Posted by: caseyjosephine | July 30, 2007

How I Study

I found this how to study post on How To Learn Any Language extremely interesting and helpful. For my second post here, I’d like to share with you some tips I think are important for learning a language.

Relax: When you are studying a language, it is important to remember that learning should be fun. Make your language learning sessions a time for you to relax with something you love. I personally like to brew myself a nice cup of coffee or tea, and lose myself in learning something I enjoy.

Say It Out Loud: Learning a language (with the possible exception of dead languages) means learning how to speak it. If you never attempt to say the language out loud, you will never be able to learn it. I like to read absolutely everything out loud, to make speaking the language feel more natural. Remember that audio resources are absolutely necessary: you must be able to hear it correctly to say it correctly. Online dictionaries such as WordReference are great for this: they have little snippets of audio that you can use to get the pronunciation of the word down pat.

Use Multiple Methods: There is no such thing as the one perfect learning method that will take you from zero to fluent in sixty seconds. A great approach is combine audio material with explanatory workbooks and native media. Don’t try to do everything at once, but also don’t believe that you can learn everything from one program. This is what proponents of programs such as Rosetta Stone tell you, mostly to get you to pay ridiculous prices for their “One Truly Perfect Program.” You can learn everything from one place, but you can a lot from many different methods.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes: They happen to the best of us, so don’t let them get to you! We all have moments where we tell our new Spanish boyfriends that we’re pregnant (embarazada) when we mean to say we’re embarrassed. Remember that mistakes are just another way we learn, and that you really will be able to laugh about it later.

Remember Why You Love It: Languages are fascinating, but sometimes watching tv sounds better than conjugating French verbs in the subjunctive.  Perseverance is key to learning, so remember the people, the places and the haute couture that made you fall in love with the language in the first place.

Posted by: caseyjosephine | July 28, 2007

Working At Italian

Now that I’m committed to studying Italian to really learn it (instead of learning some key phrases for traveling), I’m doing a bit of a “start over” so that I can take things more seriously. Before I left for Italy, I checked out the first level of Pimsleur from the library and got through a few lessons. I’m now starting over from the beginning, this time working hard to make sure really focus on pronunciation. I had already finished Michel Thomas, so now it’s time to listen to it again to re-enforce what I learned before I left.

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to get a few Italian workbooks. Writing really helps me to learn, so I looked for ones with lots of activities. After some careful perusal, I decided on Italian Made Simple and Italian Now. Both books will work well for what I need, although Italian Now seems to be of better quality. Thinking in Italian at this point is still a bit tedious, but I’ve had some fun talking to the cats!

Posted by: caseyjosephine | July 28, 2007

Benvenuti, Bienvenidos, Bienvenue & Welcome!

lotr1019.png Hello everyone, and welcome to my little language blog, FrodoLives! This blog is dedicated to my love of both the scientific and practical sides of learning a foreign language. As this endeavor progresses, I will share with you blogs and articles that deal with the fascinating process of language acquisition. You will also join me on my journey to learn (too many) foreign languages at a high level. I hope that it will be fun, and that we will be able to learn a thing or two from each other!

You can find out all about me by, interestingly enough, checking out the about page. This page summarizes the languages I am learning, explains the blog’s name and talks a bit about my academic interests.

I’m working on compiling lists of web resources for the languages I’ve dedicated myself to learning. They might take awhile, but they should be quite helpful once I’ve finished them. To see what these will look like, traipse on over to the Italian page. More links will appear at the top of the blog as I work on them.

If you would like to introduce yourself, please do so here. Let me know if you have a blog, so that we can exchange links.