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What's the best way to learn a new language?

by Carolyn Hopping (follow)
Travel (12)      Education (6)      Learning (3)      Language (2)     

Image courtesy of Luca / Wikimedia Commons

Learning a new language as an adult can sometimes seem formidable, with some people achieving fluency very quickly and others struggling for years to understand simple phrases.
Different individuals also learn in different ways, with some finding that immersing themselves in another culture works best, while others prefer to take formal classes or learn online.

Have you ever learnt a new language as an adult? What was your experience? What worked best for you?

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I have never tried to learn a language past school, partly because I know how hard it is. I could never truly retain the information from classes, and going to the country without knowing any of the language is also hard to get by. I think a combination of initial classes, followed by vising the country and using the language, and then coming back for additional classes to keep it frsh in the mind is the bestway to go.
My second language is Italian. However, my parents very rarely spoke to us in anything other than English as their way of assimilating into Australia. Subsequently our Italian language skills are relatively quite poor compared to other immigrant children. My brothers and I did study Italian in high school however the very strict language rules demotivated us and we lacked interest in developing the language skills we should have considering our background.

We have each spent time in Italy and Europe and have used our basic and rustic Italian to develop our language skills ten fold. Living the language in the native country is the best methodology in learning and developing that language particularly within the context of conversation.

Admittedly not everyone has the funds to live overseas for months on end however, the expense of education today in Australia is almost akin to a cheap airfare and being part of a language exchange scheme.

In summary - living the language and submersing yourself within that country's culture is the best way to learning.
As an adult I have attempted to learn Italian and French.

I did French for 3 years at school so I had an advantage there, however, decided I would rather learn a totally new language as already speak two languages apart from French.

I had great difficulty learning as an adult.
I was not so good at studying when I was at school, however, as I age, I am obviously worse than I was!

I ended up stopping the course as I just could not remember things and thought there was no real need to know this language anyway.

The language I speak German, landed me in jail once when I went to Germany, so I do not think it is necessary to know a language whilst overseas in many countries anyway, so I gave up.
by Finy
I struggle to learn new languages but my husband picks them up very quickly. When we moved to Belgium, I was alright as I had learnt French (slowly and painfully!) at school but when we moved to Germany I was stuck, as I just couldn't get to grips with the language. I think the best way to learn a language is through conversations with native speakers. Trying to memorise lists of vocab and verb declensions as an adult is not so helpful in my experience....
Live for some time in country in which chosen language is spoken! If that's possible!
I have a great program for learning Dutch which I can record into and have my prnounciation checked. I have found it very effective. It uses lesson plans, cue cards and revisions. The brand is Byki. I haven't actually learned the language properly because I have lacked the time to apply myself and practice but do remenber what I have learned so far.
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