Second Language Learning

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by prime roller, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. prime roller

    prime roller introspective reflector

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    Right now the main thing going on in my life is studying Chinese. It's fun and interesting in some ways, but also frustrating and tedious in others.

    I'd like to compare
    -learning experiences,
    -cultural experiences (especially if living & studying language abroad),
    -your study methods (for new words, speaking practise, etc.),
    -problems/obsticles/challenges,
    -and whatever else that relates to your experience of learning a second language.

    This is not just for people who have studied a language, but for any of you who are interested in the topic in whatever way.

    ummm.... I guess that's it for now.... commence ---
     
  2. guard convoy

    guard convoy The Big Daddy

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    I learned spanish in highschool, but i forgot basically everything

    I want to learn japanese when i get some spare time, but right now i have no motivation :lol 
     
  3. Inikalord

    Inikalord Legal Binding Contracts

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    My first year of high school we had to choose a language for the full year and after that we could choose if we wanted to take the course again for more learning.

    There was a selection of French, Japanese and Maori (New Zealand's second official language)

    I chose French and I actually found the language very easy to learn and remember. I was actually part of the top students who did best of the year.

    However, after the year ended, I kinda really lost interest in doing the course again and did not select to do it again since I did not want to even learn a new language in the first place.

    I kind of regret it nowadays but hey, it came and went.
     
  4. TheDemonDzko

    TheDemonDzko °-{[●□●]}-° {Beep. Boop.)

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    =O Right now I'm taking spanish.

    Buenos Noches TFW, Como te vu?

    Yeah... prolly butchered that... like a boss.
     
  5. DPrime

    DPrime Well-Known Member

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    I've been learning German for a few years now... actually my third language, as I went to French school growing up.

    I like it, but it CAN be tedious... I couldn't imagine how much more so with something like Chinese or Russian, where you need to learn a new alphabet as well, though both are languages I'd like to learn at some point. If I end up going for a fourth, though, it'd make more sense to learn Spanish or Italian, I suppose.
     
  6. doomboy536

    doomboy536 Universe Onslaught fanboy

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    Before I moved out here to Bolivia 2 years ago, I didn't speak a damn word of Spanish. It was a rather intense introduction to the language! :lol  After about a year of being surrounded by Spanish and taking lessons I managed to get up to a decent level of conversation (Hello, how are you, how is your dog etc) and now I'm pretty much fluent except for a couple of more fiddly tenses (conditional mostly) and I lack a lot of academic vocabulary.
     
  7. IronicHide

    IronicHide MEME GO HERE

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    Yeah, high school French and German were a breeze compared to Arabic. Stupid new job.

    New words - easy.
    New grammar - hurm...
    New script - wah...
    New script, grammar, symbols, words - Scanners Head Explosion
     
  8. Ecchokat

    Ecchokat Ponyologiest for Hire!

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    As cool as learning another language is I am studing sign language and I have found that most helpful in my job as a teacher. I am hoping to learn spainish in the next year or so. If I could learn any language for fun it was be Japanese.
     
  9. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Witch!! Burn it with fire!!!


    Seriously though, I've always been rather envious of people who've been able to learn other languages (even at minimal levels), because it's something I've never been able to come close to. I was pretty much forced to take French in school, but retained next to nothing, and then even when I took Japanese in highschool that I legitimately cared about learning, it just didn't stick other than a few words & things that I notice when I'm watching anime & see em written on packaging. :( 
     
  10. AnegefalosGR

    AnegefalosGR Elite Guard!

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    Hahaha I live in a small country so learning foreign languages is pretty much must here!!

    Gotta say... French are more difficult than Japanese hahaha.

    The trick with other languages is constant practice, they are pretty much like musical intstruments, you abandon it, it abandons you !
     
  11. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Yep, and there's something else I could never master. Blame it on lack of interest or whatever, but I learned how to play Yugioh, so I'd say that I'm even with my demons.
     
  12. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    My first language is french. I learned english reading mountain bike magazines and in high school and a bit of spanish at university.

    Holà! Me llamo XXX y soy de XXX, un pueblo cerca de XXX in XXX. Tengo dos hermanos que se llama XXX y XXX y un perro que se llama Spotty. Tengo el pelo muy corto y mis ojos son verde. Practico la bici de montana. Me gusta mucho oir la musica de R.E.M.

    That's all I can remember from the presentation I did back in 1997. :D 
     
  13. doomboy536

    doomboy536 Universe Onslaught fanboy

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    Hey prime roller, are you learning Mandarin or Cantonese? I have Mandarin Chinese down as the language I need to learn after I've brushed up on my French.
     
  14. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    My second language is english and my third is french. I have the feeling that my english was a bit better, when I was still at school. I have the feeling that I feel more often stuck when I want to say something, because I'm missing the words, while it appeared to me more fluent while I still was at school. I love when I meet people at parties who are from english speaking countries, like Don from New Castle who I met at the Maschinenfest (if anyone, by accident, knows him, greet him lol) and I get some more practise and I like watching movies in english, I even prefer music in english. I even think that english is easier than my first language :D 

    Sometimes I wish everyone would speak english.

    But I would like to learn japanese as well, but knowing how hard it is, I don't even start it. I only know a handful of expressions in japanese.

    I wish I could someday visit Great Britain, the United States and Japan. That'd be really cool! Especially the japanese culture is very interesting and fascinating to me. OK, maybe not everything. There is also some stuff that is really gross :lol 


    By the way: I learned 9,5 years english and 4,5 years french.


    Regular, ¿qué tal? ;) 

    I know some words spanish too :D 


    My best friend wanted to learn russian, because her parents speak russian, but she quit and did not want to continue, was no fun to her.
     
  15. Jadryx

    Jadryx Well-Known Member

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    My advice would be to speak it as much as you can. Force yourself to use the language even if you don't know exactly how to say something or can't think if the correct words. Find a way to say what you want using the words you know. Keep a little vocab notebook and every time you hear something that you don't understand or think of a word or phrase you would like to know, write it down and look it up when you get a chance.

    I went to Thailand for two years (had a pretty intense language study about 12 weeks before going) and the language was not easy but after a few months in country, surrounded by native speakers, and using the language all the time I felt pretty comfortable with my skills. I didn't know a lot of vocab but I could get by just fine. After a while I could get by in normal conversation perfectly well but I couldn't get into a political debate or something like that because I lacked vocab with certain topics. I was there almost 10 years ago so I'm sure I've lost a lot of my vocab and I know my speech comes a lot slower but I think with practice it would come back pretty quick. Good luck!
     
  16. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

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    My second language is English. It was easy as pie, but then again i started learning it when i was 2 so by the time i knew what the hell was going on i was already more fluent in it than most of the kids around me, and i'd moved to Australia by then.

    Adesso studio l'italiano al liceo. Pensavo che sia un'esperienza indimenticabile, ma e' diventata una classe che non mi piace. La professoressa e' sempre arrabiata (mi vuole uccidere :lol ), e la lingua e' molto difficile (perche' non faccio attenzione in classe). I miei amici sono andati in Italia, e per questo la lingua e' piu facile, pero', era molto caro, e ho scelto a rimanere qui (e usare i miei soldi per comprare...giocattoli, technologia, ecc.).

    Oh you know, screw this, back to english. It's a fun experience as long as your teacher isn't like mine. Oh, and you should probably pay attention in class unlike me. And if you're given the chance to go to the country where the language is spoken, go. It makes it much easier to understand the culture and language.

    Of course, for Chinese, it's much harder, since it's not alphabet based, and of course the fact it's a tonal language. My only advice is to keep reminding yourself "I'm lucky to be studying Chinese, because Cantonese is even harder".
     
  17. Razerwire

    Razerwire 99 Problems... Super Mod

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    I grew up speaking Mandarin at home but English came naturally for me once I started watching cartoons. It was a good stepping stone to preschool since I could understand what the other kids were saying.

    My Mandarin has an American/Taiwanese accent but it got much better after spending six years in Beijing. Before Beijing I was pretty much illiterate when it came to Chinese. I could converse with no problems at all but I couldn't read or write for the life of me. Spending those years in China definitely helped that but after leaving that country, it's been going downhill again. Not only reading and writing this time though. By not speaking Mandarin every day I definitely notice I'm struggling more and more every time I have to converse or read/write.

    I do have to say this though: the best way to learn a language for me is to actually visit that country. Books and tapes, while they certainly can help, they don't expose you to certain mannerisms the culture may have.
     
  18. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    I sometimes need to check an online dictionary when someone posts something here and I've never heard of the word. But I try mostly to understand new words in their context. Sometimes I check urbandictionary, because you learn something new and it's often funny :D 

    But I think posting here really helps a bit, because I noticed that I sometimes adopt ways of saying something, because I read it frequently in the forums here.


    My first steps in english were, when I started with video games, because they were seldomly translated to german, so I was forced to understand english when I played with my Gameboy and Amiga 600 *g*


    I even talk to myself in english often, because I like the way it sounds and I don't want to lose the ability of sounding like a native speaker. I hate how some german's english sounds and I never want to sound like that. But my english sounds more american, when I speak, although we learned british english at school. Guess the influence comes from TV and games.
     
  19. prime roller

    prime roller introspective reflector

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    Yeah dude, some people just have a knack for languages! Sounds like you're one of them.

    One of the biggest boots to the head about learning Chinese is that there is no alphabet. I wish it were as simple as learning an alphabet, even if it had 500, or 1000, or even 3000 letters I'd be happy.

    If you're seriously looking at learning both Chinese and Russian, I'd suggest picking one if your goal is a decent level of fluency. Taking on Chinese is a life-long commitment and necessitates changing your life/lifestyle dramatically. Learning the basics is fun, but it'll take over a year of full-time study, and after that most people still can barely speak well enough to get by, are nowhere close to being able to read a middle-school novel, and still find it extremely difficult to write even a simple paragraph. I myself find the challange interesting.

    Arabic eh? Don't know much about this one. It's read right to left, yes? And the written script is all connected across the top of the letters, right? Any weird sounds to learn that are hard to grasp from your [extensive] European language base?

    I'm still collecting little add-on grammar points in my Chinese, and depending on the topic, my academic vocab can be quite language-breakdown inducing.

    When I first went to China, I only knew a few words. It's taken over 5 years in Beijing, and over 2 years here in Taipei (totals) and a lot of time invested, cultural frustration, and a total change of my life to finally get up to an advanced level.

    Sign language -- that's interesting. Did you know that China has it's own sign language, very different from the "international" sign language? I'm not sure of the content/signing differences, but I'd love to find a paper on the subject.
    I learned a bit of Japanese back in the day too, and it really was fun. At the time though my Chinese was just at very beginner level and it was too much for my brain to be learning both. Sorry Nippongo fans out there but Putonghua/Zhongwen/Guoyu won out.

    yeah man, I hear you about the French. When I was younger I didn't appreciate it as much as I would now, and I'm disappointed that as a Canadian I don't speak French. It's a bummer. I blame the government.

    I can relate to this one too. When I moved back to Vancouver from China I didn't get much practise, some though. But when I moved back to my hometown on P.E.I. there was almost no practise opportunities. Striking up a conversation with someone once a month or so is not substantial enough.

    As I'm sure you've deduced from reading the above responses, it's Mandarin that I'm up to my elbows in.

    My Chinese still has a loooong way to go, but I can comfortably enough read a novel, watch a movie, and automatically having information coming in from signs when out and about (something that I didn't realize was even happening until I went back to Canada one time and was overwhelmed by the info influx).

    Now for the first time ever, I'm able to take full-time language classes. The only other classes (for Chinese) that I've ever taken was a couple of true beginner college classes about 10 years ago.

    The biggest challenge I face however, is the overwhelming stereotype that all white people are fresh off the boat, ignorant about all things Asia, and of course can't speak Chinese. It's a tough stereotype to deal with -- almost everybody simply ignores me, or don't speak to me unless they feel confident to use English (considered to be the ONLY possible way to speak to a [white] foreigner). Because I find it a big loss of face to be speaking, or being spoken to, in English (because of the 'ignorant foreigner' stereotype) I do not allow this in any capacity, as I know it's just because of my race and not my language ability.
     
  20. prime roller

    prime roller introspective reflector

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    I agree totally! I used to carry around a little notebook, imagine conversation scenerios and write down any words that would help me express myself better. Constructing your own personalized vocab lists helps a lot. Very practical.

    And you're right about speaking as much as possible too, even to the point of developing your personality into someone who is very verbally outgoing. Even in you're like that naturally, many people run into a psychological wall when studying language; afraid to make mistakes, tired of sounding like a mentally challenged 3 year old, and often retreat back and only use the amount of language they feel comfortable with already.

    It seems to have been a continual lesson in humility and ego-deflation for me. But I'm happy to be over the psychological barrier of being able to jump into conversation even when I'm not sure if I have the vocab to dig myself back out again!

    For Chinese, I don't think it would've been possible to get far past "Ni Hao"
    if I would've stayed in Canada.
    And yeah, Cantonese would be a fun challenge too! I'm definitely interested -- enough that I went to check out Zhuhai (just on the Mainland from Macau) for 2 months with the consideration of moving there. But I fell into a good acting gig in Beijing that lasted for over a year, so I didn't wind up moving there. Still think about it though. Nice place. And in my opinion, mainland China is a much better place for learning Chinese.

    Again, definitely important to live the culture. The language of a place of course holds a lot of cultural aspects inside it. I used to love drinking and story spinning with blue collar workers in Beijing, and hanging with old dudes, fishing, playing Xiangqi (chess), or writing calligraphy on the tiles in park with water and long brushes (impermanence and all that good stuff). Here in Taiwan however, I'm kinda stuck hanging out with white collar people (not typically my kind of homeys) as the really manly dudes and old people here usually speak in Taiyu, not Mandarin. sigh.
     

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