Learning a New Language

Published on Thursday, April 26, 2007 in , , , ,

GlobeLiving in Las Vegas, it's not uncommon for me to run across people from all around the world. As this has been happening to me more and more, my thoughts are beginning to turn to learning a new language. In my case, learning a second language is becoming more and more economically important, which is just one of the reasons discussed in the article When do people learn languages?.

At first, the task seems daunting. However, my strong interest in memory techniques is a big help. Also, I've been looking at numerous approaches and software programs. Much of the free software I've been investigating has received better reviews than all but the most expensive language programs. Especially well suited to learning vocabulary are Ebbinghaus, which I've reviewed before, and ProVoc. I mention these programs especially, because both feature online libraries which offer both upload and download capabilities.

Once you have the software, and supporting vocabulary files ready, there is still the matter of learning the language quickly and effectively. Sure, the quizzing can do this, but what about remembering words in the first place? For memory techniques applied to language, first you should get familiar with the basics first. Next, learn how to specifically apply them to memory techniques, as in How to... Learn a Foreign Language (especially interesting is the Town Language Mnemonic). If you prefer a little more detail in how to learn a language quickly and effectively, read How I learned French in One Year. It's the story of a geek who had to learn enough French, in only 10 months, to pass a standardized Canadian test, and how he acheived it.

Now, my particular interest in learning another language was piqued by people who speak other languages visiting Las Vegas. However, if you're learning another language with the intent of visiting another country, then you'll want to learn both the language and the culture.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to start working on my Spanish now.

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1 Response to Learning a New Language

5:09 PM

Hi Pi Guy, I had a thought about the town language mnemonic and the major system. It seems like one potential issue with the town language mnemonic is that, especially with putting all of the verbs in one place in the exercise center, you would run out of memorable physical locations to put your images. Same issue for adjectives. So any thoughts on how you deal with that? I'm wondering if you can use the major system to create specific locations within a room. Say you pick "tie" for #1 in your major system. Then in the gym, you would put a tie somewhere on the gym floor, and link a specific verb to the tie. If you still read these comments I'm interested to hear what you think, since I've enjoyed your posts on language acquisition. You can also email me at skeller88@gmail.com!