Learning a new language- which program to use?
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01-10-2014, 07:04 AM
Learning a new language- which program to use?
So I've been thinking it would be wise and fun to learn a language other than English. I have played with Rosetta Stone software a bit, it seemed easy enough but I was wondering if there is a better choice out there for home use or on an iPad or something.

Unfortunately, I don't have anyone in my circle that speaks what I want to learn (Spanish) so to sit and try to converse with someone isn't likely to happen atleast not until I can learn some stuff to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

So, suggestions?


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01-10-2014, 07:33 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
I started out with Rosetta Stone but it's not actually that good. It's also really expensive. I bought it new but you could buy an old copy on ebay for a fraction of the price and it will still largely be the same content.

There is always the idea that learning it like a child is the best way but this is dubious. Children can get away with a limited vocabulary because not much goes on in their lives. They also have many years to learn a few words and rules of grammar. Rosetta Stone is one product that boasts about 'immersive learning' that teaches you in the same way that children learn. What this actually means though is that you don't actually know what you are learning. I spent just as much time looking through the words in a dictionary to find out what I had learnt.

I'd recommend memrise.com and duolingo.com

I predominantly use memrise.com because I realised that unlike a child I needed to actually live an adult life and communicate in a foreign land. This required a large vocabulary. memrise is good for this, but not much else. Although saying that the most time consuming step of learning a language is learning enough words. I figured that if I knew the words then if nothing else I could just throw a selection of words at people and let them figure out what I was trying to say. I currently have 4,800 words on memrise. The trick though is to know them so well that they come to mind as you need them. This takes a very long time and this is where memrise.com really shines. 5,000 words is supposed to be the average vocabulary of a person who isn't highly educated.

duolingo on the other hand concentrates on the grammar. You get weird sentences like 'the elephant eats a fish sandwich' but it does work well. This is probably the best way to learn grammar because even when you know the rules, you don't want to be working out combinations of tense, gender and case when talking. You just want to say what you mean.

Both memrise and duolingo are free and more importantly you can learn them on a mobile device (IOS and Android). This means you can do it whenever you have a few spare minutes during the day.

I'm in a similar situation to you in that I am largely teaching myself even though I actually live in Germany. The problem is that I don't actually have much opportunity to practise and when I do no one ever corrects my mistakes. But you can get round this by watching TV or films and this can help a lot.
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01-10-2014, 07:33 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
Try http://www.memrise.com

It's fantastic for vocabulary building but you'll need something else for grammar, perhaps http://duolingo.com/

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01-10-2014, 07:45 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
Wait, there's a language learning program called Rosetta Stone?
Lol, clever.
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01-10-2014, 08:29 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
Try Livemocha. It's a community-based learning tool, quite good to start with the basics. You have different sets of lessons and native/proficient language speakers will check your tests and correct them.
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01-10-2014, 10:13 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
Have you tried duolingo[1]? It's free and probably worth a look.

[1] https://www.duolingo.com/

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01-10-2014, 10:18 AM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
Thanks for the suggestions. I downloaded memorize and duo lingo. That was just what I was looking for.


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01-10-2014, 01:04 PM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
(01-10-2014 07:33 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  I started out with Rosetta Stone but it's not actually that good. It's also really expensive. I bought it new but you could buy an old copy on ebay for a fraction of the price and it will still largely be the same content.

There is always the idea that learning it like a child is the best way but this is dubious. Children can get away with a limited vocabulary because not much goes on in their lives. They also have many years to learn a few words and rules of grammar. Rosetta Stone is one product that boasts about 'immersive learning' that teaches you in the same way that children learn. What this actually means though is that you don't actually know what you are learning. I spent just as much time looking through the words in a dictionary to find out what I had learnt.

I'd recommend memrise.com and duolingo.com

I predominantly use memrise.com because I realised that unlike a child I needed to actually live an adult life and communicate in a foreign land. This required a large vocabulary. memrise is good for this, but not much else. Although saying that the most time consuming step of learning a language is learning enough words. I figured that if I knew the words then if nothing else I could just throw a selection of words at people and let them figure out what I was trying to say. I currently have 4,800 words on memrise. The trick though is to know them so well that they come to mind as you need them. This takes a very long time and this is where memrise.com really shines. 5,000 words is supposed to be the average vocabulary of a person who isn't highly educated.

duolingo on the other hand concentrates on the grammar. You get weird sentences like 'the elephant eats a fish sandwich' but it does work well. This is probably the best way to learn grammar because even when you know the rules, you don't want to be working out combinations of tense, gender and case when talking. You just want to say what you mean.

Both memrise and duolingo are free and more importantly you can learn them on a mobile device (IOS and Android). This means you can do it whenever you have a few spare minutes during the day.

I'm in a similar situation to you in that I am largely teaching myself even though I actually live in Germany. The problem is that I don't actually have much opportunity to practise and when I do no one ever corrects my mistakes. But you can get round this by watching TV or films and this can help a lot.

That's interesting. So are you trying to learn German and are you originally from the UK or the US? I took French in high school but I was such a goof off not much of it sank in. I'd like to go back and take some more French. It's hard to pronounce though.

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01-10-2014, 01:08 PM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
(01-10-2014 01:04 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  That's interesting. So are you trying to learn German and are you originally from the UK or the US? I took French in high school but I was such a goof off not much of it sank in. I'd like to go back and take some more French. It's hard to pronounce though.

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01-10-2014, 01:11 PM
RE: Learning a new language- which program to use?
(01-10-2014 07:45 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Wait, there's a language learning program called Rosetta Stone?
Lol, clever.

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