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Immersion: Learning a Foreign Language by Yourself

Deep Dish

Master Don Juan
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At the beginning of the year, I bought a frequency dictionary with the 5,000 most common words. I had been studying from a list of 600 most common words and had gotten through about 500 words before I upgraded to the frequency dictionary. I estimate that if about half of the 500 words from the list were in the first 500 words of the frequency dictionary, that would be 200 words (rounding down). I'm now 800 words into the dictionary, so 800 + 200 words would be a grand total of 1,000 words, which would be the completion of level A2.

My listening comprehension is ramping up. The range of material which I find to be comprehensible input is greatly expanding. I can, more than ever, follow along with the gist of conversation without subtitles.

I strive for 2-3 hours of French exposure every day, which I achieve almost every day. I estimate that I've clocked 1,800 hours over the past two years.

There is an issue which I want to bring up and that is when is the right time to start speaking?

There are two general approaches: speaking early, or waiting until you feel comfortable enough.

Speaking early is a very popular approach, especially for people who are highly sociable, but it comes at the expense of not understanding what people say in reply to you. You can memorize phrases, which can be good for taking a vacation, but it's meaningless conversation. You will plateau earlier, because you will inevitably be faced with the need for spending a lot more time on input (reading and listening).

On the other hand, you can wait until you feel you've absorbed enough of the language through input, and the only downside is you can wait too long. Once you do start speaking, there will be a transitionary period, because you will need to talk a lot to get good at it. Olly Richards, who personally prefers speaking early, made a video explaining the benefits of waiting:


As for myself, I've been waiting for listening comprehension to emerge, which is getting there.
 

Deep Dish

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It's better to buy a paper dictionary than download a PDF or eBook. Digital books are more convenient but science studies show you remember more with physical books. Apps have distractions and I would think there's probably something about the tactile experience of books. You have a better chance of remembering words by writing it down.
 

Deep State

Don Juan
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It's better to buy a paper dictionary than download a PDF or eBook. Digital books are more convenient but science studies show you remember more with physical books. Apps have distractions and I would think there's probably something about the tactile experience of books. You have a better chance of remembering words by writing it down.
Modern internet dictionaries and phrasebooks are amazing. They will usually have audio as well where you can hear the word or phrase pronounced by a native speaker. Books (ebook or physical) have their place, but I think they are more useful for unfamiliar character sets (Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, etc)

I'd recommend watching a catchy song like this:
Elli et Jacno - Main Dans La Main

While following along with the lyrics:

Look up every word and phrase until it starts to make sense.
 

Gamisch

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Managed to learn Polish( Terrible language to learn). There was money to be made and my colleagues only spoke Po Polsku. I had to do it and did it. On a very basic level obviously but I am a Caribbean guy so they literally lose their ****, Polish friends video call me to say shyt ect haha. Like I am anattraction. Also know alotta slang, deep Polish. Real fun.

I dont know if anyone already said:
- cartoons for kids (0-5)help tremendously .
- a local who speaks fluently to spar with
- listen to songs and sing/rap along
- money as motivation, but that's tough one

 
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