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Looking for fellow language learning geeks and nerds

Anybody else out there who likes learning new languages for fun? It would be great to share tips, resources, stories and experiences. Learning a language is something that we can easily do in lockdown too!

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    • imherenow 26th March 2021 at 9:13 am

      Hi what a great subject to share! Yes I am a bilingual Greek/English speaker. I can get by in French. I was fairly basic fluent in Russian, seeing that I could understand native speakers giving street directions and also someone talking about a letter they had received. What I thought was a bigger challenge was learning Cantonese, I learnt this through intensive and regular study and help from a native language tutor. I just immersed myself in everything and all topics, including pop songs and films. Anything which sparked up a conversation with my tutor and other speakers. I also struck up conversations with native speakers in my area. I am a bit geekish on this level as I actual enjoy the process of learning a language. A multiple range of approaches really gets all of my brain working in the language, and it’s when I unintentionally/subconsciously get a phrase right in the language that I find most intriguing.

    • Lovetohelp 8th April 2021 at 11:15 pm

      I love languages but not good at learning them. I speak English as my first language but also speak Gujarati. I’m working as an after school nanny with a lovely French family, the 5 year old boy speaks French so well, corrects me with the little I do know and told me to learn French. Its a beautiful language. maybe I should.

    • charaid 6th June 2021 at 9:19 am

      I started learning Scots Gaelic on Duolingo last year. I’m really enjoying it. I lived it Scotland years ago, very briefly, and dream of returning there . I love the islands and love the feel of Gaelic, it sounds so beautiful when spoken by islanders. At least that’s my misty memory of it.

    • andrea 8th June 2021 at 10:56 am

      I wonder if you’ve ever studied Yiddish? This is such a mixture of mainly Germanic languages used by thousands of Jewish people as they migrated throughout Europe. It is very expressive and was almost lost until fairly recently. It is popular in America where there are newspapers, plays etc enjoyed again.

      • Amanda in Durham 8th June 2021 at 11:06 am

        Hi Andrea!

        Was this question directed at me, by any chance, or was it a more general question?
        I haven’t thought of learning Yiddish, but I find it fascinating! I once saw a film which featured some people speaking an old variant of Yiddish and with my knowledge of German I was able to follow quite a bit (I think, there were subtitles, so I can’t be really sure how much I really understood).
        Back at my other home in Germany, I have a Yiddish dictionary in my dictionary collection, I couldn’t resist buying that!
        Have you learnt Yiddish?
        Viele Grüße

    • andrea 8th June 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Hi I was replying to you rather than generally. It is a fascinating language, mainly unwritten and depending upon the country, some words have evolved differently,.although the basics are German. Basque is another interesting language, again some vocabulary developed from French, other words linked with Spanish. I have an English friend living in France. Her three children speak French and English but attend a Breton speaking school! Now there’s a mix!

    • robspursfan 17th July 2021 at 10:25 am

      I am a fluent German speaker and one of my hobbies is language learning.
      I can also speak French,Spanish,Dutch and Norwegian and am currently studying Portuguese.
      Just for fun I like to translate articles from “El País” into German and “Die Frankfurter Allgemeine” and “Die Zeit” into Spanish.

    • Maureen51 17th July 2021 at 11:35 am

      Actually, learning languages keeps the brain working, I have learned a few during my travels, and as I can see in the replies many can associate with old Scottish, which is not Gaelic. I’m returning to Aberdeen at the beginning of September, after having spent 50 years travelling, I’m going home. Sometimes I’m disappointed in myself if I fail a language exam, but in all the languages I know at least I can communicate, this motivates me to continue.

      Linguistics, and if you look through many languages many words are related. When I was at school my English teacher had a copy of a newspaper it was about 200 years old. It was nothing like we speak nowadays.

      Unfortunately, did to the fact that shorter is preferred over longer we are loosing the aptitude to converse in a descriptive manner, looking through old poems and Scottish songs. Whereas, if I look at Robert Burns and some of his works, I swear that he must have been drunk or relieving pain with some kind of substance. The same excuse I would use for Shakespeare. 🤣🤣🤣

      • Amanda in Durham 17th July 2021 at 5:42 pm

        Those suspicions about Shakespeare and Burns are amusing!

        I’m very impressed that you have spent 50 years travelling, that is a long time to be on the road, how did that work, Maureen? In terms of financing yourself and finding a roof over your head? I am very curious!

        I hope the move to Aberdeen goes well and that you continue to have fun learning languages and stimulating the grey matter!

        All the best


    • Maureen51 18th July 2021 at 10:33 am

      It’s a life full of ups and downs, yesterday i received a rental contract, so I’m planning to move at the end of August. Its been very interesting be sure, finally this will be my last journey, back to the beginning. I’m looking forward to it. ✈️✈️✈️

      • Amanda in Durham 18th July 2021 at 6:06 pm

        Where will you be moving from? I moved from Germany to England in July 2020, after having been out of the country for 32 years, it was a VERY steep learning curve!!!

        I wish you all the best and as few hiccups as possible!

    • Maureen51 18th July 2021 at 6:17 pm

      I’m in Qatar just now, I’m just settling the housing, i lived in Germany myself. In Munich for 30 years, but came to Qatar in 2004, before that i lived in the UAE for 2 years, before that i livrd off and on in Turkey for 10 years partly in Munich parky in Turkey. I also lived in Iran for two years at a better time of course. You are right Britain has changed i went there in 2018 to get a new passport it’s a changed country, mind you i was in London not exactly my place. Thank you for your wishes, have you managed to find your home again now?

      • Amanda in Durham 19th July 2021 at 11:57 am

        Hi Maureen,

        WOW, you have certainly seen a lot of the world! Have you been working in TEFL? I hope everything goes well with sorting your housing, looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

        I am settling in slowly but surely, mostly I am enjoying the cooler weather and not being in the same country as my cheating narcissist husband LOL

        Take care now


    • KJRUK 22nd July 2021 at 7:08 pm

      I’m taking French lessons at Berlitz (Tome 5). Send a message if you want to learn more…

    • Keith D 22nd July 2021 at 7:32 pm

      I love to.learn a new,language and for me a,great tool to use duolingo, as you write things down, as well as sometimes have to speak words,or sentence or choose the right words

    • Jane Blackmore 22nd July 2021 at 7:46 pm

      I find languages fascinating. I speak French and Spanish, badly but well enough to get most things sorted. I also speak a little Xhosa, that’s a challenge. I am not a linguist by any spark of the imagination but as I get older I realise more and more how many similarities there are between languages particularly if you look at the roots of words. I am embarrassed by the fact that I have lived in Canada, France, Cyprus, Spain and South Africa and am not fluent in their languages but that exposure has made me recognise the similarities. I lived in West Wales for a while in a Welsh speaking community and did attempt to learn Welsh, trouble was when I attempted an intensive residential course I completely lost my voice after the first day!! I blame my inability in languages to the fact that I am not very musical always veered more towards maths, least that is my excuse!

    • Wellsprungalice 22nd July 2021 at 7:50 pm

      For those looking to practice conversation in languages they are learning, have a look at Discord. It’s not a nice, pretty, well-packaged platform (in fact, it’s pretty ugly and confusing at first!) but it’s a great place to find language partners to practice with.

      Individuals or groups decide to set up a ‘server’ for a specific interest area (for example, learning German) and then they organise and run it it as they see fit. The great thing about Discord is you get text channels and voice channels that you can use simultaneously.

      A friend and I have just set up a server on Discord called ‘Tortoise Norsk’ for Norwegian learners who feel lost in the online speaker groups. I don’t know about you, but by the time I’ve worked out how to say what I want to say, the conversation has already moved on. So, using the text and voice channels on our server, we can partner up and chat in a particular way: setting a topic in advance, devising and typing in what we want to say and then saying it out loud. Looking up words on Google Translate is OK. Getting it wrong is OK. Explaining what you meant in English is OK. Asking your partner’s opinion on your sentence is OK. The point is, you’re using what you’ve learned on Duo or Babel or wherever to make real sentences and a real conversation.

      When we’ve been doing this for about ten minutes, we then ‘run the conversation’ using the sentences we’ve constructed and practiced, so we get the feeling of having a proper conversation. The aim is to speed up how fast you can think of something to say and how to say it. It’s like riding a bike with stabilisers.

      That’s how we run our server. Others may run theirs differently. This is the link to the Disboard where you can search for servers on topics that interest you. https://top.gg/servers/search?q=disboard Most languages have learner groups represented on Discord.

    • Val W 22nd July 2021 at 8:35 pm

      I am currently learning Turkish – very slow progress. Italian was easy after school French and Latin

    • CAAS 22nd July 2021 at 8:44 pm

      I’ve decided to learn B.S.L. From You tube. I’ve learnt the basics and hopefully, once we’ve been given the all clear (from Covid) I will seek out any classes I can attend.

    • Chirp03 22nd July 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Just started to learn Welsh better late than never

    • Postage 23rd July 2021 at 9:39 pm

      I would love to see learn . French /Spanish? There are loads of sites on Goggle where you can learn for free.I am already a fluent speaker of Bahasea Malay . As I was born in Singapore .

    • Alan Fresco 24th July 2021 at 10:45 am

      I set myself a goal to learn French but progress has been limited at best. I speak some German as I lived there a while, but mainly interested in any weekly groups if that’s the idea on zoom etc. Happy to give hosting it a go if enough people willing to try it.

      • Amanda in Durham 29th July 2021 at 12:21 pm

        Hi Alan Fresco!

        That would be a cool idea, I would join in too! There was talk of organising a Zoom group for German a while back, but it never came to anything, maybe we can reboot the idea and get it going this time?

        I have attended a couple of Zoom meetings with friends, back in the middle of lockdown, but I have never hosted any Zoom meetings – yet, that is 🙂 – so I would be happy if someone else could take over that side of things.

        Let me know what you think, I am happy to correspond via PM to thrash out any details.

        Hope to hear from you soon


    • Lindaxyz 24th July 2021 at 4:58 pm

      Wish I had kept up French at school. 😞😞

    • Lindaxyz 25th July 2021 at 2:26 pm

      Just tried it, looks simple to use. Thanks

      • Keith D 7th August 2021 at 11:17 pm

        Duolingo can be simple to use, but seems to constantly remind you , that you have missed practices
        At present I e stopped bothering learning another language, as winter be going abroad
        Sometimes I find it hard understanding my own counties unique language . Each part of Yorkshire will have its various words?
        For example
        Get thee coyote, thas pulled
        Wheres tha bin?
        Has tha been laikin¥or worki

        Its reet parky owt there

    • Lindaxyz 25th July 2021 at 2:40 pm

      Admin please remove if not allowed.

      Is anybody interested in translating./ presenting in their chosen language? For approx 2 hrs

    • Katy 1 25th July 2021 at 10:00 pm

      Anyone learning basic French please?

    • Anonymous User 27th July 2021 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Amanda …I am trying to learn Spanish at the moment and any help I can find would be much appreciated .

    • Anonymous User 27th July 2021 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Amanda …I am using Duolingo at the moment not sure how much progress I’ve made as I don’t know anyone else to practise with …would be nice to find someone to Interact with and learn more about the language .

      • Amanda in Durham 29th July 2021 at 12:03 pm

        Hi August53,
        Maybe you could start a separate thread? “Looking for people to practise Spanish with” or something like that. Or scroll back through this thread and contact those people who are learning Spanish? I am sure I have seen some other people here who know Spanish.

    • robspursfan 30th July 2021 at 9:59 pm

      I’ve attached an example of what I like to do!
      Ich habe einen Beispiel beigelegt von was ich gern mache!
      ¡He adjuntado un ejemplo de lo que mi gusto de hacer!

    • SteveD 7th August 2021 at 6:57 pm

      As someone who has visited Kenya on a number of occasions and over that time has picked up the odd and useful phrase in Swahili, I would love to learn the language a bit more. However, there is a definite dearth of classes or other opportunities available in the U.K.

      In my local area there is an over-abundance of French, Spanish, Italian, or German classes available… ….yes, the usual boring ones that many of us struggled with at school!

      I can remember my mother learning to speak Welsh through evening classes, in England, yet even that language now seems to unavailable outside of Wales! So there is no chance of me finding Swahili classes!

      • Amanda in Durham 7th August 2021 at 7:38 pm

        Have you checked out Duolingo and Memrise? I am sure there will be some community-created courses for Swahili on Memrise. I can’t vouch for their quality, but I bet there are a few made by people who were/are trying to teach themselves Swahili.

        Another way to find someone might be to shout out on the Nextdoor app, maybe there are some Swahili speakers in your area that would be thrilled to help you learn the language?

        There might also be video courses on YouTube.

        My favourite way to learn a new language is with children’s books and TV programmes, songs and TV shows and films for adults, too. I bet there is more stuff out there on the internet than you would imagine!

        Just a few ideas for you to ponder, you don’t necessarily need a class these days to get to grips with a foreign language.

        All the best


        • SteveD 8th August 2021 at 12:42 pm

          Very many thanks for your suggestions Amanda. I hadn’t heard of Duolingo or Memrise, so will check them out.

        • Amanda in Durham 8th August 2021 at 12:52 pm

          I am using the Duolingo app right now and having a lot of fun! I used Memrise regularly, both the app and the web version, for over five years and had a lot of fun then too.

          It’s amazing how much you can learn just with these apps!

    • Petresy 7th August 2021 at 7:30 pm

      I don’t know if anyone has used the site conversationexchange.com but it allows you to contact native speakers of the language you wish to learn so you can practice together. You can search for those at a similar level to yourself but clearly you need to have some proficiency to get started. I had some false starts but have found three French people with whom I now speak regularly and they’ve become good friends.

      • Amanda in Durham 7th August 2021 at 7:40 pm

        I tried language exchange, I paid a year’s subscription and met one person who wanted to “trade” Swedish for English. We are also still in touch regularly, I think I met the guy about five years ago.

        • Linde 2nd October 2021 at 12:37 am

          Hello, Amanda, how did the move go? Last timeI saw some of your contributions you were busy getting ready for the move! Hope all is well with you.
          Do you remember back in June/ July I had just joined and you kindly commented on my learning Dutch! Well, it’s been a great time on the Babel programme, I now have dictionaries, verb tables, etc. As well as a really good starter of Dutch short stories. I try and read one short story a night ( they really are short, but that’s what makes it manageable) . All in all it was definitely worth taking up languages again, I feel more confident , and after a year(!!) also stronger and more energetic.
          As you seem to be quite an expert on the subject, would you recommend either Norwegian or Danish as a possible next target? I am a native German speaker, so it makes sense to explore the similarities further. I await your advice! Thank you. All the best, Linde

        • Amanda in Durham 14th October 2021 at 4:31 pm

          Hi Linde,

          Thanks for your lovely message! Our move went well, thanks, it was a very stressful time and a lot of work, but we were out of our old place in time and I got it all clean and tidy for the new owners, who I later met again and they complimented me on how clean the house had been when they took it over.
          We – my younger daughter and myself – are now settled in at our new place and she is happy that she can now walk to college, rather than take a bus.

          I am very happy to hear that learning Dutch has been such a rewarding experience, it really is fun learning languages! I started learning some Dutch on Memrise a couple of years ago, but I seem to have forgotten everything again, apart from the word “regenwater”, which always cracks me up because it is such a typical Dutch word – a mix of English and German!

          You asked me what language to learn next, Danish or Norwegian? To be honest, I would try Swedish, and then branch out from there. Swedish is quite easy to understand as the pronunciation is quite clear, whereas Danish is a bit of a nightmare in terms of pronunciation and listening comprehension, but it is a bit closer to German – unsurprisingly – than Swedish is. Norwegian is pretty close to Swedish, so if you learn Swedish well, you can practically undertstand Norwegian, too, both spoken and written. I really enjoyed learning Swedish and was lucky to be able to treat myself to a solo trip (Sprachreise) to Stockholm two years ago and try out speaking the language, it was a wonderful six days!

          I am now learning Danish, more to be able to read it and understand it passively than to speak it, and have been enjoying watching Danish TV series (Borgen, The Killing) with English subtitles.

          Ach, und übrigens, ich lebte 32 Jahre in der Region Stuttgart, habe inzwischen auch die deutsche Staatsbürgerschaft. Ich hatte mich auch gefragt, ob der Name “Linde” von Gerlinde kommt, stimmt das?

          Es tut mir leid, dass es so lange gedauert hat, bis ich zum Antworten gekommen bin. Wir können gerne per private message uns auch mal austauschen!

          Bis später und weiterhin viel Spaß beim Sprachenlernen!

          Liebe Grüße


        • Linde 14th October 2021 at 7:37 pm

          Hello, Amanda, thank you for your advice. For some strange reason I always considered Swedish the hardest of the remaining Germanic languages, so I admire you for coming to grips with it!
          I just felt that maybe Norwegian might shed some light on the place names and certain expressions in English, via the Vikings no doubt, so I’ll think about the reason for learning it and then decide.
          By the way, my name is actually Dietlinde, as in the Nibelungensage! I only ever knew another person by that name, at college. So all I do now is causing trouble in all sorts of places, because nobody can pronounce it properly!!anyway, glad your new abode is all you wanted it to be, and you are now free to start on more studies! All the best, Linde

    • Gill C 20th September 2021 at 8:25 am

      I’ve been learning Cornish for 15 years now and despair of ever being fluent, but it enriches my life living in Cornwall and helps me appreciate the culture in a more meaningful way. I continue mainly for brain exercise!

    • Teresa H 22nd September 2021 at 10:21 am

      I started learning Scots Gaelic a few months ago with Duolingo, Jason on YouTube, Learning Gàidhlig (free Website with audio) and a Teach Yourself book. Very enjoyable if challenging! Did Latin and French at school.

    • LooDenney 23rd September 2021 at 8:38 pm

      Yes, been using Duolingo to learn some basic Welsh, it is such a beautiful old language, you can also learn Cornish online now, very similar, also would like to learn more Italian as it is the most beautiful language. I think you understand the people and the soul of a country more by learning the language. I speak Spanish and very basic French an German, though very rusty, loving that there are so many online resources now