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First of all, we need to define what "study" means. A 1/2 year old is certainly studying the world, the movements our mouths make to pronounce words and sounds. The baby doesn't have access to grammar books, but learns by observing and repeating. Babies learn that grammar exist and overregulate what they know - they say "horse" and "horses", "sheep" and "...


15

I guess when you are not a child anymore what you mean by “without studying” is without resorting to a traditional method like reading grammar books or having a teacher. I do think it is possible to attain a certain level of proficiency in a language through immersion. You can use movies or cartoons of course but they are quite unidirectional. It is a ...


11

The linguistics uses the term language acquisition to describe the process of becoming fluent in a given language. This term is selected to address the ambiguity of language studying or language learning. Can one become fluent in a language without (formally) studying it? Of course. Every baby picks up the language of their parents and/or environment he is ...


7

The short answer is, yes. You could learn (to comprehend) a language just by being exposed to media and books. The longer answer is, yes, but... Books (and other language learning kits) provide a basis for language comprehension. They have rules and exercises to test your grammar and other non-interactive linguistic devices. However, this is a very limited ...


7

The main benefit of reading texts that are at a significantly higher level than what you currently have, is probably in the classroom. When I was learning Chinese in Belgium, our teacher gave us Chinese newspaper texts after we had had only 260 classroom hours of Chinese. We could read at most 30 % of the characters in the text (and that is without ...


6

I think this article has a lot of good tips for you. Even though some of the tips are about accent, many of the tips aren't. And frankly, if you want to sound like a native, then accent is absolutely part of the equation, so I wouldn't disregard it if I were you. In addition to your clear need for speaking to a variety of natives in order to increase your ...


5

Since this question isn't a reference-request, I will answer from personal experience and Internet. The closest to a tonal language that I have studied is Japanese, which only goes as far as pitch-accent (so it doesn't really count). However, throughout my involvement in my university's Asian language department and social experiences I've had contact with a ...


5

I'm going to say both yes and no Babies don't study with intent. Meaning that they don't know they are studying. They also have nothing to fill their minds except learning how to communicate. People that already speak one language though generally have that language floating in their heads. There minds are full of thoughts and unlike a baby those thoughts ...


4

I understand your question as "can someone become fluent in a language with almost no (recognizable) effort. In order to answer your question, I have to tell you a story about myself. I'm not gifted at languages at all. It has been always hard to me to learn a language. Especially English has been for me the most difficult one because of not having it at ...


4

I can think of four ways that reading can help you learn the language. Vocabulary. Even if you aren't using a dictionary you will still learn new words from reading. You will be able to understand unknown words through context, and over time these words will become part of your active vocabulary. Grammar. As you read, your brain will practice ...


3

Practically, no, but with huge amounts of time and willpower, maybe. In Japan, for example, there is a small community of people from developing countries as well as Chinese people who largely learned to speak Japanese from sheer exposure and being forced to use it for work, but they were probably taught by friends and family. Personally, however, as ...


3

The most interesting approach I have seen so far is the FORCE Cycle, a strategy formulated by the Canadian linguist Keith Swayne. He described the strategy in a series of blog posts (with embedded YouTube videos) that start at http://fivearrows.ca/wp/2012/04/28/the-force-cycle-phase-1/. The strategy relies on speaking in your target language and preparing ...


3

According to me, it's totally possible because an important part of citizens of a country speaks fluently their language without to know its vocabulary. The only thing that we have to do for speaking a language is to connect words with the objects of the reality. The grammar form is brought to us through our entourage (friends, coworkers, etc.)


3

A really good way is movies with subtitles. For example, if you already know English and are trying to learn French, Get a French movie. Watch it with English subtitles. You're already picking up a few words if you're paying attention. Watch the same movie again, this time with French subtitles (same as the audio). If you liked the movie, it's good ...


2

I have a friend who learnt a language entirely by watching T.V. in it when he was young (by young I mean around 5-7 years old). The language was similar to his native language, but it was still impressive. I wouldn't consider this studying at all, since he was watching the T.V. because he enjoyed it, not to learn the language. I'm sure that most people could ...


2

In 1989, Céline Dion was sent to École Berlitz to work on her English. Also, she has written quite a few albums in English, that must definitely have improved her accent!


2

The best advice in this situation is to do what has been most successful for you as an individual. There's no general rule that any language learner to follow because we all learn languages differently. In your question, you state I've been self-studying Spanish for the past few months and have honestly gained a lot more than what I have in class If ...


1

Personal preference Some people enjoy learning grammar and figuring it out. Others do not. This might explain some of your bafflement. I would not use dictionaries too much I would recommend reading and listening to stuff without a dictionary. Reading is probably easier to start with. You'll pick up the rough meanings of the words without a reference. Maybe, ...


1

Answering my own question: Looks like research has been done on this. From the paper "Skype me! Socially Contingent Interactions Help Toddlers Learn Language" by Sarah Roseberry, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff: "Our findings suggest that language learning occurs in the socially contingent interactions made possible via video chat." Here ...


1

It is definitely possible, but you need some half decent learning materials. French for foreigners in France and Belgium are exclusively taught without translation and it works fine. You learn the basic words from pictures and learn more by training. Reading simple stories helps a lot. I personally learnt the basics of croatian just like that from the ...


1

There could also be some downsides to reading things you don't understand completely. I teach English but I think it is pretty important that you accurately understand what you're reading in any language, especially in terms of vocabulary and the grammatical relations between sentence phrases, and even the way meaning is produced at the word phrase level (...


1

Yes This is a purely anecdotal answer. The first time I travelled to Romania a few years ago I made a local friend who was quite surprised to find that he was able to speak English. He'd never studied it at school or in self-study, and said he must've picked it up by watching the Cartoon Network as a kid! He's never been to an English speaking country. I'm ...


1

It depends on the language, but for most languages, not completely. Especially with a language such as Chinese and Japanese, which has many complex features, you need to get a good learning book for the grammar and you need to get support for learning the pronunciation properly. The pronunciation is quite important in Chinese, since pronouncing a character ...


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