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Old January 2 2013, 09:28 PM   #16
Owain Taggart
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Location: Northern Ontario, Canada
Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

I'm technically French-Canadian, but I speak more English than French these days, being surrounded more with English. I find one of the easiest ways to learn a language is to put on a foreign news channel, where there are a variety of topics. You often get to see pictures associated with what they're talking about, making some things a little easier to pick up on. The downside though is that sometimes they'll talk so fast making it hard to understand unless you're already familiar with the language.

For anyone interesting in the roots of languages, or English in particular, I recommend "The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way" by Bill Bryson. It's a humorous look at the roots of the English language. Quite a fun read.
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Old January 2 2013, 10:55 PM   #17
iguana_tonante
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

teacake wrote: View Post
Why not learn Italian instead, at least there are tons of people you can talk to, newspapers you can buy.. unlike French and German which are rarely heard here.
I wholeheartedly support the idea of learning Italian, but French and German are definitively more useful.

Shaytan wrote: View Post
What worked for me was to find something I'm interested in on the internet (for motivation) and then to read a lot.
The next step was was to find a place where I could communicate in English. That's why I'm here
Everything is a question of pratice, regular practice, and motivation.
That's pretty much how I see it. I learned English in school, and used it extensively in university, but it was always "academic" English: pretty stiff and inexpressive.

This place is the reason my written English sounds pretty natural. If only I could translate this proficiency into spoken English!
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Old January 3 2013, 02:36 AM   #18
Davros
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

I may have minored in German but it has been so long since I have used it that my skills have greatly declined.

But my standard use these days is to joke.
Alles must in Ordenung sein!
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Old January 5 2013, 09:52 PM   #19
Rhubarbodendron
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Location: milky way, outer spiral arm, Sol 3
Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

Human(-oid) languages:

native language: high German.
learned as a child: Bavarian, English, Latin (fluent in all 3), Czech (only very basic)
learned as an adult: Turkish, Klingon & Italian (basic), Mandarin Chinese (read & write decently, speak little), Dutch (understand all but speak only little - am still fighting with the L pronounciation).
Currently learning French and Welsh and working on improving my Italian and Dutch.

Computer languages:
BASIC, Q-BASIC, Milan, PASCAL, C, C+, C++, PHP, HTML, Java.

I find learning in general easier as an adult than I did as a child. We older ones recognize the patterns and the basic structure, something younger people can't yet. This way older people often get an intuitive grasp of grammar without having to learn the rules explicitly. We know that every language has a smooth flow and when it sounds 'bumpy' there must be an error.
Much the same goes for computer languages: Once you grasped the concept it's easy. You just have to think in 0 and 1 and remember that for a programme there is nothing between both.

Learning vocabulary, on the other hand, gets more difficult with time as the memory is weaker in older people.


Crivens! Reading Haggis' post I realize that I forgot to mention that I understand Scots sufficiently to read and enjoy Robert Burns. And I understand a tiny bit of Irish Gaelic. A side effect of singing in a Celtic Folk band for 30 years

@Davros: Ordnung is massively overrated - remember the universe is ruled by chaos!
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Old January 6 2013, 02:21 PM   #20
Collingwood Nick
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

^ That's been my experience so far. Grammar kind of works itself out without too much effort. But vocab - forget it. I need practice and ideally immersionm which is kind of overkill for just a hobby.
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Old January 6 2013, 02:22 PM   #21
Collingwood Nick
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

Computer languages are another story. Small vocab, tight syntax - you hardly need to learn anything at all
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Old January 6 2013, 06:18 PM   #22
SmoothieX
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

^Well they are logical and follow the rules consistently, which is more than I can say for English.
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Old January 6 2013, 09:03 PM   #23
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

or for German You might say that a grammatical construct following the rules is rather the exception.

I recommend a vacation abroad. In my experience that's the best and fastest way to learn a language. Avoid the tourist season and go abroad when you can be sure to be the only one from your country. Or go to some place that's far away from the classical holiday destinations. This way you'll hear the foreign language spoken around you all day and automatically pick up a lot of useful phrases.
After only 2 days in Cardiff I automatically said "diolch" to the driver when getting off the bus, on day #5 I was invited to join a jam session with local musicians in a pub. And after only 10 days on Ischia I was able to chat a bit with the locals and even swap gardening tips. =)

Learning by doing always works best
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