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64
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) ...
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 ...
50
votes
5answers
929 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 ...
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", ...
37
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I estimate my proficiency level (A1-C2)?

How can I find out what my CEFR1 proficiency level in a language is, without going to a testing center and paying to take a test? Are there any good resources (free tests, online tests, etc.) or ...
36
votes
2answers
467 views

Does having two first languages make you more effective in learning second languages later?

Have there been any studies that study the effect of having two first languages (simultaneous bilingualism) on the capacity of learning second languages later? If so, what was their result?
35
votes
1answer
503 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 ...
34
votes
2answers
838 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
10k views

Which language is most similar to Esperanto?

I'm just curious about which languages Esperanto is closest to, in order to know for whom it would be easiest to learn this language! For example, could a Spanish speaker learn it more quickly than a ...
31
votes
4answers
462 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
3k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
616 views

How can I describe my language proficiency in an internationally recognized way?

I speak three languages to varying degrees of fluency. English is my native language. "Native fluency" is pretty easy to describe. I speak Spanish fluently, among friends and family, and in social ...
29
votes
10answers
1k views

Are there any online resources for practicing spoken Esperanto?

There are already a number of resources online to help learners improve their Esperanto reading, writing and aural comprehension, such as Duolingo, but I want to increase my confidence in speaking ...
28
votes
8answers
3k views

Can one become fluent in a language without studying it formally?

I ask myself if it's possible become fluent in a language without studying it. When you are 1/2 years old, you learn a language without studying it. You need just to listen and listen. So, is it ...
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 ...
28
votes
2answers
301 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?
28
votes
2answers
549 views

According to scientific research, which languages take the least time to learn for a native English speaker?

Basically what I'm just asking in the question's title. By learning a language, I mean being able to fluently speak it, understand it, write it, and read it. I would think French or German. Please ...
27
votes
4answers
408 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
209 views

Do learners with an L1 without articles have problems using them in an L2 with articles?

Before learning English, I had acquired fluency in Persian and I'm a native speaker of Azeri Turkish. Neither language has articles, but I didn't find myself in trouble deciphering their usage in ...
25
votes
3answers
595 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
361 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
3answers
327 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
253 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
463 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
294 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
741 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
212 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
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 ...
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 ...
21
votes
3answers
244 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
362 views

According to scientific research, which languages take the least time to learn for a native Japanese speaker?

Has there been research done about which languages are generally the easiest to learn for an average native Japanese speaker? Do they have an easier time learning Mandarin than learning a Western ...
21
votes
4answers
324 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?
21
votes
1answer
413 views

Is it easier for native Japanese speakers to learn Korean, or Korean speakers to learn Japanese?

Japanese and Korean are very similar from a grammatical point of view and it is even possible to translate word for word without losing too much meaning. With respect to pronunciation, Japanese seems ...
20
votes
4answers
616 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
5answers
371 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?
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
13k 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), ...
20
votes
2answers
244 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
736 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
465 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
469 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
438 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
222 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
274 views

Which alphabet should I learn for Tatar?

I'd like to learn Tatar, particularly Kazan Tatar (not Crimean Tatar), but there are three alphabets in use: Zamanälif (Latin), Cyrillic, and İske imlâ (Arabic). My grandfather only knows İske imlâ ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the most common languages among people who DON'T speak English?

My aim in language learning is to communicate with the most people. I want to learn a new language and thought to learn Mandarin Chinese, because it's the most common language. But I figured if a lot ...
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
771 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
324 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
215 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 (...

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