What kind of vocabulary is going to help me?


Okay, so I'm getting older and my languages skills get better, but not as good as they should get. I need to be fluent (like right now!) in at least 3 languages (besides my mother tongue).

How can I achieve this? Well, I think I know the answer but you can surely help me too. I decided to glue all kinds of notes all around the house with stuff written on them. Example: Post a note on the fridge with how to say fridge in 3 different languages. Same with all the shit I have all around the house.

Or, would it better if I learn verbs? Like the 100 most helpful verbs in English translated to these 3 languages.

Or should I post colors and house/food/ vocabulary all around the house?

or, I don't know... you tell me. I need to constantly remind myself about these words so I can memorize them and be fluent.

  • House vocabulary
    29% (8)19% (3)25% (11)Vote
  • Verbs
    18% (5)12% (2)16% (7)Vote
  • I have a better idea (how about you go and fuck yourself, Amy?)
    32% (9)62% (10)43% (19)Vote
  • Other
    21% (6)7% (1)16% (7)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think formal learning is good. But it's always best to not do things out of obligation, but because you enjoy it. Can you read certain books which are more poetical and abstract? Then you can look up words and think about the meaning as you go, plus hopefully get pleasure out of it :) I do that to this day, and I'm English. Poetry, novels, that kind of jazz? Shakespeare, Goethe, Dostoevsky, good shit. ;) Also, to speak to people of different dialects must always be helpful.

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    • I'm a freaking illiterate so i haven't read any of those, not even in spanish! lol (mother tongue).
      But yeah man, I gotta start asap.

      Nope, not an obligation for me. I do enjoy it, but I gotta admit chinese is getting frustrating.

    • You gotta have more confidence in yourself :P How's your Chinese - Mandarin? I started learning it some time ago but focused on other things. I have to admit, I didn't find it that difficult. One of those things where I think I'd be amazing at it if I'd have stuck with it.

    • True, gotta fix my daddy issues first XD
      It's bad, I really need to work on all those things.
      Well, keep working on it, chinese is super interesting :D

Most Helpful Girl

  • Gurrrlll, if only the internet was the way it is now when I was yr age… damn, I’d probably be fluent in at least several different languages by this point.

    __

    Here are 3 key suggestions.

    #1 is obvious and is something that everyone else will tell you too, but, #2 and #3 (especially #2) you should find helpful and I don’t see anything like them in the suggestions that are currently here.

    __

    1)
    Download lists of the 200-300 most commonly used NOUNS and the 100 most commonly used VERBS in each language you want to learn.
    Learn these.

    Ok… duh.

    Now for the cool stuff.

    __

    2)
    For all the NOUNS… SEARCH GOOGLE IMAGES, and look at what you get. There will be 3 possibilities here.
    (a) The pictures will be exactly what you expect. Good!
    (b) The pictures will be nothing at all like what you expect. In this case, you might just want to ignore the noun for now… or else put it on a list to learn later (unless you can tell exactly what’s going on from the “surprise” pictures).
    (c) The pictures are SOMEWHAT what you expect, but not exactly.

    This last possibility (c) is the interesting thing here.

    You mentioned Russian as one of the languages you are learning. Ok, cool.
    When you look at basic Russian vocabulary lists, you’ll learn that девушка means “girl”.
    Now search девушка in Google images.
    Hey, well, look at that! You’ll notice that EVERY SINGLE “девушка” is about your age, kinda hot, and almost naked.
    Hmmm…
    Definitely not the kind of understanding you’d get from a vocab list… but obviously a very very VERY important piece of understanding.
    You get me.

    There are going to be significant differences in the way different languages use nouns, and looking at hundreds of pictures is a nice and FAST way to see those differences conceptually.

    You may want to try the same kinds of searches for verbs (and adjectives), too, although that isn’t as easy as for nouns.

    __

    3)
    If you have a particular interest in the target language, then, try to find internet forums of people who share that particular interest.

    When I did most of my traveling around the world, I was working as an editorial model. If I’d had the internet in its current

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    • form back then, I would’ve found…
      …modeling forums
      …clothing/fashion forums
      …general interest forums for women my age (= early 20’s, at the time), where women talked about going out, and relationships, and dating and friends and such

      When people write on forums, they tend to write a lot like the way they talk. So, if you read forums, you’ll accomplish two things: (a) you’ll learn a lot of relevant vocabulary, (b) you’ll see (to a large extent) a certain amount of the slang/informal language that people use.
      Obviously there are differences — no one talks EXACTLY the same way she/he writes on the internet — but, pretty decent crash course in informal language.

      Have fun!

    • God, I love you. Always so damn helpful <3 thanks a lot

    • you're welcome! <3 good luck!

      also, make flash cards -- hundreds of them, thousands over time -- and try to flip through them at least once or twice every day.

      once you have several hundred or more, separate them into "low priority" (= you know these words pretty well) and "high priority" (= you messed these up or didn't know them).
      go through the "high priority" cards several times a day, and the "low priority" cards (which should be a much bigger pile) at least once a week.

      this system is also good for determining WHEN you should learn more words.
      basically, once the "high priority" pile shrinks to a certain size -- 10 cards? -- then study more words until there are, say, 30-50 cards in that pile again.

What Guys Said 11

  • Watch movies of that language...
    Listen songs of that language,
    Read jokes article and meme in that language..

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  • Put your phone and computer in that language, notes around the house, force yourself to use the language and not just passively receive it.

    But if you're at the level of the 100 most important verbs, you're very far from fluent.

    Read a lot, listen to the radio, GET OFF GAG.

    Y tiempo al tiempo.

    Me encanta tu seriedad y sinceridad.

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    • Phone is already in french. Russian and Chinese are the problem. I don't know many verbs in those languages, in Chinese maybe like 50, in Russian like 10 haha.

      YES, YES AND HELL YES. Gag is such a problem for me.

      Tienes toda la razón :)

      Me encanta tu sarcasmo jaja.

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    • Muy bien. Y cuando lo hagas yo te enviaré algo de lo mío.

      Vi hoy que un mexicano, Fernando del Paso, ha ganado el Premio Cervantes. Así que te ha abierto paso a ti.

    • Es un trato :)

      Eso es... demasiado jaja. Quizá tú puedas :)

  • 3 languages? That's a lot of work... you need years... but you can get some resources on youtube, also see movies... music... writte copies... grab some dicttionaries...

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    • well, I've been studying one of them for 1 and a half year and the other for 6 months.
      I'm just starting with the third one.

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    • I mean, Hindi...

    • I've thought about hindi, but I think I would like learning arabic a bit more. I'll start with it in like 2 years. Now I'll have lots of problems with chinese and russian.

      Yeah, that's true, thanks!

  • Talk to someone who's mother tongue is that language?

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  • It takes years to become fluent in even one language. If you want elementary proficiency take an online course or something, but I'm afraid, realistically, thats where it stops.

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    • I'm taking courses in two languages now. I think I'll study the third by my own now. In some months I'll start with classes too.

      And nah man, of course it's not too easy, but it could take less than that.

    • Language students in the UK spend a whole year dedicated to living in a foreign country to actually become fluent in the language (rather than simply knowing a whole load of nouns, verbs and tenses). If it wasn't necessary, they wouldn't do it. And that is IN ADDITION to spending years beforehand learning all the vocab and grammar.

    • Well, I didn't have to move to another country to learn English.
      Some people can learn a language in just one year, talk fluently and stuff. It depends on how hard you try, of course.

      I gotta agree, I know it's not easy, but it's possible.

  • All of those. Also watch movies in the language you want to learn. No subtitles.

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  • Go fuck yourself? haha ;)

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  • Reading will help you i think

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  • Listen to a lot of Gangster rap and hang out in the ghetto, and you'll learn Ebonics quickly

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  • Interesting poll, Mexican lady.

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  • I voted C, but i'll do it for ya Amy :*, you are beautiful by the way

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What Girls Said 7

  • That's good actually (the-sticking-notes-to-objects idea). Do them to all. It doesn't matter if it's about home, colors, numbers. Those are very good starting points. I would suggest learning words for cosmetics.

    However it's a very bad idea to learn all three languages at once! You wouldn't want a jumbled vocabulary pool of three different languages. It happens, trust me because I did this before and I have regretted it (was learning Italian and Japanese at the same time and ended up creating sentences using words from both languages unconsciously). It isn't supposed to be like that. Doing that will worsen your condition and you'd be far away from being fluent in both languages.

    One language at a time because each language is different.

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    • Odd suggestion: watch beauty pageants of countries using the language you learn. They often don't have subtitles so it helps me somehow.

    • I hate to admit you're right, it will be hella confusing. I gotta try first tho, if I can't, I'll just focus on chinese (my main problem now).

      Good advices, thanks!

  • Which languages are they?

    Best is to speak to other people. You pick up a lot of words by how they speak and you really have to think what you say. Don't be shy to say something weird.
    Also, watch a movie in that language with subtitles in that language. Pick an easy movie like an animated one. They will never use difficult words.
    You could also try to read a children's book or try to translate a song. We always did that in French class.

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    • Yeah, I've read the little prince actually, and I do watch movies too. But just in one language, which is french.
      The others are chinese and russian. I know they're hard to I'm trying to be patient with these ones, but with french I lost all kind of patience.
      I'm listening to russian and chinese music to familiarize with the sounds and everything, learning the lyrics and stuff.

      I definitely need to watch movies in chinese and russian though, I haven't done that.

    • Well you haven't exactly picked the easiest languages to learn lol. Since you're from Mexico, French mustn't be too hard I guess but it's still not easy.
      The difficult part with Russian and Chinese is the alphabet. They're also just really different from your native.
      Try watching Finding Nemo or something in Russian with subtitles.

    • Yeah, French is way easier than those two haha.
      I'm good with the chinese alphabet, even with the tones, but the freaking characters are a nightmare.
      With russian I'm having problems with the alphabet, but I haven't really tried, so watching movies will surely help me :) thanks a lot!

  • You're not gonna become fluent in anything by learning how to say "fridge" and "lamp" you have to take classes and/or go to the country for a longer time period.

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  • Vote D = Offline conversation with others + meeting new people offline + socialising outside of your comfort zone offline.

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  • Lol The C vote was too funny. Not to be mean though but you should start with using small words, then work your way up to bigger harder words.

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  • my grammar is bad.

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  • Vocabulary

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