Language learning

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Language learning

Post by Davyn » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:37 am

I have finally retired and now find that i have a lot of spare time on my hands.
Linux Mint has a world wide following and i would like to learn the French language and what better way than with another Linux Mint user.
I would prefer a user of a similar age if possible. Anyone interested?
Many thanks Davyn

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Re: Language learning

Post by gm10 » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:45 am

1. Completely wrong part of the forum. Try the French forum: viewforum.php?f=63

2. You didn't even give your age. Also in my experience the best way to learn the language is to meet a woman (or man, as per preference) in real life and as long as you've got something to talk about I'm sure you'll end up speaking the French just fine -- Linux Mint is not a suggested topic. :lol:

For written French, however, I strongly suggest to pick up a text book instead. Most French I've seen online these days seem heavily dyslexic as far as grammar and spelling goes. ;)

Bon courage et bonne chance ! :)

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Re: Language learning

Post by xenopeek » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:22 pm

Moved here as a more suitable location as this is entirely unrelated to Linux Mint development.

I'd suggest Duolingo to get started learning French: ... nch-Online. Or if you have something similar to what we have here where the municipality sponsors community run classes (like offering a location for them), you could enroll in a cheap community class to learn basic French.

For finding native speakers to talk with this is the first good looking search result that popped up: ... -practice/. Practicing French with native speakers is going to be very hard if you don't at least know some French words :)

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Re: Language learning

Post by Portreve » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:59 pm

The late polyglot and alternative language teaching method master Michel Thomas has an audio course for several different languages. I've used his on and off for German, and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

I'm really not a fan of immersion as an initial instruction method, which is why I am opposed to Rosetta Stone as a beginner's tool. Moreover, with many languages (French is a classic example) the spoken words blend together to such a degree (far more than in German, for example) that it can be extremely difficult if not Impossible to distinguish what you're hearing until you actually know the vocabulary and phonetic rules. I tried French once (actually by a couple different methods of which RS was one) and I found French absolutely impossible. RS in particular with its immersion focus made a bad situation worse. If you've no initial instructions and you don't know anything in the language, there's no way to pick up contextual clues.

Once you have a minimum basic functioning in French, then go and find someone you can speak it with.
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Re: Language learning

Post by ud6 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:14 am

I was terrible at languages at school (French). Then I dated Italian woman and learnt Italian, then lived in Portugal and became fluent in Portuguese, now learning Chichewa. Ironic how life provides opportunities in the things we think we're terrible at :lol: :lol: :lol:

First thing with a language is to understand why. Why do you want to learn? It's a huge time investment to learn a language well. If you're not going to use it, it may just be a waste of time. You need daily (or every two days at least) exposure to the language to become fluent. It's a skill that develops, and that you can also lose with lack of use (I can understand Italian still, but can't speak it anymore).

Best ways to learn a language:
1. For basics, there are good courses on CD/DVD/books but..
2. Living in the country is the best, and isolate yourself from English speakers. Regular visists can also help.
3. A stack of file cards with English on one side and foreign language on other. You go through stack repeatedly, removing those you can guess correct translation of. This is good for quickly learning large vocabulary.
4. Translate foreign language books with dictionary. Start with kids books.
5. Internet chat can help, but then, why would someone waste vast amounts of time chatting to someone that has the language ability of a 2 year old?
6. Get parabolic receiver or use internet to watch films and TV in that language; can use subtitles (but in the foreign language, not in English!)
7. Constant, relentless, exposure to the language

In language learning there are 4 very distinct skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening. Of course there is some overlap (reading helps generally with vocabulary) but just working from books will limit your ability to speak.

To understand timeframe, this is how long it took me to learn Portuguese actually living in the country, not having any contact with English speakers (no English at all) and with constant work (reading, some lessons):
3 months - can buy basic things for survival in shops
1 year - can have basic conversations about yourself
2 years - can tell and share jokes
5 years - can talk about almost everything with minor language mistakes

Fluency is a weird word. I say I'm 'fluent' in Portuguese but I don't speak like a native as language is so tied to culture.. there are words in English I'm sure you know but rarely use eg from childhood. A person from your area may understand, but English speaker from another country wouldn't, as well as people who speak English as second language.

P.S. French grammer is also the most difficult out of all the Latin languages. Even Portuguese say it is difficult. My belief is that Italian is easier to learn, then maybe Spanish.

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Re: Language learning

Post by andyO » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:53 am

Just thought I'd say good luck with the learning Davyn.

I'm one year into the process of trying to learn German. I find going to an evening class good for me. Gives me some increased motivation and also comes with a room full of other people who want to practice speaking the language.

I don't have a specific reason for learning, apart from general interest (work and travel) and the personal challenge.

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Re: Language learning

Post by registereduser » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:08 pm

This thread is old, so I probably shouldn't be posting!! But I am anyway (Sorry :shock: )
I'm going to try to learn Mandarin Chinese, does anyone know the tools or software for Mint that would help me?
I'm considering using Mint Debian so I don't know about PPA's ...

but if PPA is the only way then I'll go without debian edition :D

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