The best way to learn a new language is to repeat what you did when you were a child, learning English: listen for two years, then speak and not worry about your mistakes. You will improve as time goes by.
Oh yeah? Not everybody has two years to spare, sitting in their nice comfortable living room with a CD, before they even begin to speak. It is better to find a phrase book, go quickly through the phrases then get out there on the street and collar a local to talk to.
Most people haven´t got the courage to do that. Besides, most people haven´t got the time or money to travel to Timbuktu to find locals to speak to.
Who said you had to go abroad? If you live in a city it´s quite likely that there are people from your target language country living not far away. Then there´s Skype, so you can call abroad for free, or chat rooms. Welcome to this century, man!
I am as up-to-date as the next person, but you are changing the subject. Most people haven´t got the courage to go out and speak to strangers the moment they begin a new language.
I used to be shy too, but you can change that.
Not so easy. How do you mean?
Well, you can find ways of making people want to come up and talk to you. You can wear funny clothes or carry some bizarre object. You think too much. Learn to dive in head first.
They will just think you are nuts.
No, really. People like to smile and laugh a bit. They like people who dare to be different and have the guts to try something new. And when they get talking to you, they nearly always enjoy helping you out with what you are trying to say. Humour is a real ice breaker.
Mmm. But you are using people. You are trying to avoid paying for tuition and using total strangers to give you your language practice.
Well for a start the conversations are usually short, just enough to let you practice whatever new vocabulary you are working on and if a friendship does develop then you can find ways of making the whole thing more two-sided. And anyway, they love it.
I still don´t think it is for me. I like to get a healthy stock of vocabulary behind me before I get out there trying to speak, specially for a hard language like Chinese.
There is no such thing as a hard language. You need to change the way you think about things. No wonder you can only speak English.
That is ridiculous. There are lists made out by government agencies who have diplomats and things, people who need to go abroad and learn a new language. They have to know roughly how long it will take.
OK, some languages take longer than others but you do need to start off without all the mental barriers that say it will be difficult. The main thing really is to give it your all and start talking. It takes me three months to achieve fluency.
I still prefer to listen and read till I feel ready. Speed is not the only thing to consider. I like to count the words I learn so that I can measure my progress AND I do it with a computer, Mr 21st Century.
Yeah but the main factor is attitude.
What about grammar?
Yeah we all OD´d on grammar at school. I just make it as simple as possible and leave the rest.
Ha! Me too!