I recently wrote about my experience with language learning, particularly in French. I’ve gathered some rather unique ideas: if you’re interested, check out my blog post here. It’s a ten minute post, and you might find the first few paragraphs about my history in language learning uninteresting, so feel free to scroll by and read what interests you.
That was an interesting article and very well written for ‘ESL’ as you mentioned.
A certain thing that led to my lack of mastery is that I would frequently pick up a language and drop it after a while. I’ve taken up the same online Arabic course more times than I’m comfortable with sharing. I attempted to learn Tamil script multiple times before I decided to take the GCSE.
So… you can speak Tamil natively (but can’t write it well), Can write English natively (but can’t speak or comprehend well?) and have learned French and Arabic to varying degrees in the past. It seems like you have identified your faults and can now put a plan into motion…
Duolingo seemed much better than I thought! Moreover, it was addictive — something that didn’t really matter, because, after all, it was helping me learn a language, right?
I had always had an unpleasant notion with the app — gimmicky and generalized.
I agree. Duolingo can be fun while sitting on the toilet but it is built more for people with short attention spans/gaming/dopamine addictions etc. It seems to milk money from those people fairly easily, not sure how much they learn though.
Another one is that I have to speak. Produce, instead of merely consuming. I’m unclear on when exactly this should start, though.
Have you tried having conversations with yourself? I do this in Finnish regularly, seems to be helping.
For grammar, I just don’t want to memorize the rules. Perhaps I will at more advanced levels, but for basic fluency, I don’t think memorizing rules helps. On the other hand, not knowing about grammar at all didn’t work well for me — I got too discouraged.
My language teacher mentioned to learn the grammar for personal and time forms of basic verbs at the start. Who knows what the correct answer is.
the benefits of watching a real person speaking in that language are tremendous. I’ve tried this, and it works.
Thank you! Do you have any feedback for my writing style or language?
Actually, I don’t speak it that well either. I can understand day to day speech, but am far more comfortable with English. In English, my reading is definitely at native level, and my writing might be even higher than average for my age group. I understand well, but accents are tough. But speaking is where I lack - I guess it’s because unlike the other areas, I haven’t had much practice with speaking, living in ESL countries.
This. It starts off all nice and friendly and after a few weeks, more or less forces you to pay.
That’s an interesting tactic. I’ve used it while preparing for speeches, but might be useful for day to day speech in any language. Your native tongue is English, I assume.
Hmm. Perhaps. I did learn basic grammar in the Michel Thomas course, but I think keeping an eye out for patterns is just easier than trying to remember rules.
Perhaps that’s one thing, but for me, I’m naturally more focused and remember stuff better if I see a human speak, as compared to just hearing someone. Not sure how it works, but for me, I comprehend the best by reading, then seeing (with audio), and then by audio alone. Perhaps it has something to do with learning styles.
Honestly, you write very well in this first-person blog style format. The language is sophisticated enough to captivate someone with higher education and straight-forward enough to be understood by masses. I’m no literary scholar myself but I would be proud to write something like that.
English language accents are a beast even for native speakers… So I wouldn’t worry about individual accents unless you are going to that specific country or interacting with residents of those countries regularly.
I’m Australian and my content consumed would be mainly American/Australian. I made friends with a Jamaican man in Rome. He spoke and understood English fluently but I couldn’t understand him because he was speaking with an accent that I didn’t recognize. The same thing related to Native English speaking areas (British colonies/United Kingdom). I watched Jeremy Clarkson’s farm TV show with my parents. The local farmer appeared to speak English, but not any kind of English that I understand.
I have been talking to the mirror for 5 minutes before bed every night. Its a nice feedback loop because it forces me to recognize the word’s i’ve forgotten or if I’m struggling to phrase a certain idea. With your extensive and constructed vocabulary I don’t see how you would have too many problems with this tactic… In real life there is still the problem of fast speech fluency and the many many many… cultural idioms.