What was the most effective way you learned another language?

I noticed that there are loads of multilingual people on this site.

  • How many languages do you know?
  • What was the best way for you to learn a language other than your native one?
  • How long did it take?
  • Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a 2nd time around?
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  • i know 5 languages: indonesian, english, chinese (mandarin, hokkian, cantonese), korean, and japanese. my main language is indonesian, but in everyday life i also speaks english and hokkian with my friends. with my grandparents, they always ask me to also speak mandarin at home which i did, but since i graduated from high school and i live far from my family, my chinese slowly fades away. i only speaks mandarin with my grandparents, because my parent don’t really know mandarin, since they used to speak cantonese and hokkian at home.
    i don’t really know a lot in cantonese, korean, and japanese. i only know some vocabularies, but i still lack in grammar. i learn those languages myself; i learn cantonese by listening to some conversation my mom had with her aunt and cousins, i learn korean by watching k-drama, k-variety, videos from youtube (i was so lucky i found some youtube user which teaches us some korean grammar, vocabularies, and even they told us lots of information about korea), and from smartphone apps, i learn japanese from a friend of mine who’s addicted to manga and anime.
  • for me, the best way to learn a language is by speaking with someone who has that language as one’s native language, the second is by watching shows and videos related to it.
  • i’m still learning cantonese at the moment, which progress is real slow because there’s no one around me speaks cantonese. my korean improve litte by litte, i started to learn korean 7 months ago, and i’m still learning until know (at first it was really hard to read hangul, i had to spell one by one to know what it is, but now it has improved). the least is japanese, i started to learn since high school until know, but i still know very litte.
  • i think i’d do the same, and try to make friends who’s native language is the one i’m learning. it must have been easier that way

how about yours? i’m interested to know ^.^

Who was the youtube user that helped with your Korean?

My native language is English, but I also speak Spanish. I started to officially learn French and Mandarin; however, I never made it past a basic level in either one. I learned both in classrooms and had no one to speak with, so I lost most of what little I had and tend not to count either one.

Spanish was different, because i lived in the Dominican Republic for 4 years. Being immersed in a language is the best way for me to retain it. Now that I’m no longer there, it helps me to watch shows in Spanish here on Viki.

As far as something different I’d do…I’d find a way to live in a country where French/Mandarin was spoken for at least 6 months each. That way, what I learned in the classroom would’ve been cemented, and I would’ve become a proficient communicator in each of those languages.

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Telling the truth, the most effective way I learned Korean was that I watched k-dramas.

it’s talktomeinkorean, seoulistic.com, and i also subscribe KBS World TV
oh i see. you got a point, i was thinking about going to korea to continue my studies, but it’s still just a plan, and yet i need my parent’s approval, right?

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  • Languages I know
    German (native - I’m from Austria though ^^), English, French, Latin (not sure if that counts) and I have basic knowledge of Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

  • The best way to learn…
    (in my opinion) is definitley 1. lessons and 2. having someone to speak with (preferably a native), lessons are important because they teach you some background information and grammar. Rather than only speaking what you hear from K-Dramas, TV or songs you will understand the language by having lessons.

  • How long did it take?
    I’ve been learning English for 8 years now and it took me about 6-7 years to reach C1.
    As for French, I’ve been learning that for 6 years and my Level is now B2.
    I’ve had Latin for 3 years but I’m leaving that out since it’s no spoken language.
    The levels for English and French are based on certified tests, CAE and DELF and not on the levels you’re told you are in at school (which may differ from your actual level)
    Concerning Chinese, Japanese and Korean, I only now what I learnt through books and TV (can’t deny I did learn a lot from Dramas too) I do plan to seriously study one of those languages though.

  • 2nd chance
    When I’m learning a new language now, I try to be not only interested in the language itself but also the culture and the people. When I started learning French, I nearly hated the language, I only realized that every language is special and in its own way beautiful after a few years. So if I’d go back in time I’d try to appreciate the fact, that im allowed to learn a new language more.

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I really like the very thing last thing you wrote, because I feel that most people who start in the classroom don’t have that perspective, but it’s a very unique hindsight approach.

  • How many languages: 2 (English and Chinese) but i’m learning French and Korean right now.
  • Best way: probably being able to speak it everyday. but I only speak French for one class period everyday so it isn’t much.
    does anyone know youtubers/websites that would be good for learning it?
  • I know three languages: Spanish, English and French.
  • Best way: listening to music and travelling to the countries where they speak those languages.
  • It took me about a year and a half for the last two (the non-natives of course)
  • I would’ve asked for more corrections when speaking to native speakers, sometimes they’d just ignore my mistakes.

I find that adults tend to overlook more mistakes that other adults make, but they correct children. Native-speaking children tend to correct the adults learning a second language more, even if it’s by laughing at mistakes that are made.

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  • How many languages do you know?
    English, a little bit of french, Cantonese. Can understand Cantonese but not the difficult terms.

  • What was the best way for you to learn a language other than your
    native one?
    Learning Spanish and Mandarin currently. I try to speak Cantonese with family and my job.
    I’m slowly learning the characters of Mandarin by writing the characters and remembering.
    Also listen to songs in Spanish and Mandarin to sing it, I learn new words from it lol.
    Use language websites like Duolingo and Busuu.
    Watching dramas help a little too.
    A good way that vanemusician also said is speaking with someone native and who will give you corrections.
    Never be afraid to speak and learn new things ^^

  • Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a 2nd time around?

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I fully agree with you about the need to be willing to make mistakes without fear. That’s a way to move forward as you learn. Good thought. Thanks.

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How many languages do you know?
English, French, Spanish, a little bit of Italian, Korean and Japanese.

What was the best way for you to learn a language other than your native one?

  • English, Spanish and French are my native languages. My dad is british, my mom is mexican and I’m french.
  • Italian is easy because I know Spanish. Because of work, I travel to Italy frequently, so I’m able to practice.
  • Korean is a little bit hard but I learned the alphabet going to classes and I practice it with a really nice ajumma from a Korean restaurant near by my house who introduced me to her family and friends. Of course watching Korean Dramas helps a lot!
  • I have to stop learning Japanese because of my schedule is a mess and I couldn’t keep going to classes, but I know the basics.
  • But I think the best way to learn a new language is to take classes from the basics and then practice with someone native, or going to countries that speak it.

How long did it take?
Around 6 months of classes and 1 or 2 years of practice.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you had a 2nd time around?
If I could keep going to classes it would be great, but then again, I love my work so I wouldn’t really change anything.

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That’s the greatest mix I’ve ever seen-being a native trilingual. Wow! What kind of work do you do?

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Well, thanks! ^^ It was kind of a problem when I was little, the school wasn’t happy about it. They used to give me warnings and even once they suspended me because they thought I was cursing. ¬¬

I’m an international wedding planner. Most of my work is in English, but I’ve done weddings in Mexico, Italy, England, France, US, Germany, among others. So knowing other languages is a plus. ^^


You are so many levels of cool!!

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You’re making me blush! But enough about me. What do you do? Where are you from?

I’m from the Bahamas, so I boringly speak only English as a first language. I’m currently in limbo where I’ve finished medical school but have yet to enter residency. Ideally, I would’ve used this time off to travel the world (or at least Europe), but I’ve no money; or mastered a conversational level of Mandarin so that I can rock when I start back up in the hospital, but alas, it was not to be…

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Ahahaha. So cute. Which language do you prefer to watch dramas in?

Wow, an international wedding planner? That’s a unique and interesting job! Plus you get to travel lol.
Do you manage a company that does planning too?

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