How do you study a language?

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
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Re: How do you study a language?

Postby gsbod » Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:05 am

I may not be the best example but right now I am just turning up to class (2 hours once a week), doing my homework (usually only takes 15-20 minutes, either the night before class or lunchtime on the day), and watching an episode of Destinos every couple of weeks. But the class has a well structured syllabus delivered at a relatively relaxed pace, so I can get away with my lack of effort but still keep making progress. The class keeps advancing (slowly), so as long as I keep showing up, so do I.

But Spanish is much easier for me than Korean. I really put in the hours when I did Japanese, although not always effectively as I was also learning how to learn at the same time. I think I'd have to do the same with Korean.

Still, I think my general approach now to any language is to find a decent well structured course (either class or textbook) and keep showing up (either to the class or to the textbook). Use Anki to review vocabulary until I get bored, delete the deck and then start again. Find some decent learner oriented audio material as a supplement (Japanesepod101, Deutsche Welle's Warum Nicht? and now Destinos have all hit the spot for me). Keep going until I can have a basic conversation, get the gist of a TV show or read a novel with the assistance of a dictionary, and then it's a case of learning by doing but still remembering to study those advanced grammar topics to polish things up.

The hardest part is to keep showing up and then keep going...
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Re: How do you study a language?

Postby tangleweeds » Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:14 am

Actually I do have more to say, because once I read my post, I realized my old study process has been altered by a couple of life events, one being a (hopefully temporarily) dead laptop and the other an (also hopefully temporary) eye injury.

Before the dead laptop, I used Anki a lot more, because I’m one of those people for whom the making of the cards is half of the process of learning it. Now I keep trying premade decks and quickly losing interest. There are always too many cards I don’t need, and the ones I do, the spacing of Anki’s repetition doesn’t help them stick (honestly, Anki’s spacing has never really worked for me; I’ve always had to go under the hood to fix it). My own process of editing then looping the audio while I transcribe the word/phrase/sentence and build out my overcomplicated, multi-sided cards apparently does something that simply repeating premade cards can’t.

And my eye injury has meant that I need to keep my book/pen&paper study to a minimum, which has really changed my process because colorful textbook mutilation, note taking, and writing exercises have always been a major part of how I remember things. I probably still do them more than I really should (since my eye isn’t healing as predicted), but I have supplemented my usual process with mass quantities of JapanesePod101–I recently did some math and found I have studied more than 300 episodes since my eye suffered its vitreous detachment in August, studied meaning repeated listening until the Japanese dialogues remain linguistically transparent to me (no delayed comprehension, not translating in my head).
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Re: How do you study a language?

Postby leosmith » Mon Feb 12, 2024 12:04 pm

5 x - try our free multi-language reading tool

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Re: How do you study a language?

Postby Ug_Caveman » Tue Feb 13, 2024 1:17 am

Funnily enough I've actually written myself a little essay on what I feel I could have done better or not in my pursuit of Dutch B1 - if I pass the exam this year, I'll stick it in my log/this thread.

One thing I do have and will write about here is my own Assimil technique, which I call "modular study":

Instead of doing the first 50 lessons passively then going back to lesson 1 to start the active wave, I break Assimil down into blocks of 21 lessons. For Dutch this worked well, as DWE contained 84 lessons.

I then do the first week passive, before starting the active wave at the 8th passive lesson and stopping passive study when I get to the 21st lesson. Basically, I break the course down into four mini-chunks.

For the active wave, I don't just try to recite the lesson orally, but actually write it down using the scriptorium method.

This gave me a bit more direct reinforcement and I felt built a stronger scaffold for me with the language.
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Re: How do you study a language?

Postby Granrey » Tue Feb 13, 2024 2:08 am

Classic study like reading a book and trying to force my brain to remember things, I do very little*.

I relay a lot in using several apps simultaneously and just read lots of books for self teaching. I'm hoping that by being consistent I will get enough "comprehensible input with more than required space repetition" so the brain has no other option than to learn it and remember it.

*the only things I try to study is the difficult stuff that like conjugation, subjunctive, etc but In which I try to find patterns.

In regards of patterns I have noticed the french future is almost identical to the future in spanish. However, I noticed that no books mentions that which is weird. So, patterns like that I just try to learn them myself by studying them.

For instance: english: "you will go", french: "tu iras", spanish: "tu iras"

Similar situations can be seen in the past and conditionals tenses as well as the conjugation in spanish and french add an stress at the end of the conjugated verb.
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