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#language tips

yeah my parents speak in tamil/hindi (mostly hindi lmao bc my sister can’t understand a word) when my sister’s in the room and they don’t want her to know what they’re saying aksjejfjejs so like. i can understand tamil but i have a mental block with speaking it for some reason?? and i definitely want the playlist lmao

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zh1huiText

things to do in your target language for studying

image

Originally posted by lesspixelsplease

  • write down sentences/words & make sure you say them out loud
  • make flashcards (digital flashcards to be more sustainable!)
  • start a journal to write down new vocabulary that you learn
  • watch a show and repeat what you hear out loud
  • listen to music and translate parts of the lyrics
  • narrate your actions out loud
  • find a friend to practice speaking or texting with
  • try to incorporate new vocabulary as much as you can in your sentences
  • write journal entries everyday (this especially helps if you’re struggling with immersing yourself)
  • while watching shows, actively write down new words that you find interesting
  • learn vocab of objects, places, emotions, people, etc. around you (aka vocab that you will use the most often in daily life)
  • learn synonyms of words that you already know
  • create a small, achievable goal to complete everyday (ex. learn one new word, write 3-5 sentences, read lyrics or a small paragraph out loud)
  • change one of your app’s language settings; don’t change your whole phone’s language, it’ll stress you out even more (coming from experience). baby steps!
  • follow influencers on social media that are native speakers (captions in their posts are good for learning new vocab)
  • be confident! it’s okay to struggle, you’re still learning :)
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Thank you anon for this question! Yes, I do, although I am fluent only in two languages so it’s not very hard. If you live in a foreign country, keeping fluency is not difficult. But if you don’t, I hope this tips will help you with maintaining fluency!

Tips for keeping fluency in a language - while starting learning another one

Learn a new language in your second language

  • I’m looking for resources for my target language in my second language

I’m learning Spanish now and instead of Polish-Spanish dictionary I’m using English-Spanish dictionary.

When I started learning Japanese I found Spanish speaking YouTubers who talked about Japan and Japanese.

  • Use vocabulary lists in your second - target language or native - second - target language
  • Search for the grammar descriptions in the language most similar to the one you’re learning

Polish and Latin both have declensions and conjugations so learning Latin in Polish is far easier than learning it in English which doesn’t have cases. So choose wisely ;)

Keep fluency on daily basis

  • Firstly and most importantly, think in your second language, instead of your native language

That’s so important and can be done anytime. Requires maybe a little bit more brain power but that’s worth it. (And if you can’t think in the language, how are you even fluent?)

  • Use a language on a daily basis

Do the shopping list, count, say hi and thanks to your friends in that language, read the news etc.

  • Read!!!

Read in that language - news, books, newspapers, literally anything will do. I have this privilege that my second language is English and nowadays on internet almost everything is in English. But if it’s not the case for you, try to follow more people on social media that post in your second language. If you check wikipedia for something, do this in your second, third language.

  • Listen

Listen to the radio, podcast. Watch movies, YouTube, TV. Anything will do ;)

  • Write (optional)

If you keep a diary or a planner, write in your second language. On Tumblr you can write posts in your second language (and hope that if you make mistakes someone will correct you).


***I use most of these tips on a daily basis and I would say that my English is quite alright 😅 If I discover something new, I’ll add it on!***

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From Beginner to Intermediate: an intense plan for advancing in language

Introduction

I’ve studied Spanish at school for 3 years and now I’m at a low B1 level. I can actually understand pretty well while listening or reading but I can’t communicate fluently.

This plan will include vocabulary build up, some grammar revision, a lot of listening, reading and writing. And could be used for the most languages, not only Spanish.

Plan

Every day:

  • Conjugate one verb in present, past and future tenses
  • Make a list about 10 - 30 words long
  • Create flashcards with them and start learning them (I use Quizlet for flashcards)
  • Revise yesterday’s set of flashcards

2-3 times a week:

  • Read an article or a few pages from a book
  • Write a few sentences about anything in your target language
  • Listen to one episode of podcast (at least one)

Once a week or every two weeks:

  • Watch a movie in your target language, preferably animated movie as the language used there is easier. You can watch with subtitles
  • Grammar exercises
  • Translate some short text

Once a month:

  • Write something longer, like an essay or report, on chosen topic

Additionally:

  • Talk to yourself, to your friends, to your pets
  • Text with someone
  • Look at the transcription while listening to the podcast for second time
  • Repeat what you hear (in podcast or movie)
  • Check words you don’t know from the listening and reading
  • Read out loud
  • Listen to music in your target language - you can even learn the text and sing along
  • Watch YouTube in your target language
  • Change your phone language to the one you’re learning
  • Think in you target language!!!


***This is very intense plan for self-learners, you don’t have to do all of these things in the given time. Adjust it to your own pace. I’ll try to stick to this, if I have enough time.***

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some lyrics translation~

I find it useful to have a music playlist in your target language. It is a fun way to learn. You can learn a lot from these lines such as grammar, phrases, most used vocabulary, and so on!

song: gjøre ingenting by freddy kalas

follow me on my language studygram: @multilingue

multilingue
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How to start speaking in a foreign language?

“I can speak English” vs. “I know English"

Do you know a language vs. Do you speak a language? (Or maybe both)

As for myself, I can say I know some Japanese, but I can’t really speak it. If you ask me about its grammar, I’ll probably know the answer. But I’m not sure if I could go to Japan and communicate with people through voice (that’s what “I speak Japanese” suggests). Many of us, language learners, end up knowing a language, while language is intended to be spoken in the first place. If you think about it, we speak more often then we write, read, or listen. So why do schools focus on the skills that we use less frequently? I don’t know. If you know, let me know! The only reason I can think of is that language learning in schools is focused on taking exams and those are always written, rarely spoken. So naturally, we study in silence. But how often do we take exams after graduation? Job interviews, shopping, small talks, etc. are always conducted through voice and not a written word.

Someone has messed up here!

Learning to speak

Speaking is hard, whether it is your native language or a foreign language. With your native language, you have the advantage of countless hours of practice. There we go, here’s the solution “countless hours of practice.” SPEAK, SPEAK, SPEAK! That’s the only way to learn speaking.

With your native language (I’m repeating myself, I know), you have the advantage of being surrounded by native speakers, and just simply living in an environment that forces you to use the language whether you like it or not. With a foreign language, you either have to leave your country or create situations that will allow you to practice. How to do it if there are no natives around tho?

Tip #1 At the beginning of your journey you don’t need native speakers. Your teacher or friends are enough. They will help you break the language barrier (I know… sometimes it’s hard to find friends or teachers that will actually help you instead of making fun of you)

Tip #2 Speak whether you make mistakes or not. You need to learn somehow. OUTPUT RIGHT AWAY! If someone didn’t understand you, don’t get discouraged instead, think “Ok, so what did I say wrong” And then look for the answer. It’s not a crime to make a mistake!

Tip #3 Finding a good conversational partner takes time. You will find someone eventually. You need to message tons of people first, but trust me there is this one person or two or three people that will help you out!

How to practice

1. Talk to yourself. Do I sound like a maniac? Probably, but if there’s no one around then what else can you do? If you feel weird doing this think about this

image

Example:

Tell yourself about your day. Think about all the events that have happened and say them in your target language. Try to express your opinions in your target language. You’ll find so many gaps in your vocabulary. Note them down and then look for translations.

2. Recreat daily activities in your target language.

Example: You go shopping in your native language. What do you usually say? Think about the words and phrases you use and then translate them to your target language (learning about cultural differences will come later, or you can search for those at the same time)

Tip # 4 Textbooks teach you standard phrases. But the real life is governed by its own phrases. Textbooks should serve as a base, a jump-off point, and then, it’s on you to learn better, more natural alternatives.

3. Review things to yourself

Example: If you’re done watching a movie or reading an article, say out loud what you think about it or what the book/movie was about.

4. Study pronunciation

Very often students are afraid to speak because they sound “weird.” The only way to overcome this barrier is to learn pronunciation. I’m not talking about mastering a foreign accent, but about basic sound production. How to produce certain sounds, vowels, word stress, and intonation. Shadowing after movie characters or singing is a good practice.

Tip #5 My good friend June is learning Polish and she mainly speaks it. She’s way better at speaking Polish than I am at speaking Japanese. I know more Japanese grammar and words, but she’s the one who isn’t afraid of speaking. Why? Because she has been speaking so much Polish that she got used to the sounds and intonation. She’s aware of her off pronunciation but it doesn’t bother her anymore. She got used to that fact.

5. Record yourself

Cringe, cringe so hard when you listen to yourself (it’s part of the deal). But it’s enlightening! Trust me. You will become your own teacher. You will hear your mistakes. Then record yourself again and again and again until you’re satisfied.

Tip #6 While studying pronunciation you will feel weird because different languages require different mouth movements. Japanese and Polish can be spoken without opening one’s mouth, English on the other hand, requires you to open your mouth wide. You’ll get muscle fever in your face but it means you’re going in the right direction. If it feels weird it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Your muscles are just not used to such movements.

There is no other way. It will be painful, cringy, and frustrating, but it will pay off.  

languagestudymaterials
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Vocabulary, or linguistically speaking lexis, is relatively easy to learn. You get a list, you memorize it, and you feel like you’re good to go. But after a while, you realize that you can’t communicate. You blame your poor vocabulary for it, so you study more, then again, you can’t communicate… and that’s how you start vicious circles. How come tho? You memorized so many words, so many swipes on Memirse, Quizlet, and Anki and you still can’t handle a conversation.

Let me show you where the problem is.

What does it mean to be conversational?

Well, it’s easy; you want to be able to strike up a conversation with a native or a non-native speaker and carry it for a longer period, utter meaningful sentences, and survive, right? The first thing that comes to your mind is “To do that, I need to know more words” (that’s where our vicious circle starts). You go to Memirse, Quizlet, or Anki and you start memorizing your super long lists. There is potential in that, but the execution is extremely poor.

Tip#1 To be conversational decide what topic you want to talk about in the first place. About games? Fashion? Daily activities? Search useful language related to the topics you want to learn to talk about.

Tip#2 Set mini goals, for example, “By the end of this week I want to be able to talk about my favorite game!” and focus solely on that.  

Pockets of fluency

Have you heard of that? An extremely useful term. When you study a language at some point you’re becoming well-versed in certain topics. You know lots of words related to those topics and they create your pockets of fluency. I’m well-versed in teaching methodologies and anime because I studied the first one (I’m a language learner myself too) and I’m obsessed with the other one (my master’s thesis is on anime). In this case, my pockets of fluency are extremely full.

Pockets of fluency = topics you want to be able to talk about -> becoming conversational.

What if I need English for work or any other professional purposes.

Sit down then, and think about your duties at work. What phrases, words, and sentences do you use daily? Make a list of them and start searching for translations. Don’t limit yourself to words only; look for whole sentences too. Are you a sewer? Then look for articles related to sewing, extract useful language, and adapt it to your needs.

Tip #3 Useful language in teaching means words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. Not just words! To become conversational you need to learn as much useful language as possible.

Tip #4 Don’t look for lists of words only. They are a good jumping-off point, but you need more. Articles, people’s comments, videos will help you sound more natural.

What to avoid!

Learning words that you don’t really need. Let me tell you, during my college years I learned a shit ton of words that I haven’t even used since then (not even once). I’ve seen, maybe, 10 in novels and NY Times articles. But hey, that’s what you get when you major in languages.

Off-topic!

Whenever your brain sees new words it immediately starts making connections with the words it already knows. That’s why you remember some words faster and some not. When you learn a completely new word, your brain is kind of lost, it sort of asks “What am I supposed to do with that word?” So, your brain puts it in a random place and just waits… for you to use it again in a context. When you use words in context your brain easily associates the new words with the old words, it says “Hey! I remember that! We spoke about it last time and we used these words… ok I’m going to put it here in this pocket of fluency, seems useful!” Conclusion? If you don’t use words, your brain forgets them.

Passive learning. Study actively. Anki, Memrise, and Quizlet are good for revisions but the real learning starts when you use the words you’ve learned in real-life situations. If you can’t put yourself in such situations then create them yourself, in your head, on paper, with other language learners.

languagestudymaterials
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My Productivity Tips Masterpost

These are the things that work for me and I thought to compile them into a post.

Waking up in the morning

  • Prepare the night before another set of clothes.
  • Fill a bottle of water and keep it near the bed.
  • Make your bed.

I do all these to make sure I’m awake after I woke up. Staying in pajamas will make me sleepy while I study because I associate those clothes with sleep. The water bottle is because I forget to drink enough water and having it near helps a lot. Plus, by the time I’m done drinking ¾ of it, I’m not sleepy anymore. When I make the bed, I don’t feel like sleeping in it. It looks way too nice to disturb it.

Now, for how to wake up. I have a cat that wakes me up now but when I didn’t have it:

  • Place the phone somewhere far away from you but still in the close proximity so you hear the alarm in the morning.
  • Use an app where you gotta shake the phone to make it stop ringing.
  • Find an app that analyzes your sleep movements so it wakes you up when you’re not in a deep sleep.

Stress

  • Do not make a list of rules. Rules just stress you out. Make a list with suggestions instead.
  • Take naps whenever you feel like. I tend to take a nap 2-3 hours after I woke up. It might seem like it’s too soon but after that I can do anything for the rest of the day without being tired or stressed.
  • Make an effort to be relaxed. I work better when I’m relaxed. Again, stress won’t help much if it’s giving you panic attacks that you can’t achieve everything you want.

Motivation

  • Have reminders around your workspace. I like writing sticky notes with my goals or motivational words.
  • Keep and agenda where you write your goals and step-by-step guides on how to achieve them.
  • Think of your goals as people. When you work for your goal, you take care of that “human”, otherwise it will just get sick, starved, neglected etc. We think of goals as plans, ideas, dreams etc but that’s not sensitive enough. However, would you let your pet die because you didn’t give water to it? Would your mom not feed you because she doesn’t have time? Nope. We tend to pay more attention and care to things that are alive so think of your goals as people. Maybe get a plant and think of it like it’s your goal. Water it when you do something that day for your dream. If not, you’ll see how it gets sicker and sicker.

Drinking water

This is important, you need to stay hydrated!

  • Fill all your water bottles before going to bed. I have 3 small bottles that I fill every night and that way I don’t have to worry about getting water constantly since it’s next to me.
  • Add flavoring to it. I personally like to add strawberry syrop to it.
  • Have an app where you water a plan when you drink water irl.

Working out

  • Choose 1 song and dance to it. Who said working out must be exercises? Just go and dance! Have fun.
  • Go outside for a walk. Walking is a great way of exercising.
  • Choose some easy exercises that you like and keep doing those. You won’t see me running or lifting weights but I have a list with exercises and they are easy enough that I don’t ignore them.

Food

This is for those who plan and cook their own meals. If someone else does it for you, you don’t need to stress over this so feel free to skip this part.

  • Think of what meals you want to eat the entire week. Planning them ahead of time saves you money when you shop and you don’t have to stress daily over what to eat.
  • Make sure you’re getting a variety of food/nutrients. Basically eat from different categories. My favorite way of doing this is to make sure I have fruits/veggies, cereals and some sort of protein in every meal.
  • Have a list with dishes you like. Since I have those 3 categories criteria, I made a list with things that I like to eat and I just choose from there when I don’t know what to eat.

Time management

  • Make a to-do list for the day or one for 3 days. At the end of the day, add new tasks to the 3days to-do list.
  • Using a planner to schedule when to do what.
  • Refusing to do anything else unless I have fulfilled the task at hand.

Boredom/Focus management

  • Switch between tasks or parts of what you have to do. Let’s say I want to clean my room but I don’t feel like vacuuming yet, instead of giving up completely I do something else like folding clothes.
  • Imagine some crazy scenario like you must wash the dishes to save the world. If you use imagination, everything gets better.
  • Listen to battle music. Soundtracks from movies, series, anime etc. are made so you don’t lose focus. They’re good to motivate you when doing something.

Clean space

Having a clean space is important otherwise you feel drained and like doing nothing.

  • Clean everything once a week but spend 5-10min daily to clean your desk, that universal chair where you throw clothes, your bed and whatever you threw on shelves during the day.
  • Open the window a bit. A room with fresh air helps a lot when you’re tired. It’s refreshing.
  • Try to clean right after you’ve used something. This works best for dishes but you can also put that book you used back on the shelf or fold the sweater you wore and place it in your wardrobe. It makes everything easier.

Motivation

  • Think of something important… that makes your blood boil. Thinking of nice things is lovely but most of the time, what makes me achieve something is spite. Someone underestimated me? Gotta prove them wrong. Someone tried to make me look bad? Gotta show that I’m not an easy target. Doing things out of spite might seem wrong to some but hey, if it works, it works.
  • Think of every day as day one. The first day is when you always feel motivated and ready to move the mountains so think of every single day as day 1.
  • Choose between something uncomfortable. What would you rather do, take a cold shower or write that email? If you write the email, congratulations! One task done, if you take the cold shower, you’ll feel uncomfortable enough to realize that writing an email isn’t that bad.

Breaks

In my list with suggestions I have this line “use your time wisely”. That’s regarding breaks and what to do with them.

  • Do not feel guilty for taking a break or for the amount of time you take off. I’m not talking only about a 10min break, I’m talking about 7days of doing nothing because you feel sick or depressed etc. You are the judge of your life so why feel guilty? Guilt will just make you stressed and stress makes you feel bad which leads to you panicking and not getting good results.
  • “take a day off so you don’t take 5 later”, if you think you’re sick, don’t be a hero and push through it. Take time to get better or you’ll get sicker and then complain that you lose more time that way.
  • Know the difference between relaxation and procrastination.

Procrastination

  • Catch yourself procrastinating and reason with yourself. Why do you procrastinate? What do you have to do? Is what you do more beneficial than if you were doing something else/working for your goal?
  • Procrastinate by doing something productive. If I am to avoid my tasks, at least I should get something out of it. Don’t want to write an essay? Clean your room. You won’t be any time soon done with the essay but at least now you have a clean environment.
  • Do not give yourself time to think. The more you think of how difficult something is or how much time consuming it is, the more likely you are to give up and procrastinate instead. Focus on the next 2min and not the next 2 days.
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How to be productive, tips from my cat


image

(this is the cat if you want to know how it looks like)

  • Wake up early. Around 5 will be nice. 4:30 to admire the view if you enjoy that.
  • Start with some exercises, like running around the house “so the hoomans wake up”
  • Share your thoughts/feelings regarding your progress with others, they might help you. (Like when you want them to open the door so you meow)
  • Take breaks constantly. Preferably naps.
  • Take advantage of your time. Whenever you are awake, use that energy wisely. (Like running some more around the house)
  • Food is important so make sure you eat enough and be picky about what you eat.
  • Always have water; even if you don’t drink it, make sure you have it around. Maybe keep a bottle in the rooms you visit most.
  • Go for what you want without thinking of the answer “no”. (Or keep trying to get your head in your hooman’s sandwich)
  • Always try new things. Can’t jump high enough? Keep trying on other doors too. (Eventually you learn how to open one of them)
  • Pay attention to what’s around you. Make most of what you got. (Like playing with the same toy until you rip it apart)
  • Give it all you got even if you don’t like the resources much. (Like playing with weird stuff instead of your toys)
  • If no one pays attention to you, use your time wisely. Take a nap for example.
  • You gotta ask if you want something. Go for it! (Like walking right into someone’s face and meow that you want more food.)
  • Have a routine. When the lights are out and you’re done with your night exercises, go to sleep.
  • Always do something new. Learn new things. (Like jumping into the bathtub to see what’s there.)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Like when you’re stuck into the bathtub and hooman gotta take you out.)
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground when you feel like something is not as you want. (Like when hooman wants to take you out of the bathtub but you start twisting around because you wanna play.)


image
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Vocabulary, or linguistically speaking lexis, is relatively easy to learn. You get a list, you memorize it, and you feel like you’re good to go. But after a while, you realize that you can’t communicate. You blame your poor vocabulary for it, so you study more, then again, you can’t communicate… and that’s how you start vicious circles. How come tho? You memorized so many words, so many swipes on Memirse, Quizlet, and Anki and you still can’t handle a conversation.

Let me show you where the problem is.

What does it mean to be conversational?

Well, it’s easy; you want to be able to strike up a conversation with a native or a non-native speaker and carry it for a longer period, utter meaningful sentences, and survive, right? The first thing that comes to your mind is “To do that, I need to know more words” (that’s where our vicious circle starts). You go to Memirse, Quizlet, or Anki and you start memorizing your super long lists. There is potential in that, but the execution is extremely poor.

Tip#1 To be conversational decide what topic you want to talk about in the first place. About games? Fashion? Daily activities? Search useful language related to the topics you want to learn to talk about.

Tip#2 Set mini goals, for example, “By the end of this week I want to be able to talk about my favorite game!” and focus solely on that.  

Pockets of fluency

Have you heard of that? An extremely useful term. When you study a language at some point you’re becoming well-versed in certain topics. You know lots of words related to those topics and they create your pockets of fluency. I’m well-versed in teaching methodologies and anime because I studied the first one (I’m a language learner myself too) and I’m obsessed with the other one (my master’s thesis is on anime). In this case, my pockets of fluency are extremely full.

Pockets of fluency = topics you want to be able to talk about -> becoming conversational.

What if I need English for work or any other professional purposes.

Sit down then, and think about your duties at work. What phrases, words, and sentences do you use daily? Make a list of them and start searching for translations. Don’t limit yourself to words only; look for whole sentences too. Are you a sewer? Then look for articles related to sewing, extract useful language, and adapt it to your needs.

Tip #3 Useful language in teaching means words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. Not just words! To become conversational you need to learn as much useful language as possible.

Tip #4 Don’t look for lists of words only. They are a good jumping-off point, but you need more. Articles, people’s comments, videos will help you sound more natural.

What to avoid!

Learning words that you don’t really need. Let me tell you, during my college years I learned a shit ton of words that I haven’t even used since then (not even once). I’ve seen, maybe, 10 in novels and NY Times articles. But hey, that’s what you get when you major in languages.

Off-topic!

Whenever your brain sees new words it immediately starts making connections with the words it already knows. That’s why you remember some words faster and some not. When you learn a completely new word, your brain is kind of lost, it sort of asks "What am I supposed to do with that word?” So, your brain puts it in a random place and just waits… for you to use it again in a context. When you use words in context your brain easily associates the new words with the old words, it says “Hey! I remember that! We spoke about it last time and we used these words… ok I’m going to put it here in this pocket of fluency, seems useful!” Conclusion? If you don’t use words, your brain forgets them.

Passive learning. Study actively. Anki, Memrise, and Quizlet are good for revisions but the real learning starts when you use the words you’ve learned in real-life situations. If you can’t put yourself in such situations then create them yourself, in your head, on paper, with other language learners.

languagebraindump
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24.08.2020 — learned some funny norwegian idioms and sayings

hei hei! 
firstly, I can’t believe my studygram gained +100 followers less than a week, thank you so much!!! I get inspired and motivated by both the studyblr and the studygram communities, I’m so happy to be a part of them 🍓

follow me on my language studygram: @multilingue

multilingue
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from a second-year classics major. i’ve acquired these tips from my seven years of being a latin student and one year of ancient greek. 

this post can be helpful for classics majors or people interested in self-teaching the classics. my concentration within my major is language and literature, so my tips will revolve around latin and greek. but if you’re studying any other ancient or modern language, my tips may still apply to you :)

~ make word associations. this is a BIG one. there are many nuances to this tip, so to start, i’ll explain why associations are useful, and then i’ll give several examples with different variations to cover the nuances. 

since many english words, prefixes, and suffixes are derived from both latin and greek, take the time to figure out one or two english words that come from each new word you learn - these can either be normal everyday english words or pop culture references. (also, latin is semi-derived from greek, so you can make associations between the two languages as well). if you learn any kind of word association, it will make remembering the word so much easier.

examples: 

pop culture: pane, which means bread in latin, is related to The Hunger Game’s city of Panem (panem is the accusative singular of pane). food insecurity is a big theme in The Hunger Games, therefore Panem is an appropriate name for the city that the series takes place in. 

latin/greek to english: in latin, vicina is an adjective meaning “close, neighboring,” and its english derivative is “vicinity.” in greek, παιδευω means “i teach” and its english derivative is “pedagogy” - aka “a method/practice of teaching.” κριτης means “judge” and its english derivatives are “critic, criticize” and “critical.” 

greek to latin to greek: sometimes it’s tricky to find out which word came from which language first, but usually it’s greek to latin. example: dea (“goddess” in latin) comes from θεα in greek.

think of those word associations as you learn your ancient language vocab. it will make recalling a word’s meaning so much easier. 

anD DON’T FORGET TO LEARN THE GENDER AND THE GENITIVE SINGULAR OF EACH NOUN YOU LEARN BECAUSE IT HELPS WHEN DECLINING THE NOUN AND MATCHING IT UP WITH ADJECTIVES LATER ON OH MY GOD thiS IS SO IMPORTANT

~ make a concentrated effort to remember lots of different sentence constructions. there are so many i literally don’t remember them all and i’ve been doing this for years. the major categories i can think of off the top of my head are subordinate clauses, conditionals, and indirect discourse, and, more generally, learn the difference between the primary and secondary verb tenses.

~ every so often, brush up on as much grammar and vocab as you can. i’m saying this because i’ve procrastinated reviewing greek all summer and i barely remember anything beyond the basics :/ pls don’t tell my professor. 

~ learn authors’ common themes and literary/rhetorical devices. for example: in the elegies of propertius, a roman poet, he used emptiness and unfulfilled wishes as motifs. learning words associated with emptiness and learning how to recognize the introduction of a wish made translating faster. i’ll confess though that i never really brushed up on the use of the optative subjunctive (the device used in wish statements), so i couldn’t recognize how exactly to translate certain sentence constructions. if i did review, it would have made translating in class a breeze. but hey, it was my first semester in college and i had no idea what i was doing at that level. please learn from my mistake! 

~ learn the political, cultural, and historical context of each piece of literature you read. it will make the experience richer. if you know the context of a fiction piece, whether its poetry or prose, you will understand so much more about it. for example: the aeneid, vergil’s masterpiece (and arguably one of the best works in latin literature), is an ode to augustus. augustus commissioned vergil to write the aeneid and to make comparisons between himself and the protagonist aeneas. he wanted people to see him like they saw aeneas - kind, pious, loyal, determined, and in charge. knowing that bit of information makes many parts of the aeneid clearer. you can apply this tip to any piece of literature, no matter the language.

this is also important in terms of non-fiction writing. i took a class on roman letter writers and i would’ve been completely lost if my professor didn’t share anything historical with us. these letter writers typically vaguely referenced local gossip because messengers often read letters that were meant only for the recipient’s eyes. my professor filled in a lot of what was missing from the letters themselves.

~ have fun with it. learning languages is supposed to be fun!! of course languages enrich your mind and bring you into close contact with other cultures and ways of life, but it is supposed to be fun too. example: propertius once wrote a whole poem about knocking on his lover Cynthia’s closed door while she sat inside… and the door was a metaphor for her vagina…. which means propertius was h0rny on main!! and he published that in a poem!!1! for people all over rome to read!!!! 

in terms of plays, my friend read one in latin by plautus about a prostitute who subverts the traditional roles associated with customer-prostitute relationships. he absolutely loved it bc the main character was a bad b!tch… and bc it was a comedic play. 

there are lots of metaphors and jokes written within latin and greek literature, so don’t be afraid to laugh :) it makes learning that much more enjoyable

~ when reading a work of literature, ask yourself what this reveals about the author’s culture. (suicide tw: mentions of su*cide as a plot point in tragedy) this tip is kinda related to the cultural context one, but different in that it looks for culture within literature, rather than looking at literature as a product of culture. and like the previous tip, you can apply this to any piece of literature no matter the language it is in. it’s important to think deeply a piece of literature as well as enjoy it for what it is. example: i’ve read most of sophocles’ plays and i can tell you that the greeks were very comfortable with suicide as a plot point. while murder is also common, suicide is much more common no matter the tragedy. the fact that this theme occurs throughout so many plays tells me that greeks viewed suicide as a tragic occurrence that affects people deeply, but also as a common way to die. it raises questions: what percentage of deaths were attributed to suicide in ancient greece? was it viewed as honorable or shameful? etc. 

and going back to vergil yet again (he’s my homeboy fr), when writing about dido and her people building the city of carthage, he specifically mentions that they are building the theaters first before almost any other building - and these few lines implicitly state that the arts were very important to carthage’s culture as a whole.

~ to sum it up: as a classics major, if you are intentional about learning the languages and truly engaged with the literature, the process will be that much more fun and you will gain that much more out of it. (<- and that sentence has a future-more-vivid construction by the way hehe)

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I did a lil video on tips to learn languages from my own language learning experience!

They are:

Listen

Read

Language parents

Consistency

Do things in Spanish

Make mistakes

Watch the video to dive deeper into them!

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