Looking for advanced language learning tips

Hey guys I am sitting at a relatively advanced level in German and Spanish and am looking for advice on how to perfect my accent, improve my writing etc.
German I have been studying for 1 year and 4 months now (but for the last 3 months I’ve been focusing on Spanish). Spanish I have been learning about 3 months and am currently in Colombia, so I have picked it up pretty quickly. Obviously I just need time with the languages and lots of input but here is a basic idea of my routine:
I use remnote (like anki) to memorise grammatical concepts and occasional phrases that I need
I read books and transcripts on lingQ (with an audibook or the netflix playing.
I have grammar books to refer to
I intend on doing more grammar activites online (let me know if you can recommend me any)
I talk with my friends in Colombia and also online with Germans and Spanish speakers
I am wanting to start developing a spanish accent (from Spain) so I will probably try and shadow series and watch linguistic analyses.
Any tips or advice would be appreciated on my language journey :slight_smile:

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You have been learning German for 1 year and 4 months and you are already at an advanced level! You my friend should be teaching us. Hey good job!


I’m all about the audio and much less about the reading and I have a particularly strong opinion about how/why folks have “foreign” accents when learning a language. But I won’t get into that in this thread. Instead I’ll share some of the information I have learned since I acquired Spanish more than ten years ago and now French and Russian:

Accents are just subtle (or not so subtle) difference in the pronunciation of individual letters. There is more to it than that but first the letters:

In my head the simplification might be to compare your own accent (assuming Australian) to that of e.g. a North American. You might assume that the “t” for example is the same e.g. in “water” but it isn’t: both dialects have different t’s. There are subtle differences and you have to figure out how to make the sound in your target.

This is even more pronounced when going from one language to another.

I can’t speak to German but I can speak to Spanish:
Spanish for example: the “d” is the tongue between the teeth whereas in English the “d” is either placed behind the top of the teeth or at the top of the palate of the mouth.
To my ear the Spanish “d” sounds similar to the “th” in “though”, which is not quite a “d” to me, but to them it is. You can get a handle on this better by looking at the IPA charts.

The two polyglots with epic accents are Luca Lampariello and Idahosa Ness.
It might be worth watching them on youtube to hear how they acquire accents.
Also: there is IPA which is derived from the science of linguistics which shows you physically how to make the correct sounds with your tongue, lips etc per language.

Luca Lampariello and Idahossa Ness both talk about cadence, rhythm and musicality of the language. If I remember Luca correctly, he has a video talking about how he picked up a pretty decent American accent. To my ear he doesn’t sound 100% American but he definitely sounds like e.g. somebody who immigrated to the US as a kid. He sounds American enough that to my ear he is American.

I hope this helps.


keep going! you will learn even better


The more advanced you get, in my opinion, the more closely your activities should mirror the way a native uses the language. Read widely. Watch interesting movies. Listen to podcasts. Watch political debates. Discuss things with your friends. If you want to improve your writing, write regularly. Keep a journal in the target language. If you specifically want to develop technical writing skills in the language, try to read the news or complex nonfiction books and write reviews or analyses of them in the target language.


Yeah essays and analyses in spanish are a good idea. I will probably start reading 1491 again, trying to summarise the ideas in spanish. I talk with my friends sometimes about social issues so that is a definitely helpful. I definitely will try incorporate some political content into my schedual, probably starting with Colombia as I am here currently. Thanks for all the tips :slight_smile:

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Yeah I will have a look into their content and try develop a routine. Because I know people tell me accents are unique and cool (and you don’t have to speak like a native) but for me I much prefer to feel at home and integrated in a foreign country by speaking like them. So I will be investing a lot of time into this. Audio is definitely very important, I watch a lot of youtube, netflix and combine audiobooks and books when I can.

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Just lots of time with quality content and you can get the hang of a language relatively quick :wink:

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Translating into Spanish and German will help you I think! You can try translating from books, film subtitles or essays! Two options: one is to translate from Spanish first into English, then the next day, you go backwards, writingin Spanish! Good for picking up syntax!

You can translate into Spanish directly! I sometimes take books in English, try to translate them into L2 then find a professionally translated book in L2 and correct! Tricky but really good for picking up grammar/syntax that isn’t covered in grammar books.

Everything you are doing now is really good, so keep it up. I would recommend watching movies or shows in German and Spanish, and also reading things such as books, newspapers, and magazines.

If you need advanced learning as your title suggest, just read and listen.

Read and listen to native content that interests you (but also trying to include as much variety as possible).

Engage in conversation knowing that what counts the most there is the interaction and the content that you get back.
Your daily life already does this for you for Spanish. As for German, get in touch with native conversation tutors on one of the many websites that are set up for this.

Check grammar just to have an idea of how things works, but actually if you need advanced learning you should have quite a sufficient idea already, so I would say to check grammar to the extent to which doing so satisfies your genuine curiosities, if any. Otherwise don’t bother.

Personally I wouldn’t do any memorisation (which is not language, is a mnemonic excercise), nor analyses (which is not knowing the language, is knowing about the language) nor shadowing