Learning a new language

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by vmosrafa08, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    I want to learn how to speak Italian, and I have been looking at a couple of things such as audio tapes for Windows media player, etc. What is the best way to learn a new language (grammar and spoken language)? Is anybody learning Italian and can recommend a software?

    I heard that Rosetta Stone is the best software, but what is it like? Is it audio and interactive software? Is there a way to get it cheaper?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Spend a month in Italy :)

    Yours truly,
    Andrés, your friendly neighborhood italian
     
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  3. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    haha i spent a month in Italy (last June to be exact) but my friends there knew English so I didn't learn anything
     
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  4. NickC

    NickC Professional

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    Ask Storm. He's living in Rome now, I think.
     
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  5. Hartzy

    Hartzy Rookie

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    If you're younger look into Rotary International. Was the best decision I ever made.
     
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  6. Tofi

    Tofi Professional

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    pay for a language course.... i learn french for free as we have to learn it at school but they do set up some language courses. maybe you should try looking for some in your area???
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Rosetta Stone is so well advertised that everyone thinks it is the best. It could well be, but it also shows the power of marketing.
     
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  8. william7gr

    william7gr Professional

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    Thats probably why its so expensive
     
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  9. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Find an old retired Italian guy and take him out for coffee once a week. He'd delight in teaching you and it would be fun.
     
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  10. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    Hey 'bella' boy :) I need yer help:

    What does this (pronounced: "bah fahn ghoul") translate to? I hear that often. The reason I'm asking is that tonight I'm going down to Arthur Ave. in 'da Bronx' to break bread with a number of friends and I want to be able to 'mix with the locals' there. ;-) Thanks goombah! :)
     
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  11. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I think the Pimsleur programs are pretty good. I've got Pimsleur audio/text (graphical) learning programs for Portuguese and German. I've made decent progress with my Portuguese using Pimsleur and would consider myself conversational at best, but it may be because Spanish is my second language and there are similarities between the two languages. German's much tougher and I'm still a beginner after a year of study.

    The reality is that you have to immerse yourself in a culture to truly be able to learn and use a language comfortably in my opinion.
     
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  12. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Everyone learns differently. Some programs are almost all book and a little audio, others are almost all audio, there are still others that use a computer format. Personally, I learn best face to face.
     
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  13. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Heheheehe. You mean Vaffangulo... which is quite a harsh insult :)
     
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  14. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    i'm actually using pimsleur, but its only audio, and i need to learn the grammar as well. I don't want to spend a lot of money on rosetta stone, so i'm considering using pimsleur and a grammar book together... what do you guys think?
     
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  15. SirBlend12

    SirBlend12 Semi-Pro

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    Look into Latin, as well. The languages are very similar overall and if you can see the connection between Latin/English then Italian will be much easier to learn. There are a lot of connections between roots involved in English and many words in Italian. The hardest part of learning any other language is understanding how to form the sentences, and also what "partitivo" to use when referencing nouns, verbs, and also the "irregular" stuff.

    Once you find the logic and the pattern, it's all pretty smooth from there.

    Good luck.

    POW! Right in the kissah!
     
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  16. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    I'm studying spanish right now and I want to learn Italian also...Are these languages similar, because I believe that they are both romance languages. I can't learn latin also. too much!
     
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  17. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    'Hermano' is Spanish for the word "brother" as in "Heyyyyyy hermano!"


    :razz:
     
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  18. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I live in Rome and am studying Italian.

    What I can tell you is that your desire to learn the language must exceed your desire to simply acquire it. To clarify, everyone wants to learn a second language ("everyone"), yet when they begin to study it, they realize there is no shortcut or magic potion that makes you fluent in the language. Often the study is abandoned, but I feel that the study of foreign languages is one of the most important skills one can have.

    I used Rosetta Stone for a short while and it is helpful, but (big but) nothing can substitute a social learning/speaking environment. I suggest you enroll in a community college course for Italian. After class, find some people who want to chit chat. Learn grammar. Some will tell you grammar isn't important but it is the framework for all language. Once you understand the structure, you will more quickly develop your skills and will simply sound more intelligent in the language. This will also help you learn subsequent languages because French, Spanish, etc. all have virtually identical grammatical structure.

    Bottom line: if you really want it, be prepared to sweat and suffer.
     
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  19. tenzinrocks

    tenzinrocks Rookie

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    People who are bilingual at a young age have an easier time learning new languages at an older age
     
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  20. ahahahhahahahhahaaa...the best show ever!!!
     
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  21. Most definitely QFT...especially bold part. There is no easy way to learn a language. So many variables are involved because of how differently people learn, so the only constant is really desire.

    To the OP, I can direct you to a fantastic Rosetta Stone Torrent.

    Also, try to connect your language learning to activities you do everyday, e.g. I like going on tennis forums and Polish is a language that I am learning, therefore, I go to a Polish tennis forum.

    One more thing, I can't stress enough Storm's suggestion to gain an ear for the structure of a language. One you get a basic handle on grammar, listen to the language being spoken a lot. This will facilitate both your ability to learn more and speak the language.

    Good luck from a dude who loves learning languages.8)
     
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  22. luckyboy1300

    luckyboy1300 Hall of Fame

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    i don't know of a good course for learning italian but i do know a very good course for learning spanish. and since the two are very closely related (85% lexically similar) you could start out italian later. if i can post links for the materials then i'll gladly do so. they're free btw.
     
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  23. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    I have been learning Spanish for the past couple of years, and I can speak spanish pretty well.
     
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  24. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    I beg to differ but in these day and age of the internet, the cliche "everybody knows English" has become a reality. Why bother to learn a foreign language when everybody speaks English? Time can be better spent to learn something not everybody knows, like become a doctor or something. Medical field is about the only thing you can count on nowadays.
     
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  25. ShiroRm

    ShiroRm Rookie

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    there are many unknown (interesting and useful) things hidden by the internationally used "engrish"
     
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  26. Andres

    Andres G.O.A.T.

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    Why bother? I'll only say: Business.
    If you have to do business with japanese businessmen IN Japan, then doing it in ENGLISH could be sort of a lack of respect. Learning just a bit of japanese for these cases could be a HUGE door-opener.

    Anyone is welcomed to chime in.

    Why bother?
     
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  27. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    I'm learning Italian so that I can talk to my friends in ITALY in ITALIAN.
     
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  28. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    If you want to go the software route, I have been told the following:

    If you want to learn like a little child would, then try Rosetta Stone.

    If you want to learn like a grownup would, then try Fluenz.
     
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  29. ShiroRm

    ShiroRm Rookie

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    #29
  30. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

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    Sure, spend a few weeks and learn some greeting phrases. Trust me, thats all you need to do business in Japan.

    Of course you can do it the hard way and spend at least 3 years to be barely conversable in Japanese only to find out that your Japanese counterparts are much more conversable in English than you in Japanese. Worse yet, after 3 years your new job might require you to go to Mongolia instead of Japan.

    I would say a genuine love of the culture, the country and the people is about the only legitimate reason for one to invest such a great amount of time and effort to learn a foreign language beyond everyday greeting phrases.
     
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  31. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    I'd recommend a grammar book with structured lessons, vocab, reading (LOTS of reading), etc. That sort of thing. That helped me the most with my German. But not just that. Use lots of resources. Everyone learns differently, and no single method of learning a language is the end-all be-all. Try lots of things and see what works for you.

    Also, immerse yourself in your target language as much as you can. Set your homepage to a website in the target language (in this case Italian), read the news in Italian, listen to Italian songs, watch Italian movies. Learning a language is not difficult, it just takes time, and the more time you spend with a language, the better you will become at hearing, speaking, reading, and writing it.
     
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  32. vmosrafa08

    vmosrafa08 Semi-Pro

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    Thank you so much. Right now I'm in the middle of the trial version of Fluenz. It is great, and I'm learning a lot even from the trial! I'm thinking about buying Fluenz for Italian parts one and two... What was your impression of Fluenz? Did you learn the language easily?
     
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  33. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    Just passing on what I have been told (as previously stated).

    Haven't tried either.
     
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  34. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    There's Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. Both probably have educational discounts.

    That said, go to your local college and find a course that teaches Italian. Use RS or Pimsleur as a study aid.

    I speak multiple languages and nothing beats learning in a classroom - whether it's down the street or in the class room in Napoli!
     
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  35. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    If that's your goal, you're going to be bitterly disappointed.
     
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  36. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    Which have you studied, out of curiosity?

    If you've been studying Spanish for a couple years and are still studying, then my suggestion is to continue your studies with Spanish. Learning both Spanish and Italian may be difficult because they are so similar and it may get confusing. But if you become fluent in Spanish, Italian will be a breeze. The Spanish speakers in my class can almost understand Italian perfectly.

    A) Not everybody speaks English--the most important point.
    B) While there are many non-native speakers of English, learning someone else's language opens you up to their world, rather than making them adapt to yours. You earn instant respect.
    C) There are many beautiful languages in this world, several of which are distinctly more beautiful than English.
    D) Learning new languages opens your mind up to new ways of thinking. Spoken language can actually be a burden to freedom of thought, but learning new languages can at least expand the realm of thought to an extent.

    A ridiculous comparison, first of all. Secondly, does modern medicine have it all figured out? Did I miss something?

    Why do you say that?
     
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  37. Dilettante

    Dilettante Hall of Fame

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    They're very, very similar.
     
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  38. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    To learn a language properly and have the local vernacular, you need to spend months/years in a native speaking area. All attempts otherwise will be futile. The language and the actual vernacular are two different things.
     
    #38
  39. luckyboy1300

    luckyboy1300 Hall of Fame

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    like i've said, about 85% lexically similar.
     
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  40. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    I teach French and English. Software is a good complement but if you want to speak well (become almost fluent), nothing replaces interaction with a real person. You can go to group classes but private lessons with a native Italian will work faster and better. If you can spend some time in the country, that's ideal but make sure you go by yourself to a place where there are no Americans, stay with a family that don't speak English for instance, enroll in an activity with Italian people (not international). After 2 months you can become very good!
    If you like operas, listen to Italian operas and read the words at the same time, any song is good because you memorize the words much better when there's a tune accompanying them. Watch Italian films with Italian subtitles if you can find them (you know with close captions for the hard of hearing). Read a magazine or newspaper in Italian regularly (to increase your vocabulary).
    Whatever you choose, good luck to you, Italian is beautiful!
     
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