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Learning Only To Read

 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4642 days ago

9757 posts - 15778 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 9 of 20
13 September 2015 at 10:01am | IP Logged 
If you're going to learn both Italian and Latin, I'd recommend you to read Dante when you're familiar with both :) my Latin makes it much more fulfilling.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Mork the Fiddle
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2014 days ago

86 posts - 158 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Norwegian, Latin, Ancient Greek

 
 Message 10 of 20
13 September 2015 at 7:48pm | IP Logged 
Striver wrote:

I'm not sure if it's realistic or how long it will take, but it seems
like an excellent life's work.

Whether your goal is realistic depends mostly on your age, and the amount of time you have to devote to learning languages, and to some small extent how much money you have to spend on language learning resources.

Let's take those one by one.

If you are 80, you are not too old to learn a language, but you might be too old to learn French, Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Danish, Russian and Ancient Greek in this lifetime.

If you can spare no more than ten minutes a day to language learning, you're probably not going to learn all those languages either. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the U.S. Department of State hosts a web page that lists estimates of the number of hours an English-speaker will need to learn a second language. I would take the absolute numbers with a grain of salt, but the numbers give one a basis for overall planning.

As for resources, my hypothesis is that you can learn any major contemporary world language for nothing using the Internet. Note that I'm sure many other members here would disagree. Whatever the right answer might be, you will need help finding resources, and you've come to the right place for that.

Good luck.
1 person has voted this message useful



Striver
Newbie
United States
Joined 1412 days ago

8 posts - 15 votes
Studies: French

 
 Message 11 of 20
14 September 2015 at 1:41am | IP Logged 
Mork the Fiddle wrote:
Striver wrote:

I'm not sure if it's realistic or how long it will take, but it seems
like an excellent life's work.

Whether your goal is realistic depends mostly on your age, and the amount of time you have to devote to learning languages, and to some small extent how much money you have to spend on language learning resources.

Let's take those one by one.

If you are 80, you are not too old to learn a language, but you might be too old to learn French, Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Danish, Russian and Ancient Greek in this lifetime.

If you can spare no more than ten minutes a day to language learning, you're probably not going to learn all those languages either. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the U.S. Department of State hosts a web page that lists estimates of the number of hours an English-speaker will need to learn a second language. I would take the absolute numbers with a grain of salt, but the numbers give one a basis for overall planning.

As for resources, my hypothesis is that you can learn any major contemporary world language for nothing using the Internet. Note that I'm sure many other members here would disagree. Whatever the right answer might be, you will need help finding resources, and you've come to the right place for that.

Good luck.


I'm 37. My schedule permits at least an hour or two of study per day, often times much more. While I'm by no means rich, books and other such aren't prohibitively expensive either. Not really sure of my natural aptitude for learning languages, but my motivation is high.
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obsculta
Newbie
United States
Joined 3865 days ago

36 posts - 83 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 12 of 20
15 September 2015 at 2:10am | IP Logged 
Striver wrote:
I'm not sure if it's realistic or how long it will take, but it seems
like an excellent life's work.

I'm certainly not trying to put myself forward as a model in any way. Most of the other
participants on this forum are far more talented than I when it comes to languages. But
maybe a brief account of my experiences will indicate the possibilities and limitations
of your project, or at least how one version of polyliteracy has played out for me, a
fairly average language learner.

I started 15 years ago, when I was 27, by trying to recover my dormant high school
Latin. I figured that I was reading so much Latin in translation that I might as well
make the effort to try to read in the original. A year later I started Koine Greek with
the intention of reading the New Testament; being able to read St. John's prologue
after a couple of days was one of the immensely satisfying moments of my life. My
interest in Greek spilled forward and backward, into Attic and Byzantine. The next year
it was Biblical Hebrew, and the year after that German, and so on.

Without any plan whatsoever, I've started about one language a year over the past
fifteen years. The exotic ones didn't stick (I'll explain why shortly). Currently, I
actively read four classical (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac/Aramaic) and five modern
languages (my native English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian). I'm currently
working on Modern Greek. The only languages I actually speak are English and Spanish; I
live in Mexico, so speaking Spanish requires no special effort. I just don't have it in
me to do voice chats online to activate the other languages. I do invest in listening
ability in all my languages, even the dead ones.

Over the past 15 years, I've probably averaged about 3.5 to 4 hours a day either
studying or reading, which adds up to an 19,000 to 22,000 hours, if I'm calculating
correctly. I'd say I've always tried to spend more time reading than studying. These
days I only spend about an hour or so actually studying.

My early morning hours are my most focussed, and I reserve two hours before work for
studying the bible and patristic texts, i.e., my classical languages. Unfortunately,
that means that modern languages only get distracted stolen moments-- 20 minutes on the
bus, 20 minutes at lunch, maybe 40 minutes at night while my wife watches TV.

As I mentioned earlier, I've tried and failed to add some 'exotic' languages (Sanskrit,
both classical and modern Arabic, Mandarin), because I'm not willing to spend early
mornings on them and they're too difficult to learn in my stolen, low attention moments
during the day. I regret not having learned Russian, but I suspect I'd have the same
problem.

For the same reason, I often haven't read the most challenging works in the modern
languages, and I tend to read from the late 19th century up to the present moment. So
I've read Niccolo Amminiti and Luigi Pirandello, but not Dante. I've read Modiano,
Flaubert and Colette but not Descartes. I've read Kafka, but not Goethe or Meister
Eckhart. And so on. Despite my 20,000 hours, I feel like I've only read a small
fraction of what I'd like to have read. I'm 42 years old, so it's reasonable to think
I'll have another 30 years-- maybe 40,000 hours-- but I wonder if even that is enough
time.

From the standpoint of pure efficiency, one could argue that I haven't accomplished as
much as I should've in the time spent. On the other hand, I don't think it's really
about how much one accomplishes. It doesn't really matter how far one gets. It's just
about seasoning one's life with a little bit of beauty and wisdom, and finding
additional resources with which to interpret and inform experience. I do think it's an
excellent project in that respect, no matter how far one gets.
12 persons have voted this message useful



Striver
Newbie
United States
Joined 1412 days ago

8 posts - 15 votes
Studies: French

 
 Message 13 of 20
15 September 2015 at 5:32am | IP Logged 
Thanks for the great post Obsculta. If I can accomplish half what you have I'll be very happy.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Cavesa
Triglot
Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3054 days ago

3277 posts - 6777 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 
 Message 14 of 20
15 September 2015 at 6:37pm | IP Logged 
Welcome to the forums!

I'd recommend not shying away from audio entirely. It does help your memory to both see and hear the language. Sure, some people may learn the best from audio only sources, others from purely writen,but most of us require some mix of both. What kind of audio/visual ratio do you need is something only you can find out.

Great news: at least a few of your languages will support each other greatly. Reading Spanish after French is not hard to learn at all, Italian shares a lot as well, Latin always helps... etc. So, at least part of your goals is realistic in just a few years.

Proust, that is ambitious. But there is a htlaler who has read him, I am unsure who it was. I think you can search for the log and find him. Perhaps Garyb or emk, I am not sure. But from the classics, you may find Dumas accessible much earlier, l'Étranger by Camus is another good early choice and so on. But, as others said, you might want to make your learning curve a bit easier by choosing easier books at first. A popular choices include Le Petit Prince or Harry Potter translation but there is much more. There are good authors for young readers, such us Evelyne Brisou-Pellen or Erik l'Homme. Their books are surely not among the great ones but they are quite an enjoyable step in the right direction, once you grow out of coursebooks.
2 persons have voted this message useful



garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3252 days ago

1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 15 of 20
16 September 2015 at 12:03pm | IP Logged 
Cavesa wrote:

Proust, that is ambitious. But there is a htlaler who has read him, I am unsure who it was. I think you can search for the log and find him. Perhaps Garyb or emk, I am not sure.


It wasn't me ;) It might have been kanewai?

I'm sure I saw another topic about reading French recently and some of the advice was to get a general idea of how the pronunciation works, so that when you're reading you sort of know how it should sound, and if you do choose to speak later on, your model of the pronunciation isn't completely messed up. I think that was good advice, especially for French since so many letters aren't pronounced. It's fairly regular so less scary than it can seem.

In the longer term, there's a book (which I've not read but I have heard a lot about), EuroComRom - The Seven Sieves, that is about learning to read all of the Romance languages by exploiting the similarities. That could be worth keeping in mind for once you're happy with your French and want to move onto others.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4642 days ago

9757 posts - 15778 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 16 of 20
16 September 2015 at 7:36pm | IP Logged 
Yes, that's a great book :)


1 person has voted this message useful



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