So as I persevere to talk more about myself, haha. I thought I’d share the languages I’m learning right now and how I’m learning them!
If you’re just here for great language learning methods, I’ll list that first!
I’m learning Korean and Chinese right now, so here are my sources and my language learning tips!
- TTMIK (Talk to me in Korean) Podcast! Amazing archive of information! They have a website, books, and a YouTube channel full of helpful lessons and tips!
- LingoDeer. This app is even better than Duolingo in my opinion (gasp). Like I love Duo, I’ve used it since the beginning of my language learning journey, but the exercises are usually pretty intense and to me they skip a lot of concepts without explaining and then fail you over and over, which makes you practice, but it’s such a punishing method hahaha. Also, the voices are so robotic to me. LingoDeer is much more forgiving and uses natural voices and storytelling at the end of each lesson, as well as the ability to practice your weakest words whenever you want! Also, how can you say no to free.
- Watching Korean dramas. This helps me get used to Korean in day to day conversation, which is similar to the experience of living in a country and hearing the expressions yourself! I always need a source to hear conversational language when learning, so this is essential!
- Listening to Kpop. This is definitely for research and not goofing off and dancing to BTS all day. Yep. Oh yeah, and using the songs as a goal for being able to sing along to is great too.
- LingoDeer. It’s also available in Chinese and helps you to a small extent with writing the characters too!
- Watching Chinese farming YouTube channels. These channels are super therapeutic, and understanding isn’t really essential to enjoying, they’re mainly watch and relax channels. They’re hard to find because they’re in Chinese, but my favorites are Liziqi, Dianxi Xiaoge, and this one that doesn’t have a romanized name. You can browse what YouTube recommends after that haha.
- Watching Cdramas. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten into one in specific yet, but I have a couple in my list of to-watch on Viki I’m looking forward to.
- Reading labels. This is actually a really helpful one, surprisingly. Labels are always translated into several languages. I always pay special attention when I go to Chinese restaurants or order something from a Chinese brand. I’m always sure to try reading some of the text! Even if you’re only vaguely familiar of the characters, it helps you remember if you’re always looking for familiar ones!
Anyway, on to my approach to actually using these things, and why I’m doing it the way I am!
Right now I’m learning Korean and Chinese at the same time (I know, RIP). One of the reasons why is my brain is weird, but maybe other people’s brains are weird too?
All I know is I learned French before Spanish, and it was the first language I’d ever tried to learn (you know, other than watching Dora LOL). And it was really tough getting to the point where I felt like I could hold a steady conversation beyond stating my name and getting to a restaurant for a long time! It took finally visiting France for a month for me to really solidify what I knew and communicate easily. Obviously, not an easy task for most people.
But then, life situations happened, and my family ended up moving to Spain instead of France! I didn’t mind the goal change since I love language and we were still close enough for my French to be important because France is literally right there and there are a lot of Africans in the area that speak French as well.
I knew Spanish would be fairly easy, because of all it’s similarities to English and similar grammar structure. However, there were a lot of concepts that caught me by surprise. And though they scared me at first, I found myself relating a lot of those foreign concepts to the ones that I learned in French. Not all of them were the same, but even when I compared which concepts actually made one language easier to learn than the other, it made me remember those new concepts all the better. Having French under my belt made me learn Spanish much faster! And yes, I know I live in the country, but I also had to learn ANOTHER language along with Spanish, which is the language of the region here in Catalonia, Catalan.
And locals often switch between languages mid-sentence.
So two languages at the same time.
Learning Korean, I found that I was having a lot of difficulty memorizing concepts, and it was hard wrapping my head around opening my mouth to speak it. And the reason was pretty much because there are about 0 similarities between the Latin-rooted languages I speak and Korean. Yes, there are a lot of borrowed words from English in Korean, but that gives you no help for memorizing all the new words that sound nothing like what you’re used to.
So, if you can’t understand one language, why not plop in another one?
But no, seriously. Chinese and Korean share some concepts that helped me remember what I need for both. I’m also eyeing Japanese because I know the sentence structure rules are almost the same as in Korean, which is another thing I struggle with. But several concepts, like the fact that both languages don’t have names for their months, instead just using the number of the month (like June = 6) + the word for month. Also, several words are similar, and there are several concepts that are the same (like quantifying words. DON’T ask, just weep for me, they’re so hard).
It might sound weird, and the languages are still plenty different in their own right, but there are a lot of times where I’ll go, “Oh! That’s just like in Chinese.” when I’m learning Korean, and vice versa.
At the end of the day, it can’t hurt anything, as long as your sources are free of charge, you lose nothing by challenging yourself, right?
I might also add Japanese because I’ve been so into anime and manga lately and it gives me plenty of place to practice what I’ve learned and see if I understand, but we’ll see. Like do I really wanna do this to myself? Don’t I put enough on my brain power?
(She says this, and then probably ends up doing it anyway)
Anyway, I have several language learning goals and marking points, but I’ll share that in another blog post because this one is already long enough.
I’ll check you out later!