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Old 11-18-2011, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,983,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decafdave View Post
Agreed about Mandarin! That's why it is so easy for us to pick up basic conversational Mandarin. But try to become literate....

Korean, on the other hand, has a very easy alphabet called "hangeul" that one can learn in a day. However, actually speaking that language is a real challenge (at least for me).
Korean is more complicated, especially when honorifics are considered. Japanese is supposed to have a very complicated grammar. My problem with Mandarin is really only tones. It's because I do not have an ear that can easily hear differences in notes and such. I can easily remember characters because I have a good memory, but those darn tones will be the death of me.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:45 PM
 
Location: West Coast
1,199 posts, read 2,113,678 times
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Age has nothing to do with learning a language. The best way to learn a second language is through practice. Practice by listening. Begin listening to music in the language. Watch television in the language. Practice by speaking the language. Find at least one person with whom you can speak the language with on an ongoing basis. Practice by reading the language. Buy a book, magazine, newspaper in the language. Read in that language online. Practice by writing in the language. Begin with small words, and continue to build your vocabualary. You learned your first language through interacting with others. That is how you learn a second language.
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Liberal Coast
4,271 posts, read 4,983,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy74 View Post
Age has nothing to do with learning a language. The best way to learn a second language is through practice. Practice by listening. Begin listening to music in the language. Watch television in the language. Practice by speaking the language. Find at least one person with whom you can speak the language with on an ongoing basis. Practice by reading the language. Buy a book, magazine, newspaper in the language. Read in that language online. Practice by writing in the language. Begin with small words, and continue to build your vocabualary. You learned your first language through interacting with others. That is how you learn a second language.
Little kids and adults do not learn languages in the same way. The brain works differently.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Central New York
151 posts, read 164,933 times
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I have read that teaching children a foreign language while they are in elementary school shows that they will pick it up easier.

A lot of schools now are teaching children a second language around that age. I wish I was given that option. I started taking Italian in 7th grade and ended in 12th. 5 years of Italian and I can barely form a sentence. I did well while in class but if you were to drop me into Italy right now, I'd be lost.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:22 AM
 
32,538 posts, read 29,325,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolabound19 View Post
I have read that teaching children a foreign language while they are in elementary school shows that they will pick it up easier. .......... I did well while in class but if you were to drop me into Italy right now, I'd be lost.
The general consesus among linguists is that the average child can pick up languages fairly easily before the age of 10 or 11.

And if you have a good base in Italian you would probably surprise yourself if you were in a total immersion situation.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago
5,412 posts, read 8,279,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joy74 View Post
Age has nothing to do with learning a language. The best way to learn a second language is through practice. Practice by listening. Begin listening to music in the language. Watch television in the language. Practice by speaking the language. Find at least one person with whom you can speak the language with on an ongoing basis. Practice by reading the language. Buy a book, magazine, newspaper in the language. Read in that language online. Practice by writing in the language. Begin with small words, and continue to build your vocabualary. You learned your first language through interacting with others. That is how you learn a second language.
I now believe as you do (didn't used to). I think there is a lot of marketing and money in these early childhood language products. I also bought into it and my kids were taking French and Spanish at an early age. In hindsight, I think it was a waste of money. I know many kids who took years of foreign language without much to show for it. And I have a friend (a musician) who didn't speak a lick of Spanish before moving to Argentina at age 30. Five years later, she is now so fluent in the language that her husband tells me he can barely detect an accent. I think there are people who have a high aptitude/ear for picking up foreign languages /pronunciation regardless of their age.
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