What did you do to learn a language?

I’m curious to know what kinds of things you did before you became fluent. What were your habits and what were the things you did occasionally, for example. 
I know that everyone should find their own method and that they should enjoy learning. I’m just interested in experiences. 🙂  – Ninche, LingQ

I wrote a response to this post on LingQ, and it turned into an essay!  Ha.  So I am sharing the answer here, for those of you who haven’t read the past 280+ blog posts I’ve written in the past 4 months describing my learning journey.

1. I started a blog. I needed a place to put all the ideas and website links. I wanted to capture my experience. It led to finding other people who blog about learning the same language. We support each other.

2. I read “How To Learn Any Language” by Barry Farber

3. I tried out everything I could find – podcasts, websites, flashcards, games, youtube, books. I probably wasted time, but I wanted to find something that “fit”. I was taste-testing. I was learning how others learn. I followed my curiosity on the internet.

4. I got pen pals in my target language.

5. I installed a lot of new software. Skype, flashcard apps for my smartphone, dictionary, Kaokotalk, Facebook messenger, Google+ Hangouts, Yahoo Messenger.

6. I found places for social support and language discussions (LingQ, Mindpasta.com)

7. I checked out the resources at my library. “e-card” allows me to get electronic resources from a large city library. They have language learning software too, like Mango.

8. I paid attention to what my style of learning was. I re-evaluated which places I learned a lot, which places I ignored, which places were fun but not productive. I’m still finding my way.

9. I found places to buy books in my target language.

10. I tried food from the country whose language I was learning. I went to their restaurants. I found places to buy supplies on line. I started cooking recipes. I bought chopsticks and use them.

11. I listened to music and watched dramas in my target language. I mailed postcards to my pen pals. I browsed travel sites and dreamed of going there some day.

12. I added folks to my Facebook and Twitter who could give me information about learning my language.

13. I signed up for some “word of the day” emails. Basically, the goal was to make my target language a part of my life, and learning it a habit. So I surrounded myself with all things Korean.

14. I started visiting websites in my target language, long before I could read. I found online newspapers that had English/Korean articles. It still feels like a wild adventure, and I get scared by pop up dialog boxes I can’t read or emails all in a foreign language.

15. I read about the culture. Specifically, NTC’s Dictionary of Business and Cultural Code Words was very educational.

16. I read poetry, magazines, manga (comics), children’s books, and young adult novels. I looked for bilingual books.

17. I play. Games, cards, art projects, singing children’s songs, dancing. I have a lot of fun. I am always looking for fun ways to learn without realizing I am learning.

18. I share pictures of my hometown with my new Korean friends and they send me pictures of Korea. I write the captions in Korean.

19. I signed up for an online class, so that once a week I get speaking practice with a native speaker. It feels “authentic” to be learning Korean from a class in Korea. Hours to drive to a Korean class in USA, so this is a good option for me.

At first, I was just gathering up as much information as I could find. I think I was afraid I would run out of things to study. That seems laughable now.

This entry was posted in Korean, Learning, Not Learning. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What did you do to learn a language?

  1. hting56 says:

    I can relate to some points too! i’m not hard-core language learner so i very slow in making progress. One thing i hate is to memorise vocabulary words so but i try not to not touch korean. I make it a point to read/listen/speak in anything korean. i guess it’s a kind of ‘learn’ in somehow.


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