Breaking the language learning barrier

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by jjhlk, Nov 4, 2003.

  1. jjhlk Guest

    Here is my plea to whoever has become fluent in a language...

    How do you break the barrier? By barrier I mean the point at which you can use more complex sentences (though I am interested in being able think in the target language reather than translating all the time). It's easy to learn to use simple sentences. SOV, SVO... any order is easy. Even if you add some prepositions I can learn them easily enough. Learning conjungtions helps, but doesn't increase complexity much. I tend to over analyze I think.

    I'm slowly getting more complex, but I'm just learning phrases and their meaning, and not exactly why they mean that. Then I drill a little bit with similar phrases. That helps more than explicitely learning rules.

    I have all the media I could ever want. Movies, books, magazines, websites... Written and spoken. I don't have a native speaker, but I should be able to get to the point where I can compose long, complex sentences (reading and writing especially) without actually speaking anything. I do however read aloud all phrases I'm learning so I can say them quickly.

    If anybody had a breakthrough about this topic in their studies, do tell.
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  3. Iris Registered Senior Member

    High school Spanish-speaker here.

    Having actual conversations with another person in the language will improve your skills faster than anything else. It doesn't have to be a "native speaker", it can be another student. There's something about having to formulate concepts "on the fly" that speeds up the learning process in a way that simply reciting phrases can never do.
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  5. Bruce Wayne . Registered Senior Member

    take it one step at a time. when you think you are ready, start reading serious and literary books.
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  7. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

    Wonderful little thread.

    Right on, lets see here......I was going to advise that you immerse yourself in the media and hang out with the speakers even if they give you that universal look for having stepped in dogshit. Chinatown, Little Italy, some of these small psudo-pueblos popping up across America. Cable channels, foreign programs, magazines......etc.

    But apparently you've done that already.
    And what the hell language are you trying for anyway? German? Yiddish? Do tell.

    Anway, here's the best way. Actually 2 that helps me.

    Go to a foreign film with caption underneath. "Dark Blue World" was spoken in German and French and it helped me link words with both how they read and how they sounded. So much better than those played out videocassettes where you sit like a ninny trying to mimic how to ask where the fuck the bathroom is in some other language. My father learned Italian that way and to this day he sounds like he's chewing on his tounge. Waste.

    In a movie with captions you can hear the language in real time, spoken by a human to another one out in the real world- it has life and momentum books lack.

    Here's the second thing. If you can get to a point where you are angry enough with a foreigner I gurantee you the words will come out beautifully. Anger drives like noting else- it seems to easily break down barriers usually there.

    Learn the vulgarities- and not just the cheap played out ones like "fuck you" and "shit" practically every damn body knows in many tounges. Learn the witty stuff, the quotes, all those things that will come in handy in case you get angry with a native and want to rip his fucking head off.

    "Un perico donde quiera es verde, y un pendejo donde quiera pierde."
    Tee hee.......
  8. jjhlk Guest

    I was trying not to say on purpose, because of the reputation certain people give learners of this language... it's Japanese. I'm not one of those people who seem not to identify with their own culture so they grasp on to another; I don't think everything Japanese is the greatest, and I don't have any desire to even go to Japan (not that there is anything necessarily wrong with any of those things). That being said...

    I do like some of the anime and comics, which is good because it's easy to get that stuff online. I've never been able to find sitcoms, though. Classical movies with subtitles are not too hard to find, but I've never found new Japanese movies that weren't just dubbed American ones. Some games are good, like the Final Fantasy series for its dialogue and sanity.

    I haven't been able to evaluate the quality of computer science (my major) related stuff in Japanese, since I can't find my way to it. But because Japan is so populated and always on the brink of technology, I expect good sites exist.

    I think I'll need to build up a greater vocabulary before I'll get more from my anime. And some grammar things I still need to cover (things like "Neither..nor" and the verb conjugations which take the place of words we'd use in English).

    German would be my second language if I could get some degree of fluency in Japanese.

  9. sweet Pentax Registered Senior Member

    German would be my second language if I could get some degree of fluency in Japanese.

    both are really sweet ( though hard to learn ) languages

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