Questions tagged [self-learning]

For questions regarding teaching oneself a language with minimal or no prior experience with it

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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", ...
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 ...
21
votes
4answers
318 views

Is it possible to learn a language just by being exposed to media and books? [closed]

Say I want to learn to speak Chinese. Could it be possible to learn Chinese just by watching subtitled Chinese movies/tv and reading books made for children?
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
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 ...
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 ...
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
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, ...
17
votes
2answers
132 views

Why do words first come to me in a recently studied language when I try to talk a previously studied language?

In high school, about 15 years ago, I studied German for three years (my mother tongue is Dutch). The last eight year years I have studied and practiced Spanish and Catalan. And every time I try to ...
16
votes
4answers
319 views

Through which language can you learn the most other languages online?

Say I'm a native Tagalog speaker wanting to learn German. Seeing as how there's not an abundance of Tagalog --> German language courses online or in person (and that's an understatement!), I would ...
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
135 views

Is it important to be able to spell words?

Being able to write in a language is certainly an important skill, but is writing by hand that important? Since a lot of communication is done digitally, I am wondering whether it would be sufficient ...
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
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
148 views

Will learning ASL interfere with other languages I am learning?

I am learning Italian right now. I've heard many people say that learning multiple languages at once is a risky idea, since you can easily confuse them. However, would that apply to ASL? I've heard ...
13
votes
3answers
229 views

How to make vocabulary acquisition fun?

I have been learning French for around 2.5 years. I am currently around the B1 level and have attained this by practising reading, writing and speaking and basically immersion. But one of the biggest ...
13
votes
2answers
185 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
207 views

Relearning/refreshing language skills

This question is slightly related to an earlier question about studies on language requisition, but is more interested in practical/anecdotal evidence rather than 'scientific study'. During school ...
11
votes
4answers
122 views

When is the right time to talk to native speakers?

I'm about to ask a question that's been on my mind since the day I started learning Russian. It has nothing to do with Russian in particular though. When is the right time to start to talk to native ...
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
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
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
171 views

How does one go from “understanding each word” to “understanding the sentence.”

I've been learning Italian for the past 2 years, and I've reached a point where in the average sentence (in introductory material) I understand over half of the words. This usually allows me to ...
11
votes
3answers
97 views

Improving my English Skills (CAE) without a language trip

I'm learning English in my 8th year now and want to take the CAE exam (Cambridge, level C1) in one year. I am already taking an extra course at school; in normal lessons we are between level B1 and B2....
10
votes
5answers
135 views

Are there learning resources to drill my Dutch?

When I was learning English we used lots of exercises that were referred to as use of English, which help you train some particular grammar. Now, I am learning Dutch and most of the exercises ...
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
2answers
156 views

Are there any free online resources for learning Tamazight?

I'd like to learn Tamazight or any related Berber language by self-learning, in a first step. As far as I know they are similar to some extent therefore I'm not excluding the possibility to use ...
9
votes
3answers
101 views

Learning language by singing songs?

Learn languages by memorizing rhymed poems is about pro/cons of using poems to learn a language. What about using songs? Songs might use more modern language, avoiding the cons mentioned for poems. ...
9
votes
1answer
90 views

Pros and cons of “self-learning” with another non-native speaker vs. by yourself

Consider a scenario in which two people who do not speak L2 try to learn it without human resources. All they have are books in the language, dictionaries, and online learning tools like Duolingo. ...
9
votes
1answer
103 views

How to overcome demotivating interference from native language when learning a related language?

Situation: I had once attempted and am considering returning to self-learning Czech. My native language is Polish. The two languages are quite similar, to the extent that there are significant parts ...
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
213 views

Seeking West Punjabi learning resources

I wish to learn the Punjabi language. From what I understand, Western Punjabi (spoken in Pakistan) is the traditional Punjabi language that Punjabis spoke before the Partition of India (which ...
9
votes
1answer
60 views

Grammar and language learning books/software (Irish)

I am currently learning Irish with the help of the Android application "Duolingo". It doesn't teach me the grammar; it works with translating sentences. I don't think the app is very useful; I tried ...
9
votes
2answers
71 views

Collaborative translation

I'd like to improve my language skills by translating, if possible with feedback from others on my translation. Therefore I'd like to know whether there's a community for carrying out collaborative ...
9
votes
1answer
143 views

How can I improve the listening and speaking skill as a self-learner?

I learn any languages mostly alone, without any school or tutors (as it is insanely expensive and also quite inflexible). I learn it mostly online, starting wit apps like Rosetta Stone and Memrise as ...
8
votes
1answer
199 views

How to choose an easy language to learn based on the languages that I already speak

We know a lot of great things that can motivate us to start learning a new language, boosting up our career, having a great travel experience, etc. But what would be some techniques that we can use to ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

How to start recognizing tones and accents?

I would like to start recognizing tones, accents and stresses in languages I already know. Are there efficient ways to do this? For a little more background : I have recently become aware of the ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

How can I sound more 'native'?

I'm fluent in French and Russian - by which I mean that I don't have any trouble reading novels and can easily converse in either without making grammatical errors or feeling uncomfortable - and have ...
7
votes
6answers
109 views

Can anyone give me advice on upgrading / learning English?

I recently defended my doctoral thesis in management science and I realize that English is the key to the job market and research field. During my primary and secondary education, I was good at ...
7
votes
2answers
136 views

What are effective ways to gain speaking comprehension without the help of a partner in non-english speaking countries?

I know this question sounds complicated and general, indeed. I'm looking for some effective tips for people with this condition.
7
votes
2answers
105 views

How can one learn a language with unpredictable pronunciation?

I've always preferred languages like Spanish, German, Japanese, with pronunciations that you can easily predict (yeah, German has a few irregularities, but they're not that numerous, the only major ...
7
votes
1answer
80 views

Is there a list of generic English sentences to practise translation?

I am currently learning a couple of languages (Welsh and Icelandic, among others) and am looking for some generic English sentences to practise my translation into other languages. I'm not ...
7
votes
2answers
75 views

Should I correct my grammar mistakes or just ignore them while practice speaking?

While practice speaking a foreign language, I often find myself make a mistake during the speech and correct it immediately. The mistakes usually come from grammar, which I rarely do in writing. For ...
7
votes
1answer
93 views

How to overcome limitations of memory palace?

I frequently use the loci method (memory palace) to learn vocabulary, but I find that after 150-200 words my house is full with words/images and there is no space left. I know of people who can ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

Learning Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia) on my own

I have decided to try to learn Indonesian on my own, so I have a couple of questions. For starters, what (ideally free) resources are available to one who wants to learn Indonesian to college class ...
7
votes
1answer
126 views

Strategies for independent language learning

I am starting to learn a new language. My aim is to be able to read simple written news reports, follow television or radio news bulletins and hold simple conversations. In the long term, I may hope ...
7
votes
1answer
285 views

Are the methods for learning English reported on Antimoon reasonable?

Antimoon (see e.g. How to learn English) claims that two Polish men (Tomasz P. Szynalski and his friend MRW) taught themselves English primarily without studying rules and grammar. Instead they read, ...
7
votes
1answer
66 views

Advantages of audio-only courses compared to more traditional ones

Are there any known advantage associated to follow an audio-only language course (like Pimsleur or Michael Thomas) instead a more traditional one? With "more traditional one" I mean those courses ...