45 votes
Accepted

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

Speak to yourself! Narrate yourself as you do housework, as you drive, etc. Speak your thoughts out loud. When I'm alone, I'll converse with myself in Spanish. Depending on how good your imagination ...
  • 4,875
26 votes
Accepted

Can listening to music (lyrics) help increase listening skill?

Definitely! Listening to music lyrics is a great help when learning a language! Understanding Words When native speakers speak, they speak quickly with little break between words. For example, if I ...
  • 1,058
19 votes
Accepted

When using flashcards, should the word or the definition be hidden?

They cannot be compared directly, as they are used for entirely different skills. When you hide a word, and show only the definition, you are testing your ability to recall. I have a concept in ...
  • 5,042
18 votes
Accepted

How does learning vocabulary through sentences compare to learning with words alone?

It's usually best to avoid dichotomies like "Is strategy X better or strategy Y better?". In most cases, strategies are not mutually exclusive but complementary. With vocabulary learning, using ...
  • 1,807
17 votes
Accepted

Does writing out by hand generally strengthen retention better than computerized memorization methods?

Yes. As seen in this article (though not primarily about linguistics), it promptly states: Some neuroscientists are not so sure. They think that giving up handwriting will affect how future ...
  • 5,238
13 votes

Which of these is more effective: having a silent period, or speaking from day one?

"The Five Principles of Effective Second Language Acquisition" by Transparent Language states that students who have a silent period in which they absorb vocabulary and observe the language are much ...
13 votes

Why are flash cards effective in learning a language?

Indeed, there are too many factors. Flash cards prompt one's memory in a random order (unlike, for example, lectures), hence, building neural connections between the meaning, phonetic value, and ...
12 votes

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

Even if you don't have the time to actively study a language, a little upkeep can go a long way. It can be beneficial to recognize you're not studying actively for now, and decide not to study grammar,...
  • 1,807
11 votes
Accepted

What is the impact of studying a third language in a second language?

Generally it's easier to learn new languages from your native language, whether you're learning L2, L3, L4, etc. Learning L3 using L1 You will understand things better when they are explained to you. ...
  • 1,661
9 votes

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

To prevent yourself forgetting the language, you should basically use it on daily basis. Here are few ideas how to do it: use flash cards and keep them visible around your work place, use some ...
  • 724
9 votes

Does writing out by hand generally strengthen retention better than computerized memorization methods?

The Goldlist method is based on this assumption. I haven't found any peer reviewed articles on it, though. This article (citing research by Mueller and Oppenheimer) suggests that we do learn better by ...
8 votes

Which of these is more effective: having a silent period, or speaking from day one?

The Canadian linguist Patsy Lightbown published several articles about the following type of experiment: One group of English language learners in the French-speaking part of Canada started learning ...
  • 19.3k
8 votes

How does learning vocabulary through sentences compare to learning with words alone?

Well, using flashcards you will learn words and build your vocabulary. However, learning vocabulary through sentences will help you learn how to use these words. In this way, you can learn a language ...
  • 405
7 votes

Can listening to music (lyrics) help increase listening skill?

There are some classes of languages where listening to music (and musical ability) holds a distinct advantage in learning that language. Those languages are called TONAL languages, where differing ...
  • 1,831
7 votes

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

In some countries, this is how many people learn foreign languages at school. This was the case when I was attending school in Belgium in the 1980s and early 1990s: we started with French in the fifth ...
  • 19.3k
6 votes

How do cloze flashcards compare to translation flashcards?

After doing some research, I haven't found any scientific literature regarding the retention rate or effectiveness of cloze flashcards. However, there is some past research regarding what each type of ...
  • 8,987
5 votes

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

Use the language consistently and with passion! Languages will often be forgotten if they are not used frequently. Slowly, piece by piece, the language will start to disappear as you no longer use ...
  • 5,238
5 votes

Studies regarding language reacquisition

From the National Center for Biotechnology Information: ... while simply overhearing a language during childhood could help adult learners speak it with a more native-like phonology, speaking a ...
  • 174
5 votes
Accepted

Why are flash cards effective in learning a language?

There are multiple ways they help as seen in this site: Engages Active Recall - As people practice with flashcards, the brain is forced to recall the back of the card correctly and quickly. This ...
  • 5,238
5 votes

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

Some polyglots actually advocate that learning multiple new languages in parallel is better than learning one. Valery Kurinskiy (the link is in Russian) was one of them. Valery was hyperpolyglot, he ...
  • 998
4 votes

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

In my experience, I've found that while most of the content taught in both types of classes are very similar, the teaching styles themselves can be quite different. Classes for second language ...
  • 8,987
4 votes

Momentum and hours per week

I am convinced that this is true, but I don't know why. Why? I would say memory is a very important factor here. People may have better or worse memory, but in general it's very easy to forget what ...
  • 2,264
4 votes

According to research, how effective is Memrise for learning vocabulary?

The Memrise scheduling algorithm is proprietary. It is unlikely that we have independent and trusted research ))). I stick to Anki because it is a vendor-independent solution (for example, the ...
  • 794
4 votes

What are some strategies for effectively studying two unrelated languages simultaneously?

For people who want to learn more than one foreign language at a time, choosing two unrelated languages, such as Japanese and Spanish, is a good idea because it reduces the confusion factor. However, ...
  • 19.3k
4 votes

What are some strategies for effectively studying two unrelated languages simultaneously?

When I was studying two languages at the same time, I always tried to be at least a little proficient in one before adding another. That way, I could use them together to study, and train myself out ...
4 votes

Studies on average time by full immersion in 2nd+ language to become conversant?

I'm not sure such studies exist. There are probably only examples, and there is only one good example that I know of: Daniel Everett is a famous monolingual fieldworker of the type you're asking ...
  • 5,016
4 votes

What are the benefits of intensive reading?

My personal experience is that reading in general (intensive, extensive or whatnot) improves your reading skills drastically, increases your vocabulary noticeably but per se won't help to to write and ...
  • 239
3 votes

How can I prevent myself from forgetting a language?

It sounds like you lack opportunities to actively speak or write the language, even though you have opportunities to listen or read it. One way to use the language is language correction websites ...
  • 2,515
3 votes

When using flashcards, should the word or the definition be hidden?

One way to look at things is the "definition" versus the "word." Another way to look at them is the "native language" (definition) versus the "foreign" word. Which one to emphasize depends on your ...
  • 1,859
3 votes

Does the quality of audio recordings affect their effectiveness in exemplifying pronunciation?

When an audio recording has lower quality, it means two things: some information is lost, and some noise is added. Obviously if enough information is lost, there won't be enough left to represent the ...
  • 1,807

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible