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15
votes
3answers
138 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
173 views

Is “difficulty” an inherent trait in language?

It's quite common to talk about the relative difficulty(1, 2, 3, etc) of languages. But do languages have an inherent difficulty? Put another way, perhaps, are some languages easier or more ...
15
votes
3answers
223 views

What factors make a language difficult to learn from the learner's POV?

Are there any studies which address which factors—if there are any—have more influence on the learner to consider a new language as difficult to learn? Factors could be: The mother tongue of the ...
15
votes
2answers
684 views

What skills does reading aloud improve?

Have there been any studies about the benefits of reading aloud for language acquisition?
15
votes
3answers
333 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
153 views

How do I make sure that I don't speak different languages?

So, at home, I speak "Chinglish" (a mix of Chinese and English). I talk to my friends in "Frenglish" (a mix of French and English) and currently learning Japanese, so I sometimes get confused with ...
15
votes
1answer
203 views

What factors affect the ability to read aloud in a foreign alphabet?

What cognitive skills and other factors (types of exposure, practice, knowledge of the language, etc.) affect one's ability to read aloud fluently in a foreign alphabet — or even in one's native ...
14
votes
4answers
330 views

Resources for finding a word in natural context

Are there any resources for finding examples of texts which use a particular word, in any language? One would think that Google would be fit for this purpose, however with Google I cannot find a ...
14
votes
4answers
889 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
170 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
2answers
134 views

Does learning other aspects of culture help with learning the language?

In my Latin class, we are constantly learning about the history and culture of Rome. Do studies show that this helps with language learning or is it unnecessary?
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
3answers
231 views

Explaining the difference between 'very' and 'too' to native Chinese speakers

The Indo-European languages that I know (Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish) all make a distinction between "too" (meaning "to a higher degree than is desirable, acceptable or allowed") and "very"...
14
votes
4answers
207 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
210 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
4answers
566 views

Is Duolingo effective in learning to speak languages?

I have been using Duolingo to learn a multitude of languages. I have learned plenty of vocabulary. But is it effective for learning to speak?
14
votes
2answers
348 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
65 views

What is the term for language lessons in which the native and foreign language are spoken simultaneously?

I recall a style of language learning where you listen to CDs in which your language and the foreign language are spoken simeltaneously. For example "Hello" is said in one earbud while "Bonjour" is ...
14
votes
1answer
116 views

How does language ability decrease when one stops actively learning?

Sometimes for various reasons one could not continue to learn as actively as he/she wants and will drop the activity of learning almost entirely except for sometimes reading some lines in the target ...
14
votes
1answer
118 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
138 views

Can reading aloud be an alternative to practicing speaking skills with other people?

The reason might be that we can not easily find people with the same language that we learn or just feeling more comfortable when we read out loud and try to make correct sounds by ourselves.
14
votes
2answers
119 views

What can I do before I start learning a language to help reduce my eventual accent?

As I understand it, it is really easy when learning a new language to develop a horrific accent that's hard to get rid of. Of course, being cognizant of this fact and constantly working on reducing ...
14
votes
1answer
278 views

What is this phenomenon called when someone uses an “uncommon” word in his target language that is similar to one in his own language?

Suppose someone is learning words in a foreign language, and uses an "uncommon" word in his target language that is similar to one in his own language. For instance, the Spanish word for "mortgage" ...
14
votes
2answers
151 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
181 views

Grading vocabulary: How correct is necessary?

When grading vocabulary (either in a traditional classroom/test environment, or spaced repetition), is there any research into how to most effectively grade responses? Examples of possible answers (...
14
votes
1answer
155 views

What detrimental effects can learning a second language have on the first?

There was a similar question regarding bilingual education here: Have there been any studies into detrimental effects of language learning? My question alludes to a different setting, specifically to ...
13
votes
6answers
465 views

Does watching movies improve language skills?

I doubt that films will help people who are watching in a language that they are entirely foreign to or are already adept in, but if someone already knows a language but is not adept will watching ...
13
votes
4answers
322 views

How useful is it to study Chinese using Duolingo's English for Chinese speakers course?

Unfortunately, Duolingo does not have a Chinese for English speakers course. However, there is a English for Chinese speakers course. In other words, there is a course where people who speak Chinese ...
13
votes
2answers
194 views

Is it too late to teach my 10 year old son English now?

I have a 10 year old son who lived in the States until he was about 3 and a half. Then, we moved to my home country (Japan) where my parents are. When we first moved back, he had his American dad in ...
13
votes
3answers
87 views

Image search for languages with a weak internet presence

I'm setting up flash cards with the word in the L2, and an image of the object, as suggested in "Fluent Forever". The book suggests doing the search in the L2: If you’re actually learning a word ...
13
votes
5answers
934 views

How can I help a language student overcome the “mental block” to learn?

Many first time second language students feel that learning a new language is indescribably hard. Many have a "mental block" of sorts that prevents them from remembering new vocabulary, or even "...
13
votes
2answers
228 views

Is there any language simply too difficult for non-native speakers to learn/speak?

I would like to know if any real language has ever been considered so hard to learn that acquiring decent fluency is basically an impossible task. That is, almost no non-native speaker has ever been ...
13
votes
2answers
865 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 "...
13
votes
1answer
130 views

How can I teach someone to pronounce phonemes non-existent in their native language?

As I learned other languages I realized that some phonemes which are common in one language are not so familiar in others. There are even cases where some phonemes do not exist in other specific ...
13
votes
2answers
106 views

Is switching between languages and addressing conversation partners in the right language easy for Kids?

My son grows up as a bilingual. At home we speak Arabic or German with him while he usually speaks German at the playschool. Until his third birthday, I sometimes remarked that he couldn't really ...
13
votes
3answers
230 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
3answers
718 views

Does forcing students to speak English in school affect the students' knowledge of their native language?

In places where I live some private institutions are forcing students (of age 6 to 17) to speak only in English, regardless of their native language. This restriction is not only placed in English ...
13
votes
1answer
5k views

What are the main arguments for and against the critical period hypothesis, and what are alternative explanations?

Why is the critical period hypothesis so heavily disputed, yet widely accepted; what are its major strengths and weaknesses; what other explanations exist for the perceived "critical period", if it ...
13
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
154 views

How to remember words I never use

How can I put words I don't often use into my long term memory? I have trouble doing this, as I think I know them, and a few weeks later I can't remember them. For example, a word I am trying to ...
13
votes
1answer
312 views

How was the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) list of language learning difficulty compiled?

There is a fairly standard ranking of the difficulty of learning various languages for English speakers, based primarily on its similarity to English. (Note: I've seen some contradictory information ...
13
votes
1answer
83 views

Is there any evidence that a specific type of writing is more beneficial than others for learning?

Have there been any studies done on if certain types of writing (fiction, personal/diary type, scientific, etc.) benefit a second language learner more than others? To be clear, this would be the ...
13
votes
2answers
100 views

Is there reliable data for the success rates of different methods of learning/reviewing vocabulary?

Is there reliable data for the success rates of different methods of learning/reviewing vocabulary? I.e.: no reviewing audiobooks hand-written flashcards SRS flashcard apps Goldlist method
13
votes
1answer
100 views

Are there differences in effect of advanced language classes for native speakers vs second language learners?

I've seen advanced graduate courses for languages, in which the level of the language itself is higher than average for the average native speaker. I was wondering if there was any research on ...
13
votes
2answers
239 views

How useful is passive “background” listening?

I have seen many different opinions regarding the usefulness of, say, having a radio program on in the background while you work, do chores, etc. Some say that simply being able to hear the sounds and ...
13
votes
1answer
124 views

Is it more efficient to make flashcards for L3 in L2 and L1?

I'm currently learning Japanese as my L3, using flashcards (Anki) for kanji vocabulary. My L1 is Portuguese and L2 is English (fluent). Is it more efficient to make flashcards for L3 in L2 and L1? ...
12
votes
5answers
270 views

Where to learn the Spain version of Spanish, rather than Latin American?

I am going to be studying in Spain starting next year. The Duolingo spanish course has more of a focus on the Latin American version. I was wondering if anyone knows of a course/website which uses ...
12
votes
6answers
211 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
238 views

How does the CEFRL work?

I learn languages as a hobby, so I'm not sure how "levels (A1-C2)" as seen in this question work. So how do they work?
12
votes
2answers
76 views

Strategies to deal with declensions

Languages like German or Russian have declensions. However my native language does not have those declensions, and thus I have a hard time understanding their “point”, that is their added meaning and ...

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