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Old 08-15-2012, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 9
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Here are some tips to learn that many second language learners don't normally realize.

FIRST: Completely eliminate idioms when you speak. We use a LOT of phrases that are not understood in other countries, and they use ones we don't understand. Examples: Get to first base. Flip the switch. Hitch a ride. Hit the road.
Put yourself in the place of a new learner of English and ask yourself if you would really understand the meaning of 'hit the road' when you heard it, or would you litterally try to 'hit the road'?
Even between England and North America, for example 'knock someone up'. In North America it means get someone pregnant. In England it means knock on their door. So you can see how embarrassing it might be should you stumble on an idiom that means something else.

SECOND: Realize that it is not ALWAYS a one-for-one word exchange when translating. Some languages can express an idea in as little as one word compared to a few, and vice-versa.
Hand in hand with this, understanding that the idea being expressed is what's important, not the way it's said. Just because the sentence wasn't constructed the way we would have said it doesn't make it wrong.

THIRD: Pronunciation can be improved by reciting the names of things you see as you walk about, and holding conversations with yourself in the absence of friends to practice with. (Warning! Don't do this in the vacinity of mental institutions.)

LAST: I cheated. I learnt the worlds easiest language first and now I find I understand English better (my native tongue) and I'm in a better position to learn more languages. I've provided a link below to better explain this.

That language was ESPERANTO. It is designed such that you MUST understand sentence structure, which helps to understand other languages. It has 16 gramatical rules... with NO EXCEPTIONS!
Plus you end up with a multitude of Esperanto friends; oh the burdens we bear.

Not to understate it of course, but listen to and read as much as you possibly can, whenever you can.
Immersion, immersion, IMMERSION!
I listen to Esperanto music all day long, just to tune my ear to it.

Any second language makes learning a third easier because you acquire a feel for the differences that other languages might have. Esperanto is the logical choice as the second language because it demonstrates linguistic principles better than most, but more importantly, you can learn Esperanto in months instead of years for any other tongue.

In either case, the first points should help you master another tongue. Regardless of whether you learn Esperanto or not.
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