A Conversation for Learning Languages

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 1

Dorothy Outta Kansas

The literacy route is good practice, and no one can deny that it works for gaining vocabulary and a working knowledge of grammar.

It's lacking, however, in the audio-element. How will the starter know how to pronounce words? Does the linguist achieve a subconscious understanding of the pronunciation rules of the new language, or is it more a case of luck as to whether the linguist succeeds in picking the correct sounds?

x x Fenny

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 2

Goober (00101010)

Perhaps one is best taking a basic lesson, then only developing a language further with the reading approach.

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 3

Dorothy Outta Kansas

I'll agree as far as that goes, but I think you would need more than one basic lesson to get the linguistic feel. I know it is possible to learn to read a language, and to gain understanding and a full vocabulary without ever hearing a word, but I don't think one lesson would be enough to gain more than a little phonetic understanding.

I'll admit to being biased here. I studied languages at school, travelled and used them extensively afterwards, yet a few years later I've forgotten them. I haven't yet taken up conversation classes, and while I occasionally pick up a book, I'm concerned my pronunciation is suffering. Oh, well, my own fault! :¬)

x x Fenny smiley - online2long

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 4


But of course, it isn't necessary to take the language class first, is it? I mean, you could develop a perfectly good understanding of French by reading it, and then proceeding from there to learn how to pronounce it. The only concern might be that you may have to unlearn any pronunciations you've already "learned" while reading.

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 5


Make a friend online who speaks that language. Enable voice chat.

I disagree about classes lacking in spoken parts--you just need to find a good one.

I disagree. The prolem is that you develop your own pronunciation. It is then very hard to un-learn it.

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 6


We have a background where we study the parts of the mouth and where the sounds in our native language are made and how-it's a pale substitute for hearing the language though-I've managed to ge things right by accident,ie I was able to verify later with a ntive that my pronunciation was good-but you dont retain as much until you start making and hearing ths sounds..

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 7

Lucky Llareggub - no more cannibals in our village, we ate the last one yesterday..

I think a good way to learn is to first learn the names of things, as if you were a child building a vocabulary. I did this by sticking labels on almost everything in my house - from Keller to Dachboden.
When I was positive I knew a word I removed a label - until in the end all the labels were gone.

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 8


I agree with you, at present I am trying to lean Polish, although I can now understand quite a few written words and sentences the sounds of Slovak languages is alien to my ear and that is where I come unstuck.
I have joined a language exchange web site but unless you speak to other people then how do you know how to say the words.
Looking through the replies I see someone is suggesting listing to foreign radio stations, good idea, never thought of that one!
smiley - cheers

Learning to Speak Languages

Post 9



To my knowledge there is only one Slovak language, but there are quite a few Slavic ones.

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