43

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 is (mine's not too shabby :P), things can get pretty exciting! Imagine a whole scenario, and explain it as if you were part of an audio drama. The more ...


31

This is basically a summary of what this website has to say. You are not exposed to natural sounding conversations and sentences (at least, not until very much later as you reach more advanced lessons). In this respect, Duolingo is in dramatic opposition to other language methods such as Assimil, Teach Yourself, or Berlitz. I don’t know how often you use ...


26

Using a voice recorder to record your interaction with a native speaker provides feedback for yourself throughout the week when you do not have him/her with you. If you are proficient in the IPA, make notes as the native speaker corrects your pronunciation. Audiovisual resources will allow you to compare yourself to where you were the last time you "did a ...


26

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 pronounced "lookathat" as pretty much one word, if you speak English, you will probably be able to distinguish it into "look at that". This is because you can ...


19

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 mind; a smallish, round fruit, red in color, crispy when I bite into it, it grows on a tree, and Americans are said to make many pies from these fruits. Can you ...


19

For individual words, you could try forvo.com - record yourself saying the word, and compare that with the pronunciation on the site. Phrases and intonation for whole sentences is much more difficult. Of course, forvo is only useful if you can actually hear the difference in the sounds... Also, if you're learning Japanese, keep in mind you also want to ...


18

What is beneficial is watching movies with subtitles in the original language of the movie. So if you're, let's say American, you will watch a French movie with the French subtitles, that is to say in your L2. Technology allows us to access DVDs with optional subtitles, including in the language of the movie. You can improve not only your listening skills ...


17

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 just one strategy is probably the least efficient. This is because every strategy has certain strengths (certain skills it builds well) and certain weaknesses (...


16

A straightforward way is to learn the words in a way where you not only see the word but also hear the word. When learning new words with Anki, AwesomeTTS can automatically generate an audio-file with the proper pronounciation. Other solutions like Pimsleur Tapes, Rosetta Stone or Duolingo also will give the learner the correct pronunciation.


16

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 generations learn to read. “Drawing each letter by hand substantially improves subsequent recognition,” Gentaz explains. Drawing each letter by hand improves our ...


16

Your first question The best gift you can give your child is for your wife to speak in Russian, and for you to speak in English. I speak by experience. During the first 4 years of my daughter's life, I spoke to her only in Spanish, my wife spoke to her only in French. When she was 5 or 6 years old, I started to use French at home but, my wife and I also ...


15

Except for the issues already mentioned in the other answers, a big problem of Duolingo is that by grouping words in 'semantic clusters' (e.g. ANIMALS: elephant, lion, snake, horse, cow, mouse, spider etc.*) acquisition of these words is actually made more difficult, due to a phenomenon called 'interference' in psychological research. There is a lay-man's ...


15

Each person has a different way of storing information in their brain. You have to find a technique that works best for you. Some that you can try include: Notebook: for some people, maintaining and rereading a simple list every now and then can work. Too bad it didn't for you! Flashcards: make small cards with the word (and possibly some basic grammatical ...


14

I will tackle this questions in two steps: first, findings by researchers and teachers, then an alternative approach. Grammar Instruction in Isolation Is Not Effective In 1974, E. Hatch ("Second language learning - universals" in: Working Papers on Bilingualism, 3) made a distinction between "data-gatherers" and "rule-formers". Data-gatherers tend to focus ...


14

Transparent Language published a white paper entitled "The Five Principles of Effective Second Language Acquisition". In this, they state that there has been a shift towards learning a large amount of vocabulary before then jumping into learning the grammar (emphasis mine): For years, the popular methodology for learning a second language was to focus on ...


14

Not restricting it to Duolingo et al. specifically the name of this research field is CALL (computer assisted language learning). There's at least two major journals devoted to this in all of its aspects: ReCALL - which is the journal of the Journal of the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning and CALL - published by Taylor and ...


13

It all depends on the person. I have a student who feels comfortable doing grammatical exercises, as those are reasonably clear-cut, compared to, say, writing or speaking. Grammar exercises are almost always either correct or incorrect, with little middle ground. On the other hand, for some people, they are simply dreary, boring and can be utterly ...


13

First, let them speak English when they switch - but keep speaking the language you're learning confidently. They may switch back to the other language, once they realize you are happy using that language (after all, they may have started speaking English for your benefit, not their own). Other times they may continue to speak English, and you'll have a ...


13

I think this method is better known as the "keyword method" or the "keyword mnemonic". The technique was introduced by Richard C. Atkinson's 1975 article Mnemotechnics in Second Language Learning. There has been research on this method and it appears to be quite effective. According to Fiona McPherson it works best when: you come up with your own ...


13

In addition to J. Siebeneichler's answer, using the language yourself is often a good way to solidify things in your brain. One way you can do that is to try to blog at a site like lang-8 where native speakers of the language can tell you the things you do wrong with the language, and suggest ways of rewording things. This won't work instantly, but if you ...


12

"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 more effective when speaking and writing. Forcing language learners to rush into sentence formation can interfere with vocabulary learning during the ...


12

When I was learning ASL, I found that signing along to tv shows and videos allowed me to develop the muscle memory. Because many words (in ASL) do not have "official" signs for them, practicing fingerspelling of sentences also helped when I needed to spell out words that have no sign associated with them. Written sign language dictionaries are useful for ...


12

The advantage of an online dictionary is pretty clear: fast lookup, more information and media for an entry, always updated, zero weight, sharable, free. In fact, for the purpose of looking up a word solely, I believe that there is no way a physical dictionary is better than its digital counterpart. In fact, all of the reasons of the link you gave cannot buy ...


12

It takes much more time to find the translation in a paper dictionary than in a digital dictionary. So, your subconscious could "think": "It took so much time to find the meaning of that word - it would be better not to forget the meaning of that word". While you will be searching for the particular word, you will be unconsciously preparing for learning and ...


12

If your mind is having trouble with the differences between similar terms, differentiate them by learning them in a separate context. If you race cars, you might not have trouble driving normally, unless your brain can't differentiate the two similar environments. I always found good ways to differentiate two similar things was to learn them in a different ...


12

This method of learning languages seems to be called Bilingual-Dichotic Method. (Dichotic: involving or relating to the simultaneous stimulation of the right and left ear by different sounds.) Here are two relevant links. The first is to a scientific study: Bilingual-Dichotic Learning of Foreign-Language Vocabulary: Visual Cued-Recall and Phrases. This ...


12

Having studied several languages including some Esperanto myself: The most obvious factor is if two languages are similar, either in vocabulary or grammar, already knowing one will make the other easier. Beyond this, when learning a second language, one can familiarize themselves with which techniques work and don't work, and thus waste less time. In ...


11

Here are a few tips that should help avoiding mixing up languages: At the start of a learning session for a specific, listen to some audio in that language. This exposes you to that language's pronunciation, intonation, vocabulary and grammar. The goal is to prime your brain for the rest of the study session. If you use flashcards to study vocabulary (or ...


11

Generally learning from native speakers is better. The best study for this conclusion is the simple fact that almost all people know their native language best and almost all of those people learned their native language from native speakers. However, it may be easiest to start learning a language from someone who speaks your own native language, and once ...


11

The quest for learning grammar is a valiant one, and it is not only difficult, but everybody is going to learn grammar differently. Thus, it's well-nigh impossible to write an exhaustive answer here. So I'm not gonna. :) Pronunciations are relatively static; spellings and definitions are, too. Grammar, on the other hand, can be different for every sentence. ...


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