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Can anyone speak any fluently? And if so, how did you learn? I'm in the car a couple hours a day at the moment and fancy making the time worthwhile by learning one. Has anyone done this, any tips, and how long did it take until you could hold a conversation in the language?

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I'm not fluent but could get by in Spanish (did this in 1st year of Uni) and German (school). Learning in the car is a good idea but, personally I think evening classes (if possible) would be better because they allow you to converse with other people whereas you could learn a language by using a CD but may not necessarily be able to hold a conversation.

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I'm not fluent but could get by in Spanish (did this in 1st year of Uni) and German (school). Learning in the car is a good idea but, personally I think evening classes (if possible) would be better because they allow you to converse with other people whereas you could learn a language by using a CD but may not necessarily be able to hold a conversation.

I joined a pen pal site to converse in Ukrainian and used Skype quite a lot which helped. Learning the Cyrillic alphabet took me a while but now I can read Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian.

Evening classes would be a major advantage as they will have a better structure rather than just looking up words and small phrases. Would agree with you entirely there.

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I'm not fluent but could get by in Spanish (did this in 1st year of Uni) and German (school). Learning in the car is a good idea but, personally I think evening classes (if possible) would be better because they allow you to converse with other people whereas you could learn a language by using a CD but may not necessarily be able to hold a conversation.

Yeah I suppose its always going to be better having conversations with real people. It's something I might think about after giving this audiobook a go after I've got the basics. It's a German one I've got. Only listened to 2 hours and already feels like I've learnt more than 3 years of doing it at school.

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You can learn how to read and, to a certain extent listen by going to night/day classes.

However, the only way to become a fluent speaker is to live in the country for some time. IMO

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Not fluent but can speak German well enough. Just carried from school.

Also speak passable Gaelic.

I also seem to be able to pick up enough to order things and hello,how much thankyou etc quite quickly wherever I go eg Finnish, Bulgarian, Czech and Spanish. Not Korean though that was another level.

I put it down to bilingual preschooling.

Imo you need to have people to speak to and practice speaking. Reading and writing is fine but it fools you into thinking you can do it. When speaking you dont get time to think and you have to respond in more complex ways than you would when writing.

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I'd assume when you've got a fair grasp of the basics, watching TV shows in the language will also help. A lot easier than it used to be with broadband and android boxes I suppose.

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I put it down to bilingual preschooling.

What's the back-story here, chap? This topic interests me as my weans are bilingual in Swedish and English, mainly due to their mama's insistence in speaking Swedish in the hoose (rightly).

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What's the back-story here, chap? This topic interests me as my weans are bilingual in Swedish and English, mainly due to their mama's insistence in speaking Swedish in the hoose (rightly).

Gaelic in nursery between 2-5. So actually monolingual pre school but English in the house.

It might have nothing to do with picking languages up but it's my best guess.

I read a paper recently on it and apparently if the child gets consistency ie English from father and Swedish from mother, then they grow up with an excellent grasp of both but one parent shouldn't chop or change,or if they do should be in specific circumstances for example always Swedish in the house (mafia)

Edited by invergowrie arab

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I speak fairly fluent Japanese and fairly awful Arabic. Picked them up entirely through emersion and necessity rather than classes, but I admit that's not terribly helpful advice.

Edited by Savage Henry

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Speak fluent German, but having lived in Germany or at least worked for a German company for the most part of the last 25 years is the least to be expected.

Couldn't speak a word of German when I 1st moved to Lübeck in 1990, but the company I joined at that time paid for a 1-on-1 Inlingua course for the first 3 months. Thereafter was a case of picking up as you go along. Main trick is being able to think in the language and not having to internally translate back and forth.

As others have mentioned, being able to practice speaking with people is very beneficial, since you get exposed to different accents / slang / colloquialisms etc.

Made a couple of attempts at Chinese when based out there, but just couldn't get into it.

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Probably passable French, little bit of German and Spanish.

My Mrs speaks French fluently and a bit of German after living in both countries, so she tends to deal with everything when we travel.

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I speak fairly fluent Japanese and fairly awful Arabic. Picked them up entirely through emersion and necessity rather than classes, but I admit that's not terribly helpful advice.

Did you only learn them when you left then?

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Pretty good with French, and I'm okay at phrasebook level with a few others. There's a few others like Dutch and the Scandy languages I'd like to have a bash at, but everybody speaks such perfect English in those places you never get a chance to.

In four or five visits to Norway and Denmark, the only things I've ever had to learn are "jeg er ikke Norsk/Dansk" respectively, upon which everybody flawlessly switches to better English than I'm capable of.

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I speak fairly fluent Japanese and fairly awful Arabic. Picked them up entirely through emersion and necessity rather than classes, but I admit that's not terribly helpful advice.

So do I...When I'm drunk.

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I failed my 'O' Grade French at school then a few years later worked in France for a year. During that time I stayed with a French family who couldn't speak English now I am fairly fluent in French.

I did the same as the OP by listening to language courses in the car to pass the time. Now I can hold a conversation in Italian, have a good working knowledge of German and I can speak some 'tourist' Spanish and Portuguese. I found learning the language in the car a really good way to pass the time as well as learning a useful skill.

Edited by Cicero

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Gaelic in nursery between 2-5. So actually monolingual pre school but English in the house.

It might have nothing to do with picking languages up but it's my best guess.

I read a paper recently on it and apparently if the child gets consistency ie English from father and Swedish from mother, then they grow up with an excellent grasp of both but one parent shouldn't chop or change,or if they do should be in specific circumstances for example always Swedish in the house (mafia)

My auld man was from Sutherland and a native Gaelic speaker but never spoke in anything but English to me and my sister. Looking back, it was a missed opportunity.

My weans have an easy facility in both English and Swedish thanks to the persistence of their maw.

I've been to their 'parents evenings' recently and the three of them are scoring well in languages, including German, Spanish and Latin. This doesn't surprise me.

Edited by The_Kincardine

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I use Duolingo to learn German. It is free and quite addictive. My reading and writing of it is getting ok but my speaking is still poor. Mostly because you feel like a twat shouting German into your phone on the train. If I went to course I would probably improve speaking very quickly.

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One of the Junior Bolds lives and works in Catalonia, teaching English. His bosses' children - primary school age - are trilingual. English at home, Catalan in school and Spanish when necessary.

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My auld man was from Sutherland and a native Gaelic speaker but never spoke in anything but English to me and my sister. Looking back, it was a missed opportunity.

My weans have an easy facility in both English and Swedish thanks to the persistence of their maw.

I've been to their 'parents evenings' recently and the three of them are scoring well in languages, including German, Spanish and Latin. This doesn't surprise me.

Which part of Sutherland was your dad from? Not many speakers left there sadly. A similar story around the Highlands, so many dialects lost in very recent times. It's incredible to look at the map of where native speakers were recorded in the 1950's with people in places like Aberdeenshire, Cowal, Loch Lomondside and Perthshire.

As for the OP I'd say listening in the car would give you something of a grounding even subconsciously and get you used to the sounds. Immersion courses are without doubt the best IMO, learners should get used to speaking before worrying about reading and writing and grammar. Otherwise it's likely you will be overly conscious of making mistakes and it will hold back your speech. I have met plenty people who became fluent speakers in a few months due to very good immersion courses. I have also met plenty who did reading and writing based courses who can write essays and read articles but really struggle to hold a conversation.

The more languages the better at an early age is definitely good too, studies regularly show that bilingual kids tend to do better all round than monoglots and find it easier to pick up more languages. If you can give your child another language then you should really try and do it. English is omnipresent anyway, my oldest daughter was fluent at a very young age despite never hearing it from her parents.

Edited by Waspie

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