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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 ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the main foreign language teaching methods?

Recently I have been wondering what methods and techniques for learning and teaching foreign languages exist. My quest is to re-evaluate my views on foreign language acquisition, and maybe make some ...
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, ...
28
votes
6answers
1k views

Why do experts recommend learning Esperanto?

As a constructed language, Esperanto isn't spoken natively by anyone. Yet some linguists, language teachers, and SLA advocates encourage learning Esperanto. Why? What are the primary reasons that ...
62
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there any studies which address the effectiveness of studying multiple related languages simultaneously?

What studies, if any, address the study of multiple related languages (as in a relatively high level of mutual intelligibility--Spanish, Portuguese, Italian & French; Dutch & German, etc) ...
16
votes
4answers
610 views

How can I learn IPA?

There are many resources that I wish I could use, but can't, because I don't understand the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) fluently. I constantly need to refer to a table of characters, and I'm ...
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
27k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of direct methods (using only the target language)?

Native speakers do not learn their native language with the help of an other language. Maybe direct methods are better to reach similar level of proficiency. But books that use a direct method are ...
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
3answers
322 views

How to start thinking in a new language

I'm fairly fluent in Hebrew, to the point where I speak it intuitively, often accidentally when I intend to speak English. But I struggle to think in it. My question is, what is required to think in a ...
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,...
35
votes
1answer
481 views

How does immersion passively help with learning a language?

It's a commonly claimed idea that just by being surrounded by people speaking a language you can become familiar with it. Sometimes it's even claimed that this can occur without actively learning the ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
323 views

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

As an adult, I'm working on learning French, coming from a background growing up speaking a few languages natively. According to French friends of mine I practice with, I have a "good" accent, but I'...
20
votes
2answers
240 views

What pros and cons do adults face while learning compared to children

Adults and children are different in many ways, including the ways they learn a new language. Children certainly have their pros and cons and so do adults. Adults, relative to children, have different ...
10
votes
2answers
259 views

According to scientific evidence, how many languages can the average human retain in their mind and still communicate fluently in?

Note: I'm not asking about how many languages the average human knows. Rather, I'm asking how many languages the average human brain can hold, and still allow the person to speak all of them fluently. ...
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,...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I put grammar rules into flashcards?

Putting vocabulary into flashcards is (relatively) a no-brainer: word -> translation, translation -> word. (Yes, it can be more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it.) Grammar rules, on ...
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 ...
50
votes
5answers
894 views

Have there been any studies into detrimental effects of language learning?

There have been many studies into the varied benefits of being bilingual, but things are rarely uniformly beneficial. Have there been any studies into whether or not there are detrimental effects to ...
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
11k views

What are estimates of vocabulary size for each CEFR level?

The CEFR does not specify a vocabulary list or a vocabulary size for each level. I could find one scientific article attempting this mapping (research paper of Milton J and T. Alexiou (2009), ...
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 ...
18
votes
5answers
515 views

Able to understand conversation but not speak

This is my problem: If an Englishman is speaking, I can understand him well. I've read many English novels and stories, I can understand English movies without subtitles, and when I need subtitles, ...
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, ...
14
votes
4answers
808 views

What advantages, if any, are there for learning the IPA when studying a language with phonetic spelling?

The IPA provides a standard, unambiguous way of writing the pronunciation of words, which can be quite helpful when learning a language like English, which has very irregular spelling (with respect to ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is Icelandic considered harder to learn for English speakers than other North Germanic languages?

Multiple sources, including this website, claim that Icelandic is a particularly difficult language to learn for native English speakers. Of particular note, this source claims Icelandic is ...
20
votes
5answers
367 views

Is there a method to learn which grammatical gender a noun in French has?

In French, some nouns are considered male and some female (le/la). Is there a way which can help me understand which grammatical gender to use with which noun?
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Can learning Spanish and French simultaneously improve your knowledge in both languages?

I'm currently learning Spanish in school while learning French in school. I've noticed that the vocabulary and grammar of both languages is structurally similar. I've had teachers tell me that I ...
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 ...
10
votes
0answers
100 views

What aspects of “Remembering the Kana” make it effective for learning kana?

While Remembering the Kana is regarded by some as having some flaws (some have criticised how it teaches katakana, and I've noticed a few inconsistencies or errors in the book that a proof-reader ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

How should I make flash cards for words with multiple meanings?

I am learning Danish as a foreign language using English as the "base". I am at the very beginning of it and I found using flashcards (with Anki) very useful. I have cards for both "directions", ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

Latin, Italian, or French?

(I hope this is on-topic.) I am deciding which language to learn next. I am a native Spanish and fluent English speaker. My three options are Latin, Italian, and French. I would like to receive your ...
16
votes
3answers
203 views

How can I deal with previously learned languages' vocabulary confusing me when I am learning a new language?

This is a question from the Language Learning subreddit: So I took German for one year in my third year of university and I was so into it. 4 years later and I'm still constructing sentences in ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
157 views

Is there a web site for minimal pairs in arbitrary languages?

Gabriel Wyner puts a strong emphasis on studying minimal pairs to improve pronunciation. But I have yet to find a good resource for actually finding minimal pair lists. It seems I'm not alone. When ...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the Pimsleur method?

I have trouble finding a good explanation of what the Pimsleur method is and why it works, if it does. So: What is the method and why does it work?

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