Favorite ways to practice outside of Duolingo?
I know that this has been asked time and time again in forms of "What to do after Duo?" but I'm really interested in hearing personal experiences from people and ways that they effectively practiced their target languages, whether on a website, app, etc.
I've been running into the issue with certain sites of listing myself as a "female" and getting tons of unprecedented and unwanted "males," which would be absolutely fine if they want to practice, but many seem to be using it as a dating site. (I'm sure it happens the other way around, too, I just happen to be a girl!) I tried the app "Tandem," but since I had to put my face there... well, that didn't work out too well.
What works for you; how do you practice with people outside of Duolingo, preferably also avoiding this situation?
I see you put a ton of work into this and haven't gotten a response yet. So I thought I'd give you one! But the thing is I don't really practice WITH people outside of Duolingo. I generally just practice by myself, and how I practice is Spanish books,(Or whatever I was learning) writing down the words I learn, watching YouTube videos for pronunciation! And they are all very helpful. I also use Rosetta Stone for learning Spanish, I don't use it often but I realize I better take it more seriously. And if I ever wanted to practice with other people I would probably post a discussion about it on Duolingo! (Which I do sometimes.) But Duolingo just has such a great community of people! And they like helping people and are very helpful a lot of the time!
So I recommend that instead of using those apps! Haha! Anyway, I hope you enjoy Duolingo as much as I do! And as everybody on Duolingo seems to say!
Happy learning! ~Myah061
Thank you dearly, Myah061!!
I'll have to try that!! I definitely need to strengthen my listening and speaking skills. And you are absolutely right about the apps, most of them seem to be a pain.
And yes- Duo does have a wonderful community! I can't think of a better place to be learning :)
Well, you could of course try & pass as male. I did that in online gaming as i didn't want the hassle.
For listening, youtube is great. There will be many video's in whatever your target language is.
Also radio. Either via an easy website like radio garden or just search for a local station in a city you'd like to visit.
For listening & speaking the "Say something in..." website is great. I really like what i've seen of their lessons so far.
For really speaking with actual people you might try to see if there are clubs in your area. Like Alliance Française, they're all over the world. Or try your local library, they sometimes will have lessons/meetings.
You did say outside of Duo, but have you seen the tabs under "Labs" right there at the top of your screen? The stories are nice to listen to. There are a ton of podcasts for Spanish. And of course there are the events where people get together to practice their speaking. If there is no event in your area yet, maybe you could host one?
Good luck, Leafs
That's clever - I didn't even think of that! Maybe I'll try to go incognito...
I've been spending more and more time on Youtube; you are absolutely right!! I just discovered radiogarden today - good to know it's got good reviews! And that SSI website looks perfect!! Definitely going to check that out more too.
Thank you, Leafs!! :)
I like throwing myself in a foreign country (preferably Spanish speaking, though I'm fine with an English country as well) for an afternoon, seeing how well and quickly I can formulate sentences when interacting with unsuspecting strangers.
Nah... I did that 3 times and gave up. 3 stars, would not recommend.
What I DO like doing is making flashcards, speaking Spanish with my family, (luckily some of them are nearly fluent) and trying to look at things around me and name them.
(looks around the closet _Dragon is currently sitting in)
(sits and thinks for about 3 minutes)
The only accurate way of describing my surrounding is basura, yes, trash.
What an adventure!! I'd love to do that; although I don't think I'd be very good at it :D
It seemed fun, then I actually did it. It was just me stumbling over every word and making everyone feel awkward.
Nice people would not have made you feel awkward - they would have respected your efforts to communicate in their language. It's also possible that the awkwardness was only being felt by you!
Yes, I've given up on the "penpal" sites too.
Useful methods: Grammar books, Memrise, watching films/cartoons, writing stuff, helping out with the local Hungarian community, formal immersion courses, informal immersion, personal tutor.
i was considering switching my FB to Hungarian text when i get fluent enough. or occasionally switching to French or Romanian. or whatever else I want to practice. I also have friends living in different countries: One's Danish, a few are Brazillian, a lot are Spanish/Hispanic, a couple French and a couple German people and a few others i have one Chinese (i think Taiwanese) and a Japanese person on my timeline that i occasionally see.
Converting the text on FB might be useful but it is 1: pretty static and 2: not that useful (unless you also go into the help pages etc). Better to find people on FB and follow/comment on them in Hungarian or whatever. That way you can also do multiple languages. Downside is people on FB are sometimes casual with spelling and grammar which makes it harder to understand for a learner.
I didn't switch my facebook language, but I started following some German and Mexican newspapers. I think I picked 3-5 German papers and 3-5 Mexican papers and followed them on facebook. They now show up in my feed and provide an opportunity to practices. There is also a translate button right next to them if need some help (although it isn't always accurate). I don't usually click on the articles (and some of the articles are behind pay walls), but I can read the summaries they post, the title, pictures (comics), and watch the videos posted. Surprisingly, a number of the political cartoons have been my favorites. I am also learning more about both of those country's politics. It brings a little more language practice into my feed without changing everything.
I did that briefly with Italian, but quickly realized I need to progress some more.
Having multilingual/multicultural friends is a wonderful (and helpful) thing!!
Thank you, Judit! Those are wonderful ideas. Definitely adding them to my to-do list!
The best starting point is to use DL better. For example, I look away when moving on to the next question as it gives me the opportunity to improve my listening/comprehension. Also, I repeat the question & the answer out loud. Beyond that, I listen to the radio which again quickly improved my listening & comprehension whilst, at the same time, immersing me in the way the language is actually used. Reading newspapers, magazines and/or kids comics helps a great deal too. If you can find a native speaker to practice with, ideally face to face, that's great as well. One of the advantages of learning Italian is that there are hundreds of ristoranti to practice in - and eat & drink too!! Enjoy.
Yes; active learning definitely seems like the way to go! And the Italian restaurants is a wonderful thing to look forward to - now I'm hungry just thinking about it! Thank you!!
I go to Netflix once I finish my tree and look for a series that is dubbed and subbed in the language that I'm learning. Works really well... first two / three episodes are really hard, you need to pause very often and look up words. But you get accustomed to it very quickly. Good luck :-)
That's a good method to use when watching Netflix; it seems like it definitely would force you to learn! I'm going to try that; thank you!
Travel is one way: last year I spent a month in Peru and next week I'm going to Ecuador.
Also, I tutor immigrants in English at our local Adult Education and got lessons from a Kenyan guy in Swahili. Not a lot of Spanish speakers there, but I could get plenty of help learning Arabic if I wanted it. Maybe that's next.
Inshallah إن شاء الله
Hi. I used conversationexchange.com to find a penpal with whom I chat occasionally. Have you tried it? There is no need to post a personal picture. I also recommend trying to contact other women around your age to avoid the "dating" problem.
Some other activities you could try, if you don't do them already, are: - listening to podcasts (while driving, cooking, walking, etc) -watching movies in your target language -reading books outloud
Hope this helps! Good luck! :)
I've attempted in once but I wasn't at a good level yet. I'm going to give it another go - thank you! :D
I use Memrise once or twice a week to expand my vocabulary and I have set a plan to at the beginning of Q2 of this year to complete 1 chapter of my conversational Japanese textbook until it’s complete. Additionally, I like to expose my self to the language as much as possible through media and I even recently changed one of my social media accounts to display in Japanese. It didn’t take long to adjust and I’ve picked up a few new words in the process. I’m also looking it to some options available with my local library card and researching some additional textbooks to start with in Q3 or Q4 of this year. I like to break the year up into quarters and set goals for each. It’s a way for me to stay focused and not give up.
That's a wonderful idea. Goal setting helps me, too. And Memrise is officially next on my list! Thank you!
my girlfriend is Chilean, so i've been increasingly trying to work Spanish into our conversations (and she's been appreciating it immensely, which makes me quite happy). I've also started listening to and seeking out podcasts in spanish to help me with making out words better even if i still can't understand a lot of what's being said, i'm getting better at mentally seperating the words in speech.
i've also started keeping my day-to-day journal in spanish and i'm just trying to use it in general wherever i can. playing some games in spanish has also been a good experience, though i'm not exactly proficient enough to get through some of the more text-heavy RPGs i'd like to.
That's wonderful! Having someone to practice with is super important.
That's a great idea - journal keeping! Playing games in Spanish is a new one; that sounds like so much fun. I can only imagine Spanish D&D :)
spanish D&D is definitely something i want to try when i'm more fluent, for sure
My best ways to practice are at work and by traveling. There are often local meetup groups that you can find, but I'm currently not at home enough to have tried that method. My area has an interesting one that goes to lunch once a month at local mexican restaurants. I am somewhat interested in the site Babel, but have been unwilling as yet to pay for it. Do you have any insight with Babel?
Good luck and watch out for those people with other motives!
I have been reluctant to use Babel for the same reason. I'm a broke student :\
And a meet up group is my next goal - I hope to get proficient enough to participate in one, hopefully sometime soon! :)
Hi there! If you haven't watched it, go to Youtube and watch the Ted Talk "The secrets of learning a new language" by Lýdia Machová. She gave a ton of examples on how to learn languages. I really liked her idea of watching Friends or reading Harry Potter in another language (2 things I will do once I've gotten a hold on Spanish). Hope this helps :)
I haven't watched it yet; thank you so much for sharing!! These wonderful suggestions are bringing back my motivation! ^^
Everyone in my family speaks Italian, so I could go up to literally anyone and have a conversation with them.
My primary learning app is currently Rosetta Stone. I also take advantage of their online tutor to review each unit. I find practicing with a live German native speaker to be very helpful with improving my speaking and listening skills. Unfortunately, I have nearly completed Rosetta Stone, so I will soon be switching to a different resource.
My second resource is Duolingo. It does a good job with vocabulary and some grammar, but Duolingo is not as helpful for speaking and listening skills. I often struggle with the synthesized voice, especially the male voice.
Another resource is YouTube. I particularly enjoy the "Learn German with Anja" and "Easy German" channels.
Lastly, I enjoy reading books and news articles written in German.
Rosetta Stone looks helpful; are you satisfied with the service you get from the program with the price?
I'm very satisfied with Rosetta Stone (RS). I'll be honest, it's a bit tough to get through the early lessons, because they tend to be boring, but once you make it through the half way point, it becomes a real challenge. Once you catch-on to the patterns of the lessons they give you, you begin to better understand the nuances and subtleties of your target language. For me, it took a few weeks to do that, but once I did, it was a great help.
As far as cost, if you can take advantage of one of their sales, their subscription price is very reasonable. I have seen the price below $8/month for the 1 year subscription and below $6/month for the 2 year subscription. If you do a google search on "Rosetta Stone Presidents Day Sale", you should find their recent sale. I also know that you can call them directly and negotiate a better deal than what is shown on their website.
Personally, I would not buy the CD's as they tend to be costly. Also, the online subscription provides access to additional learning tools that are not available on the CD's. If you're diligent about your studies, you should easily be able to get through the RS course within a year. RS is designed to get you to level A2 maybe low B1.
I practice Portuguese with my girlfriend that I met on Hellotalk. We practice every day but I still can’t converse or understand spoken Portuguese after studying it for 4.5 years and going to Brasil 14 times. I enjoy Brasil though but need her to order my food because I can’t understand the waiter’s replies. Nothing has worked for me yet but I won’t quit.
I love that dedicated spirit!! You helped to restore some of my motivation :D And you definitely know more than you realize!! Keep it up.
I bought a book in the language I'm learning. It's somewhat of a kids' book, but that's perfect for my current level. I don't think I could handle high literature yet. Not a textbook or anything, just a simple novel.
As I mentioned elsewhere, reading kids books/comics is great practice. As is watching Italian TV and/or listening to Italian talk radio. These techniques really get your mind into the language instead of making the mistake of thinking in your own language & then translating.
I still translate everything into English and then back which hasn’t worked in 4.5 years and 14 trips to Brasil so I’m trying to understand how to learn a different way. I never know which meaning to use when reading or listening to Portuguêse. Many words have multiple meanings. It’s like deciphering a secret code. I can’t understand people when they speak Portuguêse. It makes it very difficult to learn.
Context. You do the same in English. We have words with different meanings and words that sound the same but are spelt differently (there, their, they're for instance) - but you work out which meaning is appropriate. I think you are over thinking it. Relax. Do you understand more after a couple of glasses of wine?
I don’t like wine but maybe I’ll try it because I don’t like not understanding Portuguêse even more. I can’t tell what the context is yet of the sentences I read or hear so I’ve been trying to read without translating hoping that I might improve. Spoken Portuguêse is even more difficult because I can’t understand it to translate. I’ll start with improving the reading first. Then I’ll start on learning verbs. I thought that I should be able to read a bit before I learn the verbs though. Thanks!
How will you read without the verbs? Or do you mean reading aloud without understanding?
Context - my friend who was visiting recently was mad about trees and agriculture. So I used this vocab as my first port of call whenever he said something. (So he was more likely to be talking about ág - branch - than ágy - bed)
By the way, verbs are the backbone of any language. So it is important to know the key ones e.g. to have, to be, to go, to come, to be able to, to make, to need to. Learn these in simple past, present & future tenses & your chosen language will really start to open up & make sense. This is the major disadvantage of DL.
The very best way to solve your particular challenges is to attend a group or classes. Better still would be a suitably qualified 'one to one' tutor. If you take that route, speak to more than one initially to make sure you pick the one that suits you best.
Why do the verbs always have “to” before the verb?I never know whether to use the “to” when translating. Sometimes it’s used and sometimes it’s not. We never learned much English grammar in school for some reason. Only nouns verbs adjectives adverbs and pronouns and very little about them. It was back in elementary school. When trying to learn about verbs I have no idea what they are talking about when they mention tenses, moods, subjunctive, and things like that. Do people have to consider those things when forming a sentence? I hope not. I had a Portuguêse teacher tell me she couldn’t teach me unless I took an English class. I do well with English and scored very high in college but don’t understand the terminology. What do you think? Should I take an English class? I need to find a way to attach the meanings to the verbs and remember them. Thanks a lot!
First of all, compliments on your excellent English. Verbs are vital to all languages & form their main backbone. In your question above, there are over 30 instances where you've used a verb. Shows how important they are! A verb is used to describe an action, state, or occurrence. The word "to" embraces the whole verb & then it's broken down into its various parts. For example, the verb "to go" breaks down to I go, you go, they go, we go etc etc. The tenses describe when something happens. "I go" is now whereas "I went" is past and "I will go" is future. Those are the three basic tenses & it's well worth learning these in relation to key verbs such as: to go, to come, to make, to be able to, to be, to have to. By the way, the subjunctive is a vital tense in languages like Italian. Some people say that it doesn't exist in English. It does, but only crops up rarely in modern usage although it was much more common a few hundred years ago.
Why do the verbs always have “to” before the verb?
The to-before version is called the infinitive. In some languages that is how you learn new verbs and find them in a dictionary. (Not all languages - Hungarian uses third person present indefinite - so not "to be" but "he is")
From the infinitive you then generate all the verb forms for that verb ("conjugate" it). That is why I said memorizing the conjugation tables was vital - and should be done early on.
I had a Portuguêse teacher tell me she couldn’t teach me unless I took an English class. I do well with English and scored very high in college but don’t understand the terminology.
I suspect your English was either literature or communication skills (we do the same in NZ) - not grammar. What is frustrating your teacher is your lack of understanding of the language of language - ie the language of grammar. She cannot talk to you about language because you don't have the vocab. Perhaps you can find a book on grammar (maybe in a library or online).
Thanks! “I go” is now? It seems like it should be “I’m going” because it’s happening now. I’ve never analyzed English before. I just learned it and use it. Whenever I hear people talking about verbs it seems like they all know the “secret” verb terminology! I know a few verbs in the present tense. I am trying to understand without translating and learn verbs. Because after studying Portuguêse for 4.5 years I can’t understand or converse yet. Just say a few things that don’t get me too far in Brasil. Thanks a lot.
I go and I'm going are the same. English is a very rich language & has many different ways of expressing the same meaning. As with other languages, the present tense can be used to express the future. For example, "I'm going tomorrow" But you could also use the future tense and say "I will go tomorrow" It doesn't matter which you use. Remember, the most important thing is to be understood - not to speak fluently. That comes later.
I don’t understand how “I go” is the present. “I go now” doesn’t seem correct. I’ve nevwr said it or heard anyone else say it unless they were just beginning to learn English. I’ll keep trying to understand verbs so I can learn and remember them. Thanks for the help!
"I go to school" - this is something I do currently. "I went to school" - past. "I will go to school" (hasn't happened yet) - future.
You're right. "I go now" is how a non-fluent English speaker may say it instead of the more correct version "I am going now" As an aside for the Italian learners out there "mene vado via" is the very idiomatic way of saying "I'm going now"
"I go" = "I am going" = "I do go" are all present tense - but different flavours. (English tenses are quite complex)
I appreciate the help, I don’t usually complain or talk about my Portuguêse learning but I have spent a lot of time with no results so I thought I would ask for advice so I can make some progress. I see people that have studied for one month that are ahead of me. I need to understand the verbs and other things before I can remember them because I need an image in my head of what the word means. It’s difficult enough when I have an idea of what the word means to remember it. But not understanding what the verb means for instance makes it seem virtually impossible. Then when I don’t understand things in English it’s frustrating. “I go shopping on the weekends but it’s Wednesday” doesn’t seem like the present. “I am going tomorrow seems like the future. I do go but not today seems like the future. I need to get an understanding of verbs. The books I have use terminology I don’t understand so I think I’ll keep focusing on trying to read without translating and trying to understand verb terminology. I understand the idea of the present, past and future but not the terminology of how they are explained. Thanks again!
They learnt by learning. They took one verbs and wrote down all the forms for a single tense (most people start with present). Then they memorized the list; by writing it down, by chanting, by quizzing themselves etc. I suspect a major problem is you do not accept the need to memorize the table. Then is no short cut.
At this stage avoid the subjunctive! I'd start with normal present. Just conquer that one. Surely you understand:
I work, you work, he works, we work, you (pl) work, they work?
That is the first step but in Portuguese - trabalho, trabalhas, trabalha, trabalhamos, trabalhais, trabalham.
So "I work" = "trabalho", "you (singular) work" = "trabalhas" etc.
Thanks. “I work, you work” doesn’t seem like present to me because it’s not “I am working now” “You are working now” I’ve never analyzed words before though. I’ll keep working on understanding how the verb tenses work. I don’t understand how people can learn a language yet. It seems like secret code.
I like reading the original language of novels that you've already read in your native language, that way you know what it is supposed to say and you can learn at your own pace.