Questions tagged [learning-methods]

For questions about methods, techniques, and/or practices that assist in learning another language

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10
votes
3answers
195 views

Is it necessary to learn the characters of a language that uses logograms [Japanese]?

I want to learn Japanese and most books or guides begin with how to draw an logogram and to repeat the process of "writing" and single character dozens of times. And learning hundreds of those signs ...
25
votes
2answers
345 views

What are some techniques to better differentiate between the two languages?

I grew up learning Spanish in school (I'm from Arizona) and became fluent in Spanish. Later, in college, I started learning French. I noticed many of the linguistic similarities between the two ...
19
votes
3answers
316 views

How can I avoid confusion or interference when studying two similar languages?

For example, consider Tamil and Malayalam. They are two very similar languages with many similar words. The point is I get confused by the minor differences as I cannot remember them. I usually ...
22
votes
4answers
691 views

Is doing a huge amount of grammar exercises helpful for learning English?

Some books that teach English come with pages and pages of grammar exercises. Are these helpful? I see that a few exercises are helpful to help you understanding the grammar. However, after that, ...
34
votes
2answers
790 views

Has the “direct method” of language learning been shown to be superior to translation-based methods?

The textbook I'm using to learn Latin, called Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, is an example of the "direct method" of language instruction. The text is entirely written in Latin, and progresses ...
20
votes
5answers
419 views

What is the impact of studying a third language in a second language?

when learning a third language, what are the relative advantages or disadvantages of studying the third language in either my native language or my second language? More specifically, if I choose to ...
57
votes
9answers
1k views

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

Many people forget languages entirely after enough time. I've become fluent in Spanish, but I haven't used it in over a year, and most of my family and friends don't speak it fluently. With all the ...
42
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I verify my pronunciation without a native speaker?

I've been learning Japanese for a short while, and it uses some sounds that aren't in my native language (English). (For example, the "r" sound, which has been described to me as a combination of "d", ...
24
votes
2answers
246 views

Does writing out by hand generally strengthen retention better than computerized memorization methods?

Language learning (well, in my experience) involves a lot of review. A LOT. Pounding that vocabulary into my brain again and again; over and over. I spend a lot of time on the computer, so, naturally,...
25
votes
3answers
574 views

Can listening to music (lyrics) help increase listening skill?

Music is usually everywhere and in every language known on Earth probably. They also contain lyrics in foreign languages - which seemingly can help improve our skills and fluency with that particular ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

When learning a foreign language, should one focus on vocabulary or grammar first? [closed]

When I learned Spanish, I focused entirely on learning the grammar and conjugations before learning a plethora of vocabulary. As a result, I was able to speak properly given what I knew, but I often ...
17
votes
3answers
132 views

What strategies can I use to learn the gender of irregular nouns?

The problem When a foreign language uses genders for nouns and pronouns, memorizing these genders is a difficult process. Sometimes it is possible to follow rules or hints: 1; 2; 3. E.g.: In French,...
11
votes
7answers
256 views

How can I learn a language with little documentation/resources (Georgian)?

I've been trying to learn Georgian for almost 9 months now but have got no where. I do know a Georgian, even despite his undeniable skill in English he can't explain Georgian grammar to me. Georgian ...
27
votes
4answers
400 views

Which of these is more effective: having a silent period, or speaking from day one?

Nowadays, people usually learn languages in one of two ways: silent learning or speaking the new language from day one. They have their pros and cons but differ from each other greatly. A silent ...
28
votes
2answers
298 views

What research is there on the efficiency of online language learning compared to in person learning?

Have there been enough studies to draw any definitive conclusions on how well sites such as Duolingo or Livemocha work in comparison to classroom learning?
23
votes
7answers
447 views

What approaches can I take to overcome 'leeches'?

It's not uncommon that I come across a leech while studying my Anki cards. Usually this is the result of confusing two similar items (vocabulary terms, IPA symbols, whatever). Once I've identified ...
20
votes
4answers
705 views

How can I expand my active vocabulary in a foreign language?

I’ve been learning a foreign language for 5 years. Now, I easily understand everything I read, I know lots of words and everything seems to be alright, but I still have a problem. My active vocabulary ...
20
votes
2answers
444 views

Is SRS more effective than traditional study for vocabulary augmentation?

Spaced Repetition Software (SRS), such an Anki, has become somewhat popular in the language-learning realm for increasing one's vocabulary and similar reasons. However, is there any evidence that ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

When using flashcards, should the word or the definition be hidden?

A lot of language learning methods use flash cards to allow them to remember words and their definitions and to test their memory. Some people hide the words, while others hide the definition, which ...
18
votes
1answer
458 views

How can I develop an accent in a foreign language?

I have been teaching myself Italian for 2 years so far, and I still sound very foreign. When I am speaking Italian with someone else, it is difficult to imitate their accent properly, and when I try, ...
17
votes
3answers
510 views

How does learning vocabulary through sentences compare to learning with words alone?

When learning vocabulary, especially with the use of SRS (Spaced Repetition System), it is interesting to use flashcards. A commonly encountered problem is how to formulate those for maximum ...
9
votes
4answers
223 views

First learn speaking and then writing OR both at once?

I am a novice to the Japanese language, and this question might have some opinion-based answers but I could use some advice. Should I learn to speak some basic words and sentences up to a level where ...
3
votes
2answers
103 views

How can I get over lack of learning resources in “minor languages”

Sometimes I want to learn a language but give up due to the lack of resources available. These languages tend to be the ones that very few people learn using English. In my opinion, one of the core ...
14
votes
3answers
204 views

Learning a language, for someone who can't stand flash cards

I can't stand memorizing words. I've found that the best way to memorize vocabulary is using (digital) flash cards, however I find studying flash cards to be one of the most mind-numbing and ...
9
votes
1answer
266 views

How many new words at a time?

I have a 1000 flash cards of new words. I pick a flash card at random to test if I remember the word. If not, I take a moment to try to remember it. With a 1000 flash cards I feel that I see too many ...
31
votes
4answers
447 views

How can I avoid learning an incorrect pronunciation due to a word's spelling?

I've noticed that I and others (sometimes entire communities) mispronounce words in a second language, which they could in theory pronounce well using phonemes of their first language, because of the ...
6
votes
1answer
156 views

Is recall study more effective than recognition study for learning vocabulary?

According to Tim Ferris, If you train for recall, you get recognition automatically; if you train for recognition, recall is terrible, or as slow as molasses. (See The Time Ferris Show, 19 June ...
21
votes
3answers
241 views

Can practicing vocabulary from L2 to the same L2 instead of from L2 to L1 be more effective for learning the vocabulary?

Can practicing vocabulary from a second language to the same second language instead of from a second language to your first language be more effective? Example: Suppose I know German and I’m ...
20
votes
1answer
218 views

How to practice speaking a language with no speakers?

How can I practice speaking, and hopefully eventually become fluent in, a language with no fluent speakers, either native or otherwise? (I'm interested in the constructed language Glosa, but this ...
13
votes
2answers
847 views

Is the “T-Coding Method” a reliable method to learn vocabulary?

In Iran someone named "Mr Taraghghi" has imported a method for learning English vocabulary called "Vocabulary Coding" for Persian native speakers that works like this example: Consider the word "...
11
votes
6answers
287 views

How can I overcome fear and failure when speaking to native speakers of my L2?

I've been studying Russian language on my own for more than 1.5 years. And I'm still bad at it because of lack of speaking practice. I didn't study everyday as I also paused for several months so I'm ...
11
votes
3answers
333 views

Modern Hebrew before Biblical Hebrew?

I have heard it said more than once that there are advantages to gaining a basic fluency in Modern Hebrew before attempting Biblical Hebrew. Getting comfortable with text decoding, basic vocabulary, ...
11
votes
2answers
254 views

Learn languages by memorizing rhymed poems

My native language is Portuguese and I had the initiative to read and memorize Os Lusíadas by Camões, the principal literary work in Portuguese. So I started to memorize the Divina Commedia by Dante ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to learn B1-level German in 3 months?

I realize this may be a potential duplicate, but a quick look through the "Questions that may already have your question" didn't pop up anything. I am hoping to participate as part of the Fulbright ...
19
votes
4answers
212 views

How can I help someone improve their listening comprehension?

A bit of background: My girlfriend is Taiwanese and will attend TesDaF (German test) in a week. She has been previously learning for about 8 months now while being in Germany. So far, all points (...
18
votes
2answers
207 views

What are effective ways to memorize sign languages?

I've learned spoken languages by writing words down, hearing them and remembering them, and working on websites. However, I don't see that helping if I learn a sign language. None of those techniques ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

What are the advantages of a paper dictionary over an online dictionary?

It has been a while now since I opened a paper dictionary to translate words from a language to another. I still have two paper dictionaries at home: one for English-French translations and one for ...
11
votes
4answers
281 views

Improving a language at B1 level

I am learning Russian and English. I speak in English and understand everything most of the time when my friends talk. I understand about 60% of the words in movies and news. I also struggle with ...
11
votes
2answers
136 views

How to improve writing fluency

I have been studying French and Spanish for several years, to the point of passive fluency in both languages. I can speak French (and a little Spanish) but my writing abilities are almost non-existent....
9
votes
1answer
114 views

What are the steps to native language acquisition for children?

I've been trying to find literature that talks about steps taken to typically learn a language. I know that based on what I've read that children start from a one-word stage to multi-word stage. What ...
9
votes
2answers
103 views

Learning the grammatical gender of nouns in languages that have no articles, using non-visual techniques [duplicate]

When learning languages where nouns have a grammatical gender, it is sometimes (or often?) possible to learn the grammatical gender by learning the noun together with a definite or an indefinite ...
9
votes
3answers
159 views

Does living in a country where the language is spoken improve the language skill that much?

It seems quite common among language learners that living in a country where the language you learn is spoken is a very effective way to improve the language skill (especially speaking). However, ...
6
votes
3answers
187 views

What are some of the oldest documented language learning techniques or resources?

There are several archaeological bilingual and multilingual artefacts, e.g. the Philae obelisk (ca. 118 BC?), the Rosetta Stone (196 BC; Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Demotic script, and Greek ...
6
votes
0answers
59 views

What sequences of learning kanji characters, their readings, meanings, and related vocabulary tend toward longest retention?

In Japanese, many words can be written both with just the kana (phonetically) and with the kanji (Chinese characters). For example, the character 年 (ねん - "nen") means "year". In other vocabulary it ...
14
votes
1answer
116 views

How to get the most out of story-reading as a learning technique

I am going to look for a native speaker on Italki to practice my English in this way: First I get a story, which is new to me. This story is a little bit hard for me like I can understand 80-90 ...
13
votes
2answers
184 views

At which point in learning a language can one be able to grok the meaning of new words or grammar structures?

As a non-native English speaker I've recently noticed that I have the ability to grok the meaning of certain words thanks to the context and expectations of what is going to be said. The use of the ...
11
votes
2answers
177 views

Evidence that learning radicals speeds up character learning in Chinese?

Characters — in Chinese or Japanese (or Korean Hanja) — can be learnt in various ways, and it is plausible that paying attention to radicals helps memorisation and retention. But is there any hard ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How did Cardinal Mezzofanti learn foreign languages?

Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti (1774-1849) was an Italian cardinal who also became famous for his language skills. According to his biographer Charles William Russell, he spoke at least 30 languages very ...
10
votes
1answer
79 views

How do you master adpositions, besides memorisation?

Summary of Question: Many popular books only suggest memorisation (useless for many) and do not explain adpositions and their uses. Beyond memorisation, how else can a language learner master the ...
9
votes
2answers
680 views

Repetition interval during initial learning within a day

I found that some words hard to recall after several minutes or on next day when learned them from flash cards. With longer period of time between recalls (5/10/60 min) and after working with another ...