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.