Books to teach myself other languages?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Tim Holyoke, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    I've recently become really interested in other countries for various reasons, and this has led me to wishing I knew more than just English. I'm assuming there are books that can help me to learn different languages? I'm actually interested in learning ANY other languages...but at the top of my list would probably be Spanish, German, and French. Plus while a book might be able to teach me about a certain language, I'd have to hear it some to actually fully grasp it. Obviously I'd like to do one at a time, where do you suggest starting? And what (if any?) books do you recommend? Thanks a lot for any help.

    Tim
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    It will be very difficult to learn another language from a book--that is, unless your only desire is to become literate. That is, the ability to only read and write.

    This thread has some discussion of various ways to learn Spanish. Unless you want to pay for instruction (classes at a local college or commerical instruction) computer instruction can work reasonably well (in conjuntion with some formal study).

    Naturally you can also follow the time honored tradition and acquire a Latina girlfriend, but since your desire is to learn several languages, this could become a bit tiring. [​IMG]

    In any case, in order to comprehend spoken Spanish (or any other language) and to be able to make yourself understood, you need to practice with native speakers. And practice often.

    Given that, it might be easier to begin with German, given your location.
     
  3. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Thanks Lew. That's kind of what I suspected after thinking about it. I'm actually a student, but I'm about done and didn't want to waste the money/time on taking classes [​IMG] . That Latina girlfriend thing sounds good to me [​IMG] .
     
  4. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    In order of ease, Spanish, then French and German. The latter have some quirks that can be very difficult to master, and the number of cases and/or verb declensions in French is something to behold. AFAIK only Latin is worse, though Greek can probably give it a run for the money.

    Get the girlfriend, AND get a Berlitz or equivalent. That should help. And go take a class - it's more fun that way, especially if you can take it pass/fail...
     
  5. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    The Latina girlfriend is a good idea. Unfortunately my personal taste does not gravitate towards Latinas. Shame on me. Basically, good idea if you are actally attracted. Don't do what some people do. Date someone to learn a language and then dump them right after. It reminds me of people who get married so their spouse will pay for graduate school. As soon as they graduate, the divorce papers come in. I think things like that are just sleezy from a personal stance.

    If you have a lot of free time or have a lack of time, it's best not to take a class. With a class you are stuck on a schedule. You individually might breeze through certain concepts and need more time with others. With a scheduled class, they move on no matter what you know or need more time with. If you are looking for people to speak with? Chances are Spanish 1 won't help you with that either as no one can speak it yet. Personally for me, I found classes take much too long and were way too dull and academic (The stories are horribly boring IMO when such great ones exist). If you bore yourself too much, you are sure to stop after awhile and think yuck.

    Anyways, here are some book materials you can try for Spanish at least. ***These are just for reading/writing/grammer/rules*** Wont really help with speaking and listening. That's where you need to start listening to TV, Radio, Audio CD's, speaking with real people, etc.

    Spanish Beginner:

    1. Madrigals Magic Key to Spanish (Beware of a few outdates, but the book builds upon itself and is really good).

    2. Berlitz Kids Spanish/English Picture Dictionary (Yes kids. But, it's very well set up and each word is used in a sentance. That's not easy to find in a dictionary).

    3. Practice Makes Perfect: Verb Tenses
    4. Practice Makes Perfect: Pronouns and Prepositions
    5. Easy Spanish Reader

    Spanish Intermediate:

    1. Oxford Spanish Vocab Builder
    2. The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice
    3. Advanced Spanish Grammer: Self Teaching Guide (This book is mostly written in Spanish)
    4. Spanish for Reading

    After all these, you should be able to start reading Spanish newspapers and books.

    Add whatever you like. The more the better. Getting perspectives from many different sources will really help you in the long run.

    Here's a site which rates languages as easiest to most difficult.

    Spanish is a 1.

    French and German are a 3.

    Languages like Mandarin are listed at a 5 (being most difficult).

    Of course language aptitude will always be on the individual. What works for one person might not for another. For example, a friend of mine who took German in college thought it was much easier than Spanish. So, it just depends on the person.

    In my personal opinion, I don't think Spanish is as easy to learn as is claimed. If it was only a 1 (being extremely easy), a lot more people would know it I think.

    http://www.micheloud.com/FXM/LA/LA/index.htm
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    And an indication that you have never lived in Venezuela. [​IMG]
     
  7. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    Thanks guys. That list looks good Ryan, thanks. Can you offer any suggestions for audio programs to go along with my reading? I appreciate it.
     
  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    oops
     
  9. Tim Holyoke

    Tim Holyoke Second Unit

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    I emailed the Spanish professors at my school, and got some suggestions...

    Living Language
    LanguageNow!
    and just Berlitz in general, no specifics given

    What do you think of these? I'd like to do a book/grammatical type thing as well as an audio program to begin, so I know if I'm at least close on pronunciations and such. The Madrigals book seems like a good starting point. Any other suggestions, especially for audio/software? [​IMG] Thanks again for the help.

    Tim
     
  10. Peter Burtch

    Peter Burtch Stunt Coordinator

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    Tim,

    I never used the CD/book sets, but the Living Language books were always pretty good IME. When I wanted to review the 'basics' of the Spanish I knew and did not want to peruse a more academic-oriented text I used the Living Language books I had. This one was decent:
    [​IMG]

    -P
     

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