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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Default Learning a new language - which way is best?

    I missed the discussion on our last 'off-topic day'. I saw the thread on Rosetta Stone, but was busy and didn't get a chance to read it.

    What have some of you done to learn a new language? I don't want to enroll in the local college because it's a time commitment I can't make. I would like to find something I can work on at my own pace.

    Are there online courses that work? Is Rosetta Stone worth the money?
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2006
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    VA
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    I started the Rossetta Stone thread, and I have to tell you I have had to go to other sources to understand what they were trying to tell you. It is good for basics and I have done the Rossetta Stone spanish and found it very simple and easy to learn, but again it doesn't explain the rules of the language, how to conjucate verbs, why one sentance uses one word and a different sentance uses another.
    So in short, no I don't think it is worth the money. I do still use it to practice Thai, but I also took some advice off of here and got a tutor.



  3. #3
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    there are many cheaper computer and CD based systems out.

    I used 'Instant Immersion' CDs and 'Learn in your Car' sadly I don't have the chance much to listen uninterupted anymore ( and I found I rather listen to music in the car)

    But they work pretty well. It depends on what you want out of the language. For conversation the CDs work well, but they usually don't get into the written word.

    And a language that is related to what you already know is easier (though I found Spanish hard, go figure)

    Oh, you will need a microphone for some of the computer courses, as it tests your pronounciation.

    A tutor is always a good way to back it up, or just somebody you can talk to.
    (I gave a German session in the chat box of an online game the other night and I so do NOT do grammar...)
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2010
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    Down South
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    Default

    Do you just want to speak it only, or do you want to learn everything?

    Pimsleur has really good CD courses that are hearing/speaking only. After you go through a level or two, they then introduce a few printed materials. Their reasoning is that you learn to speak a language before you learn to read and write it.

    For me, it worked quite well. I was doing Norwegian with it, and when I was using a book/CD lesson from another company, I couldn't help but continuously force my English pronunciations on to the Norwegian words. And getting the spoken words into my head first made it easier to grasp the printed words later.

    The large/complete courses run about $250/$275, but Amazon has a Pimsleur Conversational series that's about $30.
    The dude abides ...



  5. #5
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    Mar. 12, 2006
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Opus1 View Post
    Do you just want to speak it only, or do you want to learn everything?

    Pimsleur has really good CD courses that are hearing/speaking only. After you go through a level or two, they then introduce a few printed materials. Their reasoning is that you learn to speak a language before you learn to read and write it.

    For me, it worked quite well. I was doing Norwegian with it, and when I was using a book/CD lesson from another company, I couldn't help but continuously force my English pronunciations on to the Norwegian words. And getting the spoken words into my head first made it easier to grasp the printed words later.

    The large/complete courses run about $250/$275, but Amazon has a Pimsleur Conversational series that's about $30.
    Most excellent advice! Thank you. I do pretty much just want to speak it. Written would only need to be enough to read street signs, restroom and hotel info.
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2010
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    Down South
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    Sweet! Glad I could help. The lessons are actually pretty good as they don't make you repeat the same word for 15 minutes. The lessons are interesting, can definitely be done during a commute, and each one is about 30 minutes long. On my CD I actually had real Norwegians speaking back and forth, so I could actually hear how they would speak it.

    Good luck! Oh, as far as the written basics, those can be learned pretty quick via a thicker phrase book.
    The dude abides ...



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 1, 2003
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    Happily in Canada
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    Default

    I like having printed materials because I am a visual learner - it is easier for me to remember things if I can see them in my mind's eye.

    However, I found learning a language on my own very difficult - needed back-up and someone to converse with.

    I definitely recommend going to I-Tunes and seeing if there are language modules there. I was learning Italian and as back-up and refreshers, there were tons of free modules with about 5 levels (beginner, mid-beginner, int., int/advanced, advanced). Really easy to use when walking around or driving (easier to repeat things out loud!).
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
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    The wonderful website Open Culture has very extensive listings for free language-learning resources.

    Free Foreign Language Lessons -- Open Culture



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
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    Whatever method you choose, it's really hard to learn a language on your own. Try to find some "conversation groups" in your target language in your area. It helps to actually speak to, and listen to native speakers. Watching TV in the target language with subtitles in the target language as well, is a great tool.

    I started learning English on my own when I was about 10 by listening to songs and repeating what I was hearing. Without knowing what it meant, haha, but I had the accents down at least! Then I would read the lyrics and try to understand them with my dictionary in hand. Then of course, I learned it in school. And finally I spent a few months in the US.

    Good luck - I still think the very best method is to spend a year in the country where your language of choice is spoken...but that's not always possible of course.
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  10. #10
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    Apr. 14, 2010
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    Deep in the Heart of Texas aka Houston
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    I second the Pimsler series. I started learning German with the conversational series. You know how in school when you learned a language you would think in English then translate it into the intended language? With the Pimsler I was actually thinking in German. Of course if you don't use it you lose it!
    Quote Originally Posted by Sithly View Post
    do NOT give your 5 year old child a big bag of apples and send her out alone into a herd of 20-some horses to get mobbed. There are better ways to dispose of unwanted children.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
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    NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    I started learning English on my own when I was about 10 by listening to songs and repeating what I was hearing. Without knowing what it meant, haha, but I had the accents down at least! Then I would read the lyrics and try to understand them with my dictionary in hand.
    Our Russian instructor has us do this quite a bit (my kids are 12 & 9 so they really enjoy doing this). We sing nursery rhymes and pop songs, and she'll give us the translation - we have to translate it and sing it. It's really helpful in practicing speaking because you are forced to learn the rhythm of the word through the song.



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