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Awesome strategy for learning languages that I use :D

We all probably have strategies that help us learn a language faster, and I thought I'd share mine so that others might use it. What I do, is go through photography on google images, such as pictures of cities or whatever, and I describe it. For example, I can say in whatever language "There is a red bridge, with a lot of cold water underneath and a city in the back". The more descriptive you are, the better. This allows you to speak in that language without having to translate anything. If you guys also have strategies, feel free to post them :D

October 6, 2013



There should be a proper forum and this being in the sub-topic "Language Learning Tips"


OK, my strategy resembles xXExiboXx's but It doesn't need a PC/internet. I simply try to speak in the language I learn (that would be German at the moment) the simple phrases from my life. Like "Do you need sugar in your coffee?", "Someone must take out the garbage." or "My pencil needs to be sharpened". Of course sometimes I need to go to the dictionary, and make efforts to remember the correct ending of an adjective and so on, but this is LEARNING.

And another tip: how do you know the translation is correct? I've discovered here on the forum a site called lang-8.com where native speakers can correct the sentences entered by learners. (Of course this requires PC/internet). It is free and community driven, much like duolingo.


wow lang-8 is really great thank you for sharing that information


lang-8 is awesome!


Lang-8 is indeed a nice tool to complement DL. I've only used it a couple of times but it's nice to know it's there if I ever feel like writing something "real" for feedback.


Thanks for the site recommendation!


You are all welcome!


lang-8 is great! Thanks for sharing :)


I have tried to use lang-8 several times, and it always says There has been an internal system error when I try to create an account. There does not seem to be any help or support system, so it seems entirely unusable to me :(


I haven't visited the site recently. My post was about 1 year ago. It is a pity if the the platform no longer works. Sorry. LE: It works now.


I choose topics and I talk about them in the language I am learning (at the moment, would be French). For example: on Monday, I choose food, and I talk with myself about that, with sentences such as "I eat pasta. My favourite food is rice", etc. so in that way, I can use food vocabulary, and verbs (to eat, to drink, to have lunch, etc.). On Tuesday I do the same, but about clothes, Wednesday about the weather, Thursday about arts, etc, etc. Fortunately, I have a French friend on Skype, so I can practice with her about these things in French.

Another thing I do is to memorize 10 words (in French) per day. I bought a Belgium newspaper (Le Soir) and I choose words from the news I read, and at the end of the day, I review them and I must remember them. There are 10 new words every day, in 3 days there are 30, and in the fourth day, I make a kind of "feedback". How? I have a "test" and I choose randomly 10 words of those 30 words I already learned. So even if I choose 10 words, I have to remember the other 20 anyway.

I always try to create sentences or dialogues using those words. In my opinion, that's an excellent strategy, and it has been very useful for me.


Use Memrise (website) or Anki / mnemosyne (computer/smartphone application) for memorizing them. They are based on cognitive psychology's knowledge (retention curve) ; they show you the words when you are going to forget them (Duolingo use this, but it seems to be a bit less powerful). You spend no time, you don't have to manage the words like you are doing and you can learn a lot--10 words per day is easy, especially if you use mnemonics techniques!

Personally, I use Memrise (one year and a half), and know I'm using SuperMemo (one month, this software is hard to use, don't go for it unless you really need it--incremential reading, for example); I have learned 1,600 things with Memrise, and 600 with SuperMemo. All of them are good and free (up to SuperMemo 2004).


Awesome idea :D Thanks for sharing it!


When translating in the immersion articles, I've used this technique to figure out what some obscure object that I've never heard of means.


This is a really good idea. I like it.


We I do a duo exercise, I don't look at the screen. i try to listen an understand before I see what is written. This helps me get use to hearing the language and translating in my head. I have also found a few Spanish videos that show a 10 min scene then reviews the things your heard.


Good Tips! Keep them coming! I listen to Coffee Break German on my drive home from work to supplement the learning I do on Duo. You can download free Podcasts from iTunes in several different languages. It's a great enhancement to your learning in that you have an opportunity to become familiar with words and phrases on one and then hear it again on the other which reinforces your learning.


You can mix it up too, by describing the things in the past, as something you've seen, or something you will see, or something you could or would see...


I know drilling vocabulary isn't always the best way to learn a language, but I find it very helpful.
The site I use is www.quizlet.com. It has quite a few prebuilt (some by me!) flashcards created just for duolingo users. I like it because you can do flashcards, listen and spell (the audio is better than duo), see the word and write it out, and it has minigames and test.
One way to enhance vocab study is when you see the word, try to make a sentence in your head using that word. It helps enforce memorization.


I like that idea. When I know more German I think I will do that. Right now since I only know 150 words I just describe what I am doing as it's happening. So if I am getting water I will just say out loud "Ich trinke Wasser" or "Ich habe Wasser". One time my roommate asked me to bring home chicken from work so when I got home I said to him "Ich habe das Hähnchen" (I have the chicken), and when I do these things he usually just replied with "what?" haha. But it helps to use the language naturally and not just in practice on here. But I like your idea a lot. Do you ever just look up a word if you don't know it when you see a picture? Like if you saw a picture of a cat but didn't know the word for cat do you look it up or do you just not do that picture?


I do look up the word, and I use it in a sentence to make sure I remember it, and I also do your action description idea as well :D It helps to learn the language without having to translate anything.


It really does help. I can't wait until I can say more stuff so I can describe more. Luckily I have a friend that is German so I can practice all I want with her and she can help me when I have a question or even tell me if I said something wrong and didn't realize it.


That's a wonderful idea, I never really thought of it, but when I practice a foreign language on Duolingo I always write down what I learn. :)


Another tip. Maybe many of you know this but I've just discovered it and it is awesome. Short description: Anki, a free (GPL3) flashcard software.

But there is more than this. It is a flashcard editor, so you can add/modify/edit card decks. It is a flashcard manager that monitors your progress. It implements a spaced repetition algorithm, much like Duo's.

OK, is good mainly for vocab and is not dedicated only to language learning process, until the flashcard feature gets implemented in Duolingo (as stated in the Hackatlon post - http://blog.duolingo.com/post/62723181502/duolingos-inaugural-hackathon ) this gets the job done.


Anki is great. I use it in combination with a frequency dictionary of the language i want to learn (e.g. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Frequency-Dictionary-Spanish-Vocabulary-Dictionaries/dp/0415334284). This way you are putting your effort into the most commonly used words in the language. It isn't perfect, and you also need to learn how to use the words in the right context, but it is a great vocab builder.


I think one of the best sites for learning vocab is http://www.memrise.com/ Actually, I find Memrise so much more effective at teaching me vocabulary than Duolingo that I wouldn't use Duolingo at all if it weren't for the grammar and whole sentence construction taught here. For any German learners, here is a direct link to a really good course there of 5000 German words sorted by frequency: http://www.memrise.com/course/58866/5000-words-sorted-by-frequency-strict-typing/


Anki is one of the most underrated softwares in world! Anki is awesome and I use it everyday to study new and old (or in Anki's language, "mature and young") Italian vocab.


This is a really helpful tool, thanks for the link!


With something like this, it would be best to set certain parameters so that you can challenge yourself. Perhaps say "I won't use any colors I used in the last picture" or "I need to describe 4 different things". If you don't, you may fall into the trap of saying "that's good enough" when you never really challenged yourself. Never be afraid to use a dictionary.


To Practice conversation I call numbers in which I know would have an automatic spanish speaking robot, and practice a conversation like "if you want to do x press one" I would reply with "No I dont want to do x" and so on until I get to a spanish operator to have a quick conversation with him or her.

Another thing to do is watch interviews and reply to the interviewer how you would respond.


I definitely agree. It's the best practice for actually using the language :)


Mes félicitations! Bonne idée!


In french, you need a space before the interrogation mark (foo ?), the exclamation mark (foo !), the double point (foo : bar), and it is not required for the semicolon (foo; bar), but you can (foo ; bar).

If you need more (or if I'm not clear, I'm learning english from french): http://www.la-ponctuation.com/


that is a great idea. maybe once you get more fluent you can move onto more abstract ideas so that you can hone in on your adjectives.... like a Picasso painting, or maybe describing the difference between two similar pictures, as in a dissected frog vs a hand drawn version of a dissected frog. idk , just thinking of ways you could take that idea to another level.


It seems to me DL is looking at chat features whereby we could practice with other people. On my own I cannot correctmy mistakes, but maybe this is already in use and I am a little behind... ;) I just remember the Hackathon!!


I dont have one im in french immersion


thank you very helpul actually. i will keep that in mind as i start my courses


xXExiboXx and Rowan Faeth's ideas sound awesome. Gonna try out xXExiboXx's idea now. It sounds like the type of drill you'd get in a class room, but there is no way for a computer like Duolingo to replicate it.

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