Obviously this is a pretty international forum, and a comrade asked before which languages we speak, but which languages are you working on? Which ones do you aspire to learn someday even if you aren’t learning it now? I’m a Yank so I know English and took about 5 years of Spanish in HS, I was in the advanced classes, but it was years ago so I can understand Spanish, but I can’t speak it really. I’m learning Russian now because I’ve sorta been learning it informally my whole life, my grandma being born in early 30s rural Belarus meant she always wanted to pass that on to me, she spoke an Eastern dialect of Polish but knew Belarussian and spoke fluent Russian. I just knew basic basic Russian as a kid like Принесите Пожалуйста and Спасибо mixed with other phrases that were very local to her. In the past 2-3 years I decided to officially learn Russian bc the rest of my family is very American (I don’t blame them, that’s where we live and consume the vast vast majority of our entertainment/content from) the Irish side of my family doesn’t give a shit about the history of Ireland nor do any of them speak any word of Gaelic Irish, so at least by learning Russian I can communicate to a few cousins from the old country and my grandma. Realistically speaking Spanish would be most useful to me, being in the US, but if I finish learning Russian I wanna learn Arabic. I want to learn Chinese but goddamn thats one of the toughest ones to learn. I feel like Arabic would be cool to learn. What are yall thinking?
Talk about whatever, respecting the rules established by Lemmygrad. Failing to comply with the rules will grant you a few warnings, insisting on breaking them will grant you a beautiful shiny banwall.
A community for comrades to chat and talk about whatever doesn’t fit other communities
Español and 日本語. I’m thinking about learning русский too but the first two are the main priority for me atm.
Chinese is plenty tough but Russian isn’t too tough lmk if you want someone to talk to in Russian
I’ve been studying Russian informally for 2 years now, got a plethora of plans too but after that I’m thinking of Serbocroatian and Chinese
Spanish very slowly. I think it’s important to be able to speak with the rest of America. But it’s the hardest thing I’ve put myself to.
mi estas lerni esperanto
i need to practice my nihongo again…
continuing to learn spanish. Would like to learn more
A wise endeavor but I get too bored by it
Not learning but I have marked the most important languages in upcoming times to learn, Spanish, Mandarin and Russian. Since I know Hindi and English, that will make me pretty well rounded.
Never forget how hard it is to learn Mandarin tho
For anyone wanting to learn, I recommend an app called HelloChinese.
It’s similar to Duolingo in many ways, but goes above and beyond. Phrases are individually recorded instead of stitched together by a synthesizer. They go out and get volunteers on the street to record some lines. Every unit has a 15-minute podcast attached to it.
It gives loads of additional material to practice on in addition to the core teaching units. I used to use a combination of Duolingo and a reader app called ‘The Chairman’s Bao’ which offered graded texts, but HelloChinese does both and it’s so much better when the two are coordinated.
I can’t recommend it enough.
I tried this, but after a certain point it forces you to subscribe to the pro version for any more lessons.
Wouldn’t have been a problem if there was a way it would accept my money
Oh sorry it didn’t work. It’s frustrating when online payment platforms do that. The number of websites that I can’t buy things from because they demand a postcode in the billing address 🤦♂️
Meanwhile me who pretty much requires a credit card to buy anything from (online) stores not local in our country: :)
I’ll try it, I tried Duolingo Chinese and it didn’t help as much as I thought it would
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Based. Good luck. It’s hard to find Cree related information online, and it’s often only specific to a certain region due to the varied dialects of the language.
español (that’s “Spanish” in Spanish 😏😏😏)
nihongo, hanyu (simplified)
interested in learning russian and a bit of arabic too i guess
and wondering if i should learn espanol or portuguez (probably espanol, since way more people seem to use it
dare i say it’s the next english in terms of european languagesover portuguez)
although sometimes i wonder if i really should even bother trying to learn (multiple) languages if they won’t be of any/much use for me
and google translate/deepl is right around the corner… but then again, being able to speak/write in that language and understanding it by yourself sounds more fun than having to rely on translators all the time
DM me if you wanna correspond in Russian a bit, Id love to learn apart from Duolingo and Mango languages with a real person if you are interested
Thanks! Though right now I’m extremely basic at Russian. As in, I can only read Cyrillic Letters (most of it anyway), and only know how to greet and say goodbye in it; so I don’t really know how helpful I’ll be haha.
If you keep at it I’m sure you’ll get there eventually comrade! Congrats on your endeavor, much love
Learning Japanese still. About N2 level. Want to start learning Chinese.
Lmk if you learn Chinese, I’m sorta interested but idk if I should learn Arabic first or not idk which is tougher
They’re both FSI category five languages. For professional working proficiency (e.g to be a US diplomat or military translator) that’s roughly 2200 hours of self study, plus a course of ~6 hours a day, five days a week, for 88 weeks. It won’t take that long to start enjoying native content and having conversations. But they’re both about the same level of difficulty for native English speakers.
Interesting, perhaps I’ll learn Chinese. They have the largest population, they’re a growing economy so it never hurts to understand it in the future for jobs, and most importantly I’ll be able to sing some Maoist bangers from 60s China
It’s a great language to learn.
Look into LR. For reference, for Spanish, I LR’d two books twice. The first was 31 hours. The second was 47 hours. That’s 156 hours in total. Afterwards, I could listen to and understand Harry Potter. I listened to the first four before getting bored. Some books, accents, shows, etc, are still difficult for me now. You have to find the right materials. There are fewer cognates between English and Chinese, so it will be a little more difficult. But if you learn a bit of grammar then ‘assault’ the language (lots of exposure all in a burst), it might not take as long as you think to build listening comprehension.
Here’s the “inventor’s” website: https://web.archive.org/web/20221004162508/http://users.bestweb.net/~siom/martian_mountain/! L-R the most important passages.htm
An extract (with some omissions):
Hope this is motivating!
I’m learning Portuguese right now, a mix of European and Brazilian. My family is European Portuguese but Brazilian is more accessible in terms of lessons and I like some of the pronunciations better. Both my parents were born in Portugal and thus it was their first language. Even though my mom was raised in Canada, English is her second language. So even with a family of immigrants my first language is English, I grew up knowing some Portuguese words but I could never speak it. It makes me sad that I wasn’t raised to speak both proficiently; English at school, Portuguese at home. So now that I’m an adult I’m trying to learn to speak it, which is surprisingly difficult despite having Portuguese speakers around constantly. I mean, the Portuguese news station is always on TV and I’ve been watching shows and movies and TikTok’s with Portuguese subtitles to try and immerse myself more.
It seems we are in a somewhat similar boat comrade. We both know a bit of the language of our ancestors and seek to learn more, all the best to you!
Chinese isn’t as hard as some people think. The hardest part is learning all the characters, but other than that the grammar is pretty simple. Learning multiple languages gives you linguistic analysis skills and views you can’t really get anywhere else. You don’t realize how much of an anglo you are until you are no longer in the anglosphere.
I have 4 years of experience in German, 8 in French, 3 in Spanish, 2 in Chinese, and off and on Russian/Greek.
Not to sound funny, but have you considered becoming a translator? Or do you already do some good pay work?
I have yes, with French/English but I would probably need another few years of serious study to reach that level and I’m not really prepared to do that career wise at the moment.
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Lol funny you mention your grandma speaking Spanish. My grandma that speaks Russian actually knows a lot of Spanish too bc she was a refugee as a child. I forget the timelines and details but she lived in Iran for a few months and lived in Mexico for a few months before coming to the US. So she actually sorta speaks most of the languages I aspire to learn about. She spoke fluent Spanish bc she said it was easy to pick up, Arabic was way tougher for her and she only knows 3-4 phrases which is impressive for her age
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Been learning Chinese for the past year, it’s hard but definitely doable. I can highly recommend this app.
Be completely honest, is it plausible for me to learn Russian and Mandarin or is that naïve of me to assume I could pick up 2 very different languages (from the perspective of a Yank that only speaks English and very little Spanish)? If so I am genuinely interested in learning Simplified Mandarin Chinese
It’s more than plausible but you need to put the time in. If you search Lemmygrad for FSI you should see some of my other comments on how long it takes to learn languages.
With the right program you can get conversational quite quickly, but mastering the language will take a long time. The joy is that once you’re conversational, you can engage with native content and it’s no longer a chore from that point. The trick is to make it as fun as possible—whatever you need to do to get enough exposure.
If @Munrock@lemmygrad.ml is right about HelloChinese it could be a good start. I’d mix it with Listening-Reading, with which method you can ‘natural listen’ to native audiobooks within a month of 12-hour days (250 hours total, extreme but effective, although it does require you to read a grammar and make notes before starting). Once you can understand the spoken language it becomes a lot easier. You can then listen to a familiar book and follow a parallel text to absorb the meaning of the characters in a (relative) flash.
Chinese is often said to be hard for native English speakers. But most of the difficulty is the writing system. I’ve heard from people who focused on listening and speaking that it’s just as quick as any other language (maybe not quite so easy as Spanish, French, or Dutch). Then the characters do take time, but not as much time as if you try to learn the characters at the same time. How to achieve this? Search Lemmygrad for ‘Listening-Reading’.
One hurdle with Chinese is access to native content from within the West. I don’t have any tips for this, I’m afraid.
One hurdle with any foreign language is grammar. If you’re like me, you won’t understand English grammar enough. So the first task is to read or skim a book on English grammar. Then when you come across terms like preterite, conditional, imperfect, infinitive, conjugation, etc, in relation to the target language, it’ll actually make sense. Once you work this out with one foreign language it gets easier and easier with the second and third, etc.
One warning. If you search the internet for advice you’ll come across the idea that you only need to do one thing. Usually, it’s ‘just get input’. While you do need comprensible input, nothing is comprehensible until you’ve mastered at least a bit of grammar and quite a bit of vocab. Don’t do what I did and waste a year watching foreign TV without subtitles hoping you’ll magically acquire the language.
Use every aid you can think of to help make the language comprehensible – but make sure you are taking the time to understand the target language rather than relying on the aid! (This is the basis of the listening-reading method.)
There are a lot of youtube channels out there with Mandarin content from native speakers, tv shows from China, etc, as well as western students who can explain concepts really well for anglos like this one
Nice one, thanks! Damn, now I want to try Chinese again.
Lol same, FUCK IT I’M LEARNING CHINESE (in conjunction w Russian obv, it would be a waste to forget the 2 years of Russian I’ve picked up)
Deffo. I think Grover Furr did the same thing.
For Putonghua, try Bilibili. China’s answer to youtube. Might have to use a vpn depending on your location.
There’s also echinesesong.com which is just tons of Chinese songs with lyrics pinyin, 汉字 and sometimes English translations. Use an ad blocker for that one.
I also like to check out CGTN which has some info and news in Chinese
Great resource, thanks!
I’m trying to work on my French since im in Canada. Took it in school for quite a while so I have some basis of vocabulary and grammar but I really struggle with listening comprehension and constructing sentences (unless im drunk for some reason).
I took a Mandarin course in uni but I simply did not have the time (or focus) required to do the studying needed when considering I had other courses, full time job, social life ect.
I’d like to really work on my French this year and use it to develop some good study habits that I could hopefully apply to learning other languages like Spanish or Mandarin.
Anyone have any good study tips they wanna share ? I have ADHD so struggle with building good habits like this but I must persevere. I’m also curious what sort of software, books, sites ect people here recommend for language learning ? I’ve heard good things about Pimsleur but have yet to try it. Also have used Ankhi (sp?) for vocab in the past and will prob try that again.
my biggest tip would be to make sure you study every day and mix it up. i use duolingo, Anki, videos, phone/computer in the language, games in the language, etc
I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2022, at the age of 30, and am awaiting a formal ASD diagnosis (psychiatrist strongly suspected it but couldn’t diagnose in the meeting because meeting was for ADHD only). So I’ve got a lot of years of coping mechanisms for studying.
With my mix of ADHD and ASD I love routines but struggle to build new ones or add new habits. I build new routines and habits by hanging new habits off of existing ones. I already religiously brush my teeth; so I decided to moisturise beforehand every time. After a while the new habit grows. I then personally find that once I’ve developed the new habit, it’s a lot easier to move it about to a new “home” in my life/routine if appropriate.
Applied to language learning I would recommend doing a quick survey of your existing daily or weekly rhythm (I won’t assume a routine yet!). Are there any touchstones that remain relatively consistent across the days / weeks? Basic stuff like brushing teeth, washing. Maybe going to and from school/college/work? Food? Even if these things aren’t consistent in terms of the time of day (maybe your mealtimes are erratic), are they at least consistent across the week? e.g. do you always manage to eat at least one or two meals a day? If yes; great. You’re off to a good start. Remember these are examples; you’re looking for the patterns in your own life. Depending on the severity of your struggle with ADHD you might have more or less to work with.
Once you’ve spotted them, apply the language learning habit to these patterns as appropriate. 5 mins while food is cooking, or maybe listening to / watching something in the target language as you eat. Or maybe taking 5 mins to digest food while you practice or revise some vocab. Start small, build momentum. Don’t fret disruptions. You absolutely will forget and drop it. Even after years I still do this. Just forgive yourself and try to hit the next timeslot.
Once you’re happy with where you’re at with your consistency, take a second to evaluate. How would you feel with moving the habit about now? Is there a better “home” for it in the rhythm of your day or week? Maybe when you get up, or before/after you brush your teeth? Or are you happy with it where it is? Either answer is fine, just checking in with yourself is the aim
Hey thank you for the response, I really appreciate it. It is always fascinating to hear how people manage things like this, or just how other’s brains work in general. I was diagnosed last year as well at the age of 25. I’m the same way with loving routine and consistency but struggling to add new habits. The tip you mentioned about “hanging” new habits off of old ones is a good one, and something I’ve been gradually trying to implement in various areas of life in the past while.
All of the questions you’ve posited are good ones. I have definitely been trying to recognize patterns in my life and trying to understand how they influence the way I act and feel, ect. I also must remember to take to heart your advice about going slow, not fretting mistakes and what not.
At the moment I’m balancing working two jobs and taking courses at a local trades college as well, in addition to just being a single guy who is still kinda coming to grips with being a “functional” adult and all of the responsibilities that come with that. As such things like language learning haven’t been a primary concern, but I would like to gradually start implementing it into my routine. I see no reason why I can’t replace 15 minutes of scrolling facebook or whatever with 15 minutes of vocabulary studying. Just about building up to it I guess.
Once again thank you truly for the response, it has given me plenty to consider.
You’re very welcome. That sounds like a lot to balance, especially with ADHD. Good luck comrade, I know you can do it!