Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language


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Table of Contents

No guesswork involved. This same idea is applicable throughout Japanese, with very few exceptions meaning pronunciation is very straightforward once you get the hang of the different sounds. This means that the verb always comes at the end of the sentence, which requires a mental shift in how you think about constructing sentences. What does that mean? In Japanese, particles are used to indicate grammatical function. These grammatical particles have no meaning by themselves, serving only to indicate the roles of words in the sentence. Particles are used to express all sorts of things.

At first, they may seem confusing and difficult. The best way to learn particles is just to get lots of exposure to the language and notice when they appear. Japanese has a reputation for being tricky, and it has a few differences to get used to, but with steady practice, fluency is well within your grasp. An unparalleled mixture of rich ancient and modern culture gives Japan a cultural depth that has something for nearly everyone.

Interested in the feudal era of kingdoms, samurai and shogun? Over a thousand years of Japanese history are well-preserved in both ancient documents and historical records all across Japan. Some of the oldest Japanese historical documents such as the Kojiki date back to the 8th century, providing a fascinating window into the world at that time. Similarly, more recent history includes eras such as the Sengoku period which is the subject of much historical fiction, and the Meiji period when the Shogunate was overthrown in order to transition from a medieval society to a modern one.

As you can see, Japan is abundant with history both written and tangible—but what about more modern developments? One of the most fascinating things about Japan is the preservation of tradition. The Japanese go to great efforts to preserve traditional art forms and festivals. For example, the ' Tanabata ' Star Festival that is held in July and August each year has remained virtually the same for over a thousand years.

Additionally, there are many craftsmen all over Japan who create works of traditional Japanese embroidery, pottery, artwork, flower arrangement, and more! On top of this, Tokyo is the single largest city in the entire world with a population of over 33 million people and a wealth of modern cultural delights. This rich background of modern culture forms the basis for the final category, Japanese entertainment. Japan is well-known for exporting its media, which has led to things like anime and Japanese video games attaining huge international popularity.

It goes without saying that most people will have played a Japanese video game at some point, or seen some anime videos. Learning Japanese is mostly about smart study habits, regularly challenging yourself, and keeping a good routine. It all depends on how much time you devote to studying on a daily basis. It takes quite a bit of time compared to, say, French or German , which can be picked up by an English speaker quite well within months of dedicated study.

Yet, despite all this, there are some persistent myths about the difficulty of Japanese, which can be intimidating for beginners and those considering taking up the language. But in truth, most of these myths are simply not true. Kanji is one of three elements used in the Japanese writing system. They are a set of characters that have been adopted from the Chinese writing system and are used together with the Japanese hiragana and katakana characters.

After all, Japanese children learn to speak the language long before they have an advanced mastery of kanji. Additionally, kanji is easier to learn the longer you study it. Did you know that even native Japanese speakers forget kanji characters sometimes? In fact, it's one of the most reliable conversation topics among native speakers - "How do you write that word? The good news is that all kanji knowledge is cumulative.

The more kanji you learn, the more words you know. And the more kanji you know, the faster you learn new words. But the logic underpinning it is not. Japanese people think, talk about, and do the same things you do. They just express their ideas in a slightly different way. Most Japanese people will just be amazed and impressed that you are going to the trouble of learning their language in the first place.

They are aware that it can be difficult - because Japanese people struggle with English too! Experience has taught me that people are rarely judgemental when it comes to foreigners speaking their language. A second concern is the nature of social hierarchy in Japan and the appropriate manner of speaking to those who are above or below you in social status.

The most important thing to remember is this: the Japanese have different standards for native speakers than they do for non-native speakers. As a non-native speaker, you are not generally expected to speak with the appropriate politeness level at all times. Mastering kanji is easily the most challenging part of Japanese, and learning it properly requires commitment— but it is entirely within your grasp!

Firstly, to distinguish between homophones. There are many homophones in the Japanese language, and kanji helps to distinguish between different words. For example:. Secondly, kanji helps to condense the language , make it very information-dense and easier to read. Japanese can pack more information into a limited space than most other languages can. The fact of the matter is that hiragana is actually quite difficult to read by itself, so kanji is used to speed up reading.

Japanese does not use any spaces between words, so another of the primary functions of kanji is to help distinguish where words begin and end. The Japanese are well-aware of the difficulty of kanji , and so in certain books and TV shows, etc. When you are looking for reading material, make sure you check to see if furigana is available, as they will no doubt aid you in the early stages of learning to read Japanese. If you can find more time, great!

Break your study goals down into reasonable chunks and work towards them a little each day. One of these elements is a set of characters called radicals. There are radicals and these are the base characters from which all other more advanced characters are built. When you tackle k anji , learn these radicals first. It will then be much easier to go on and learn the other characters and the words themselves. Regularly expose yourself to new materials and try different learning exercises. Some days you can practice writing the characters out on a page, other days you could mix things up by studying characters with flashcards or practising some reading.

Beware Of Beginner And Intermediate Plateaus: There are two common plateau phases in Japanese and both are closely tied to learning the writing system. This is one of the most critical phases for staying motivated. Your rate of progress will feel slower but stick with it and you will quickly adjust.

The second plateau comes once you have a mastery of grammar and have to focus on mastering kanji and increasing your vocabulary. But when you do reach this plateau, the important thing to do is to start consuming as much Japanese-language material as you can and learning new kanji. For a deeper look at how to write in Japanese, read this article.

Japanese is a tricky language to get started with. Frankly, getting started with Japanese might be the hardest part. So I want to talk about a few traps that beginners fall into. There is a LOT of knowledge to cover in Japanese, and the fastest way to burn yourself out is to try and learn too fast. Remember that in order to achieve fluency, you need to build a strong foundation in the basics of the language. This book is my time machine. You know how it is.

As I said earlier, there is no such thing as a hard language. Japanese is difficult for English speakers to learn for the same reason that English is difficult for Japanese speakers; there are precious few words and grammatical concepts that overlap in both languages, not to mention the entirely different alphabets involved. In contrast, an English speaker learning French has much less work to do. English vocabulary is 28 percent French and 28 percent Latin. As soon as an English speaker learns proper French pronunciation, he already knows thousands of words. In my experience, their estimates are spot-on.

As they predicted, Russian a level 2 language took me nearly twice as much time as French a level 1 language , and I suspect that Japanese a level 3 language will take me twice as much time as Russian. Without an immersion program, I suspect advanced French would take five to eight months, working for thirty to forty-five minutes per day on your own. Level 2 languages like Russian and Hebrew should be twice that, and level 3 languages like Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean should take four times as long as French.

Think about exercise for a moment. Those of us who do, succeed. Successful gym rats learn to find the joy and endorphins in grueling daily workouts.

The secrets of learning a new language - Lýdia Machová

Who enjoys drilling grammar and memorizing word lists? Every time we see a new factoid e. My favorite thing about language learning is this: I can basically play video games as much as I like without suffering deep, existential regret afterward e. I spend thirty to sixty minutes a day playing on my smartphone or watching TV.

The TV series Lost is awesome in Russian. I get a language out of it, I feel productive, and I have fun.

Resources For Memorizing The Sounds And Their Related Characters

I intend to teach you how to learn, rather than what to learn. Speaking of which, you should probably begin by choosing a language to learn. A reader on my website once asked me whether he should learn Russian or French. His relatives spoke Russian, he loved the culture, but he was worried about the difficulty. French seemed like a safe alternative.

Never settle for safe when you can have fun instead. Your language will become a constant companion, living in your head. You have many resources at your disposal. Language Books Get yourself some books. Thank you, Herr Gutenberg. I aim to have book recommendations for as many languages as people want to learn. You will skip 90 percent of the exercises in the book, but having them around will save you a lot of time once we begin to learn grammar.

If your new book comes with a CD, then so much the better. There are two pitfalls here to avoid. First, avoid books systematically detailing every single solitary rule and detail and exception, all at once, in an uncontrollable torrent of grammatical despair. I used to love these books—until I tried learning from them. These are technical tomes that lay out the entire grammatical system of a language in giant flowcharts.

Second, be wary of most classroom books, especially those without an answer key. Books designed for classrooms are often sparse on explanations, because they expect that the teacher will be able to handle any confusion. Phrase books from the Lonely Planet company are cheap and come with a tiny, extremely practical dictionary in the back. The number one word in English, the, shows up once every twenty-five words. These books are amazing, with lovingly picked examples and translations. Get it. A pronunciation guide will walk you through the entire pronunciation system of your language, with the help of recordings and diagrams of your mouth and tongue.

For many languages, you can find guidebooks with CDs devoted entirely to pronunciation. You also want to find two dictionaries. It is up to you whether you find them online or in print. The first is a traditional bilingual dictionary e. If you see funny symbols e. The second is a monolingual dictionary e. You may also want a thematic vocabulary book. These books arrange the words in your language by theme: words about cars, words for food, medical words, and so on. If not, get a new one that fits your level. Go get one. Last, hold off on a pronunciation book or trainer until the end of Chapter 3.

The quality varies drastically from site to site and changes daily. I list my favorite Internet resources on my website Fluent-Forever. The fastest route to fluency is also the least convenient: intensive immersion programs will provide twenty-plus weekly hours of class time, ten to twenty weekly hours of homework, and a strict no- English policy.

Some of them have generous financial aid policies if you apply early enough, so they may be within your reach if you lack the funds but have the time. I like finding ways to make life more efficient, even when finding a faster way to do something takes more time than simply doing it. I needed to learn four languages to fluency for my singing. With so many languages to learn, I could spend an enormous amount of time looking for efficiency and still justify the time expense. As a result, I have a chest full of neat tools and toys to play with. Yes, this breaks my no-English rule, but you know what they say about rules and breaking things.

In nothing else is he rich, in nothing else is he poor. He picks one, and puts it into his computer. NEO looks at the screen. Neo: Jujitsu? The monitors kick wildly as his heart pounds, adrenaline surges, and his brain sizzles. An instant later his eyes snap open. TANK grins. These principles will enable you to remember more in less time. Most attractively, this system can take what little spare time you have and steadily turn it into a usable foreign language.

In , the researchers gave up, concluding that they had most definitely searched everywhere, and that memory must be somewhere else. Researchers eventually turned their search for memories to the wiring between neurons rather than within the cells themselves. Each of the hundred billion neurons in our brains are, on average, connected to seven thousand other neurons, in a dense web of more than , kilometers of nerve fibers. Whenever the scientists cut out a piece, they damaged only a small portion of the involved connections.

The more they removed, the longer it took the rats to remember, but they never forgot their mazes completely. The only way to remove the maze entirely was to remove the rat entirely. These patterns of connections form in an elegantly simple, mechanical process: neurons that fire together wire together.

Take my first memory of cookies. I spent ten minutes waiting in front of the oven, bathed in radiating heat and the scent of butter, flour, and sugar. I waited until they came out of the oven and watched the steam rise up off of them as they cooled. When I could bear no more, my father gave me a glass of milk, I grabbed a cookie, and I learned empathy for my poor blue friend from Sesame Street.

My neural network for cookies involves sight, smell, and taste. There are audio components—the sound of the word cookie and the sound of milk pouring into a glass. This first cookie experience was a parade of sensations, which wired together into a tight web of neural connections. These connections enable me to return to my past whenever I encounter a new cookie. Faced with a familiar buttery scent, that old web of neurons reactivates; my brain plays back the same sights, sounds, emotions, and tastes, and I relive my childhood experience. My cookie is memorable because it contains so many connections.

I can access cookie in a thousand different ways. I will remember cookies if I read about them, hear about them, see them, smell them, or taste them. The word is unforgettable. These are the four levels of processing. After the questionnaire, they gave the students a surprise memory test, asking which words from the test they still remembered.

The magic of these questions lies in a peculiar mental trick. The four levels of processing are more than a biological quirk; they act as a filter, protecting us from information overload. We live in a sea of information, surrounded by a dizzying amount of input from TV, the Internet, books, social interactions, and the events of our lives. Your brain uses levels of processing to judge which input is important and which should be thrown out. To keep you sane, your brain consistently works at the shallowest level of processing needed to get the job done.

At the grocery store, you are simply looking for the words chocolate milk, or perhaps even Organic Wholesome Happy Cow Chocolate Milk. This is pattern matching, and your brain uses structure to quickly weed through hundreds or thousands of ingredient lists and food labels.

Thankfully, you forget nearly every one of these lists and labels by the time you reach your milk. In more stimulating circumstances, such as that tiger in hot pursuit, your brain has a vested interest in memory. In this way, levels of processing act as our great mental filter, keeping us alive and tolerable at parties.

This filter is one of the reasons why foreign words are difficult to remember. The shallowest level, structure, allows you to recognize patterns of letters and determine whether a word is long, short, and written in English or in Japanese. Your brain is recognizing structure when you unscramble odctor into doctor. This level is essential for reading, but it involves too little of your brain to contribute much to memory. Almost none of the students in the levels of processing study remembered counting the capital letters in BEAR.

Your first task in language learning is to reach the next level: sound. Sound connects structure to your ears and your mouth and allows you to speak. Sound is the land of rote memorization. We take a name, like Edward, or a pair of words, like cat—gato, and we repeat them, continuously activating the parts of our brain that connect structure to sound. Concepts can be broken down into two groups: abstract and concrete. Still, the date of my birthday is a meaningful, if abstract, concept.

Deeper still than abstract concepts are concrete, multisensory concepts. In this case, it is less important that you know the details about my birthday than that you know when and where to show up. The word itself is not the problem. We are not bad at remembering words when they are tied to concrete, multisensory experiences. You— drink! As we discussed, standard study practice involves repeating gato and cat until they form a sound connection.

We recall images much better than words, because we automatically think conceptually when we see an image. Image-recall studies have repeatedly demonstrated that our visual memory is phenomenal. Memory researchers in the s subjected college students to one of the most terrifyingly-named memory tests ever invented: the Two-Alternative Forced-Choice Test. In it, college students were shown magazine ads possibly tied to chairs with their eyes held open and then asked to identify the old pictures when shown a new mixture of images.

The students correctly picked the old images Unsatisfied, the researchers repeated their tests with more images, trying to determine what college students will put up with for low pay and free food. Students were willing to sit in dark rooms for five consecutive days, watching ten thousand images in a row. After the study, these students accurately identified 83 percent of the images.

Our capacity for visual memory is extraordinary; we only need to learn how to take advantage of it. Since we need to learn words, not pictures, we will use combinations of words and pictures. Such combinations work even better than pictures alone. In the process, it automatically moves the word out of the disodium phosphate trash can and into cookie territory. We can go one step deeper than pictures by taking advantage of the last level, personal connection. You will remember a concept with a personal connection 50 percent more easily than a concept without one, which is why our college students remembered 50 percent more PIZZAs Yes, we like them than TOOLs Yes, they are synonymous with instruments.

If you connect gato to a picture of some cute cat, you will have an easy time remembering that word. But if, in addition, you can connect gato with a memory of your own childhood cat, that word will become practically unforgettable. How do we use this in practice? Our new friend could be a person, a cat, or a drink; the memory burden in each case is the same.

Our new friend is named Edward. If we want to go deeper, into concept territory, we would search for a concrete image for the name Edward, such as the movie character Edward Scissorhands. If we spent a moment imagining our new friend with a pair of scissors for hands, we would have an easy time remembering his name later. Perhaps you still remember watching Edward Scissorhands in a theater, perhaps your brother is named Edward, or perhaps you too have hands made of scissors.

As you imagine your new friend interacting with Edward-related images and Edward-related personal memories, you are activating broader and broader networks in your brain. This gives you valuable social points, which are sometimes redeemable for wine, cheese, and board game nights. This thought process can take creativity, but you can learn to do it quickly and easily. For a concrete word like gato, you can find an appropriate image on Google Images images. As a result, the word will become much easier to remember. We owe our present understanding of forgetting to Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist who spent years of his life memorizing lists of nonsense syllables Guf Ril Zhik Nish Mip Poff.

He recorded the speed of forgetting by comparing the time it took him to learn and then later relearn one of his lists. The right side of his curve is encouraging: even years later, Ebbinghaus could expect old random gobbledygook to take him measurably less time to learn than new random gobbledygook.

Once he learned something, a trace of it remained within him forever. Unfortunately, the left side is a disaster: our memories rush out of our ears like water through a net. How can we do better? When we meet our new friend Edward, we generally remember his name with rote repetition; we repeat his name to ourselves until we remember.

Catalan language - Wikipedia

Can you remember a single fact from the last school test you crammed for? Can you even remember the test itself? It was the first data-driven study of the human mind, and I suspect it made him a blast at social events. In school we learn things then take the test, In everyday life we take the test then we learn things. The test is in a week, and you have two options: 1 you can study the list for ten minutes, or 2 you can study the list for five minutes and then trade it for a blank sheet of paper and a pencil.

If you choose the second option, you can write down whatever you still remember, and then you have to give the sheet back. Here are results from a similarly worded experiment. In it, students either read a text twice or read it once and wrote down what they remembered. They then took a final test five minutes, two days, or one week later. Notice how studying twice i. Oddly enough, a blank sheet of paper will help you much more than additional study time. Get five more minutes with your word list.

Get a blank sheet of paper and test yourself. Get three blank sheets of paper and test yourself three times. Here are your final recall results, one week later: Madness. How can taking an identical test three times in a row produce such a large effect? Odd as it is, this follows rules of common sense.

If you want to get better at recalling something, you should practice recalling it. Our blank sheet of paper, which could be replaced by a stack of flash cards, a multiple choice test, or simply trying to remember to yourself, is precisely the type of practice we need. Deep within our brains, a seahorse and a nut are engaged in an intricate chemical dance that allows us to decide what is important and what is forgettable.

The seahorse-shaped structure is known as the hippocampus, and it acts as a mental switchboard, connecting distant regions of the brain and creating a map of those connections. You access this map in order to recall any recent memory. The Curious Case of H. In , Molaison had his hippocampus surgically removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. His illness was cured, but the surgery left him with severe amnesia. He retained most of his old memories, but without his hippocampus, he lost his ability to store new ones.

Molaison could recall his distant past because the map of those memories had spread throughout his brain. In losing his hippocampus, he lost the ability to make and access new maps and thereby lost his ability to form new memories. It does this by translating our emotions into chemicals, causing our adrenal glands to send out bursts of memory-enhancing hormones according to the situation. Ow, my arm! This leaves us with a healthy fear of tigers and a healthy disregard for pencils as food items.

Coupled with the nearby reward centers in the brain, the amygdala provides the mechanism behind our magical blank sheet of paper. Our emotions are reflexive creatures. They respond to our environment whether we want them to or not. While we can try to trick our brains into getting excited over a list of Spanish words, our brains know better. El dentista is just not as important as el tigre. Our blank page, however, changes everything.

At the moment where your performance is judged, your brain realizes that it had better get its act in gear. As a result, every memory you recall gets a squirt of memory-boosting chemicals. Those memories are reactivated, your amygdala calls for hormones, your hippocampus maps out the involved networks, and your neurons wire tightly together. Every time you succeed at recalling, the reward centers in your brain release a chemical reward —dopamine—into your hippocampus, further encouraging long-term memory storage.

Your blank sheet of paper has created a drug-fueled memory party in your brain. Your boring word list never stood a chance. Coupled with images and personal connections, these cards will form the foundation of a powerful memorization system. This is not without good reason. Tigers are bad! Now we need to investigate precisely what effective recall feels like. Try to recall the foreign words that have shown up so far in this book. Last, hiding in the murky fog of your brain, a few words may reluctantly emerge. But the words that took the most effort to recall—those you had all but forgotten—will etch themselves deeply into your consciousness.

A word like this is an incomplete memory. More often than not, in these situations, we recall accurate information. Our word does start with the letter s. How do we take advantage of this? Do we even want to? Tricking our brains into a permanent, desperate chase after missing words sounds stressful. Doing this a hundred times a day sounds like a recipe for early heart failure. The closer you get to forgetting a word, the more ingrained it will become when you finally remember it. I had dreamt that I was sitting at my desk, composing, and I woke up with the results intact.

Beaming with pride, I ran to my brother. I composed it in my sleep! We saw it last week. In my dream, I remembered the Superman theme at the same time as I envisioned myself composing. My brain reflexively connected the two into a convincing new memory—a false memory—and I went and embarrassed myself in front of my brother. Afterward, they thanked the first group and sent them home. Then they gave the second group samples of fresh popcorn. One week later, they brought both groups back and asked them about their impressions. They all thought it was delicious.

Prompted by the popcorn advertisement, these college students remembered movie nights at home, the smell of corn and butter, the crunch in their mouths, and the salt on their lips. Because neurons that fire together wire together, their brains stored these new connections as if they had always been there. You are a different person now, with different information in your head and a different section of this book in front of you.

You have a wholly new set of neurons involved in this gato experience compared with your last one. As a result, your new gato memory will join the new connections from your present to the old reactivated connections from your past. In that single act of recall, your gato network has doubled in size.

This rewriting process is the engine behind long-term memorization. Every act of recall imbues old memories with a trace of your present-day self. This trace gives those memories additional connections: new images, emotions, sounds, and word associations that make your old memory easier to recall. Feedback to the Rescue Of course, you must remember a memory before you can rewrite it. Every time you see a new American Express ad, the vivid images and sounds are rewritten into your memory of their all-important slogan.

You would forget their slogan between each commercial cycle if they eliminated the famous actors and imagery- laden travel scenarios from their ads. If this happened, the crucial rewriting process would never occur. In practicing recall, we are striving to continuously rewrite our memories. We create a memory for gato, and we build upon that memory with every recall until it is as unforgettable as an ad slogan. The day may come when we try to remember gato and draw a blank instead. Feedback is a simple concept with dramatic results.

If we encounter our gato flash card and get stumped, then we can simply look at the back side of the card and see a picture of a cat. We have just given ourselves immediate feedback, and as a result, one of two things happens. If our memory of gato has vanished, then we start over. Our brains are primed and ready to create a new memory. As we search our memories for gato-related images and associations, we build a wide network of neural connections. Alternatively, we may still have access to our original memory of gato.

Feedback allows us to resuscitate forgotten memories and get the most out of our practice sessions. You can accomplish this by connecting sounds, images, and personal connections to every word you learn. We want our original memories to be as deep and multisensory as possible 1: Make memories more memorable. We want our recall practice to be challenging but not too hard 4: Wait, wait!

Last, when we practice, we want to nearly forget those original experiences but not forget them completely. When we do forget, we want immediate feedback to put us back on track 5: Rewrite the past. If we could predict exactly how long we could remember each thing we learn, we would be able to work miracles with our minds. We would have an alarm that went off right before we forgot where we left our car keys, and life would be a wonderful paradise free of forgetting.

Unfortunately, our memories are too messy. They make unpredictable connections to everything we experience or imagine. They lose pieces of our past and gain pieces of our present. Any mention of a car, a lock, or even a word that rhymes with key can enhance or suppress our key-related memories. However, we can make predictions about a group of memories. This pattern appears in numerous studies, although the ideal delay changes depending upon the final test date.

There is a complex balance between the advantages of nearly forgetting and the disadvantages of actually forgetting, and it breaks our forgetting curve in half That single practice session has made the difference between forgetting nearly everything and remembering quite a bit. You learn a word today and then shelve it for a while. At least until you can upload jujitsu directly into your brain, this is the most efficient way to memorize large amounts of information permanently. In Search of the Perfect Interval You want to remember as much as possible now, later, and much later.

To choose how often to practice, you have to balance efficiency and comfort. Moreover, your practice sessions would be extremely frustrating. The thread between these two goals—remembering now and remembering later—starts small and grows rapidly. This keeps your sessions challenging enough to continuously drive facts into your long-term memory. This pattern keeps you working on your weakest memories while maintaining and deepening your strongest memories.

In a four-month period, practicing for 30 minutes a day, you can expect to learn and retain flash cards with 90 to 95 percent accuracy. These flash cards can teach you an alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, and even pronunciation. Spaced repetition is a godsend to memory intensive tasks like language learning.

What does this look like in practice? SRSs come in two main flavors: on paper or on computer. The computerized versions will perform all scheduling on their own. This list is designed to help you memorize as efficiently as possible, so that you can spend your time learning instead of micromanaging. A paper SRS accomplishes the same feat using a flash card file box, a carefully designed schedule, and a few simple instructions. The game contains seven levels, which correspond to seven labeled sections in your file box i.

Every card starts on level 1, and advances to the next level whenever you remember it. If you forget, the card falls all the way back to level 1. Whenever a card gets past level 7, it has won its place in your long- term memory. This is your daily to-do list, and it adapts to your performance because of the way your cards gain and lose levels.

By following the rules of the game see Appendix 3 , you create a primitive, paper computer program. Why not? The Power of the Creative Process Have you ever studied for a test by writing out a summary of your notes? When you create something, it becomes a part of you. In contrast, when gato is a cat that you chose, then that choice allows you to sidestep your mental filters.

One of the reasons why language programs and classes fail is that no one can give you a language; you have to take it for yourself. You are rewiring your own brain. To succeed, you need to actively participate. Each word in your language needs to become your word, each grammar rule your grammar rule. Programs like Rosetta Stone can provide decent original experiences for words like ball and elephant, but eventually, you need to deal with words like economic situation.

This is a lot to do at once, so you might as well use the best tools for the job. Until someone puts a USB port into the back of our skulls, our most effective weapon against forgetting is spaced repetition. And since we need deep, memorable experiences to get the most out of spaced repetition, we might as well get them in the process of making our flash cards. The card construction process is one of the most fun and satisfying ways to learn a language.

Content in the knowledge that every detail will become a permanent memory, you become the architect of your own mind. What breed of dog will you think about when you wish to remember the word dog? Which examples will you choose to form your verb conjugations? What vocabulary is most useful for your own life?

Making these decisions forms an exciting part of the learning process and, ultimately, takes very little time. After getting used to your SRS, you can add new cards in a matter of seconds. For most nouns, you can simply type the word once, search for a picture on Google Images, and copy or draw it onto your card. This can take less than fifteen seconds.

Imagery for more complicated ideas will, of course, take more time to identify—a process that itself gives you the connections you need to make a word your own. I sincerely wish I could sell my personal flash card decks. Instead, I give them away for free on my website with the disclaimer that no one has successfully used them to learn a language.

Of the few thousand people who have downloaded them, no one has tried to refute that claim, so I feel confident stating here that my personal decks are useless to anyone but myself. Use them at your own peril. Now, I have had the fleeting, fifteen-second experience of searching for this image on the Internet, seeing many different dogs of many different ages and breeds, and choosing this golden retriever.

In those few seconds of searching, I learned what this word means and chose a pleasant reminder for this learning experience. However, anyone else will have to answer a number of questions and have nothing to base their answers upon. Does this word refer to the breed of dog? Its age? Its color?

In using a non- personalized deck, this instant of confusion will be recorded along with the memory, and the meaning of the word will be uncertain. On its own, uncertainty is not a terrible thing; a great deal of uncertainty is often involved in learning a language in a foreign country. The problem with uncertainty in your flash cards is that it makes your daily reviews more difficult, which translates to added time and added forgetting which also adds time. This last point is the deadly one. As soon as your daily reviews become frustrating, it gets harder and harder to sit down and do them.

You may be able to force yourself to stick with it for a few weeks, but you need longer than that to see major results. This becomes a vicious cycle, because frustration impedes your ability to remember, which puts the frustrating cards in front of you more often, which eventually causes you to throw your smartphone out of the nearest window.

All of this is unnecessary. If you take just a moment to figure out how to remind yourself of the meaning of a word, you can retain that word forever. Furthermore, inputting the information yourself forces you to decide what the key points are and leads to a better understanding. You get to spend time by yourself and for yourself, learning, discovering, and creating. I am a rock star! We like habits; they make the difference between comfortably chatting with the Parisian waitress and awkwardly asking for the English menu.

They supercharge memorization by automatically monitoring your progress and using that information to design a daily, customized to-do list of new words to learn and old words to review. Now we must decide what to remember. This will give you the structure you need to remember new words easily. In short order, you will master the sounds of your language. Diccionario Akal del color in Spanish. Official data about the sociolinguistic situation in Catalan-speaking areas: Catalonia , Andorra , the Balearic Islands , Aragonese Border , Northern Catalonia , Alghero and Valencian Community ".

Generalitat of Catalonia. Retrieved 13 March Archived from the original PDF on 22 December Datos comparados Archived from the original PDF on 6 September Retrieved 23 June CS1 maint: Archived copy as title link. Archived from the original on 14 April Andorra: Sociolinguistic data from Andorran Government, Aragon: Sociolinguistic data from Euromosaic [4].

Alguer: Sociolinguistic data from Euromosaic [5]. Archived from the original on 16 May Archived from the original on 24 November Here Recasens labels these Catalan sounds as "laminoalveolars palatalitzades". Here the authors label these Catalan sounds as "laminal postalveolar". Georgetown University Press. Hall, Jr. The Architect of Modern Catalan: Selected writings. Translated by Yates, Alan. John Benjamins Publishing. Catalan language at Wikipedia's sister projects.


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This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references. November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Romance languages Classification. Asturian Cantabrian Extremaduran Leonese Mirandese. Friulian Ladin Romansh. Central , Sardinian and Eastern.

Dalmatian Istriot Judaeo-Italian. Sardinian Campidanese Logudorese. Romanian Moldovan Vlach. African Romance. Italics indicate extinct languages Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left. Occitano-Romance languages and dialects. Languedocien excepting Southern Languedocien. Catalan Gascon including Aranese Southern Languedocien. Catalan dialects.

Geographic distribution of Catalan Catalan phonology. Geopolitical use. Languages of Spain. Spanish aka Castilian. Languages of France. See Also: Language policy in France. Languages of Europe. Categories : Catalan language Subject—verb—object languages. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikibooks Wikivoyage. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Andorra , France , Italy , Spain. Old Catalan. Latin Catalan alphabet Catalan Braille.

Signed Catalan. This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. Nouns Personal pronouns Verbs conjugation. A sovereign state where Catalan is the national and the sole official language. The Andorrans speak a Western Catalan variety. In the Aran Valley northwest corner of Catalonia , in addition to Occitan , which is the local language, Catalan, Spanish and French are also spoken.

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Comprising the islands of Mallorca , Menorca , Ibiza and Formentera. A small area of the Autonomous Community of Murcia , settled in the 19th century. A city in the Province of Sassari , on the island of Sardinia , where the peculiar Algherese dialect is spoken. La Franja Aragon. Alghero Sardinia.

Carche Murcia. Total Catalan-speaking territories. Spain , Andorra. Autonomous community of Valencia , Carche. Provinces of Barcelona , eastern half of Tarragona , most of Girona. Balearic islands. City of Alghero in Sardinia. General differences in the pronunciation of unstressed vowels in different dialects [55] [92] Word Western Catalan Eastern Catalan Northwestern Valencian Majorcan Central Northern mare "mother".

Regular noun with definite article: el gat "the cat" masculine feminine singular el gat. Adjective with 4 forms: verd "green" masculine feminine singular verd. Adjective with 2 forms: indiferent "indifferent" masculine feminine singular indiferent. Definite article in Standard Catalan elided forms in brackets [] masculine feminine singular el l'. Contractions of the definite article preposition a de per article el al a l'. Indefinite article masculine feminine singular un.

Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language
Conquering Foreign Languages:  An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language Conquering Foreign Languages: An Uncommon Guide to Reaching Fluency in ANY Language

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