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Thread: If you're fluent in more than one language: How did you get there?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lacey's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Default If you're fluent in more than one language: How did you get there?

    I'm sure there's been some sort of "do you speak more than one language" thread, but the purpose of this one is a little different, I think.

    So, I'm learning Japanese. I want to become fluent someday. There are times when I'm really excited about it and feel like I'm a sucking everything up like a sponge. And then there are the times when I feel like there's no end in sight; I get a little sad because I just can't do it and I want it so bad. I keep chugging along, but you know...a little encouragement would be nice.

    So, purpose of thread: If you are fluent in a second language (or more), how did you get there? What did you have to do to get to where you wanted to be? What was the journey like?

  2. #2
    Mr. Blue Array entropie's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Computer Games industry / a french woman
    Johari / Nohari

    "How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect."
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  3. #3
    So tired... Array Amargith's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Get completely submerged by the culture. For like..a long time. I learned English coz we're bombarded over here with American and English TV shows, songs, and what have you. And we subtitle over here, we don't do voice over, so you read the Dutch text while hearing the English..excellent way to learn for kids.

    I imitated this when I went to Russia. Lived amongst those people, didn't speak anything but Russian, except for some broken English (had no choice on that), and watched movies I knew coz I'd seen them before, in Russian, to gain more vocabulary. And I studied the grammar books. As for there, or marrying one helps
    Other than that, a solid 'grammatical' base, and a lot of exposure to new vocabulary paired with a lot of tenacity should get you there somewhat. I also tend to watch like TV Series I enjoy in like French, when I know I'll need it soon. Just to wake it up again. Find something you enjoy and then get it in Japanese, like a hobby. Something you'll use daily, or at least, weekly, without it becoming a chore. Best way, ime.

    Best of luck to ya

  4. #4
    mountain surfing Array nomadic's Avatar
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    Jul 2008



    if u want to be fluent, yes, dating is the best way to do it.

    that said, in general, women have more foreign language capability than men. but yeah, to be immersed in it is the best way. some people i know, would actually take classes in a foreign language at a local university, or at least have a language exchange partner that they would sign up for at a local university too. taking a class in a foreign language (as in taking a sociology class that is taught in japanese) would b really really tough, but if you want to become FLUENT, as in ppl mistake you for someone who grew up in Japan (well at an international school) then that is one way to do it as well. but that is probably something u'd want to do much later later...

  5. #5
    The Duchess of Oddity Array Queen Kat's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    I learned English fluently by watching tv. There are these channels were they sometimes forget the subtitels and when I hear a word that I don't understand, I go and find out what that word means.
    I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower. The TV was obviously on. I used to fly myself and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."
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  6. #6


    Mostly learned it using it at work and in daily life. Sometimes I do short bursts of specific study. I use Japanese every day because I live in Japan and work in a Japanese gym.

    My method.
    Imagine conversations or take notes on what I wanted to say.
    How do I say that?
    Find out.
    Use it three times.
    Never forget.

  7. #7
    . Array Blank's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    Tip for Japanese study:

    DON'T, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES look at a page that has every kanji ever listed. Just stick with kenjyougo.

    (Also, speaking Japanese is hella easy compared to reading + writing it.)
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array
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    Apr 2009


    Lol i also want to learn japanese actually, can you recommend it?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Shimmy's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    Dutch and English, and I'm fairly good in speaking, listening and reading German as well (I'm not too good in the grammar and therefore the writing part). I got there because in Holland we are not snobbish about our language and understand that it is a hugh benefit if you speak multiple languages, so we get to learn that in school. We are a very international country anyway, we've always been a foreign trade country rather then one of large industries, on tv we have subtitles instead of over-dubbing, and it's easy to travel throughout the EU (or more precisely all the countries that signed the Shengen-pact).

  10. #10
    Geolectric Array teslashock's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    I lived in Brazil for a year, and that's how I became fluent in portuguese. I took a couple of portuguese and lots of spanish classes back in the states before I went, but I was never fluent in either one of these languages until I actually lived in Brazil for a prolonged period of time. To become immersed is the only way methinks.

    However, it's not only about being in the country. You also need to have the discipline to teach yourself grammar, spelling, vocabulary, etc. outside of your social interactions. You will accelerate the process of learning a language if you complement immersion with some books on grammar and some kind of mnemonic devices to remember vocabulary.

    I noticed that there were a lot of words that I kept forgetting in day-to-day conversations, so I started making flashcards of these words, and I looked at them everyday when I was bored, and within a week or so I had them down. I don't know if you are a visual learner, but if you are, then flashcards will definitely help with enhancing your vocab.

    Additionally, I had to read a LOT of articles and books in portuguese (I was studying there), and that helped with certain lingo and grammar. It helped me learn how to say things like "Beyond that", "In addition to", "It's important to note", etc. Lots of things you don't even think about that will enhance your speaking capabilities.

    Also, the fact that I had a portuguese-speaking lover for a bit really helped

    I've read that once you speak a language fluently for 3 years, you will never forget it (barring some sort of neural atrophy), so once you become fluent, you do need to continue utilizing it for a while.

    The order in which you learn a language is important too. You should learn basic words/phrases first (just to get by on a superficial level), then start learning grammar/verbs (verb conjugations are really important in romance languages), and then vocabulary will just come.

    I'd say that vocabulary is the least important because once you know the basics, you can kind of just describe what you are trying to say, and most people will know what you are talking about and give you the word that you're looking for. Grammar is important because you can't form sentences without it. This may not seem like a vital part of learning a language, but I've found from my own experience that without it, I had no capacity for forming cohesive sentences.

    Pronunciation is the last thing you should work on, and you should only start working on this if you want to sound 100% flawless when speaking. I spent the first 3 months trying to perfect my pronunciation only to learn that it was a pretty futile effort. The native speakers are going to be able to identify foreigners in almost all cases; you can't hear your accent, but they can.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. If you take only one thing from that, let it be the ethnic lover. Having an ethnic lover is a surefire way to learn a language. Your lover is a second person, in addition to you, that *wants* you to learn the language, so it's a really beneficial tool.

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