Learning a new language can be very tricky but there’s always a few methods and tips that will ease the process.
I was born and raised in a french speaking family (I’m french Canadian) and learned english when I was a kid; mostly by watching tv, movies, reading stuff in magazines, on the internet or by hearing people around me.
I am pretty satisfied with my writing and listening skills but speaking it in everyday situations make me a little uncomfortable; So I don’t unless I really have to. Don’t really know why..I guess the french accent annoys me and makes me feel self conscious.. And since I don’t practice, I look like a douche everytime I talk with an Anglophone. Anyways, the fact is, I didn’t make any efforts to learn English so even though I already have acquired a second language, I’m a complete newbie at learning a language.
I recently decided to try and learn spanish, (mostly for fun) and wanted something that would make me practice the “speaking” part.
Then I found Rosetta Stone, Here’s how it works.
The method they use is “immersion”. You basically have to associate a series of images, words (or sentences) and sound clips. Sometimes, you have to read out loud a word or complete a sentence (using a Mic).
I think it’s a fun non-cramming process. It looks a bit childish at first but it’s very efficient; There is no translation so everything you learn is by association. They don’t make you learn.. They make you understand. (I don’t know if what I just said makes sense but… meh)
After a few days (they recommend about 1h/day) you can already name objects, colors and food products very easily without thinking about it. the Pronouns, verbs and stuff come a bit later. By chapter 2 you start making sentences.
I’m really happy with the Software. The only “negative” thing I can say is that it may feel a little redundant some times. (Then again… that’s probably what makes it work so I can’t complain)
Here’s a few things I’m currently doing (other that Rosetta Stone) to “immerse” myself even more.
- I switched my Facebook language to Español;
- I loaded my iPod with Mexican music (I know there’s a lot of Spanish bands and singers, but I really like Mexican style music)
- I picked a couple of DVDs that I’ve seen a couple of times. (favorite movies or shows) and switched the audio option to Spanish.
- I also try to watch real Spanish-speaking movies but with English subtitles.
- Spanish web pages; don’t understand much but when I “try to read” stuff (move eyes over text), I can already associate some words and see the resemblance between English-french and Spanish words or sentence structure.
It’s not much. I’m not saying this is the Ultimate way / fastest way to learn a new language but it seems to work for me. I never felt like I was STUDYING or taking classes. I’m learning through entertainment.
Any of you have other tips or experience you want to share about learning a foreign language?