Language Learning from the average unaverge high school kid Headline Animator

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How I am going about learning all these languages

For all of the 0 readers I have out there, if you think talking about what I am doing concerning my language learning I am not going to just talk to about what I am doing personally %100 of the time, but I am going to be talkiing about what I am doing all the time, I am also going to post links to sites I think would be helpful to others, as well as interesting articles about languages. I probably will even occasionally post links about stuff that has nothing to do with languages just because I think it's something worth mentioning.

Now, back to the languages. Today, I'm going to talk about how I go about studying numerous languages. The path to my method has come from a combination of many things: Time limitations, laziness, resources, and money. I only study 2 languages on my own(Japanese and Portuguese), and I study them differently primarily because of how difficult Japanese is(I want to get the hardest part over with).

Right now I am in my first year of Chinese at school and it is very, very hard, not because of the language itself, but all the work involved. I am enjoying it though, and I think it's easier to understand than other languages because in my opinion the Chinese don't talk very fast. As for French, I think it is the hardest language to understand orally because everything to me sounds just mushed together. I am in my third year of it and the honors track and even though I think it's hard to understand, I enjoy it alot, obviously.

Now for the languages that I am studying independently. What I do for Portuguese, quite simply, is talk. Anyone can find sites online to find penpals to talk to through e-mail, MSN, or any way of talking online. I try not to put too much information out about myself simply because you can't trust everyone you meet online, but I'm pretty confident that if someone came to my house expecting to kidnap me they would be in for a HUGE suprise. :) How I got myself to the point of being conversational in Portuguese was I went online to a site that uploads all the texts used by the Foreign Language Institute(U.S. organization used in the military to teach languages), and since it is owned by the U.S. everything it makes has to be free to the public, and therefore there are a bunch of language courses on the site to use if you want to learn x amount of languages(link will be posted below). I only went through about 14 units before I got bored and decided to just force myself to speak in Portuguese online and force myself to figure out how to say anything I want to say, either by using a dictionary, verb conjugator, or finding phrases online. I also use a program called Mnemosyne to memorize vocabulary and I actually use it for numerous languages, even for English vocabulary or Biology words. What Mnemosyne does is set up a spaced repitition system for you to memorize words. It works like a flashcard program and when it asks you for a word, you think of the word in your head or say it and then click "show answer," then choose 0-5, 0 meaning you did not know the word at all, and 5 meaning you immediately got the word. After you go through all the words until you have got them right, you make sure you open the progam up everyday and it will test you on words it thinks you haven't memorized yet. Basically what it does is test you on words it thinks your brain needs refreshed in your memory, and if your brain brings up words over longer and longer stretches, it gradually goes into your long-term memory. Due to lack of time, I will discuss what I do in Japanese at a later date, probably within the next couple of days. Also, if you are interested in Mnemosyne, I have posted a link where you can download it.

Link to FSI: Here

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