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CptCheshireKasper

Any good websites to aid learning different languages?

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So since leaving school I'm sort of regretting not taking more languages and not putting the proper amount of effort into my german grade.

I was wondering if there were any websites that people found useful when they were learning another language. I'd prefer them to be free if possible but I'm open to paid options if people think they are good enough :)

Languages I'm interested in learning(in order of preference of learning):
- German (got a few of the basics covered)
- Spanish
- Russian
- Swedish
- Polish
- Chinese
- Arabic
- Italian

and maybe latin

Edited by CptCheshireKasper

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What you truly NEED is the chance to USE the language. Book/web learning is all very well, but there's no substitute. My German is good mostly because I went on an exchange there when I was 14, and have visited a few times since. Are there any conversation groups in your area ? (No idea where you are, but...) Or any German speakers who will chat to you (there are a few round where I live who like to use their native language !)

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I agree with Fuzzbucket. I have not been to Germany myself, but I took a fairly rigorous course in the language throughout high school and early college. I hesitate to call myself fluent, but speaking with other people and hearing my own mistakes made learning the language much, much easier. A website can certainly build a decent foundation if you do not have any local classes available though. My mom learned a decent amount of Spanish online, so it's possible. Duolingo seems to be the most popular option. I believe it's free, but I've never used it so I could be wrong.

 

There are a couple Germans on the forum as well. Maybe one of them would be interested in chatting with you?

 

Sorry, I can't really help much with the other languages.

Edited by The Dragoness

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It's amazing the difference it makes. When I was about 16 I was completely fluent. Then I - well - you know how it goes. When I went there again - maybe 45 years after that - I'd lost SO much - but using it again brought it all back (though I had serious vocabulary issues - times have changed.)

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Duolingo seems to be a great tool to start learning. I believe some good bases are very helpful, but as stated before me: practice is key!

 

Take some courses if you find them (Duolingo seems great and I think they have cellphone apps). Watch movies and TV shows in original version (with English subtitles at first, then in German/Spanish/etc.): that helped me A LOT with English. Listen to music, podcasts. Learn songs and sing them, trying to understand what you're saying. 

Oh, and it may seem silly, but reading fanfic in a language is SO useful. Most of the times, it's easily understandable and you can learn expressions used on a daily basis (way more than in "classic works"). 

It's a combination of everything. It's how much effort you put ^^

 

I also know that it's "easier" to learn English because there's just so many resources available, of all kinds... I don't know if you'll find so many things for German, but I bet it won't be too hard.

 

PS: If you ever need great songs, movies, tv shows, books and other things in Spanish, I might know some. :P 

Edited by relaks

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German may have another advantage of having basically all of Hollywood's movies translated. So you can watch a movie in English first and afterwards in German - you already know what's happening, so you can focus on how things are being said (though it's not always 100% the same, but similar enough).

 

(there may be other languages in which you can get all those movies, but I'm not knowledgable about the details - I just know that the European Union was trying to *forbid* that translation practise for Germany, for the "benefits of better language learning" :rolleyes: (so I've been told, at least))

Edited by Ruby Eyes

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Though I don't really get why somebody would want to learn German (voluntarily - I know I wouldn't... if it weren't my native language! 🤐) because it's tricky in so many cases... But if you really want that, immersion is the key.

 

Movies you already know well, children's book (e. g. I usually suggest Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - if you liked it in English), changing the language on your entertainment media and devices (phone, video games, etc.). At least, all of this has helped me well enough with English. [Of course, I don't know everything and still make mistakes sometimes - especially when writing more than 1 or 2 sentences consecutively - but what is way more important than that: I've reached a point where I don't have to think about everything I want to express before I even attempt to do so]

 

Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Nobody will think any worse of you if you make one but they might want to avoid talking to you if you don't respond for minutes on end because you're desperately trying to build the perfect sentence in your head first... that's probably one of the most hindering factors in learning a language (and the main reason why my French is still quite bad 🙁).

 

If you don't find them too childish for yourself (I know some people do) Disney movies are a great tool because they are available in most languages and who doesn't like e. g. singing lions to help with a new language ;).

 

PS: There are many German speakers here (including myself) so feel free to just ask one of us if we'd like to write / skype / whatever with you sometimes.

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1 hour ago, Ruby Eyes said:

German may have another advantage of having basically all of Hollywood's movies translated. So you can watch a movie in English first and afterwards in German - you already know what's happening, so you can focus on how things are being said (though it's not always 100% the same, but similar enough).

 

(there may be other languages in which you can get all those movies, but I'm not knowledgable about the details - I just know that the European Union was trying to *forbid* that translation practise for Germany, for the "benefits of better language learning" :rolleyes: (so I've been told, at least))

 

Watch the movie in German and look at the subs when you need to :)

 

13 minutes ago, Soulsborne said:

Though I don't really get why somebody would want to learn German (voluntarily - I know I wouldn't... if it weren't my native language! 🤐) because it's tricky in so many cases... But if you really want that, immersion is the key.

 

 

Actually of all the languages I have learned (I also have good French and "adequate" Italian) German has been the easiest -- it is totally logical and  consistent.

Edited by Fuzzbucket

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7 minutes ago, Soulsborne said:

Don't be afraid to make mistakes!

THIS, so much!

If you make mistakes, don't be ashamed. NEVER. If someone points out a mistake, thank them if they were polite and try to learn from it. If you make it again, that's okay. You'll learn, eventually. But never be ashamed for not speaking perfectly a language that is not native to you. You learn new languages because you like to, because you are curious! You put effort into it, that alone is good enough :) And I've learned that people are pretty patient. They won't make fun and they won't be mad if you make mistakes (and if they do, they're idiots, so you're better off without them lol). 

 

 

12 minutes ago, Soulsborne said:

(and the main reason why my French is still quite bad 🙁).

If you ever need to PM me or speak to me, do so in French then, I promise I'll be patient 😁

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13 minutes ago, relaks said:

THIS, so much!

If you make mistakes, don't be ashamed. NEVER. If someone points out a mistake, thank them if they were polite and try to learn from it. If you make it again, that's okay. You'll learn, eventually. But never be ashamed for not speaking perfectly a language that is not native to you. You learn new languages because you like to, because you are curious! You put effort into it, that alone is good enough :) And I've learned that people are pretty patient. They won't make fun and they won't be mad if you make mistakes (and if they do, they're idiots, so you're better off without them lol). 

 

And mostly they are delighted that you are making the effort, and will want to help.

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2 minutes ago, relaks said:

If you ever need to PM me or speak to me, do so in French then, I promise I'll be patient 😁

 

*cough* uuuuh, it's not a priority right now with everything else I have to study for day in day out *cough* but thanks for offering ;)

I'll pick any foreign languages I've already started learning at some point (school, etc.) up again after the main uni stuff is finally over... until then I'll only enjoy them in songs from time to time 🙈

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2 hours ago, relaks said:

Duolingo seems to be a great tool to start learning. I believe some good bases are very helpful, but as stated before me: practice is key!

 

Take some courses if you find them (Duolingo seems great and I think they have cellphone apps). Watch movies and TV shows in original version (with English subtitles at first, then in German/Spanish/etc.): that helped me A LOT with English. Listen to music, podcasts. Learn songs and sing them, trying to understand what you're saying. 

Oh, and it may seem silly, but reading fanfic in a language is SO useful. Most of the times, it's easily understandable and you can learn expressions used on a daily basis (way more than in "classic works"). 

It's a combination of everything. It's how much effort you put ^^

 

I also know that it's "easier" to learn English because there's just so many resources available, of all kinds... I don't know if you'll find so many things for German, but I bet it won't be too hard.

 

PS: If you ever need great songs, movies, tv shows, books and other things in Spanish, I might know some. :P 

 

I definitely recommend Duolingo! My best friend is actually learning German from it right now, and has been able to progress to a point that he has his other apps (Like Pokemon Go, for example) set to the German language instead. And he's doing really well at it as far as I know!

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11 hours ago, Fuzzbucket said:

What you truly NEED is the chance to USE the language. Book/web learning is all very well, but there's no substitute. My German is good mostly because I went on an exchange there when I was 14, and have visited a few times since. Are there any conversation groups in your area ? (No idea where you are, but...) Or any German speakers who will chat to you (there are a few round where I live who like to use their native language !)

 

I've visited germany once when I was around 14 maybe 13. I didn't really speak to anyone while I was over there. Mainly because I had social anixety and everytime I stuttered people started to speak for me. I intend to go again one day. As far aa conversation groups, I generally don't know and don't really know anyone from outside my local area. Oh and I'm from the United Kingdom if that helps at all :)

 

 

6 hours ago, The Dragoness said:

I agree with Fuzzbucket. I have not been to Germany myself, but I took a fairly rigorous course in the language throughout high school and early college. I hesitate to call myself fluent, but speaking with other people and hearing my own mistakes made learning the language much, much easier. A website can certainly build a decent foundation if you do not have any local classes available though. My mom learned a decent amount of Spanish online, so it's possible. Duolingo seems to be the most popular option. I believe it's free, but I've never used it so I could be wrong.

 

There are a couple Germans on the forum as well. Maybe one of them would be interested in chatting with you?

 

Sorry, I can't really help much with the other languages.

 

That's alright! and I've been using Duolingo for around a day now and it's bring back a lot of what I learned in school which is quite nice :) But thanks for recommending it!

 

6 hours ago, relaks said:

Duolingo seems to be a great tool to start learning. I believe some good bases are very helpful, but as stated before me: practice is key!

 

Take some courses if you find them (Duolingo seems great and I think they have cellphone apps). Watch movies and TV shows in original version (with English subtitles at first, then in German/Spanish/etc.): that helped me A LOT with English. Listen to music, podcasts. Learn songs and sing them, trying to understand what you're saying. 

Oh, and it may seem silly, but reading fanfic in a language is SO useful. Most of the times, it's easily understandable and you can learn expressions used on a daily basis (way more than in "classic works"). 

It's a combination of everything. It's how much effort you put ^^

 

I also know that it's "easier" to learn English because there's just so many resources available, of all kinds... I don't know if you'll find so many things for German, but I bet it won't be too hard.

 

PS: If you ever need great songs, movies, tv shows, books and other things in Spanish, I might know some. :P 

 

Already using two sites, duolingo and memrise. Although the TV show idea interests me, how much german/ of a language should I know before I do this, because I found myself getting a headache after about 30 mins of watching even with subtitles. Do you know of any tv shows with shorter episodes? And I would love it if you shared some of the songs, movies, books, etc for spanish :)

 

5 hours ago, Ruby Eyes said:

German may have another advantage of having basically all of Hollywood's movies translated. So you can watch a movie in English first and afterwards in German - you already know what's happening, so you can focus on how things are being said (though it's not always 100% the same, but similar enough).

 

(there may be other languages in which you can get all those movies, but I'm not knowledgable about the details - I just know that the European Union was trying to *forbid* that translation practise for Germany, for the "benefits of better language learning" :rolleyes: (so I've been told, at least))

 

I'll certainly watch of few of my favorite movies in german now XD

 

4 hours ago, Soulsborne said:

Though I don't really get why somebody would want to learn German (voluntarily - I know I wouldn't... if it weren't my native language! 🤐) because it's tricky in so many cases... But if you really want that, immersion is the key.

 

Movies you already know well, children's book (e. g. I usually suggest Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - if you liked it in English), changing the language on your entertainment media and devices (phone, video games, etc.). At least, all of this has helped me well enough with English. [Of course, I don't know everything and still make mistakes sometimes - especially when writing more than 1 or 2 sentences consecutively - but what is way more important than that: I've reached a point where I don't have to think about everything I want to express before I even attempt to do so]

 

Don't be afraid to make mistakes! Nobody will think any worse of you if you make one but they might want to avoid talking to you if you don't respond for minutes on end because you're desperately trying to build the perfect sentence in your head first... that's probably one of the most hindering factors in learning a language (and the main reason why my French is still quite bad 🙁).

 

If you don't find them too childish for yourself (I know some people do) Disney movies are a great tool because they are available in most languages and who doesn't like e. g. singing lions to help with a new language ;).

 

PS: There are many German speakers here (including myself) so feel free to just ask one of us if we'd like to write / skype / whatever with you sometimes.

 

Im always afraid to make mistakes I feel like people will laugh at me for it which is why I'm rubbish at speaking XD

I'll bear the singing lions in mind, sounds like fun

In a few days time, I'd like to see if I can have a basic conversation with you or one of the other german speakers to test if I'm doing it write, it would probably be really weird.

 

 

 

And is it a good idea to learn multiple languages at the same time or just one?

Edited by CptCheshireKasper

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2 hours ago, CptCheshireKasper said:

 

I've visited germany once when I was around 14 maybe 13. I didn't really speak to anyone while I was over there. Mainly because I had social anixety and everytime I stuttered people started to speak for me. I intend to go again one day. As far aa conversation groups, I generally don't know and don't really know anyone from outside my local area. Oh and I'm from the United Kingdom if that helps at all :)

 

In that case I bet there is a conversation group near you. Look at your local authority's website ?

 

And the BBC has free learning materials as well. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/talk/ - it's archived material but still useful.

 

In London, there's also the Y - not free, but dirt cheap: http://www.german-ymca.org.uk/prog-classes.html

 

I don't know exactly where you are, so...

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3 hours ago, CptCheshireKasper said:

And is it a good idea to learn multiple languages at the same time or just one?

 

Many people who are excited about learning a (new) foreign language kinda "overdo" it and try to do several from scratch at the same time... I'd rather focus on one and after you have reached a certain point (you set as a small goal for yourself) of knowledge / fluency / proficiency (whatever) in that language you can pick up another one.

 

While still in school I found it extremely unhelpful e. g. to take French (2nd year of learning) and Spanish (1 year basic course - an elective) at the same time even though I had taken French the year before and was really good at the time :o

 

What ended up happening was: In French class, my mind would come up with ways to express what I was supposed to say in English instead (because that's my strongest foreign language and one I use a lot in my own time, on the internet, for hobbies, ...).

In Spanish class though, suddenly French words for the same topic popped up instead (probably because they're related more closely and it's the language that's located only one step higher on my personal learning pyramide) - it was quite confusing to say the least.

 

That being said, everbody is different so my experience might not apply to you and you could be totally fine with learning several languages at once. :) Plus, had it not been for the, like, 10 other classes I had to take at the time, I could have focussed more on those two languages and it might have worked out better.

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7 hours ago, CptCheshireKasper said:

whoops, yeah should have mentioned that. Im in the South of England but I can get to London, just not very often :)

 

Well, as I say - check out your local authority. I imagine there are loads more things going on in the South than up here in the sparely populated Pennines !

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On 11/9/2018 at 10:36 PM, CptCheshireKasper said:

And is it a good idea to learn multiple languages at the same time or just one?

 

It depends on the languages. If they are not related then I'd say yes, you can. If they are related then it might be better to learn one first. This is purely to not get the 2 similar languages mixed up. I have trouble with my German as I tend to mix it with Swedish. 😕 I was learning them at the same time in middle and high school. The mixing could be also a result of me not using German anymore at all :D

 

I speak 5 different languages, and as it's been said, you do loose the ability to produce languages if you aren't using them. Reading and listening (understanding) is not a problem, the problem is speaking (writing is easier as one can  take time to "mull" things over). So in order to learn and maintaining a language skill, one must speak.

 

I remember when I was an exchange student in Italy, after 2 months my host brother said he won't be translating things for me anymore as he can't speak English... He could speak just fine, he just didn't want! :D  I did learn Italian in 4 or so months. I guess my brother was smart after all.

 

You can also watch tv shows in your preferred language. Most broadcasting companies have their tv shows online (some with subtitles). For Italian I watch programs from Rai and Mediaset. German broadcasting company ARD has some programs online, I didn't really look too deep into their website. When I was in Italy I found game shows easy to watch and understand. As those type of programs have written questions, simple questions, not news jargon etc.

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How do I go about maintaining the ability to speak the language? That may seem pretty dumb as a question, but I dont really know any people who speak any other languages so speaking is going to be difficult. As well as travelling will be difficult due to an inability to leave the country at the moment.

 

I'm open to any suggestions!!

 

As far as local communities and groups go there doesn't seem to be any as the one I've found seems to have been last active a few years ago.

 

 

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Find a lively forum in your chosen language. That won't solve the speaking issue, but it helps you keep the vocabulary and grammar.

Find a game community that's using teamspeak - I think that's using microphone and speakers, at least XD

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If others haven't mentioned it, Duolingo is free and its a good tool to start learning the basics. I'm trying to learn Swedish and Polish, and I like that you can do it online or through mobile apps. However, I don't think I'll ever become fluent until I can actually find a real person to converse with. Personally, I find myself learning to read the language a lot easier than speaking it, since it takes muscle practice to make unfamiliar sounds/inflections/cadence.

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On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 4:49 PM, Twimm said:

If others haven't mentioned it, Duolingo is free and its a good tool to start learning the basics. I'm trying to learn Swedish and Polish, and I like that you can do it online or through mobile apps. However, I don't think I'll ever become fluent until I can actually find a real person to converse with. Personally, I find myself learning to read the language a lot easier than speaking it, since it takes muscle practice to make unfamiliar sounds/inflections/cadence.

I'm using Duolingo for Polish too! *owl hi-five* 🦉I have the golden owl for Polish but then I stopped using the app for a few months, so I'm doing the whole course again.

----

Outside of apps, I recommend reading a book you're already familiar with in the language you're leaning. The Harry Potter books are available in loads of languages. 📕 📚 📗 

 

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Wanted to drag this topic back up because I decided to go forward with downloading Duolingo and giving Korean a go. :D So far I think I'm doing okay, but conceptualizing the alphabet is really hard since I'm a native English speaker, and it's an entirely different alphabet/ lettering system etc. A lot of the vowels sound the same to me :( But if I end up doing well with the app then I'm considering getting a private tutor or taking classes (depending on my schedule). 

 

Has anyone else had experience going from a Germanic-based language (such as English) to something completely different like Korean or Chinese? What were your struggles like?

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