Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

General discussion about learning languages
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Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby Xenops » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:16 pm

I often find myself looking through logs, and the first thing I look for is the strategy of tackling a language. And some people don't have easy-to-find logs (smallwhite ;) ) So I'm curious what's the summary of your language study, and if you can, please provide a link to your log or detailed methodology in case we want to know more (which I'm sure I would).

Here's mine: I learned Spanish to a B2 level and Japanese to A1 level via traditional classroom instruction. Now I’m self-learning French via the French in Action course, Assimil, and Gabriel Wyner’s Anki method. I tend to prefer physical books with audio supplementation. I’m also using Duolingo, Korean from Zero! And Youtube for various things.

My log is easy to find. ;)
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby Tomás » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:10 pm

My first L2, Spanish, I learned through 30 lessons of Pimsleur, two thirds of Assimil, several thousand vocabulary words on Anki, and then extensive listening and reading since then.

For my L3, French, Assimil is too easy to keep my interest, so I just use it for extensive listening in the car. I am watching FIA episodes, doing Anki vocab, and jumping straight into extensive listening and reading with easy readers. I cannot wait to have the vocabulary to be able to escape these boring readers and move to real native materials. I have the first 1,000 words in the frequency dictionary down. It will take me a few more months to get the other 4,000.

Caveats: I have satisfactory receptive skills, but I have not practiced output very much at all. My grammar and conjugation skills need some polishing. If I want to develop my output side in the future, I would probably try to do FSI.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby tomgosse » Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:45 pm

I'm studying French with French In Action, Duolingo, Memrise, and listening to various podcasts. I also watch French movies.

edit: 17 juin 2017
I dropped French In Action, and added Assimil's New French With Ease.
Last edited by tomgosse on Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby tarvos » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:00 pm

My language study is a circus of different languages which get rotated by desire and passion. Most of my study is less focused on the grammatical details and more on consistent practice in both written and spoken form, as well as a healthy dose of reading. I don't use that many textbooks and when I do I use them in the beginning stages.

I do a grammar clean-up once I've gotten comfortable with the spoken and written language and I can convey my thoughts sufficiently well. For those languages where more detail is required, I always end up finding ways to use these languages in real life. Travel and immersion form a big part of my learning as well.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby blaurebell » Sat Mar 18, 2017 10:45 pm

English: Standard grammar torture and vocabulary in school for 11 years, extensive reading, watching Star Trek, university level reading, then 4 years studying at university level in England. 100,000+ pages of input at least, I don't know how many hours of audio and video input, but re-watching Star Trek alone makes for 2000h at least and during uni years I watched between 3-8h of series and movies a day. I have been speaking and writing it daily for the last 10 years, some of it philosophy papers.

Spanish: Total Immersion speaking from Day 1. Language school for 5 months with 3h a day, 2-3h homework reading + ambient Spanish. Afterwards at least 500h of series, 4500 pages extensive reading. Good listening comprehension, shoddy reading comprehension, can't listen to audiobooks due to gaps in my literary vocabulary, I write horribly and get my subjunctives wrong half the time, but I speak fluently and without hesitation normally. I also have some residual mistakes from speaking too early with too many foreigners. I need to fill in the gaps with intensive reading and FSI one day.

French: Half of Assimil + most of Duolingo. Then 5000 pages of intensive reading with Learning with Texts + 250h of dubbed series and audiobooks. Good reading comprehension, good listening comprehension up to high brow content and audiobooks. Still lacking on slang, I need more native series and movies for that. I don't speak or produce any kind of French though, it wasn't really my aim. If one day I have a reason I'll do FSI + Duolingo reverse tree.

Russian: I'm following the same strategy as with French, Assimil + Duolingo + intensive reading. A bit harder because there are less cognates, but it's working too. With Russian my aim is to speak, so after finishing Duolingo I'm now starting with Modern Russian - basically FSI.

Different strategies, but early intensive reading seems to be most efficient for me.
Last edited by blaurebell on Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby AndyMeg » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:06 pm

I'm a native speaker of spanish.

L2--> English: I reached a lower-intermediate level thanks to school classes (english as a subject from my school) plus more classes outside school. Then I leveled-up my english by reading lots of japanese manga with an english translation. I keep improving my english by continuously writing in it, watching non-english TV programmes with english subs, watching TV series in english without subs and reading extensively (novels, non-fiction books, articles, manga, etc.). Also, most of my language learning materials for japanese and korean are or have been in english.

L3--> Japanese: I studied in a classroom with a japanese native for a little over a year. Then I started a journey in self-study where I tried too many materials and strategies to list down (some of them include: Michel Thomas, Pimsleur, Minna no Nihongo, Genki, Anki cards, srs, Marugoto, Mangajin, Nihongo Notes, Japanese the Manga Way, Japanese in Mangaland, language exchanges via skype, "Remembering the Kanji" by James Heisig, etc.). I studied on and off for many years, and I've reached a point in which I feel I would be a B1 grammar wise but an A2 because of my lack of enough vocabulary and my troubles with kanji. For now my plan with japanese is to improve my kanji by studying with the Kanji Study app for android and read lots of manga in japanese (with a dictionary or two at hand).

L4--> Korean. I started two months ago and I'm using what I learned thanks to my adventures with english and japanese to create a process that I really enjoy and can stick with for the long run. So far this is my approach: Intensive study (about 30% of the time) plus Extensive interaction with native material that I enjoy (the other 70% of the time. Mostly K-dramas, Variety TV shows and k-songs. For now I use a lot of english subs, but my plan is to eventually drop that crutch). Resources I'm currently using for the intensive or semi-intensive study: Glossika, Memrise plus a list of the most frequent vocabulary divided by "part of speech" categories, and a K-drama.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby Steve » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:27 am

Ancient Greek: On and off for 20 years with little progress for much work using grammar based brute force memorization, 2 steps forward, 1.9 steps back. Last 5 years, much progress due to focusing on extensive reading with parallel and interlinear texts with some intensive reading. Giving up spending most of my time in grammar books and lexicons was the best move I made.

Spanish: 5 months of Rosetta Stone (free at work) to maybe A1. Assimil for about 6 months followed by more reading and watching Netflix w/Spanish audio and subtitles on (Star wars cartoons, Que Pobres tan Ricos telenovela, Merlin). Now working through advanced Assimil (French to Spanish but I don't know French.). Watching and reading news. Need to start working more on active skills.

German: 2 years of University classes about 30 years ago, got As since I was good at memorizing and taking tests. 10 years ago, started FSI for a few months and burned out. Adequate skills to use e-mail with German colleagues and clients. On the back burner now.

Hebrew and Mandarin: On Jan 1, this year, started using Assimil for both at a rate of about 1 lesson per week about 5 to 10 minutes or so per day. I spend about an hour on Sundays typing out each new lesson so I have nice printed pages with only Chinese and Hebrew to follow. Using the track pad entry system on my laptop gives nice practice "writing" Chinese characters. The point of this work being to "prime the pump" for when I want to hit them both seriously in a few years.

The big thing for me was realizing language learning is like learning a musical instrument. It's a set of working skills to be acquired. I wish I'd have known that 30 years ago. Más vale tarde que nunca.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby Finny » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:36 am

More than anything, I need to have an overwhelmingly strong reason to do it to begin with. For Spanish, it was to teach my future kids and to get a job / career that required it. For French, it's purely to teach the kids. I floundered with languages for several years until I figured this out about myself, and spent time with lots of programs with little results.

My approach with both was/is the same; basically a less intense version of AJATT / Antimoon (lots of reading, lots of listening, next to no speaking until much later). I had more time per day to learn Spanish because I learned it before my daughter was born. :D With French these days, I read books to the kids, read books to myself, and listen to the radio whenever possible. Throw in looking up random words from time to time on Wordreference and you have all my secrets. I pushed speaking harder and sooner with French because I wanted to get it into the kids' heads sooner, but besides that, it's basically been the same path.
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby smallwhite » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:44 am

I don't have a log.

1. He didn’t know it was impossible so he went ahead and did it.
2. Set ability-based goals.
3. Consider goals in every decision.
4. Work on what has the greatest potential for improvement at that moment.
5. Get listening ability soon.
6. Usually: Pronunciation -> Grammar overview -> Vocabulary -> Reading -> Listening -> Grammar drills -> Output
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Re: Your Language Learning Strategy...In 50 Words or so

Postby whatiftheblog » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:42 am

Title: Frantically Making Up For a Lost Decade: A Tale of Woe

Background: I'm a native speaker of both English and Russian and I'm trying to get to a stable and solid C2 in French by July.

In chart form: took French in school -> fiddled around with some articles and books here and there -> did a summer study abroad in France -> continued fiddling around -> convinced self that Self would never speak French as well as English/Russian so why even bother -> more intermittent fiddling -> woke up one morning ten years later and realized that I'd just been an idiot this entire time.

Starting point (Sep 2016): C1 listening/reading, B2 speaking/writing
Current point (Mar 2017): C2 listening/reading, high C1/low C2 writing, high C1 speaking
Goal: high C2 speaking by July; that's all that's really going to matter in the immediate term

Strategy: all native content all the time; no subtitles, translations, or French-dubbed foreign material. News broadcasts (TV + radio), political talk shows (TV + radio + podcasts), the entire presidential campaign, a mix of books (mostly non-fiction/current affairs, some novels), Le Monde daily (subscription), L'Express weekly (subscription), comedy shows (Quotidien, Guillaume Meurice), 2h/week (initially 1) of conversation practice with an italki tutor, and a recently established goal of 400 written words a day covering a professionally relevant topic. A bare minimum of 6h/day, usually ~8-9.

Log here - the link points to a specific post where I outline my strategy in greater detail.
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