I am planning to try to improve my german skills and also thinking of starting to learn another language. Have you ever learnt a language by self study? How much time did you use, what methods did you use etc....
Hi I started Dutch by self-study but found it didn't really work or sink in until I lived there and had a private tutor. So perhaps not the best example! I refresh myself with phrase books before I go. I just found a website that had on-line lessons, with tests and voice clips to hear the pronunciations. I wrote and read a lot at first on the grammar rules rather than trying to learn the vocab. I know everyone learns differently but for me I wanted to understand their structure and rules before even learning the words. My (basic) German I learnt at night classes at the Uni I work in. I know you didn't ask about that taking classes so assume that isn't an option for you. Just to say that I found it much easier to learn it from a native speaker than trying myself.
I basically agree with Emma. The one language I have a grasp of was started from scratch and I learnt some basic grammar. How long did it take ....years as There was little chance to practise with a native speaker. But use a variety of methods is best IMO....classes if you can, books, cds esp in the car, internet courses, watch movies with subtitles I come good when I visit the country and speak with native speakers. The basic grammar gives me a better understanding. I have bits and pieces of other languages for when we visit a country. To learn a little Russian we hired a tutor and used an internet course 'Unforgettable Languages'...do not have link but Google should do it. This course uses mind pictures and includes grammar rather than just learning. phrases by rote ....if I want to think of the Russian word for cow I think of a car running over a cow ...and there you have it 'carova'(well given the alphabet is not the same) But no I do not speak Russian just a few words!
But Keti you are a very intelligent lady and highly educated.....takes me a bit longer to learn things I am afraid...LOL but quite serious Marg
Oh and starting as a child helps....the pity of it is that so many of us do not start young enough!
I'm trying to learn French these days. I've tried to do it some time ago, but unsuccessfully. I bought a small grammar. I read something at lease every day. I also have a course with cd roms that I think I will use it. I also am re learning German. I hated it when I was at school. I an learning it via web.
I love to learn languages with cd's and books and learnt French by self -study before I moved to Paris and continued there.....It really helped to have the bases of the language before arriving, and I felt proud being able to ask for directions in the streets and being understood:-D. Since then I have studied plenty of languages that way, the latest is Russian, and I am still working on it, but what a joy when I walked around in Moscow, spelling myself through the texts around me, asking questions, being understood and able to understand a bit of what was going on around me. I felt like a child again! Learning a new language is like a plunge into a new world ! It does help that I come from Scandinavia, was exposed to foreign languages from an early age, live in the heart of Europe and work in a multi-linguistic environment:-).
Just a couple of options I would like to share. I found a sort of self study, easy and fun podcast from radiolingua . com that is maybe 15 minutes of audio everyday and covers quite a bit quickly but it seems to stick with you. You can buy the podcast or use the basic free edition. I found it through Itunes although I know you can get it through their website as well. Not saying it will work but I learned a lot from it. Also on my Ipod I use a free app called 24/7 that I practice language with. There are multiple ways to work on phrases and words repetitively and you can also hear the words spoken. Best of luck! Learning languages keeps your brain young.
Thanks for your suggestions Travmad!
Personally I've never found it easy to do it by myself unless I was in the country so I could practice at the same time. I have learned a fair amount of languages (and forgotten a few by now as well...) but admittedly the ones I know best I learned at an early age. Nowadays I try to learn Myanmar(burmese) and even though I am in the country I don't seem to get the hang of it at all. True, I don't really study much (2 little kids prevent me from doing that) and the language defeats any logical approach.. I think the best way to learn by yourself is to set a clear goal e.g. I want to learn enough to get around when I'm on holiday and the date for the holiday is ..... That way you have enough motivation.
Thank you for all your answers and suggested websites. If anyone have more resources they want to share without advertising I would be glad. I do not have the time or the possibility to go to classes as it is to far away from where I live, so I will need to try on my own. I have always been interested in languages, but now I really want to learn them better as well!
I used the Living Language Brazilian Portuguese course (books plus cassette tapes) and it really helped in giving me a good introduction to the language, its pronunciation and basic vocabulary before going there. For an introductory self-teach course it does a very good job of covering required words plus their cultural context (though only a light brushing of this).
Writing links to websites some times it results as advertise. Unfortunately. I signed a web site to learn Spanish. It is a commercial web site, but it is useful to learn that language.
I speak four fluently, and I not saying impossible (fugu exception ::)) its almost not possible to learn it from self study fluenty. You can handle it, get by, survive ,but not fluent. All my four were learned from school, and improve with practice in native lands they became fluently good.
and just read the thread so yes Marg, from linguists have told me that when a child is under puberty level around 13-15 or younger the languages are picks up rather fast and the accent is almost as native or native, afterward it becomes harder on the accent even if the language is spoken well. cheers
I have just completed 4 long years studying Spanish with the open university in England. Very rewarding, frustrating at times very hard and I often felt tired during the day having completed assignements at 4 in the morning! I achieved my diploma and with a good grade. Now studying French and then English from October for my last year. All this while working 4 long days a week, running a house and I am 54!!!! Would I do it again? Definitely. I love learning new things and I cannot see myself stopping after gaining my degree next year. If you want to do it YOU CAN!!!!
I use BYKI.com Its a fantastic languages website for free...It has most of the languages on the list. :-)
Hello, I tried to study arabic. I enrolled to a course, and I liked it. Then I noticed the same teacher was teaching very near my home and it was cheaper, tyoo. So I joined the group in my nieghbourhood. Afyter a while I realised I had no time at all for the homework - it was really demanding timewise. (Well, I'm a language teacher so it wasn't difficult as such). So I had to leave the course for a while, but one day I will continue with it. Maybe little by little I go back to it. My advice ios: try to have enough time for your homework; maybe you could read through something every day (even foir 15 minutes); check out the recipes for German food - if oyu can cook, you will understand the recipes rather easily. And it's fun, and you will be learning a language at the same time. Best oif luck with your studies, Soili from Finland