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How to Learn a Foreign Language in Six Months to a Year.

Chat in foreign languages or discuss language-learning.

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Re: How to Learn a Foreign Language in Six Months to a Year.

Post by Shemp » October 29th, 2019, 11:57 pm

ladislav's method requires high motivation, much higher than I have.

In my experience, after getting past the basics, best things is get recordings with transcripts (podcasts with transcripts, ebook plus audio recording), then listen to recording, read transcript and look up unknown words in dictionary, listen to transcript again. Then go on to the next recording. Try to get like 50 hours of recordings by native speakers with transcripts. If you listen for 10 minutes, read and look up words for 40 minutes, then listen again for 10 minutes, 50 hours or recordings will take 300 days. When you finish, do it all over again, except now the reading phase will go faster. Then repeat a third time. Listening comprehension is the hard part of any language, by far. Speaking can be learned in a few weeks if you can excellent listening comprehension skills.

As for improving your accent, be sure to record yourself then play back the recording. You should be able to notice if your accent is terrible. Listening to yourself as you speak, without recording, doesn't work, because sounds from the mouth pass through the jaw bones and interfere with same sounds reaching the ear through the air.

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Re: How to Learn a Foreign Language in Six Months to a Year.

Post by flowerthief00 » November 1st, 2019, 3:17 pm

What do y'all think of this guy's method? I would like to try it, but finding a nearby language partner for my target language is proving difficult.

Interesting that he says you should NOT study grammar.

It was also interesting which languages the US State Department considers the most difficult.
(Spoiler: Asian languages top the list)

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Re: How to Learn a Foreign Language in Six Months to a Year.

Post by mattyman » November 14th, 2019, 2:11 pm

I think OP it sounds like you're using the old-fashioned grammar translation method.

It's interesting the notes about how children learn languages quicker, that point you made about 'not caring what people think' is a huge part. I'd also like to add that kids only really have to deal with basic sentence formulas & can express a lot with limited vocab.

What I like to do is to have a few model phrase formulas (such as modal constructions with infinitives), the verb tenses by their function and a stock of basic vocab to chuck in and play with (you don't need a lot), then have a bit of a fiddle about changing the person (referring to self, talking to, talking about), number and tense.

RE verbs sentences; what I've also done is to look into the ways of answering the questions 'when?' (adverbs of time) and 'how often?' (adverbs of frequency). I look into and flashcard as many single words and phrases for these 'marker words' as I can (e.g. siempre, a veces, todos los Lunes).

Once you've had a practice with both phrase formulas (or even having a go at the tenses, pluralizing and doing the different persons), I find it exciting to have a listen to various dialogues and tutorials to see how much I can understand & then have a read of various articles. The latter is also a great opportunity to nick a bit of new vocab.

As for vocab, I have a categorization system based on parts of speech AND topic. For verbs, nouns and adjectives, topics like daily routine, actions of the body, shopping etc.. describing basic conditions, size, colour, describing emotions etc. names; people, places, everyday objects, family members.

As for grammar, particularly irregularities in verbs, nouns that are exceptions to the basic gender pattern, irregular plurals, I think that's what catches people out. What I do is I mark irregularities in verbs in vocab flashcards.

For me it seems to be working. Doing this then looking at dialogue, trying to read and see how much I understand (not beating myself up if I can't, but blagging any new vocab). It really is handy to get the gist of basic patterns of your L2.

I will drop a post talking about my strategies in more detail.

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