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I watched TV. Subtitles in your native language help as well. I listened to what they were saying, read the subtitles, and made notes of new words. Well, my goal wasn't to learn the language, I was just interested in it. But it just stuck.
 

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My mother taught me some basic English before I even went to school and my school lessons started in grade three. I've had English lessons up to the end of my time in school, ten years altogether, however, I still have much to learn. Apart from school, I honed my skills by playing English video games, watching English videos and TV, reading English websites, starting to Teamspeak with English-speaking people (my spoken English needs A LOT of work, I'm awful at speaking) etc. I actually mainly interact with people in English rather than my native language at the moment.

Apart from that, in grade ten, I also started taking Dutch lessons, but the language could never evoke that passion within me that I had for English. I actually forgot most of the little Dutch I learned in school, I could most likely only say very basic things.

I planned to learn at least some basic Russian in the future.
 

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I was in a French Emersion school. That helped.

Apps like Duolingo is helpful, but actual language courses are better.
They are very annoying, slow and imo not helpful. I don't need to learn 15 minutes to know what 10 words mean.

The key is like i said before immersion. Pretend you're in an environment (or actually be in such an environment) with only second-language. Watch TV, read books, read internet articles in that particular language. It is so much helpful. It can be good to first learn the basics (just that you know 50-60 percent of all the words used in that language (and you can do that in two weeks to two months. It depends from how much time you spent learning on that language). After it, just do the things you normally do in that language. Play games in another language, watch TV in that language, change your facebook language, visit wikipedia in another language. You will learn without wasting energy so much and so fast that you will surprise yourself after a few months. Babies also learn by immersion (they are immersed on Earth, that's why they are learning so fast). As an adult, it is very hard to imitate such an environment, but the key is still immersion.
 

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Well, I spoke two languages at home, but I learned my third one (English) by surrounding myself in it. TV shows, video games, and so on. Learned basic English at school, read it, looked up words in the dictionary if I didn't know what it meant, spent a lot of time online (where it improve a ton since other people corrected me) and later on, I actually moved to an English speaking country.

Now I'm trying to learn Japanese, it's a whole different beast! Can't learn it by listening alone, but it helps with picking up words here and there, picking up the correct pronunciation, intonation and so on. I use mnemonics for remembering the writing system and the rest is just practice. I should have a bit more of a schedule though, because I'm not practising enough or doing it everyday (which you should if learning a language, be exposed to it on a daily basis).
 

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They are very annoying, slow and imo not helpful. I don't need to learn 15 minutes to know what 10 words mean.

The key is like i said before immersion. Pretend you're in an environment (or actually be in such an environment) with only second-language. Watch TV, read books, read internet articles in that particular language. It is so much helpful. It can be good to first learn the basics (just that you know 50-60 percent of all the words used in that language (and you can do that in two weeks to two months. It depends from how much time you spent learning on that language). After it, just do the things you normally do in that language. Play games in another language, watch TV in that language, change your facebook language, visit wikipedia in another language. You will learn without wasting energy so much and so fast that you will surprise yourself after a few months. Babies also learn by immersion (they are immersed on Earth, that's why they are learning so fast). As an adult, it is very hard to imitate such an environment, but the key is still immersion.
i've tried watching German tv, personally I found that hard to keep up with and figure out what their conversation was about.
 

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i've tried watching German tv, personally I found that hard to keep up with and figure out what their conversation was about.
First: you need to learn the basics via other tools (that doesn't need to be a lot, but when you don't understand the basic words, it's hard to learn new words). If you watch for the first time tv in another language, it will always be hard to keep up with it and adapt. That's normal. But if you watch it a lot, you'll make progress. Even for me, watching english television isn't so easy as it could be. I need to concentrate when i watch an english movie without subtitles. I will definitely not understand everything, but i can keep up with most movies (a movie like Jurassic World is easy to follow, but indie movies are a lot harder). It's easier when they talk about topics where i'm more familiar with (weather, politics, news*, .. ). Watching CNN and hearing anderson cooper and wolf blitzer talking about politics isn't hard for me to keep up with it (because i have a good knowledge about intermediate/advanced english political words). But an indie movie like The Tree of Life can be a lot harder to follow.

* I actually think watching the news in a foreign language could help a lot, because the news is always be easier than an interview between two native speakers (or an in-depth tv-show). Anchors need to speak well so everyone in their home country need to understand it. Only problem is that it is mostly bad news, and not always "fun" to hear it (for INFP's). But it's one of the easiest tv-shows to follow in a foreign language.

Listening & speaking is also very hard in a foreign language compared to writing & reading.

Reading is the easiest thing (because you will understand the words that you don't understand immediately by the context of a sentence). Writing is the second easiest thing to do, followed by speaking and then listening. However in the beginning: listening is easier than speaking. But for me: it's easier to speak english than to listen to it.
 

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I learned English in school and by living in the United States for a while.
Reading a book is great for learning written language, as it's a very engaging method. You're actively learning when reading a book written in a foreign language. However, it doesn't really help much with spoken language. The only thing that can really improve that is actively speaking the language, although foreign movies help you get a feel for the language and learning the correct pronunciation. There are tons of online sites where you can talk to real people who are native speakers of whatever language you are trying to learn.
Like this one for instance: https://www.gospeaky.com/

Also, when learning German, keep in mind that written German is quite different from spoken German, especially when you are reading classic German literature. The sentences are generally much more complex and way longer. Spoken German is more informal and uses simpler sentences in general.
 

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I learned English in school and by living in the United States for a while.
Reading a book is great for learning written language, as it's a very engaging method. You're actively learning when reading a book written in a foreign language. However, it doesn't really help much with spoken language. The only thing that can really improve that is actively speaking the language, although foreign movies help you get a feel for the language and learning the correct pronunciation. There are tons of online sites where you can talk to real people who are native speakers of whatever language you are trying to learn.
Like this one for instance: https://www.gospeaky.com/

Also, when learning German, keep in mind that written German is quite different from spoken German, especially when you are reading classic German literature. The sentences are generally much more complex and way longer. Spoken German is more informal and uses simpler sentences in general.
Isn't that the case with every language? In Belgium, it's definitely the same case, and there are even variations from every part in the country. In the west, they talk very fast and people from the east (it's only 200 km more to the east) can't understand us very well, some need subtitles to understand us, while people from the east talk very slow. In The Netherlands, people have a funny sound compared to us (while they will think the same probably) - compare it with the differences between british-english and american-english, and in the southern part they speak French (while people from the far-eastern part speak german). And of course, i hear probably every week arabian on the streets.
 

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Isn't that the case with every language? In Belgium, it's definitely the same case, and there are even variations from every part in the country. In the west, they talk very fast and people from the east (it's only 200 km more to the east) can't understand us very well, some need subtitles to understand us, while people from the east talk very slow. In The Netherlands, people have a funny sound compared to us (while they will think the same probably) - compare it with the differences between british-english and american-english, and in the southern part they speak French (while people from the far-eastern part speak german). And of course, i hear probably every week arabian on the streets.
Not necessarily. Take English as an example. Written English is nearly the same as spoken English.
 

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English came quite natural to me through videogames, chats, movies.

Spanish I studied intensively in Guatemala for a month (4hrs class a day). Main thing I know from myself is that I'm not very good in memorizing, so I used my memorization energy to remember verbs and carried always my Spanish dictionary with me. Puzzled with grammar to understand it. And most important not being afraid to fail at speaking the language.

Later I started to write stories I tell a lot in Spanish, since also in your native language there are some stories you tell over and over. Also played videogames in Spanish, watched series in Spanish I've already seen and slowly gained better and better understanding. Unfortunately my Spanish at the moment got quite Malo with the lack of practice, curious to see how quick I would pick it up again.

@Lakigigar I'm quite sure it is the Belgians who speak funny :tongue:
 

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I learnt English language through private classes i have been attending for 10 years. Movies and series, of course. It is amazing how much you can improve by just putting English subtitles and headphones on.
 

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Hey,

Same as Stefan. I would even add that depending on some individuals (particularly introverts), language learning abilities can be easier depending on some people. The best way I think to learn a new language is to learn it "casually". Like with movies, series, talking to natives, bilingual or trilingual people etc. Not only it helps you to learn quicker words and accents, but you get also to be familiar with its culture.
 

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By this I mean, if you know one, or a third language for that matter, what actual way did you use to learn it? How did it work? I'm terrible at learning languages and some advice would be nice. I'm trying to learn German, and my method is so far to read a book, learning words I don't know until I know enough that I can read without a translator. But memorising so many words is damned hard. So yeah this is basically an advice thread.
I learned english in school and watching tv,.. I noticed I didn't pay attention anymore to the subtitles.

I speak portuguese too. I bought a set of 40 lesson books. I think I made it to lesson 15. Then I moved to Brazil,.. and the 15 lessons were enough to give me a start, after that it's all from experience and having to speak with people. (few brazilians really speak english, so when you have no choice, it goes really fast and easy.)

Basically what it means is: Submerge yourself in the language and it goes by itself. So on to Youtube and go for all the german videos you can find.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Thanks for your posts everyone, and it looks like the Ni dom invasion has begun, uh oh...
 

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I am fluent in English and Spanish. Spanish is my second language and I learned it by speaking with natives. You will be surprised how much you learn. I am now considered fluent by all of my latino friends.
 

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If your problem is memorizing words, this app called Anki could help. It's basically digital flashcards except better (and free if you download it on your computer) :D! Based on how well you remember the card, it will make you review it in intervals (so first off the next day, next time three days later etc.). According to research, spaced out review of the material is best for memorizing something. You don't have to make your own flashcards if you don't want to, you can download flashcards someone else made. Most people use Anki for language learning so I'm sure there must be something for German.

http://ankisrs.net/

(Don't worry, I downloaded it and I didn't get any viruses haha)



And for writing, there's this website called lang 8. Basically people write stuff on there in the language they're trying to learn and fluent speakers can correct it. Helpful if you're having trouble with tenses, grammar, and things that don't fit the rules such as weird grammar or expressions.

Multi-lingual language learning and language exchange | Lang-8: For learning foreign languages
Thanks for sharing Anki, I'm trying to learn Spanish and I will try a Spanish deck.
 

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Brought up speaking two languages (mother and father spoke in different languages to me), learned the third one at school (from 1st/2nd grade I believe).

And then a little bit of spanish in high school and college.
 
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