The Language Learning Thread - Interested in learning a new language? Already learning a language and wanna share your experiences? Need to find a partner to practice with? Come sperg here!

Dread First

خاموشیاں یہ سہ نہ سکوں
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Are you a Kiwi who wants to become a polyglot, but has no fucking idea how to start? Wanna post in the international lolcow boards? Or are you just bored and want something to do in your spare time beyond shitposting here on OT/A&H? Well you've come to the right place! I want this thread to be a "resource" for people interested in learning a foreign language. There's a huge community of people on this website across all backgrounds; some of yall are bound to know a foreign language or two. If you're interested in learning a new language, if you wanna help other people learn your language(s), or God knows whatever else, please don't hesitate to post here.

At the time of writing this thread, I'm trying my hand at Brazilian Portuguese and Putonghua (mainland Chinese Mandarin). I'll put it to you guys like this: I can vaguely understand some memes that are written in Portuguese but the phonology is really tripping me up because it feels like I'm learning some weird, alternate universe version of Spanish. I know basic greetings, common phrases, and enough vocabulary to ask for a glass of water but that's basically it.

As for my understanding of Mandarin, I'm still going through the process of learning Pinyin but again: phonology is tripping me up. Sì, for example, is pronounced as "su" despite looking like it should be pronounced as "see." It has been getting easier bit by bit to learn, but I'm also getting tripped up by tones as well. The irony here is that I speak a tonal language already (Punjabi) but the difference between Punjabi and Mandarin is that a good 75-80% of words in Punjabi use the neutral tone; Mandarin uses tones much more frequently and I'm having a hard time really memorising them.

Some other languages I have a vague interest in learning (in no particular order):
  • Japanese, because I'm a weeb who wants to play untranslated VNs and JRPGs from 5-10 years ago.
  • Russian, because I've always wanted to visit Eastern Europe and nearly every country east of the Iron Curtain still has a sizeable Russian-speaking population.
  • Serbian, because I wanna visit Josip Broz Tito's grave and pay my respects while also getting wasted on rakija.
  • Vietnamese, because Indochina is one of my blind spots in terms of cultural/linguistic understanding and I wanna change that by learning the language of the Charlies hiding in the jungles
 

DyingStarsForever

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Jan 23, 2021
I don't know, what is the best language to learn after English? Chinese, since our future masters will force us to learn it anyway?
Depends entirely on your circumstances. Spanish and/or french are the go-to in North America since they're the most commonly spoken, and they're very similar to english, but you could very well have a higher return on hours invested in a much smaller language if your interest or work demands it.
 

TurdFondler

BBQ Wars Casualty
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Jan 27, 2020
Been learning Japanese for a while. Tofugu and the learn japanese subreddit are good resources.

The biggest hurdle is memorizing their idiot moon runes. The grammar isn't TOO too bad but god damn so many lines and squiggles.
 

King Dedede

Surely you jestin'
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Jan 18, 2021
How fitting! My new year's resolution is to polish up my Spanish skills. I had it as a subject when I was still in school but I barely ever spoke it. I also want to do the same with my Latin which I've had the pleasure to "enjoy" as a course for eight whole years but I don't really know what material to get my hands on for doing so. Does anyone have a recommendation? I'm a native German, in case that matters
 

Hathungor

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Jun 30, 2021
English isn't my first language and I only became truly fluent in it during my early 20s.
If you want to just dabble in another language and be able to understand 20-30% of what's being said and be able to get simple ideas across, languages are super easy as long as you're willing to put in the time required to learn.
For fluency and listening comprehension, unless you're some super genius you need some level of immersion. Books, movies, video games, Twitch streams, friends online, all of it works to varying degrees.

I'm a lazy fuck so that "putting in the hours"-part is what gives me the most trouble, at least when I'm on my own. I basically need someone else to set a time for me and expect me to show up, that's why I'm paying for Japanese lessons from a local teacher instead of going with the online services like Duolingo.
If discipline comes easier to you than it does me, the online stuff might work for you. It's certainly a lot cheaper.

I got started on Japanese with these guys: https://www.languagepod101.com/
They're less convenient than the big mobile app-based services but MUCH more in-depth and they have like 20 years worth of learning materials because they've been around FOREVER. If you use a computer they can probably offer a lot more bang for your buck, but even their free option is pretty good.
 

Dread First

خاموشیاں یہ سہ نہ سکوں
True & Honest Fan
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I don't know, what is the best language to learn after English? Chinese, since our future masters will force us to learn it anyway?

I hate the idea that learning languages should be "practical" because there's a shitload of languages out there with tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of speakers that simply don't get that much exposure on the international stage. If you're going to learn a language, why not learn a language from a culture that you've got a vested interest in? I'll be honest here: I started learning Portuguese like 6 months ago (despite Spanish being more "practical") because I really like Brazilian music and there's a few Brazilian restaurants in my town that I wanna flex at.

Mandarin isn't even a native tongue for most Chinese people; depending on the province you're in (i.e. Fujian, Sichuan, Guangdong, Shanxi, etc), most people are more likely to speak a different dialect altogether that's most likely unintellgible to Mandarin. That's why it's more accurate to describe "Chinese" as a family of whole languages united by a common writing system based in Mandarin. I know it's a meme that China will eventually rule us all, but there are valid reasons beyond employment/human interaction to learn Mandarin (or any other Chinese language like Fuzhounese or Cantonese).

You don't even have to be like me and learn a language because of a meme compilation/IRL application, either. I'm fucking autistic as hell about Middle Eastern/Central/South Asian culture. If I didn't already know how to read/write Arabic/Farsi/Pashto/Urdu, I would've committed to learning them because there's a shitload of old ass literature in those languages that I wanna read at some point.
 

Juan But Not Forgotten

Friendly mexican ghost
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Aug 7, 2017
I hate the idea that learning languages should be "practical" because there's a shitload of languages out there with tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of speakers that simply don't get that much exposure on the international stage. If you're going to learn a language, why not learn a language from a culture that you've got a vested interest in? I'll be honest here: I started learning Portuguese like 6 months ago (despite Spanish being more "practical") because I really like Brazilian music and there's a few Brazilian restaurants in my town that I wanna flex at.

Mandarin isn't even a native tongue for most Chinese people; depending on the province you're in (i.e. Fujian, Sichuan, Guangdong, Shanxi, etc), most people are more likely to speak a different dialect altogether that's most likely unintellgible to Mandarin. That's why it's more accurate to describe "Chinese" as a family of whole languages united by a common writing system based in Mandarin. I know it's a meme that China will eventually rule us all, but there are valid reasons beyond employment/human interaction to learn Mandarin (or any other Chinese language like Fuzhounese or Cantonese).

You don't even have to be like me and learn a language because of a meme compilation/IRL application, either. I'm fucking autistic as hell about Middle Eastern/Central/South Asian culture. If I didn't already know how to read/write Arabic/Farsi/Pashto/Urdu, I would've committed to learning them because there's a shitload of old ass literature in those languages that I wanna read at some point.
I agree, but still, I can't overstate how English helped me through life. I would've definitely learned Italian or French, if I could end up in some of their culinary schools. Or Spanish, I am mexican after all.
 

Apochrypha

𝖈𝖊𝖗𝖙𝖎𝖋𝖎𝖊𝖉 𝖆𝖚𝖙𝖎𝖘𝖙
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Jun 15, 2021
I took a Japanese class for like the first two years of high school and knew sign language as a kid, but I haven't spoken either in a long while so I'm hella rusty. But I would absolutely love to learn Irish Gaelic/Gaeilge, very pretty.
 

Dread First

خاموشیاں یہ سہ نہ سکوں
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I agree, but still, I can't overstate how English helped me through life. I would've definitely learned Italian or French, if I could end up in some of their culinary schools. Or Spanish, I am mexican after all.

French is actually quite a useful language. MEMRI memes about French being a waste of time aside, La Francophonie countries include a wide array of emerging economies like Senegal, Nigeria, Vietnam, and the DRC. More people speak French in Africa than France and Canada combined.

I'm not saying you should move to a city like Abuja, Hanoi/Saigon, Kinshasa, or Dakar but if you know both French and English and you're good at negotiating, you could (theoretically) land a fairly cushy job in a really cheap country teaching English to a bunch of French-speaking Africans or Asians.
 

Least Concern

Pretend I have a Cryptoland pfp like everyone else
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Sep 23, 2018
Sì, for example, is pronounced as "su" despite looking like it should be pronounced as "see."

For languages that don't use Latin characters, ya gotta get off the Latin characters as soon as possible or else you're going to be screwing up this sort of thing for a lot longer than necessary. If you have the option I recommend transitioning to learning materials which exclusively use zhuyin/bopomofo as soon as possible.

Same goes for all you weebs learning Japanese. Get kana down first, before you even bother trying to learn anything else, then avoid learning materials which don't use kana like the plague (whichever plague, it doesn't matter). You're just unnecessarily slowing down your own progress if you don't. (If you think learning kana is too hard for you, you might as well give up now.)

I enjoyed language classes in high school and college, but after graduation I don't really have the discipline to "self-study" at home - I need preset class times and teachers to give me assignments and homework because I just don't have the motivation to do it myself. I recently discovered DuoLinguo and its gamification and shaming help me to at least get in a little practice each day, but you can only learn so much by pushing buttons on a tiny black box. Still, it's better than nothing, I guess.

Since the coof there hasn't been any IRL classes for languages I want to learn at the level I want to learn them near me, however. I've been thinking of signing up for online classes, but since they're usually one-on-one they can be a bit pricey and I can't make the budgeting work out yet. Hopefully later this year.
 

Monkey Shoulder

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May 14, 2021
Did a few years of German and Spanish in school.
Can vaguely understand written German, but since I talk a germanic language already, thats not much to brag about.
Spanish is entirely gone from my head.

Would like to learn Russian, but the grammar is a real bitch.
 

issue

a mimir
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Jul 30, 2021
Can anyone who is somewhat fluent on a second language let me know at what point you started to feel you were making sense? I'm ESL and I still have a hard time putting my thoughts into words in a way that makes sense and is organized enough to pass as a native speaker. I've been constantly exposed to media written/spoken in English for the better part of a decade now but I still can't seem to understand how to express myself properly.

Is it even possible for me to assimilate the nuances of English, given the fact that I'm not a native speaker or will I always feel a bit left behind?
 

Monkey Shoulder

kiwifarms.net
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May 14, 2021
Can anyone who is somewhat fluent on a second language let me know at what point you started to feel you were making sense? I'm ESL and I still have a hard time putting my thoughts into words in a way that makes sense and is organized enough to pass as a native speaker. I've been constantly exposed to media written/spoken in English for the better part of a decade now but I still can't seem to understand how to express myself properly.

Is it even possible for me to assimilate the nuances of English, given the fact that I'm not a native speaker or will I always feel a bit left behind?
Making sense in another language and grasping all the nuances are two different things.
If you hadn't said anything about I wouldn't know English wasn't your first language tbh.
As for speaking, you just need to do it often. Back when I had a job that involved talking with a ton of foreign truckers my spoken English was pretty fucking good. An Irish lady I met in England was convinced I was either Irish or English. Now that I don't talk much anymore it has gotten much worse. But it is definetly possible.
 

issue

a mimir
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Making sense in another language and grasping all the nuances are two different things.
If you hadn't said anything about I wouldn't know English wasn't your first language tbh.
As for speaking, you just need to do it often. Back when I had a job that involved talking with a ton of foreign truckers my spoken English was pretty fucking good. An Irish lady I met in England was convinced I was either Irish or English. Now that I don't talk much anymore it has gotten much worse. But it is definetly possible.
I see! I don't really have a chance in my day to day life to speak in English at all so I mostly stick to just writing and reading, I wish I knew any native speakers irl, I can imagine talking with one on a regular basis would be helpful. Also, I can't shake the feeling that some things get inevitably lost in translation, it bothers me to know that there are certain expressions or phrases that can't be translated from one language to another, so when I think of something I want to say I usually do it in my native language first and then try to write it out in English. Often times what I end up writing is not exactly what I meant, lol. I guess I might have to make an effort to expand my vocabulary, that might help.

Languages are hard, man.