Anyone learn a second language as an adult?

metalicaster

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Despite my parents' and every school I attended's attempts to teach me French from the age of four, I know about ten words of it.

The past couple of years I've managed to pick up Spanish pretty well though. I decided to give it a go and bought a few exercise books and started watching movies and TV in Spanish with Spanish subtitles I could read while listening. Working with Spaniards helped too; instant correction teaches quickly. I can just about hold a conversation about most everyday stuff, but don't expect me to write you an essay on something.
 

Jazzcaster21

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Despite my parents' and every school I attended's attempts to teach me French from the age of four, I know about ten words of it.

The past couple of years I've managed to pick up Spanish pretty well though. I decided to give it a go and bought a few exercise books and started watching movies and TV in Spanish with Spanish subtitles I could read while listening. Working with Spaniards helped too; instant correction teaches quickly. I can just about hold a conversation about most everyday stuff, but don't expect me to write you an essay on something.
I have been working on Spanish, French and Japanese through the DuoLingo app and seem to be getting better at understanding the first two (not sure about the speaking part). Spanish was something I studied in high-school, my parents both spoke it fluently and my step-mom is from Chile.
French I took in elementary school, until 5th grade. Japanese I decided to start last year because, why not? It is extremely difficult once you get past the very basics.
I have heard the Babble app is very good but I can't speak from experience. I have been pretty happy with DuoLingo but, I would be interested to hear from someone on this post who has tried both and can speak to the pros and cons of either.

Gracias. Bonne Ajourdui. See what I did there??
 

68tele

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I learned spanish from coworkers and some italian as an adult. But unfortunately haven't retained it as I no longer use it daily.
 

blue metalflake

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I studied French in school a long time ago, and was able to make use of it on a few holidays. Holidays in Spain over the years allowed me to pick up a few phrases but nowhere near a conversation.
About 20 years ago I embarked on learning Mandarin Chinese - conversation only. Dedicated a substantial time and eventually reached a stage where, in China, I could order basic food & drink, haggle at the market & do basic conversation. Sadly I’ve now lost a lot through not having the opportunity to practice, but a fascinating challenge.
 

stormsedge

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I've had some number of years of Spanish classes...and can reliably order beer and ask the way to the library. I'm signed up for classes at the local U starting next month...try, try again.
 

Blikjeham

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As a child I learned Frysian and Dutch. At school I learned English, and a fair share of German and French. And also an amount of (classical) Greek, Latin and a tiny amount of Hebrew. I have forgotten most of the French, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Currently I am learning Swedish with the help of the DuoLingo app. I am currently at the level of being able to ask questions in Swedish, but I still have to master understanding the answers. A few weeks ago I bought a Swedish copy of some Donald Duck (Kalle Anka) comic to help me move beyond the standard phrases.
 

BigDaddyLH

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Despite my parents' and every school I attended's attempts to teach me French from the age of four, I know about ten words of it.

The past couple of years I've managed to pick up Spanish pretty well though. I decided to give it a go and bought a few exercise books and started watching movies and TV in Spanish with Spanish subtitles I could read while listening. Working with Spaniards helped too; instant correction teaches quickly. I can just about hold a conversation about most everyday stuff, but don't expect me to write you an essay on something.

Immersion is key.

We're from the anglophone part of Canada, but from pre-school through grade 12, my kids were in the French immersion programme in public school. Classes, not just the French language class, were taught in French.

Me? I had to learn another language for my degree, so I chose Sanskrit. It's the Latin of the Indian subcontinent. It actually came in handy when I was backpacking through India. The destination on buses was written in Devanagari.

6540DSCF2218.JPG
 

loopfinding

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sort of. my first language was spanish, and then i mostly forgot how to speak it (but could still understand my parents). then i relearned it through middle/high school. then forgot a lot again. then worked with latin americans for years, then moved here to spain. i still can't speak as well as i can read or understand, but it's improving more quickly living here. i'll always have a gringo accent though. spanish is luckily a pretty staightforward language.

also learned japanese in college and passed one (or two?) of the govt proficiency tests pretty quickly. now i hardly remember much, haven't practiced in years and lost it very quickly. but i think knowing another language as a kid primed me for learning it, and also japanese vowel pronunciation is similar to spanish or italian, so people with background in those often progress faster.

for english speakers i guess maybe try german or dutch? i found starting german to be kind of decipherable listening/reading-wise between having certain things similar to english, and others similar to latin-derived (borrowed words, or i guess common indo-euro root). of course for speaking or writing i don't think i would have ever had the capacity to master conjugation or declension.
 
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Milspec

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I must have some form of learning disability when it comes to language as I struggled as a kid and still do as an adult. I took 4 years of French in high school so that I wouldn't have to take language classes in college. I don't think I could find my way to a hotel with what I remember.

In college, they told me that I still needed to take a foreign language so I took 2 years of Latin. I figured it was a dead language so nobody was going to ask me to say anything in Latin, plus it didn't require a language lab. It was probably the toughest courses I have ever taken and a real struggle. In the second year, we were reading novels in Latin and that was pure torture...can still translate a little of it, but most of it is gone. It did allow me to understand the joke in Mony Python's "Life of Brian" where they started correcting each other's latin. My instructor was Italian and we were using his own text books yet he would stop and correct his own book at least weekly.

About the only way that I can learn languages now is if I am living in the country. I picked up some Norwegian during the year I was there and some Japanese while stationed in Okinawa, but once I left country, I forgot most of it.

There is an old Abbot and Costello gag where Lou Costello says that he can translate every language there was except Greek. Bud tests him by speaking some French to which Lou replied "Sounds Greek to me, try another one".
 

metalicaster

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As a child I learned Frysian and Dutch. At school I learned English, and a fair share of German and French. And also an amount of (classical) Greek, Latin and a tiny amount of Hebrew. I have forgotten most of the French, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.

Currently I am learning Swedish with the help of the DuoLingo app. I am currently at the level of being able to ask questions in Swedish, but I still have to master understanding the answers. A few weeks ago I bought a Swedish copy of some Donald Duck (Kalle Anka) comic to help me move beyond the standard phrases.
Some Latin, I do remember. I've read Ceasar's Commentarii but wouldn't even attempt it now. Bonus discipulus linguae latinae fui, sed non iam. (sic) It's kind of hard to keep up immersion in a dead language, but it did make Spanish Conjugation sort of make sense to me.
 

oldunc

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Despite my parents' and every school I attended's attempts to teach me French from the age of four, I know about ten words of it.

The past couple of years I've managed to pick up Spanish pretty well though. I decided to give it a go and bought a few exercise books and started watching movies and TV in Spanish with Spanish subtitles I could read while listening. Working with Spaniards helped too; instant correction teaches quickly. I can just about hold a conversation about most everyday stuff, but don't expect me to write you an essay on something.
Yeah, I've done it- fell in love with a Brazilian girl, learned Portuguese well enough to get by, similar method to yours. I don't speak Spanish, but I live in California so I always heard a lot of Spanish, and my mother is Portuguese American, so I heard some Portuguese (though vastly different from Brazilian Portuguese) at family gatherings and such as a child. Also took French in school, which was some help. I always found the hardest thing to be dividing things into words- in actual spoken language things come at you as a more or less steady flow of syllables; even if you know all the words, it can take some time to divide the flow into words (by which time you've missed a bunch more words), and there's always the possibility that there are words in there that you don't know.
 

teletail

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people move for different reasons. usually poverty, sometimes violence/upheaval, etc. i'm not going to pass judgment on someone for that. in the US there are communities for everyone that inhibit assimilation to a certain extent, and the cost of learning english can be prohibitive for people who can't afford the time/money to do it. if the US wants people to fully assimilate then it should stop taking advantage of so much cheap immigrant labor (not debating whether it should or shouldn't, just that you can't have it both ways).

now, if you want to move by choice to your "dream city" like tokyo or berlin or paris or wherever, or you're some retiree taking advantage of a cheaper country, and continue to not learn the language, that's a different story, that's just a total waste.
It's been my experience that you find a way to do the things that are important to you and you find excuses to NOT do the things that aren't important to you. I'm not saying that it's easy or that someone is going to hand it to you, but if you want to learn English in America, you can.
 




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