Please write your questions in the comments<3
Following are a few thoughts on how to learn languages.
Please write your questions in the comments<3
Following are a few thoughts on how to learn languages.
Glad to have you on my blog =)
I wanted to share a quick post today with two exercises for improving your German vocabulary. You can use the exercises for any of your target languages, but since I have a B.A. in German, attended all sorts of classes to learn German, tried (nearly) every method to improve my skills, and lived in Germany for a year, I wanted to do a language-learning post for German 😀
My specialty in life would have to be German grammar 😉 Most people are indifferent when it comes to grammar, but I love it! It’s interesting for me to learn about the structure of different languages, so it’s no surprise that I have predisposition for liking (German, Russian, French) grammar. German grammar seems difficult in the beginning for most learners and that’s the popular opinion around the world, but, in my opinion, it’s much more reliable and logical than French or English grammar.
I’m not sure if many German learners read my blog, but if you are learning German and have questions, or want recommendations for German learning resources, please feel free to ask in the comments.
With the little introduction aside, let’s move on to the two exercises:
*why should you start with German instead of translating? 1) If your goal is to speak German, you have to use German before you get really good at it. Actively using a language is the only way to become “fluent,” so it helps to start thinking, speaking and writing even the most basic phrases and sentences when self-studying. 2) You want to avoid awkward translations. By using German only, you are helping to develop a feeling for correct, natural German. Also, if you are just translating a text instead of trying to see what you know first, your progress will be very slow. 3) If you are an upper intermediate or advanced student, I would suggest translating an essay you have written in your native language into German. You have already developed a feeling for the language, so your main concern is no longer major translation mistakes, but rather limited vocabulary. You may have good grammar and know many words, but are you always repeating them over and over? Translating a text you have written in your native language will give you plenty of opportunities to learn new words and to compare your writing ability in your native and target languages.
Let’s use the word Kellner (waiter):
So, how else can you improve your vocabulary in a foreign language? a) Listen daily to native speakers by watching TV shows, the news, films, or YouTube videos. b) Read daily— you can actively look for new words, or just enjoy the story. Exposure and practice are key.
More blog posts I’ve written about learning foreign languages:
I hope it helped! I’m going to use the first exercise to help with my French self-study and the second one to expand my Russian vocabulary.
Have a great morning/day/evening,
For tips #1-5 click here—>
6.) Find a song you like and look up the lyrics. Read the Russian text and English translation. I suggest copying the song by hand, but even just reading the text is useful in developing listening comprehension. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will improve, too. I thought that my love for Russian language was unrequited until I found the band Kino & some Soviet-era films. I studied кино’s lyrics by analyzing grammar, picking out vocabulary words & singing along to get myself speaking more Russian. Now, I can understand songs by the group without having to look up the lyrics.
7.) There are so many things happening with Russian grammar. So, memorizing phrases is the best way to get you speaking. Learning 150 nouns (see my article on the topic here) & the conjugation of verbs (+declination of nouns) will also be useful as you go on to build more of your own sentences, but it will be challenging to go from scratch. That’s why it’s useful to build a dictionary of phrases.
8.) Russian and English express themselves differently. Trying to translate your English thoughts into Russian speech will require effort. It may lead to slow, incomplete answers. Once you can think in Russian, you won’t have to translate and will be able to speak more naturally. Until you reach this level, however, I suggest that you work on conversation topics. For practice, you can speak daily or write a diary. Think through some basic scenarios, too–like ordering coffee, saying excuse me, and asking different questions. I would try to think/write in as much Russian as possible then translate a few words or ask for corrections.
9.) I mentioned in the first point that regularly listening to music in Russian would help your speaking. Another great thing to do if you want to improve your accent is to read aloud. You have to get past the alphabet and focus on reading some basic words first. But it’s easy to transition to short texts and, later, simple stories. Reading aloud will really improve your flow of the language. You can work on trouble sounds and try to make your accent more Russian by comparing a recording of yourself to native speech.
10.) Russian requires some dedicated time spent studying the old-fashioned way. Use books and websites to study grammar. I recommend:
Introduction aside let’s get back to this language learning post!
My latest post was about how I am learning French–specifically which resources--and I also shared some learning challenges. This post is an update about one of the learning challenges: learning the most common/useful 150 words–can I converse faster in my target language after mastering these words??
In my post, I made a mistake and said 200, but it is indeed 150. Here is the list of words I used: Top 150 most useful frequent nouns
—The man who created the list is an experienced and talented polyglot (you can read more about him on his website which I linked above.)
Personally, I think it is extremely useful for beginners to master 100-500 words in their target language by not only learning the translation, but also grammatical information, related words and how to use the word naturally in a sentence. Creating your own sentences with new vocabulary and finding related words is so much more useful than learning thousands of words with only the translated equivalent.
It immerses you in the language when you create sentences and your brain can work a lot better with the context, so that when you want to speak your target language you don’t have to translate anymore. And, by making flash cards or easy-to-read lists, you can easily review problem words. Taking the time to hand-write the cards and search in a dictionary can’t hurt your memory either 😉
How I am making my cards: I am using a bilingual dictionary for translation and recording correct, natural sentences since my goal is to be able to use these words in my own speech. For this I recommend: Tatoeba, a collection of sentences and translations.
This is how I will study with them: 1) I am going to stop other study methods like YouTube videos and working with other books. How else would I know whether it was the cards or my other materials that benefited me? I am going to review my A1 textbook though. 2) I will practice reading aloud when I study and my goal is to go through all cards at least twenty times. Along the way I will measure how my speaking improves!
More posts that may interest you~
My resources for learning French/ recommended beginner books for students of European languages (with a little advice on studying): My Resources for Learning French
Tips for learning vocabulary in a foreign language: Ten Tips for Learning Vocabulary in a Foreign Language
Series on improving your speaking in a foreign language: Improving Your Speaking in a Foreign Language
My post Why I’m Learning French has been one of your favorites. So, I wanted to share how I am getting on with French 🙂
French is the third foreign language I have studied (after German & Russian.) One thing working in my favor is that I already have my own methods for learning a foreign language as well as experience speaking these languages in Germany, Russia and Ukraine.
However, maintaining multiple languages means not being able to give each individual language as much time. Getting past the beginner’s plateau takes patience, love and hard work no matter how “easy” the language is. 🙂
This post–as you can tell from the title–will cover my resources (all books) for learning French. If you aren’t learning French, I would still recommend sources like these for beginner students of European languages. Together, they function as a system: textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries, and so on. (Also, I consult online articles about grammar pitfalls and YouTube for a variety of French-teaching videos (a great resource to improve your listening skills.)
I am going to share a bit in this post about how I use these books when I study, but… I have another announcement! I have a few learning challenges that I want to do and then share with you guys.
That is how I plan on improving my French! I would be happy with reaching B2 in French and if I really love the language, maybe even C1. By April of this year, I hope to make it to B1 and no longer be a beginner student!!
**As of January 8, 2019 according to this online test, my French is B2 level. Although I think I am A2 and am just a good test taker 🙂
Without further ado, here are the books I am using to learn French:
Let me know what you thought of this post and if you are interested in the language challenges mentioned!
Je vous remercie d’avoir lu mon blog
You can find Part 1 here—> “I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)
1) A great way to learn authentic modern language is to find a language partner. I personally like learning through real conversations because I unconsciously/effortlessly add new words to my vocabulary without thinking about grammar or pronunciation.
I don’t think idioms, slang, sayings, proverbs, quotes, usw. can be learned from long lists. Some books may use stories or pictures to illustrate them, but we don’t learn idioms or slang from books in our native language; we pick them up from speaking with others. And I find this approach effective with acquiring specialized vocabulary in foreign languages.
Furthermore, a language partner will help you utilize what you already know. You can talk with your pets if you are too shy to find a language partner online/in-person–or with yourself in the shower–for this practice. Ask them basic questions, tell them how your day is going, and train what you recently learned.
2. Another important tip I have is to find a private teacher. Receiving corrections is important, so ask your teacher to correct your speech and turn in writing assignments to them as well.
A good teacher should also boost your motivation and be able to guide you as you progress in the language. Together, you can find your weaker areas and reach your learning goals.
Use this time with your private teacher to converse in the language and get yourself accustomed to different speaking situations. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will rapidly improve.
3. Third and final point is concise: to use I) context to your advantage and II) immerse yourself in the language.
I) Using context: instead of lists of words with no examples/related words, find something that is interesting and relevant to you… read an article in your target language about your favorite band and study new vocabulary by memorizing whole sentences. Translate a short text that’s on your level and re-read the original and the translation several times.
II) What I consider immersion (taken from my article on learning Russian):
Best of luck! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below~
1. Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, accent, rhythm and overall relationship with a new language. There are many methods to learn from reading: by reading aloud and training your accent, by finding unknown words in a text, and, simply, by immersing your thoughts in a new language you are helping your brain to connect different channels of information, so that you can use grammar and vocabulary naturally when speaking.
2. Writing a diary or stories to take some authorship. Do you just want to be able to introduce yourself and order food, or do you want to be able to converse about daily life, describe a special memory, talk about your hobby, or discuss your beliefs? Write about the things that are important to you.
3. Speaking and thinking in your target language before actually speaking. Many performers–let’s say dancers–will review their routine by quickly running through it before they go on stage. Take a few minutes and go through a scenario in your head about a possible conversation topic. This way you will be better prepared the next time you have a chance to practice and you can discover where some gaps in your knowledge are, so that you can later fill them with more studying.
More speaking tips coming your way~
More Russian Related Posts:
Online Resources for Learning Russian—>Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube
Tips Part 2 (coming soon)
Tips Part 3 (coming soon)