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Learning a new language: the best way to go about it?

  1. Jan 21, 2009 #1
    I'm interested in learning a new language. Not sure which one though but, im learning towards relearning italian. i used to be fluent (as fluent as a five year old gets) when i was younger. my father, his mother and his sister lived in my house with my father, my mother and i. they all would speak to me and from what i was told, i was able to communicate in italian better than in english. once my grand mother died, my aunt moved back to sicily to get married, my father pretty much stopped speaking italian around me so i had no one to talk with and it seems i have forgotten! i want to SERIOUSLY learn the language. my father cant teach me because well, he cant speak english or italian properly. he will speak with his friends in italian and they wont understand. hell speak to my mom and i in english and we both will be left dumbfounded. hahahah. but what would be the best way to go about learning a new language?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2009 #2
    once you start to learn italian again you'll be surprised how much easier it is for you than for others. i've recently started relearning russian, the only language i spoke until i was about that same age ( 5 ) and i have a huge vocabulary despite not having spoken it in probably 10 years. i know how much easier it will be to learn italian for you than for others because i'm simultaneously learning spanish, which is completely foreign to me, and the disparity in the rates at which i'm learning both is stupendous.

    now on to advice.

    pick up a textbook and get the basic grammar down, this means doing some exercises, taking notes etc. once you've got that you will be able to reasonably understand kid's books. start as young as you need to, where the books do have complete sentences. take notes, look up words you don't know, ask native speakers, think. do all that active reading stuff they told you to do for english when you were young.

    very important: read them aloud, make sure you pronounce the words correctly. it'll get you to be comfortable with saying italian things, it will also slow down the rate at which you read the text allowing you to process it better.

    simultaneously find a conversation partner. if you can't get a local one get a webcam+skype and find a conversation partner. start posting in italian forums, any kind, kid's forums, cooking forums, w/e. do all the stuff you do in english in italian.

    final step: move to italy.
  4. Jan 21, 2009 #3
    Don't bother. I spent a whole month learning Spanish and when I got to Spain I found it too difficult to get them to understand their own language.

    (Sorry Mark)
  5. Jan 21, 2009 #4
    in much of spain they don't speak castellano

    nor is spain the only place in the world where people speak spanish
  6. Jan 21, 2009 #5
    After a 2 month business trip to Mexico and meeting someone I was interested in, I decided to learn Spanish, SERIOUSLY. I stopped watching English TV channels and only watched the 2 Spanish channels Chicago had at that time. I also only listened to Spanish radio stations. While watching TV, I had a dictionary handy and if they said a word I didn't know, I looked it up. In order to get answers to things I didn't understand about Spanish I took night courses.

    Eventually I married the woman I met and when I married her I still hadn't heard her say a complete sentence in English. A few years later I got a job in a Mexican maquiladora and worked there for 5 years. After 18 years of marriage we still speak Spanish at home. (I'm blue eyed and formerly blonde haired of German descent.)

    Becoming fluent in a foreign language while living in the U.S. is very hard but definitely worth it. Go for it.
  7. Jan 21, 2009 #6

    i will definitely try that! its easy because of my father. i can walk up to him and try and speak but he usually takes off and leaves me confused. his friend, an old coworker of mine is from naples, hed definitely help me. he used to teach me when we would work. what do you know... in the butcher shop... hahahaha


    that is pretty awesome! i know some spanish from highschool, picking up on it from friends but, its mostly portugese but, its quite similar.
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