Author Topic: Learning new languages (speaken) alone  (Read 13497 times)

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Offline Galandros

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Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« on: May 24, 2010, 03:07:14 pm »
Due to the discussion and recent add of other languages sub-forum in Omnimaga, I finally started to learn some French and German.

I want to discuss about how some of you learn a new language alone and useful resources for it.

Things that come right now in my mind:
tutorials for that languages (websites any?)
Dictionary
spell checker (might be a bad habit to use early or maybe only if you use the suggestions without trying to correct yourself first, making errors and correcting them is actually a good thing for learning)
translator (http://translate.google.com/)
books for beginners (don't forget the ebooks)
software for pronunciation (http://translate.google.com/)
games (suggestions: Pokemon Blue/Red)

Playing a game in a foreign language is fun and educational, preferentially RPGs or any game that have a history to learn/search new vocabulary.
I found Pokemon Red/Blue amazingly easy to understand in German, I had 3 years of German, 3 years ago and I remembered already lots of stuff and figured out some new.
Hobbing in calculator projects.

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2010, 03:29:00 pm »
I noticed my written english improved the most by playing video games with lot of text, reading english video games magazines/walkthroughs and posting on internet forums

Tutorial-wise, I did not use any, though. I just got taught in classes at school

For speaking a language, rather than just writing it, it's usually better to practice by talking to people who speak the language as native language (or perfectly).


Offline jsj795

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 03:39:16 pm »
I found it hard to learn any kind of foreign language, unless I really needed to use them.
For example, in Korea, everyone, starting from like 2 or 3rd grade (in elemetary school), learn how English as part of the second-language thing, but I always failed, barely getting above 50 -_-;;
But when I came to U.S., only knowing ABC, I manage to get a decent grade in the 6th grade public school and be able to talk with native speakers... So at least for me, forcing you to learn the language and speak them was the easiest way to learn the language...


Spoiler For funny life mathematics:
1. ROMANCE MATHEMATICS
Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
2. OFFICE ARITHMETIC
Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
3. SHOPPING MATH
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.
4. GENERAL EQUATIONS & STATISTICS
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
5. HAPPINESS
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
6. LONGEVITY
Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.
7. PROPENSITY TO CHANGE
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.
8. DISCUSSION TECHNIQUE
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Girls = Time * Money (Girls are a combination of time and money)
Time = Money (Time is money)
Girls = Money squared (So, girls are money squared)
Money = sqrt(Evil) (Money is also the root of all evil)
Girls = sqrt(Evil) squared (So, girls are the root of all evil squared)
Girls = Evil (Thus, girls are evil)
*Girls=Evil credit goes to Compynerd255*

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 03:47:30 pm »
I think the hardest part when transitioning from a language such as korean to english is the different alphabet. Not only you got to learn a new language, but also an entire new set of characters x.x

I can't imagine how confusing and hard it would be if somebody decided to learn arabic, chineese, korean and japaneese the same year x.x


Offline Zera

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 04:35:19 pm »
Depending on the language in question, learning without any in-person experience / exposure to native-speakers can be very difficult. It will be very hard to get the pronunciation right if you aren't hearing it spoken in everyday conversation. Movies and television can sometimes help with that, but there are some cases where fictional media might have more exaggerated characters who don't necessarily represent the language from a practical, everyday standard. There's also a lot of room for misinterpretation, with no one there to correct you along the way.

There are some useful book-and-CD instructions for teaching yourself a new language. The book will have several courses outlining everyday conversations, and the CDs will have the audio of that dialog. The "Teach Yourself..." series of books comes to mind.

I've been teaching myself bits and pieces of Japanese. In a way, Japanese is a very simple language; but from my perspective, it's also radically different from the structure of language I'm used to. Japanese has three writing systems: The kana (hiragana and katakana) is around 46 base characters, plus 25 diacritical characters, which represents a phonetic alphabet of consonent-vowel pairs. Finally, there are about ~2,000 kanji (Chinese characters) that would be memorized out of highschool, and applied in everyday reading / writing.

The sentence structure of Japanese is what gets me most. Sentences are ordered as subject-object-verb, whereas English is subject-verb-object. (although, English is flexible enough that you can often neglect this order) It's not just the word ordering, but how things are expressed. At times, a simple expression can seem wordy, while at other times, it feels like you're speaking like a caveman. If I wanted to say something like, "I'm not interested," it might go," Kyoumi nai." (lit., "Interest (in something) not.") The subject isn't even indicated, unless I'm just now getting into the conversation, or no subject has already been established. Don't get me started on honorifics, either. There is an unnecessarily large selection of personal pronouns in Japanese, for every situation and setting. Using the wrong pronoun at the wrong time could imply hostility, intimacy, a familial relationship, or possibly anything else that might make a stranger feel awkward.

I think it's a lot easier to get into languages that share some etymology with your own. Usually, that language is going to have a similar writing system and syntax; so it might be easier to pick-up on.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 04:38:02 pm by Zera »

Offline Galandros

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2010, 03:33:13 pm »
Thanks for the answers, they were all excellent and I will complete the list in the weekend.

I knew my list was incomplete but I wanted some help to remember other stuff that I would miss even if I though hard or search for one hour.
And advices from you, guys, are really helpful.

As side note, I read a small book about Japanese and became amazed how they don't use frequently the subject-verb-object because according to Wikipedia the nature course of human languages is to take this order (more frequently than others) either spoken or by gestures.
Hobbing in calculator projects.

Offline jsj795

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2010, 09:45:12 pm »
lol Korean is same structured as Japanese ^^
It must have been because Korean and Japanese were heavily influenced by Chinese


Spoiler For funny life mathematics:
1. ROMANCE MATHEMATICS
Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
2. OFFICE ARITHMETIC
Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
3. SHOPPING MATH
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need.
4. GENERAL EQUATIONS & STATISTICS
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
5. HAPPINESS
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
6. LONGEVITY
Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.
7. PROPENSITY TO CHANGE
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.
8. DISCUSSION TECHNIQUE
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

Girls = Time * Money (Girls are a combination of time and money)
Time = Money (Time is money)
Girls = Money squared (So, girls are money squared)
Money = sqrt(Evil) (Money is also the root of all evil)
Girls = sqrt(Evil) squared (So, girls are the root of all evil squared)
Girls = Evil (Thus, girls are evil)
*Girls=Evil credit goes to Compynerd255*

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2010, 09:51:42 pm »
do you mean the characters are the same or does the language sounds similar?

Also do you know if the same Korean language is used between both North and South Korea?


Offline Zera

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 11:23:36 pm »
He means the sentence structure (subject-object-verb) is the same. Korean uses its own alphabet, where each character represents an entire syllable. Letters are stacked together to form each character / syllable. It's a pretty robust writing system, since it was only invented a few centuries ago. Korean also has a supplementary writing system involving Chinese characters, called "hanja." This can shorten writing, or help indicate the context of a word. Hanja have mostly fallen out of use, though.

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 11:52:20 pm »
Aaah ok, thanks for clarifying. And yeah I like how they can stack letters together. It can make text much smaller.

I think in video games they don't always do that, right?


Offline Zera

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 11:55:28 pm »
Aaah ok, thanks for clarifying. And yeah I like how they can stack letters together. It can make text much smaller.

I think in video games they don't always do that, right?

Good question. In games that are unofficially translated to Korean, I can see how technical problems would arise. In games that are native to Korea, there generally wouldn't be any problems.

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2010, 12:35:54 am »
oh I meant Japanese games like Final Fantasy 1 for the NES. Aren't fonts way too small to fit multiple letters in one spot?


Offline TIfanx1999

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 02:25:56 am »
There are many languages I would personally like to learn. With the large influx of french members I'm tempted to pick up french right now. I can understand some pieces of the conversations already. The reason being that I had several years of Spanish in high school. Some of the words are similar enough to figure out, some can be guessed by the context clues, and some are similar to the English equivalent. French syntax and rules should be fairly similar to Spanish also, since they both evolved from latin.

Offline Zera

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2010, 06:36:46 am »
oh I meant Japanese games like Final Fantasy 1 for the NES. Aren't fonts way too small to fit multiple letters in one spot?

Not sure what you mean. Too small, as in pixel width and height, or not enough space in the ROM to fit 65,000+ hangul syllables? Assuming you mean the latter...

It depends on how its implemented. If you're using a tile for every single type of syllable that appears in the dialog, (which is so impractical that it's unlikely) then you would need a lot of space reserved for the font. I don't think I've ever seen a game go this route.

I believe some (not sure if most) games handle it in a special-cased way. Each letter might have a set of tiles corresponding to the various positions a letter can take in each syllable. These tiles could then be superimposed on top of each other, relative to their positions in the given syllable. A similar method is used to display diacritics in Japanese kana, instead of including redundant font tiles that represent every possible diacritical character. Games that feature that kind of implementation of diacritical characters are a bitch to translate, because you have to recode the nature of the font routine, itself. -_-

Graphically, I don't think it would be hard to represent hangul in 8x8 px tiles. They might look a bit cramped, but nowhere near as bad as some of the kanji (Chinese characters in Japanese writing) used in Japanese games. Some kanji have so many strokes that it's a wonder the designers can even fit them. Some are so cramped, though, that the characters are almost indiscernible. I suppose the only way to really identify them is if you already have knowledge of the words they appear in. (so you're reading ahead, or ascertaining a word at-a-glance)

Offline DJ Omnimaga

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Re: Learning new languages (speaken) alone
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2010, 12:46:57 pm »




Notice the space allocated to the text, this is what I mean. Somehow I doubt they can fit an entire word in one character (unless I am misunderstanding the concept japaneese only works by syllables instead of words?)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 12:47:39 pm by DJ Omnimaga »