Questions tagged [learning-methods]

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

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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", ...
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 ...
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 ...
30
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the drawbacks to Duolingo?

We've all heard of Duolingo, and we've all probably used it at least a little bit. I have friends who think it's amazing. But what are the drawbacks to using Duolingo? In particular, have any ...
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?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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,...
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 ...
23
votes
3answers
286 views

How can language learning techniques be compared for effectiveness?

It's common to ask whether X learning method is effective. A better question is "Is X more effective than Y?" But how can such a determination even be done? Maybe X is better for vocabulary recall, ...
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, ...
22
votes
2answers
206 views

What is the efficiency of the flipped classroom when teaching to beginners?

The flipped classroom concept started in the US and is gaining ground worldwide in secondary and primary education. The basic idea is that the learner is expected to learn the core of the lesson by ...
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 ...
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 ...
20
votes
4answers
607 views

How to remember words and improve my vocabulary

When trying to learn a new language I keep forgetting words, especially the adjectives. I think the main problem is that I don't use them at all and so after a bit I forget all the words that I don't ...
20
votes
3answers
206 views

Tips on raising bilingual children

My wife and I have been discussing how our kids (whenever that may happen) will properly learn both her native language (Russian) and mine (English) while likely growing up in the US or the UK, ...
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
4answers
443 views

How do I lose an accent in a foreign language?

Sometimes, an accent just doesn't go well with a language you are trying to speak. This means that the accent is probably going to go bye-bye. Except losing an accent is really hard. Gaining one is ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

Does dreaming in the target language speed up the learning process?

If so, is there a way to "learn" how to dream in another language? For example would thinking in 'language X' for one hour before going to bed help? Or does dreaming in another language only occur ...
19
votes
2answers
752 views

How can watching movies help improve fluency and listening skill?

Poems, songs, and book are usually known to help with your listening skills and clearly, your fluency. With movies, it seems different to me for some reason. Movies have a lot of stuff going on with ...
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 ...
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
3answers
175 views

How can gamification improve language learning?

Take a look at Duolingo and Babbel. Both offer online language learning experiences with one major difference: Duolingo claims to be a more "gamified" experience, meaning that you lose some progress ...
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 ...
18
votes
1answer
178 views

What makes a language propaedeutic?

Learning any language helps learning another language after faster. This propaedeutic value is found in all language, but is more noticeable for some languages and combinations. For exemple, for ...
18
votes
3answers
251 views

How can you verify your grammar during self-study?

This similar question regarding pronunciation made me think about verifying other aspects of language when you do not have access to a native speaker frequently or at all. I have many self-...
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, ...
18
votes
1answer
143 views

Are there studies showing that language study is more effective in a group than individually?

Often, it's claimed that in a group, you have people to practice verbal exercises with, as well as potential proofreaders and error-checkers to verify the grammar and spelling of your work. However, I'...
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 ...
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 ...
17
votes
4answers
140 views

Is it better to use different study methods for different languages?

Are there any studies done to see if the same learning methods can provide different results depending on the language being learnt? Are there certain methods that have been proved better for certain ...
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,...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

What are the benefits or drawbacks of learning poetry?

What skills can be improved by learning by heart poems in the target language? Won't this inhibit the learning process as poems sometimes disobey common grammar rules?
16
votes
4answers
326 views

Positive vs. negative reinforcement in Duolingo

I've run into a problem that I imagine most Duolingo users have run into at some point in their language learning experience. Assume I'm in the process of reviewing already learned vocabulary (as ...
16
votes
3answers
222 views

Pros and cons of reading the same book in each language I learn

One of my language learning strategies is to read the same book in every language I learn (in my case, the Book of Mormon). I know this book quite well, having read it several times in English and in ...
16
votes
2answers
144 views

Learn language learning techniques in school before starting to learn foreign languages?

In countries where the main language is not a world language, students often learn foreign languages in school. However, students are not taught about how to learn a language effectively. Has any ...
16
votes
1answer
148 views

What are the advantages of the Image Recall Technique over other traditional classroom learning methods?

I found an article on the Omniglot website that states that the Image Recall technique is a good method to learn a new language. It also states that software like Rosetta Stone use this technique. ...
15
votes
4answers
173 views

Ups and Downs of learning from non-native speaker rather than native speaker

Usually, people will learn from someone that is fluent in that language and is a native speaker, allowing them to learn from those to truly know the language. Others, though, learn from non-native ...
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
168 views

How can I strengthen vocabulary knowledge of words learned with flash cards?

I've used flash cards a lot to learn Korean words, and it doesn't take long to memorize words well enough that I can recall them very quickly. It's especially easy to go from English to Korean - I ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Would ASMR improve language learning?

I find ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) interesting, and I sometimes use it to relax at night. Now I am wondering if the "sensation" that ASMR provides can be beneficial to memory retention....
14
votes
4answers
201 views

Should I start learning another language even if I haven't mastered the last one?

I have studied German for the whole year last year. But I want to study other languages too. I haven't mastered German yet, and I am seeking advice whether I should start learning a new language ...
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
294 views

How can I stop/prevent conversations from switching to English?

I've oft experienced (and heard stories about) conversation participants switching to English when noting some lack of fluidity in the target language. In a similar vein, I've heard anecdotally of ...
14
votes
2answers
344 views

Learning through videos: what makes a video easy to understand for learners?

How can you tell if a video is easy to understand for learners? What are the important factors for a video to be easy? I guess slow and clear pronunciation is important. But also the usage of common ...