How To Learn A New Alphabet And Writing System

August 12, 2009 by admin · 6 Comments 

Not all languages can be learnt at the same pace. If you’re English for example, and try to learn German, you can jump right into improving vocabulary and practicing pronunciation and orthography, since the two languages use the same alphabet (for the most part), writing system and share almost the same grammar rules. The same goes for anyone speaking a Latin language as their mother tongue, trying to learn another Latin language (French – Italian for example). But when you’re trying to learn a language that has different rules on every single step of the way, you’re going to have to put a lot more effort into it.

From an English speaker’s point of view, these languages include Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Arabic, to name just a few. For each of these languages, you’ll have to start out from scratch with grammar, alphabet and writing system but fortunately, there are a few good ways to make this extra hurdle easier to jump over.

When learning a new writing system or alphabet, you’ll have to start out by learning a few symbols at a time, transliterating them to your own alphabet to see what letters they sound like. In some languages, particularly Russian, you’ll find that some of the letters look and sound just like their corresponding letters in your own mother tongue but make sure you don’t fall for “false friends”. False friend letters are letters that look the same, but sound completely different. For example, in the Russian alphabet, the letter “B” is not pronounced “Bee” like in English, but rather “Vee”. Additionally, H is N, C is S and P is R.

Your next step is practicing writing the letters you just learnt. This won’t just help you learn the actual writing style of that language, but it will also help you memorize these letters better. Some languages have a harder writing system for English speakers. For example, Chinese and Japanese require a lot more attention to detail when writing, than say, Russian, whose alphabet still resembles that of our own language.

After you’ve got some grip on writing words in your new language, practice it out by transliterating the words you write in your mother tongue, than back into the secondary language and so forth. One more “trick” to use is writing words in your own language, with the help of the new alphabet. This is a fun exercise but it’s not available for all languages.

Reading in your new language also helps writing stuff down and learning how to spell words correctly. Obviously, reading a text in a secondary language requires a bit of experience with it already, so this is more of an intermediate step. But when you get to the point where you can understand a text by reading it, do it as often as possible as it is crucial to be exposed as often as possible to the new language. Reading will also offer you a solid vocabulary increase and if you read out loud, you’ll also improve your pronunciation.

Last but not least, practice as often as possible and whenever you can. Try keeping a journal in the new language, even if it’s a “fake” one just to help you study. Write down a few sentences each day, it doesn’t matter for how much time. Just don’t let what you just learnt “cool off” or it will be harder to get back on top of it. 10 sentences each day can keep the writing level intact in your new language, if not increase it.

If you’re having trouble remembering the characters in your new language’s alphabet try this small trick: associate shapes or objects to each letter. This is harder to do for Japanese, Korean or Chinese, but rather easy and fun with Russian languages.

Once you’ve mastered the new alphabet and writing system, you can start learning that language like any other. Of course, it will still be difficult since it will have different grammar rules and maybe a different vocabulary setup than your own native language, but at least you’ve conquered the hardest battle, that of writing and understanding the new language and its alphabet.

Michael Gabrikow

How long will il take me to learn french?

August 5, 2009 by admin · 9 Comments 

Im very very very goog at learning and speaking new languages, but i only know 2 of them. Is french hard? How many years will il take me to master it? Which other language should i learn afterwards?? Is rosetta stone usefull in french? I owuld apreciate all your answers- Xion

I’ve been taking French classes for almost a year and it can be easy if you have a good instructor. You should start with the basics like numbers, letters, and simple phrases. Once you feel comfortable with that you can move on to more advanced things, from talking about the weather to caring on full conversations. As for how long it takes to learn, that depends on the student. Some get good within the first 2 years of lessons; for others 4 or more years is not uncommon. I personally have never tried rosetta stone but I hear that it is a great program and it might be the way to go if you need to learn the language quick for your job. However I believe the best thing to do would to read up on the subject in addition to taking classes. French is not hard. As long as you have a good teacher, a willingness to learn, and a positive mindset, you can master French in just a few short years

Bon Chance!!! (good luck)

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How can i learn french by august?

July 8, 2009 by admin · 18 Comments 

I want to learn french before school starts. can anyone tell me any books or websites that will help me speak full and fluent french by august ?

french and francaif facile

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How long is it supposed to take to learn French?

January 16, 2009 by admin · 3 Comments 

every year i move to a different country. for now i've been in around 10 of 11 different schools. at every school there were diff. french teachers, teaching diff. things. i've been studying French for around 3 or 4 years. but i still can't speak properly. by now im supp. start speaking fluently. but i can't even make a normal sentence….how long is it supposed to take a person to learn French well?

Eskimo: Remplacez le "vous êtes " avec "je suis"…ainsi, votre réponse sera juste!

As curious la,la..already mentioned, there is no definitive time frame for language acquisition. There are numerous factors that can impact the rate at which one learns to communicate well or fluently in French: the duration and frequency of French instruction, the amount of exposure you have to the language outside the classroom, the amount of time you devote to the study and practice of the language on your own, and of course your ability to pick up languages in general.

And I agree that with the inconsistency you are experiencing through all the moves, it is hard to get into a "rhythm" or experience a natural progression in your learning. My advice, try to find a French speaking "e-pal" and correspond with each other on a regular basis…no matter where you are, you will be able to have this correspondance as a constant. If you join Skype, you can perhaps enhance the experience…again, can be accessed from anywhere. Also, you can try some programs like Rosetta Stone or online French courses which might give you more structured learning. As well, you can investigate the Alliance Française which is an international French school with a broad global network. The programs and the teaching methods are pretty much the same for every country so again you could get a more consistent program via this route.

In any case, I wouldn't focus so much on how long it takes you to learn French…everyone learns at their own pace really – besides, French is not an easy language to learn so it is important to take your time. And on a personal note…it took me about 10 years (combination of regular 20min French periods, immersion, and extracurricular activities in French) to really feel comfortable in the language.

Courage! Je te souhaite beaucoup de succès :)

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What’s the best way or method to learn french?

January 12, 2009 by admin · 4 Comments 

I learned french for 14weeks n now stopped coz now i’m too busy to take french class. Any sites that would help me continue to learn n improving my french?
Merci a tout!

Buy those tapes or CD’s where they tell you the word or phrase in English, then French, and sleep with them on every night. I learned that in a Psychology class, that’s the fastest way to learn a language.

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How to learn French the fastest way?

January 8, 2009 by admin · 6 Comments 

Im planning to go to Switzerland and study there; however, I have to know french to study there, I cant wait to go, and I just want to learn French the fastest i could… another problem, I cant afford to pay a french course or something like that, is there like a website that could help me?

Well, if you have ever studied another Latin-based language, it won’t be so bad. Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc.

If you don’t, I strongly suggest you buy some discs of some sort to listen to. At Costco, I picked up GlobalAccess: Italian discs, (very nice), for $40. It’s kind of random the supply though so look for it! Maybe you will get lucky. It also comes with .pdf files so that you can actually read the words online.

If you don’t mind studying by book…
The books I love:
Barron’s Books!
Get the Barron’s French verbs, Barron’s French grammar, and Barron’s French Vocabulary…
It’s awesome! And each little book only costs $7!
I strongly recommend getting the vocab book over a dictionary.
A dictionary is no fun to read…Unless you are very advanced and just want to research one word. The little Barron’s books are nice bc you can read them on the go. They fit in your pocket :D
Also, you can learn section by section – for example, learn all the different names of animals one day and plants the next :)
I’m sure you can find these books at Borders or any other book store…but in case you need it, the site for the books is

After learning Italian almost perfectly (after having known French), I’d say I’m very pleased with Barron’s books!
Good luck! (Bonne chance!)

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How hard is it to learn French by myself?

January 5, 2009 by admin · 8 Comments 

I've checked around my area, and there is no French learning classes or anything like that.

So, exactly how hard is it?
Is it possible to learn French by myself, or will I need help?

Is there any books or websites you could recommend to me?


It's not impossible- so please don't be put off by some of the answers. I've always found the 'teach yourself…' books to be very good initially, and also excellent value for money. As you have access to the internet, log on to some French radio/tv stations and attempt to imitate the pronunciation. Try to find a pen pal as well. Save up, and in a few months book a trip to France with a friend to see how much progress you've made, and to rekindle your desire.
Above all, have fun, and don't give up- practise makes perfect, you'll get there in the end if you're determined.
Bonne chance!

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Where can I learn french pronunciation online?

January 3, 2009 by admin · 1 Comment 

I am starting to learn french, and I have no idea how to pronunciation works, I used babelfish to translate french to english, just no pronunciation. Thanks for help.

The BBC web site has tons of resources for world language learning.

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What web site can I go to, to learn French with seeing it and hearing the word at the same time?

June 10, 2008 by admin · 2 Comments 

I want to learn french as my language for school, but I want to know some words before I do take it. I can’t find a web site that has it written and has it audibly said. If you can find something that could help me that would be great! Thanks!

This will give loads of help with videos and text, and it’s free.

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What is the easiest, quickest way to learn French?

April 4, 2008 by admin · 7 Comments 

I would like to learn French, but in high school I took two years of Spanish and barely passed. I have no knack for learning different languages.

Does anyone have any good, free websites and/or tips on learning French?

This sounds extreme but you really do have to live the language to learn to speak it like a native. And it's the fastest way to learn. If you can manage to move to a country or region where they speak only french, you're forced into learning the language to survive so your brain does it all much more quickly. Anyone can learn a language this way. Our survival depends on it in that case so the brain's language learning center (whatever that's called) kicks into overdrive. Very frustrating though. I studied French all through school and then moved to Montreal in the tenth grade. I learned more French in that six months living there than I did all the years i studied it. Like i say it's frustrating.. it's like being a tiny child learning to speak again and people will giggle and mistakes are made lol. But it happens very quickly. The younger you are, the easier it is. But no matter how old you are, this will work.

If you can't do that, the next best thing is to surround yourself with it. Read in French, find people who will only speak in French to you.. surround yourself with it as much as you can and suppliment it with lots of learning tools such as tapes. it's easier to learn by hearing than by reading (language is very much a hearing thing) so tapes are awesome for helping. But dont' discount books! They can help a lot too. You can never have too much. I recommend getting a book on masculine and feminine articles (la versus le.. some nouns are feminine and some are masculine. This doesn't exist in English but it does in German which is close to English. It sounds funny when you attach the wrong gender to a word but that will come in time even though it sounds really counterintuitive.:)

Pick up a copy of La Bescherelle. It's the French verb superbook. You learn the regular and irregular verbs and how they're conjugated. Verbs are the most important part of speaking a language beacuse we use verbs more than anything. So you have to learn how they're used in order to speak about anything. With the Bescherelle, if you're stuck, you can quickly find out how to express that verb in that moment. I loved mine and never went anywhere without it.

Bonne chance! (good luck! :)

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