Learning a new language

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Dr Stankface, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. So in one of my random quests to further educate myself and better myself as a businessman I've decided that a new language would be a good idea. I know a good number of people (especially in this area) are keen to learning Spanish or French. While I do have a number of customers that are hispanic I have more that are Russian. I've quickly realized that this may have not been the easiest language to learn (especially when you have a wife, baby, full time job and are gigging 4 nights a week) but I like a good challenge!

    So have any of you guys tried picking up a new language? What program did you use and how did it work for you?

    (And anyone fluent in Russian, feel free to shoot me pointers...)
  2. machine gewehr

    machine gewehr

    Sep 17, 2005
    I'm not praising myself but when I was learning English even my teachers agreed that I had a talent. I could learn faster/better than any other student.
    So to see if I still had the talent I took a Russian class when I was in college. It was harder than learning English. I was feeling down at the time and gave up going to classes.

    It's a fun language to learn and speak, especially if you can make the accent.:p
  3. Zanpa

    Zanpa Guest

    Sep 26, 2010
    I learned Japanese by sitting in the bar for 5 years.
  4. I haven't, but a friend of mine is fairly fluent in 6-7 languages.

    Most recently he had been working on Mandarin and Japanese.

    One thing he did mention, the first one is usually the hardest, after that you can usually learn them to a decent standard fairly quickly (though moving onto Sinitic languages, the complete change in characters and structure was challenging, to say the least).
  5. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    Slavic languages in general are rough and take a huge commitment. I tried learning Polish which is very similar to Russian and could not for the life of me grasp it. It wasn't until I spent time there and had to learn that it started to take hold. Immersion is about the only thing that worked for me. I had French in high school and pretty much aced every class. It's so much easier.

    So with that, I would say that if you want to learn a new language and don't have much free time, choose something latin-based: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, even Romanian if you wanted to try something different.
    If you specifically want Russian, then develop some sort of immersion experience - learn the very basics then try to speak it every day. Make some Russian friends and try to speak with them etc ete just anything and everything you can think of to practice it every day
  6. Kaa


    Sep 28, 2004
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Well, if you learn Spanish, you've pretty much covered about half the world. I can't think of another language besides English that is so widespread. Maybe French if you plan a trip to Africa, I think it's widely used there as well as France.
  7. I'd say at least one for Chinese is a good one to learn.

    Relic, apparently once you have one Slavic language under your belt, the others all make perfect sense. The afore mentioned friend picked up Polish as his second language, quickly followed by Czech but immersion is a bit easier here with a fairly large eastern European numbers in the UK :)
  8. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    +1 to Chinese. I had a Chinese GF years ago who kept telling me over and over again how Chinese specifically (Mandarin, I think it was?) would be one of the most important business languages in a few years. At that time, I really didn't believe her but now..? Oh heck yeah. If I had more time now, I'd do that in a heartbeat.

    Polish is probably one of the most difficult of Slavic languages, but yeah, learn that and you'll have Czech or Slovak in no time. After that, you have Ukrainian, Serbian, Russian which are all related save for the Cyrillic..
    Polish is to you guys what Mexican-Spanish is to us I'd say!
  9. I'd say that's a fairly accurate analogy.
  10. I've toyed with learning Russian as I have a Russian girlfriend. Just saying some of their sounds and learning how to emphasize words correctly is a huge challenge. I don't see my vocab going beyond a few basic phrases for a while.
  11. Square

    Square Guest

    Apr 9, 2012
    There is a web site that allows you to learn a variety of languages for free. It really is a great place. Well let me say I haven't been there for a few months but here is what you get:

    A program that does aural, written, and visual lessons all typical of what you would receive in a purchased software solution. There is some content the ask that you pay for but there is a lot for free. The real bonus is that it is frequented by people all over the world and your "assignments" are graded by native speakers that are there to learn other languages. You will also grade other learner's assignments done in your native tongue. Finally there is a live chat option in which with a speaker and mic set up you can chat through your PC with folk around the world in whatever language you choose. All this again is free.

    I was pretty stoked when I found this place and it really helped me in my quest to learn Italian. I have chatted online with people in Italy, Brazil, and Lebanon. Go check it out...

    The URL is busuu - Learn languages for free online
  12. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    There are so many free things online for language acquisition. For example the BBC has several. Mango language program is also good. Livemocha is another. I have had to learn and teach several languages (German, Latin, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, but only basic conversational) over the years. Romance languages have lots of similarities and you can scaffold any of these to what you already know.
    You won't be able to scaffold much with Mandarin, but it is fairly easy to learn. Writing is a different matter though...
    Russian and its branches would also have very little to scaffold from.
    Immersion with a native speaker is the way to go though. That's how I learned German, but not the others on my list.
  13. colcifer

    colcifer Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    Your English is better than most Americans'.

    One issue with Russian is that you also have to learn a new alphabet, which makes things about a ****ton harder, I imagine. If you're ok with learning to speak first and put of reading and writing until a later date, that'd make things easier. The Pimsleur program is based on that idea; I haven't tried it myself, though.