idea and one of my favorites. And most people love to show others how to say things in their native language. :)

Thank you for reading and for your comment!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dreadlock.Dawnie

Wow! I made the list! :). There are loads of great ideas here to add to my arsenal! Thanks for compiling and sharing! :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Thank you for the great contributions, Dreadlock.Dawnie!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose
Dessert-Rose
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Hello Lauriana! Super nice ideas you've get there!

I have a few ideas that I use:

  1. (This is pretty close to your #1 Pillar idea) Change your Gmail settings to your Target Language

  2. Also, reading in your target language is SUPER useful!!

  3. I don't think Kindle E-readers are that common, but you can change it's language to your target language

  4. Use a dictionary that explains everything you look up in your target language (I use a German-English/English-German dictionary, so it explains German words in English and English words in German)

  5. Translate into or from your target language. It helps expand your vocabulary.

  6. So...this is something that I don't think many people would want to do because it takes a lot if time. Write down as many words in your target language as you know or can think of!

Pheew, that's it. I use most of these tips myself, and I think that reading in your target language is the most useful!

Have fun!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Great tips, Dessert-Rose! You know something I do? When I'm part of a large conversation and not speaking, I translate whatever is being said into my target language. Then I know what usages and common vocabulary to research. ;) have some lingots!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose
Dessert-Rose
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You're welcome! That's a very nice tip! I do that sometimes. When someone speaks Afrikaans, I translate into English, but it's very hard! I haven't done it into my target language though. Thanks! I'll try that! :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolf-Warrior
Wolf-Warrior
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The reading one I want to do so bad I just don't know where to buy Spanish books were I live :P

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/01LearnFrench01

Audiobooks and ebooks in many languages can be found on Librivox.

For spanish try: Librivox Spanish books

For each audiobook on Librivox there is also the text version, for example take 2000 leagues under the sea, scroll down and look at the left side under links and see online text. I like to listen to the audio while following along with the text.

For just online reading from basic to advanced for Spanish, French, or English try:

reading a-z

Click on the level, and the list of books will appear below.

I am able to read them online free with the following procedure:

  1. Right click on the book title and choose "open link in a new tab".

  2. Then by using my touch screen I just enlarge the book, like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

Now the book is big enough to read online.

To look up words, I arrage the windows for google translate and the book side by side and click the star in google translate to keep a list of the vocabulary I've looked up.

Review the google phrasebook anytime. Notice the speaker button next to each word in the list to listen to the pronunciation.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolf-Warrior
Wolf-Warrior
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Gracias!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BelledeLibros

try a library, most libraries will have spanish books or other a small selection of books in other languages

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Wolf-Warrior, I don't know what region you live in, but try the thrift stores religiously. You'd be surprised!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessert-Rose
Dessert-Rose
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Maybe you can try find free ones on the internet?

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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Very useful tips Lauriana!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Thank you for reading, Silvia! And for your part :D

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

I don't think watching things with English subtitles is helpful. It makes you focus on the English and not concentrate on the language you're learning. Try listening to someone talk while reading something different - it's impossible.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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I agree Maltagerr.. I also cannot read in English and listen to another language at the same time. I do it for fun sometimes, but learning with English subtitles is not effective for me, as I cannot multitask like that and end up just zoning out the sound completely and reading instead. I prefer to watch children's shows like Pokoyo and Sesame street which are visual usually with no subtitles or same language subtitles if I really need them (sometimes on repeat as Lauriana suggested) I do not think you need to be very advanced to start watching these types of shows without subtitles, in fact I think the sooner you start the better, because they are designed to be educational and show rather than tell, with a lot of repetition. I know some people who can learn with subtitles in their native language, but it does not work for me. There are actually a lot of shows you can watch as a beginner without subtitles, I think the mistake some people make is trying to watch their favourite netflix series right away, instead of starting with something for toddlers. I think if you use subtitles you can become dependant on them, so for me, I find I prefer to cut them out from the beginning. In this way I worked myself up in Spanish from watching Plaza Sesamo, to Pokoyo to shows like Extra and Español en Episodias (dramas for learners) with no subtitles, to more complex cartoons to now starting a historical drama Isabel with Spanish subtitles.. I need to hit pause and rewind a lot, but I don't use English subtitles.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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I think the mistake some people make is trying to watch their favourite netflix series right away, instead of starting with something for toddlers.

This is very accurate! You have to start as a child...just as you learned your native language.

And of course, with both of you, I am not rejecting that people have many different ways that they are able to learn (and other ways which do not work at all for some). As someone who is a speed-reader with a semi-photographic memory, who learns largely by sight and not by hearing, I am able to read very quickly and associate words and write them down in a very short about of time. :) However, this obviously does not work for all; there are people like me and people like you and there are people who are different in their learning styles from all of us! I also think that some language curriculums only cater to one type of person, and that is how companies can get such polarized opinions and reviews.

In the case of watching shows as a beginner without subtitles, I think the best way to follow that is to start with something very simple and repetitive with a lot of image association, since you are lacking words to match. Audio tracks are great as well :D

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Maltagerr,

I am interested to know, how fluent are you in French (or whatever your main target language is)? For a complete beginner, watching a video (even at a child's level) in a target language without subtitles in their native language would be almost useless, except maybe for hearing pronunciation...but of what words? Words they do not know. And they cannot make associations without something with which to associate with, IMO. Múdry sa nik nenarodil. :))

However, in the case of intermediate and advanced learners I agree with you. The sooner you can dive into and begin to think in your target language, the better!

Cheers and good luck!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

There are studies that say that learning through immersion is better than learning through memorising translations. When you watch children's shows, they guide you through what something is. They say "aimes-tu les pommes ?" and hold up and apple, and our magical brains are already learning and associating an apple with "pommes".

However if you just know pomme means apple then your brain is just going to try to translate every sentence.

Watching French without English subtitles (with French subtitles if possible of course, I think people misunderstood me) is the best way to learn I think. I am A2 and spent a lot of time on Duolingo recently but if I try to watch something, I cannot understand even though I know the rules of French and could read it. But recently I've been improving a lot with understanding as I listen and focus very heavily on the sentences and try to focus my brain on the sentence structure (like tu es un) rather than the standout words (like chien). I just don't think you can do that with English translations on at all.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Maltagerr,

Come to think of it, what you're saying, "Immersion is better than memorizing through translations" is...exactly the point of almost all of the tips I posted in the resource list! For example, your phone won't say "MENSAJE" and then have "this means message..." written under it. It just says the word in Spanish (or whichever language). And the words on the radio won't be followed by someone coming behind and whispering "he said that the Senate...."

So, all I can say is that here you have an excellent point that adds volumes to my post....Self-Immersion....not self-translation.

I also remember when I became fluent in Spanish, having to stop translating everything to English in order to understand. It slows you down! Maybe this is a product of too many translations early on instead of the immersion (and also, I think this is a huge flaw not only for learners in general but in the American language education system).

Thank you for your comment! And good luck with French ;)

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Edjane2018

I think watching a video that has audio in the target language with the subtitle also in the target language (think closed captioning) would be helpful. Then the subtitles help you understand the audio when you don't recognize a sound or it's a new sound (new word you never heard / read before).

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
MexicoMadness
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Edjane, I totally agree with you. I watch a lot of foreign language programs on tv, and having both audio and subtitles in the target language is ideal, since the audio is often not that clear and the speech is very fast, too fast for me to catch more than a few words. Do you know where to find such programs that have both the audio and video in the target language?

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FuzzyCactus

MexicoMadness,

There are some movies on Netflix in Spanish where you can put on subtitles in the original language. There are also in that place documentaries in Russian and Ukrainian, etc. I'm not sure what language you are looking for, but there are also a lot of movies available on YouTube and similar services with an option for subtitles in manly languages. Hope this helps!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Woah, hold up...someone besides me watches Netflix documentaries in Ukrainian and Russian? My life is complete.

manly languages

XD

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HerrArbo
HerrArbo
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I would definitely advise not over doing it too - for example if you have to edit the settings in your phone for whatever reason and you have changed the language that can be very frustrating. Similarly, replacing your radio breakfast show with one in your target-language requires more brain-power than normal so it is possible for a beginner to over-enthusiastically burn themselves out, get frustrated, and give up too quickly. Just remember not to do any of this for any longer than you enjoy it in a given day/week- forcing yourself will put you off! But definitely do try as many of these things as possible, even if only a little bit.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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HerrArbo,

You have a point there! For someone like me, it is almost impossible to overload, as I have a grossly overactive brain...but for others, it may be as you said: they end up burning out and the purpose of the measures taken in the first place becomes void early on. So, it is important to alter the methods and shape them to your capability at the time/preferences, etc.

Thank you so much for your comment. Best of luck!

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

With the settings thing, I just figure out where it is to change it back so I can if I absolutely need to.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolf-Warrior
Wolf-Warrior
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YESSSSSSS!!!! Gracias, gracias Lauri!!! You are the most amazing person ever all these people and tips are so helpful!!!! I'm gunna try all of these!! I'm sure I'll drive my family crazy... Yippie!! This is gunna be so fun!!!! Gracias, gracias, gracias!!!! Love you tooooonnnnssss!!

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Actually, Wolf-Warrior, would you want to do an experiment for me? I would gladly give you 25 lingots for the effort, or more...

Say, try self-immersion techniques for a week, and chronicle what you were able to do (which measures you took, how long, how many films you watched, etc.) and then write how it benefited you and any reflections for the future, all in a post on the forum. Do you like this idea? If you choose to pursue it, you have all my support! :D

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolf-Warrior
Wolf-Warrior
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I actually do. I'll try my best. I'll start today and print out the labels. With the movies though I don't really watch lots of movies and when I do they're usually family ones so I don't know how well that'll work... Also I think you should get Amy to do this too! Give her the lingots :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Wolf-Warrior, Opa! I am so happy that you take on the challenge. Mm...do you think that next Monday morning would be the right time for a post on your experiences? I will help any way I can. And if you include the link to this discussion in that post then the connection is set and everyone will see that it really can work for them!

Thank you so much for doing this...expect your reward! Buena suerte<3

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolf-Warrior
Wolf-Warrior
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Hmm how about next...Tuesday. I'll put the link in this discussion :)

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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Perfect! I can't wait to read it!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
MexicoMadness
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That really sounds fun. I look forward to reading the results of your efforts, Wolf-Warrior! Here's some lingots.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
MexicoMadness
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Oops. Sorry but lingots aren't working right now. I'll try again later.

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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You are feeling enthusiastic today, I see....ahahaha, glad to bring that out of someone ;)

Sure, try them all and alter them to match your learning style and preferences. And please let me know what you learn and what difference you see within, say, a week! Buena suerte y gracias por la respuesta <3

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobBarides

Very motivating! Great tips

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jablko-fan

What a great list, thanks LaurianaB.

I have one to add, read your favourite book in your target language. Book Depository can be a good place for finding books in multiple languages.

I am still learning Polish, but because I know Harry Potter so well in my native language, I can easily read it in my target language. This method also works well with classic fairytales that many people grow up with.

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaurianaB
LaurianaB
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jablko-fan,

Great idea! Actually, my favorite book is Omon Ra by Viktor Pelevin. I read it the first few times in English....then my ex took it and didn't ever return it, so when I bought another copy I decided to buy it in the original Russian text. It's even better!

Thank you for your comment and the great suggestion. Good luck with Polish! :)

3 days ago
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