One of my goals this year is to slowly learn to speak French. I already speak Turkish and English (obviously) and I'm not sure how to get in the groove of learning another language. I don't know where to start or what would help me. Advice?

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To get as much of a start on it as I have, I needed to take full time university classes, like five days a week, in between my work schedule.  It paid off huge though, my daily life is infinitely easier now.  Characters I'm learning at an okay rate, but I can't produce them on my own.  I can still only think in pinyin because of the ease with which my mind works with a roman alphabet.  If I see a character I know I can instantly recognize it, but I could never produce it on my own, by hand.  It's even worse when you notice that the complicated characters are just more basic characters piled onto each other.  Because then you notice that you know all the parts but not the whole.  It's frustrating.  But you learn to get over that.

What's Korean like?  How's the grammar and stuff?  What's the most difficult part about learning it?

Korean is actually, I think, one of the simpler languages that doesn't use a Romanized alphabet. At least to me. Grammar is actually not too bad - the hardest part I have is when there are add ons that are dependent on whether something ends with a consonant or with a vowel, but I've had problems with similar things in other languages (whenever something could have two different endings - I always have to think about which ending it should have). There are some really simplistic things about it though - like a lot of simple questions to ask the question and to state it as a statement are the exact same thing, you just ask the question like a question and say the statement like a statement. So if someone asked you, "Are you American?" and you said "I am American." They're the exact same sentence and order, you just ask the question like it's a question - which I find to be awesome. Something that really used to trip me up is numbers because there are two sets of numbers that are used in different ways depending on what you're talking about. One set, for example, is used if you're counting things for example, "There are three chairs in the room" and the other set of numbers is used if you're talking about money for example, "I have 1,000 won." I think someday I will pick it up again, even just talking about it now is making me realize I remember so much more than I thought. 

Yeah, I can see where the trouble with Rosetta stone would come into play there. Not having a normal alphabet would be especially hard. 

I think one of the reasons it worked so well for my husband is because he has someone who speaks the language right at his disposal. He could check with me whenever he was confused about what a word meant, which was really helpful. 

yes, I totally agree. I guess I forgot to mention that with the Rosetta Stone, I also hired the Rosetta Stone, I also hired tutors and bought dictionaries.     And as far as Mandarin...that's got to be rough. I had the same sort of issues when I started learning Hebrew.   Except, I could write it/read it better than I could speak it, so I guess that's opposite of Tim.     

 I dunno Nagehan. I guess it's really dependent on how you learn best.  However, if you learned English, French won't be too hard, I don't think.  I'm confident you'll get it. It took about two months to kind of really get the feel for it, and after that, I picked it up pretty quickly.   Good luck!

Being illiterate is actually a surprising amount of fun.  Nothing else quite has the rush of reading what you want off a KFC menu at a pace just a notch up from "mentally disabled" and then trailing off at the end because you got cocky from knowing the first five characters and then the sixth looks like someone jammed a half dozen stick figures in a blender.  Do you still get your food?  Who knows?  It's a wonderful surprise now...a real adventure.

Immersion I think is the best way. I speak the languages I speak not only because I took them starting in elementary school but because I was immersed in them to some degree or another at some point in my life. I do know people who have used the Rosetta Stone and find if useful. I travel for work a lot and am  with people who travel all the time for one reason or another, and many of them have used is the best thing short of immersion I hear. If you know someone to speak french to you all the time, can access a french telly station and listen to it around the clock, watch french movies and so on ...constantly that would be good as well.

I agree, I think immersion is definitely the best way to learn a new language. 

Yeah. I have no idea how to go about this, seeing as I moved to the Thailand to learn Thai and I'm still not learning Thai. If you figure it out, let me know...

Really? Maybe you need some time?

When I was in Central America, I didn't really start learning Spanish until I lived with a host family who didn't speak any English...that'll make you learn ASAP! 

Right. The problem is that I live in a really educated area, and even the street vendors in non-touristy areas know a good amount of English. When I speak Thai, folks speak English back to me!

I took French for four years in high school and three years in college, and almost all of my instructors were terrible, so I still speak very little, but I very much want to become fluent. I've been reading a lot of Ramit Sethi's stuff lately, and he points out that you can hire a private tutor to work with you once a week for a year for less than the cost of one college course, and you'll learn infinitely faster. So I think this might be the year I commit to it.


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