I've written about how I learned to speak, read, and write Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish. I've also covered my experiments with German, Indonesian, Arabic, Norwegian, Turkish, and perhaps a dozen others. There are only few language learners who dazzle me, and Benny Lewis is one of them.
Cognates are “true friends” of words you recognize from your native language that mean the same thing in another language.
Words like Action, nation, precipitation, solution, frustration, and thousands of other -tion words are spelled exactly the same in French, and you can quickly get used to the different pronunciation. Change that -tion to a -ción and you have the same words in Spanish. Italian is -zione and Portuguese is -ção.
Many languages also have words that share a common (Greek/Latin or other) root.
Even languages as different as Japanese can have heaps of very familiar vocabulary.
1. Make realistic, specific goals You have decided to learn another language. Now what? On our recent live chat our panellists first piece of advice was to ask yourself: what do you want to achieve and by when?
“Motivation is usually the first thing to go, especially among students who are teaching themselves.” To keep the momentum going he suggests writing down 10 reasons you are learning a language and sticking it to the front of the file you are using.
When signing up to a particular method or approach, think about the substance behind the style or technology. “Ultimately,” Aaron Ralby says, “the learning takes place inside you rather that outside, regardless of whether it’s a computer or book or a teacher in front of you.”
Since learning French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Korean, I get asked a lot about what's the best way to learn a language. In this article, I'd like to share what I think works, what I think doesn't and what I think doesn't matter to learn a new language from zero to a conversational ability.