Anyone self taught a foreign language?

Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
Anyone used a book or computer software to successfully teach themselves a foreign language? not just the basics, but fluency?
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  • undomielundomiel Posts: 2,818Member
    Currently in the process of doing that. Both my wife and I are working on Japanese and we're using a book, a couple of sites, and Anki for going through flashcards. We also listen to lots of Japanese podcasts and such. We're nowhere near fluency currently but we'll get there eventually. Just have to keep working at it. I don't forsee myself ever signing up for a formalized Japanese course.
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  • varelgvarelg Posts: 790Banned
    Yes, spanish. Although not without help from native speakers. But sticking just by help from native speakers won't get you to fluency. I had to eventually sit down and study from a book, write homework, exercises etc.
    I haven't used software for that purpose but I believe you can achieve a level beyond basic short of complete fluency. For that you'd have to visit that language's nation of origin and live there for a while.
    I am posioning the forums.
  • NightShade03NightShade03 Posts: 1,383Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    I am working on this too. For me it's French. I use a few websites and I bought a few French novels that I have read through. translate.google.com is good for listening to how things are pronounced as well. The fiancée is a few levels ahead of me in French, but her mom is a French teacher...so that helps too.
  • chrisonechrisone Senior Member Posts: 1,792Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    undomiel wrote: »
    Currently in the process of doing that. Both my wife and I are working on Japanese and we're using a book, a couple of sites, and Anki for going through flashcards. We also listen to lots of Japanese podcasts and such. We're nowhere near fluency currently but we'll get there eventually. Just have to keep working at it. I don't forsee myself ever signing up for a formalized Japanese course.

    Same here, i am in the starting process of gathering materials to tech myself a little Japanese. I am not that concern with mastering the language, but just enough to have a basic conversation and to understand when others speak it.

    What books, materials, do you recommend?
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  • Daniel333Daniel333 Posts: 2,072Member ■■■■■■□□□□
    Sorta, when I was kid I did alright in Greek and okay in Latin. At least in the Biblical studies areas. I don't think I could do it now days.

    I picked up a bit of Spanish from living here in California and supplemented it with one of those learn while you drive CDs about 5 years ago. I can order at a restaurant, give directions and give some basic computers instructions.
    -Daniel
  • steve13adsteve13ad Posts: 398Member
    I had a CRAZY Spanish teacher in High School, who wasn't really as concerned with teaching as to counting down her days until retirement.

    And more recently, my daughter has discovered/become addicted to Dora the Explorer and hearing it all the time has really helped me re-learn.
  • EssendonEssendon Posts: 4,548Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I want to learn Spanish, have bought a book and there's a El Salvadorian guy in our team who's given me a CD that has interactive tutorials. But the book's been with me for about 2 years and the CD for 1.5, but the slacker inside me...

    Also want to learn a bit of Vietnamese, would love to know what those folks cackle on in.

    All the above being said, learning another language is the lowest on my priority list. Family, work, career and certs come first (in that order).
    NSX, NSX, more NSX..

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  • jamesleecolemanjamesleecoleman Posts: 1,899Member
    I'm working on Russian (TORFL), Hebrew (modern), ASL, and Spanish. I'm focusing more on Russian of anything. I found that the "Teach yourself" books/cd set (ex. teach yourself russian) look pretty good. Self study is difficult if you don't know what you're doing. It took me two years to get off the ground with Russian. I didn't know how to study a foreign language at all. It did help that I got a tutor that lives in Russia but I talk to her online though. Having a really good book and following it really helps for self study.
    Booya!!
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  • mikedisd2mikedisd2 Posts: 1,096Member
    I've been learning Japanese through self-study due to my wife being Japanese. Alot of it I have picked from home, but mostly I use Pimsleur CDs. After the first 2x sets I could express my actions and intentions to the in-laws. I learned the kanas from a book and pick kanji from all sorts of resources. I downloaded the Japanese Grade 1 list of kanji and learned them all from practise.
  • XcluzivXcluziv Posts: 513Member
    I am currently interested in learning Hindi. In high school of course I became very familiar with Spanish and was pretty decent. I have gotten away from it but still can speak pretty well. I became interested in learning Hindi being around my business partners and colleagues. It was of interest to me so I thought why not broaden my horizon icon_study.gif Currently, I've just been picking up alot of things by converesing with people and Google Translate. The more you practice it the better you get, ecspecially when you speak it in general conversation with individuals.
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  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    English - I am actually German... I'd consider myself somewhat fluent although my grammar sometimes dies on me :p
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • it_consultantit_consultant Posts: 1,903Member
    Gomjaba wrote: »
    English - I am actually German... I'd consider myself somewhat fluent although my grammar sometimes dies on me :p

    My experience is that when a German says "I know a little English" this means that they are basically as good at our language as most Americans. Most of use can't speak our own language properly let alone another one.

    Speaking to the topic on the thread. I studied Russian on the computer for about a year because I wanted to learn a language that had a different alphabet. It was very enlightening but hard to keep up with it because I don't have any one to speak Russian too!
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member
    My experience is that when a German says "I know a little English" this means that they are basically as good at our language as most Americans. Most of use can't speak our own language properly let alone another one.

    We are too serious with ourselves :p

    Had a funny moment yesterday .. I was talking to my g/f and at some she looked at me as if she saw a ghost. Quote "OMFG - You actually use 'whom' right ?" - apparently 'whom' is magic to locals :D
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • ChronusMaximusChronusMaximus Posts: 54Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    My experience is that when a German says "I know a little English" this means that they are basically as good at our language as most Americans. Most of use can't speak our own language properly let alone another one.

    I have to agree with this. I have met several Germans and they always speak excellent English but feel that they only know a little. If only we had the teachers here that they do over there for English. As an American I feel I need to practice English a lot more! =)

    I have been trying to teach myself Spanish but get distracted with school. Once I finish college this summer though I plan to pick it back up again and then move on to German.
    WIP: CCNA
  • Mike-MikeMike-Mike Posts: 1,860Member
    I am trying to learn Spanish, any book or software recommendations would be appreciated
    Currently Working On

    CWTS, then WireShark
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    I want to learn Russian at some point. Whenever I end up with some free time.
  • eMeSeMeS Posts: 1,875Member
    Mike-Mike wrote: »
    I am trying to learn Spanish, any book or software recommendations would be appreciated

    I grew up speaking Spanish, and also speak French. I'm much more fluent in Spanish than French, but functional in both.

    Part of the way I keep up to speed in Spanish is watching Spanish TV Channels, of which we have many here in Texas.

    Another thing that is helpful is called Destinos. It's basically a soap opera that was filmed in the early 90's and is used in all levels of Spanish classes. You can check it out here: Resource: Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish . I own the DVDs but I think you can also watch them online.

    There is something similar for French as well, it's called French in Action. It's available at Resource: French in Action .

    Both of these are somewhat immersive, and they get progressively more difficult over the course of the episodes.

    What will help you learn a language quickly is immersing yourself in another culture and having to worry about real life things like feeding yourself.

    MS
  • N2ITN2IT Posts: 7,483Inactive Imported Users
    eMeS wrote: »
    What will help you learn a language quickly is immersing yourself in another culture and having to worry about real life things like feeding yourself.

    MS

    +1

    I have a friend who works for a global company and he does IT support at a high level for central and south america. He took dozens of trips while self studying the language. Once he became extremely confortable he applied for a bilingual position and hasn't looked back. Within in 1 year he is now fluent in Portuguese as well. Obviously not as fluent as Spanish.
  • thehourmanthehourman Posts: 723Member
    undomiel wrote: »
    Currently in the process of doing that. Both my wife and I are working on Japanese and we're using a book, a couple of sites, and Anki for going through flashcards. We also listen to lots of Japanese podcasts and such. We're nowhere near fluency currently but we'll get there eventually. Just have to keep working at it. I don't forsee myself ever signing up for a formalized Japanese course.
    Dude, I am thinking of learning Japanese as well. What material you and your wife are using?
    Studying:
    Working on CCNA: Security. Start date: 12.28.10
    Microsoft 70-640 - on hold (This is not taking me anywhere. I started this in October, and it is December now, I am still on page 221. WTH!)
    Reading:
    Network Warrior - Currently at Part II
    Reading IPv6 Essentials 2nd Edition - on hold
  • ZentraediZentraedi Posts: 150Member
    I got up to JLPT Level 2 Japanese via a language school and then studied on my own to pass the JLPT Level 1.

    I just wish my girlfriend wasn't so lazy and actually start studying English. She can say a few things, but can't hold a conversation. It's gonna be hard if we have to move to the US.
    Current Study Track
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  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Posts: 4,298Member
    Zentraedi wrote: »
    I got up to JLPT Level 2 Japanese via a language school and then studied on my own to pass the JLPT Level 1.

    I just wish my girlfriend wasn't so lazy and actually start studying English. She can say a few things, but can't hold a conversation. It's gonna be hard if we have to move to the US.

    Nice name. I should +rep you just for that.

    Now that I have geeked out on Robotech... My opinions.
    Using only books/CDs is not going to get you very far. You need to use a combination of things: TV (YouTube, whatever) and actual conversation with native speakers. The more you actually practice, participate in conversations, the faster you will learn. Without real conversations, you will not have the chance to actually make mistakes and correct yourself.

    I speak Portuguese, Spanish, and once upon a time could speak Irish Gaelic but that has gone so long w/o out practice I can barely even read in it any more. I have also taught my self basic French and to be able to read enough Russian to read chess books/game scores.
  • pakgeekpakgeek Posts: 53Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I'm currently leanring French through a college course, plus someone suggested getting the Rosetta Stone CD so might look into it.

    I already speak Hindi/Urdu.
  • thehourmanthehourman Posts: 723Member
    @Zen
    How long have you been living in Japan? I always wanna go there.
    Studying:
    Working on CCNA: Security. Start date: 12.28.10
    Microsoft 70-640 - on hold (This is not taking me anywhere. I started this in October, and it is December now, I am still on page 221. WTH!)
    Reading:
    Network Warrior - Currently at Part II
    Reading IPv6 Essentials 2nd Edition - on hold
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned
  • ZentraediZentraedi Posts: 150Member
    Now that I have geeked out on Robotech...

    icon_cheers.gif
    Using only books/CDs is not going to get you very far. You need to use a combination of things: TV (YouTube, whatever) and actual conversation with native speakers. The more you actually practice, participate in conversations, the faster you will learn. Without real conversations, you will not have the chance to actually make mistakes and correct yourself.

    You definitely a combination. I know so many westerners here who speak OK, but are functionally illiterate. Personally, I have no problem reading, but my writing in Japanese is still a bit stilted and unnatural.

    I speak Portuguese, Spanish, and once upon a time could speak Irish Gaelic but that has gone so long w/o out practice I can barely even read in it any more. I have also taught my self basic French and to be able to read enough Russian to read chess books/game scores.

    Portuguese would actually come in handy around here. Ton of Brazilians.

    As for French, I always thought it was one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn. I picked that up an order of magnitude faster than Japanese.
    thehourman wrote: »
    @Zen
    How long have you been living in Japan? I always wanna go there.

    About 4 years. If you have any specific questions or need advice, just let me know!
    Current Study Track
    EMCCA, EMCCAe, EMCCE, VCIX-NV, Puppet Practitioner, ServiceNow
  • thehourmanthehourman Posts: 723Member
    About 4 years. If you have any specific questions or need advice, just let me know!
    Dude, I am so going to contact you. I sent you a friend request. If you have time, please accept it.
    I am thinking of buying this Amazon.com: SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY--A Little Language Goes a Long Way! eBook: Boye Lafayette De Mente: Kindle Store but I think that is a good book for starters.
    Studying:
    Working on CCNA: Security. Start date: 12.28.10
    Microsoft 70-640 - on hold (This is not taking me anywhere. I started this in October, and it is December now, I am still on page 221. WTH!)
    Reading:
    Network Warrior - Currently at Part II
    Reading IPv6 Essentials 2nd Edition - on hold
  • SlowhandSlowhand Questionably Benevolent Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    Well, I did teach myself English when I was younger. (For those of you who read my ramblings and rants, that may come as a surprise. For the tl;dr crowd, I'm just sayin'.) My first language is Swedish, but having no one to speak to and the fact that I never write to any Swedes is beginning to make me forget more and more of it. I plan on picking up Spanish and Japanese at some point, and probably expand on the little bit of Cantonese and Gaelic I already speak. So far, I've had some good luck with books and things like Rosetta Stone, but I may just have to knuckle under and go for some instructor-led grammar-classes to ensure I actually do re-learn Swedish properly. icon_lol.gif

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  • Chivalry1Chivalry1 Posts: 569Member
    For me I am learning French. I use a variety of resources which include Rosetta Stone, Youtube, and a number of websites where I chat with other users. I will study French for another 3 years to become more fluent, then I will move on to Spanish.
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  • thehourmanthehourman Posts: 723Member
    I am sure that I am not going to get Rosseta Stone becuase it is too expensive.
    I might get this one though Amazon.com: Instant Immersion Japanese Levels 1,2&3: Software
    or this one Amazon.com: Instant Immersion Japanese: Software
    The price seem right, but I am not sure what the difference yet. I think the 2nd link is just an older version.
    Studying:
    Working on CCNA: Security. Start date: 12.28.10
    Microsoft 70-640 - on hold (This is not taking me anywhere. I started this in October, and it is December now, I am still on page 221. WTH!)
    Reading:
    Network Warrior - Currently at Part II
    Reading IPv6 Essentials 2nd Edition - on hold
  • ZentraediZentraedi Posts: 150Member
    thehourman wrote: »
    Dude, I am so going to contact you. I sent you a friend request. If you have time, please accept it.

    Accepted.

    [QUOTE=thehourman;504244I am thinking of buying this Amazon.com: SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY--A Little Language Goes a Long Way! eBook: Boye Lafayette De Mente: Kindle Store but I think that is a good book for starters.[/QUOTE]
    thehourman wrote: »
    I am sure that I am not going to get Rosseta Stone becuase it is too expensive.
    I might get this one though Amazon.com: Instant Immersion Japanese Levels 1,2&3: Software
    or this one Amazon.com: Instant Immersion Japanese: Software
    The price seem right, but I am not sure what the difference yet. I think the 2nd link is just an older version.

    *Shakes head* No one really learns or becomes fluent from those. A tourist might check those out on the plane ride over, but that's it.

    Seriously, what's your actual goal?
    Current Study Track
    EMCCA, EMCCAe, EMCCE, VCIX-NV, Puppet Practitioner, ServiceNow
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