How to Almost Acquire Any Language
I have been fascinated by other languages for the majority of my existence. In high school, I remember being a little enthusiastic about taking a foreign language, but the experience turned out to be a huge letdown. In our two years of study, we barely knew anything beyond asking for directions to the restroom, mentioning going to the movies, and naming things. We had only covered the fundamentals in the previous two years. In the final month of the course, we could finally build more complex sentences than the much more straightforward “I go to the movies” that we had been using for the previous year and a half. I began to question whether I wasn’t meant to learn and understand another language at this juncture. As a result of my decision to
study German in college, where I knew more about the subject in a semester than I had in two years of Spanish in high school, I felt a little more encouraged about my future as a multilingual person. After some time had passed and I had neglected my language studies, I decided to get serious about learning a language other than my native tongue thoroughly. I decided on Spanish for several reasons. However, the main factor is the convenience of access to Spanish-language cable television and a weekly newspaper. With a few regional exceptions, it is arguably the most useful second language you could learn in the United States.
About seven years have passed since I decided to study Spanish, and I believe the most fruitful and helpful period has been the most recent one. I’ve discovered many fascinating things about myself, how I learn, and how people usually know throughout this process. I’ve also come to some conclusions about how I will approach improving and refreshing my understanding of the German language, which is the next item on my list. I strongly recommend using spaced repetition flashcard software for a large portion of the memorizing task, whether pronunciation or accurate vocabulary terms. To be brief, let me state that the idea is to examine your memory items every day, which could take 5 to 30 minutes. After self-evaluating your knowledge of the recall items, you resume tomorrow. When deciding when to show you the information again, the program considers how you rate yourself. I’ve been using the spaced repetition software program Mnemosyne for a year, and I attribute it to greatly expanding my vocabulary in Spanish.
Learning the letters and pronunciations would be my first step in understanding a new language. In most language introductions, the pronunciation of characters is demonstrated using an English term. I believe my method would be to use flashcards with the letter on one side and the pronunciation prompt on the other. Discover as much about them as you can first. Grammar is essential for a language’s structure and for sounding intelligent, but I believe you shouldn’t let yourself get bogged down in the specifics of grammar too soon. Study the fundamentals of syntax. Find out if there are specific endings for various verb tenses, whether nouns have genders, and which laws are in place. Determine whether a word agrees with a noun’s gender or number. But if some of the principles are too complex to understand now, keep going.
Learning vocabulary should, in my view, be given the highest priority in the early years. Start acquiring words in the target language as soon as you can. Starting with swash lists is a brilliant idea. The 207 most frequently used terms for the most widely studied languages can be found online. After learning those, begin to amass more periods. As you come across these terms, jot them down, look them up in a dictionary of translations, and add them to your flashcard collection. I’ve studied in precisely this manner for the past year, and I’ve gotten to the point with Spanish, where I can typically read the local paper without having to look up any words. Seeing grammar instances will be inevitable as your vocabulary increases. To help you understand pronunciation and the grammar rules you will learn by example, read comments aloud.
I believe now is an excellent time to review the grammar lessons and ensure you understand them. This will help you as you continue to acquire new vocabulary. In your study, look for examples of those grammar rules. You can draw from various sources for vocabulary word mining and grammar samples. For instance, since these media typically display more vocabulary than television or movies, books, magazines, and newspapers (including their internet equivalents) can be the best source for speech. Watching television, listening to the radio, and watching movies can be excellent ways to become acquainted with the spoken patterns of a language and, possibly, to improve your pronunciation or get a sense of regional variations in pronunciation.
Your trust is at least comprehending the language should start to grow by the time you have a vocabulary of 2000 words. Even if you only talk to yourself, try to communicate using your tongue to get more comfortable speaking and producing the language. Maintain daily practice with your flashcards and word collection. The main takeaway is that learning new words should account for 95% of your effort. Don’t let the complexity of some grammar principles deter you; start learning by doing and go over them again later. I’m confident that I can be comfortable with most languages with this method and a year or less of study.
For more details on language learning and how to learn Spanish for beginners, visit the writers’ websites.
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