Hey everyone, I hope everyone’s christmas went well. I thought of another “interesting” question to raise on here to see if it provokes any interesting responses. My question relates to an experience I had with my Danish before I stopped doing it. I’d studied Danish for about 8 or 9 months, I’d completed the Teach Yourself Complete Danish, I’d completed the Assimil and had also completed a selection of about 60 beginner/intermediate transcripts. It got to the point where there was nothing more for me to do. I was stranded in a sort of early intermediate limbo. Now obviously there are plenty of News sites in Danish to look at, and obviously there are plenty of Danish TV programmes out there. But i’d run out of resources suitable for my level that had a transcript with audio. I tried reading through some of the harry potters whilst listening to the audio books (this became the only danish i was doing) which I felt maintained my level of danish or at least slowed down the rate at which i became worse at it from lack of anything else to do. I just felt that the amount of time and hours i’d have had to have put in to danish in order to improve would have been far too excessive and almost not worth the return i’d get for the hours i would have had to study. That’s pretty much where the story finishes. I gave up Danish because continuing it would take up far too much time which would affect the rate at which my spanish is improving, which is a language I enjoy. I stopped enjoying Danish.
And so ultimately I want to know if you guys have studied or are studying a language in which the resources are scarce for, and if so, how this affects motivation, the amount of time required to get to an advanced level, and perhaps just any general wisdom/ advice. I do hope to pick up Danish again “someday” but right now i remain thinking there just aren’t enough resources out there to obtain a level worth studying for.
I think that it is a fact that there are some languages in which as you say, after reaching a certain level, “there’s not much left for you to do” at least you move into the country where it is spoken to get the real stuff out of them, or to dedicate to it 100% of your time neglecting any other language practice.
I know what you mean, I have experienced the same myself too.
Maybe you could get a penfriend? Back in the days when I was finding it hard to get German resources, my penfriends were a real lifeline.
You’ve said, I know, that one of the main difficulties of Danish is the difference between what you hear and how the language is spoken, but if you’re really strapped for materials you might just fall back on reading, to keep you in at least some sort of practice. When I studied French, that was all I had available, reading materials, and learning to read French fairly well was definitely worthwhile–much better than losing what I had learned. W/ the resources available on the Internet, you should be able at least to buy some books for your level and keep plugging away at them. Perhaps devote a quarter of your time for learning languages to that, and the other three quarters to Spanish.
And finding a pen pal sounds like an even better suggestion.
Read read read read … anything by natives for natives, without audio is fine.
After the “beginner level” materials for most languages (except for maybe the four biggest/ most common) drop off. A good passive-reading vocabulary has to come before a good passive-listening vocabulary.
so to what degree do you guys think you can become fluent in a language from reading alone? or what degree can reading help your listening ability? I remember Steve saying in a video of his that he considers reading a type of listening, because when you read you hear it in your head (or something to that effect)
Basically just that. Once you can hear the “read-along” voice in your head then you don’t need so much of the listening.
I guess you could also try a TTS system like Svox or Loquendo, that you can even install on your mobile device. I don’t know about Danish, but I use Luciana (Female Brazilian Portuguese voice for Svox TTS) and I think it is pretty good. Some time ago I used it to read some e-books for me during my commutes. Back then I was studying law to take exams to be a public servant. It sure helped me a lot.
I nerver tryied it for language learning but you could try and see if it goes well.
You’ll become a lot better at Danish by reading than you will by doing nothing at all with it. You’ll increase your vocabulary. You’ll accustom your mind to moving in the patterns of Danish. You’ll surely find some literature that you’ll enjoy, as well. And you will be in much better shape to use Danish when you do find someone to practice with. Maybe you can find a recording of something you’re reading, to supplement it.
In my experience, listening is much more difficult than reading. The difference is that with listening you don’t control the speed of input, most of the time at least. You can’t pause and think about something before continuing along, etc. It’s much more difficult to try to comprehend not at your own speed. But practice with reading will help with your listening, for the reasons listed above.