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learning a foreign language

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever tried to learn a foreign language without a teacher, and without knowing anyone who speaks the language?
How did you do it?

If all goes to plan, I should be starting grad school next September. I will be doing some research with Cambodian refugees and I would love to be able to speak a little bit of Cambodian/Khmer (I think both terms are correct). To my knowledge, no one around here offers Cambodian language courses, so I would have to learn by myself.
I found a few cds / books that could be useful. I just don't know if they will be sufficient.

Has anyone ever tried to learn with just language tapes and books? Did it work?

With some luck, I might be able to go spend next summer in Cambodia... but I'm not sure if I can afford it. It would probably be the best way of learning, although a bit scary because I'd be going by myself.
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
Has anyone ever tried to learn with just language tapes and books? Did it work?
Err. No.
I guess it did get me used to hearing it, so from that aspect it helped.
But speaking it is very different. Your getting into the whole tone thing(which i can hear but have a very hard time saying)

i was kinda under the impression that it sounded alot like thai, when we went to ankor wat.

unless you are very good at this type of thing i can only see it helping you to get used to how it sounds( which of course then it helps to learn to speak)

but that is me

oh yea, i wanted to say,, i hope you do go!!!
post #3 of 17
I think books and tapes are very good start.
You can also try the google. Here is one link:
http://www.seasite.niu.edu/khmer/

English is a foreign to me. I have learned English in school, but now I'm using the internet to learn more and keep my English up.
Of course there is much more English in Internet, but maybe you can found some Cambodian sites too.
post #4 of 17
Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language before, or are you already bilingual or anything? If so, then learning another language isn't as hard as if it's your first one. I learned German without anything but cd's and books, but I'd already learned Spanish (in school) - my opinion was the books and the cds were NOT sufficient unless you sort of already knew what ideas they were trying to get across, if that makes sense. I kept thinking "I wish there was someone to ask about this!" Maybe you can find someone on the internet who speaks Khmer and English who will be willing to take on a few questions?
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
Has anyone ever tried to learn with just language tapes and books? Did it work?
I'm trying to use Robetta Stone's program to learn Spanish but it's not so easy....
post #6 of 17
I had a Learn to speak Dutch on tape that I used while driving to work. It helped because I was driving about 45 minutes each way, so I was able to repeat the things they said.
However I didn't have a CD player at the time so I couldn't go back and repeat what they just said or the entire lesson.
Unfortunately thought its been years and I don't remember how to order a beer
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cat52 View Post
Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language before, or are you already bilingual or anything? If so, then learning another language isn't as hard as if it's your first one. I learned German without anything but cd's and books, but I'd already learned Spanish (in school) - my opinion was the books and the cds were NOT sufficient unless you sort of already knew what ideas they were trying to get across, if that makes sense. I kept thinking "I wish there was someone to ask about this!" Maybe you can find someone on the internet who speaks Khmer and English who will be willing to take on a few questions?
I learned English as a second language starting in the 4th grade. I'm fully bilingual now. (my first language is French) My brother even says I sometimes speak French with an English accent.
Last year I learned some Spanish at the University. After two summer classes, I knew enough to make myself understood. I don't remember as much now.

I'm just a little worried about learning Khmer because it's completely different, and it's hard to find good books. If I had something like my Spanish textbook, but in Khmer (with cds included), it would be great. But I haven't found anything like that yet.
post #8 of 17
You're in a university town, right? You may check with them to see if there is someone who could tutor you. Possibly a student who would like some extra money.
post #9 of 17
Yes. I learned to speak Danish using "Colloquial Danish"

http://www.amazon.com/Colloquial-Dan.../dp/0415079683

And I brushed up on my French using this one:

http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-French.../dp/1400021367
post #10 of 17
Ahh, I thought you already had the books/cd - with your facility and experience with foreign languages, I think you would do fine if you can find good source material. I think it's really nice of you to want to be able to make the refugees feel like you're trying to meet them halfway
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
You're in a university town, right? You may check with them to see if there is someone who could tutor you. Possibly a student who would like some extra money.
That's a good idea. I think I'll start with the tapes and books, then I might try that too.
Or if I go to Cambodia, I could hire myself a tutor there. Salaries are much lower over there. (oh great, I'm outsourcing my education now )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Yes. I learned to speak Danish using "Colloquial Danish"

http://www.amazon.com/Colloquial-Dan.../dp/0415079683

And I brushed up on my French using this one:

http://www.amazon.ca/Complete-French.../dp/1400021367
There is a book and cd for "Colloquial Cambodian", but I can't seem to find the book in Canada. From the reviews I've read though, that books isn't great, but the CD is worth it.
So I think I'll get the "Colloquial Cambodian" CD and another book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cat52 View Post
Ahh, I thought you already had the books/cd - with your facility and experience with foreign languages, I think you would do fine if you can find good source material. I think it's really nice of you to want to be able to make the refugees feel like you're trying to meet them halfway
Thanks.
post #12 of 17
Wow, good luck Marie!! Other languages scare me..I think its great you want to learn!
post #13 of 17
Do you have an iPod? Check to see if iTunes has something for you. It may be the age of 30, but I'm starting to get into books on tape. Perhaps there is a tutorial on their store's site.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Do you have an iPod? Check to see if iTunes has something for you. It may be the age of 30, but I'm starting to get into books on tape. Perhaps there is a tutorial on their store's site.
No, I don't have an iPod. Just an ordinary mp3 player.

Ok, I just looked at the book I want and discovered that it was published in 1970! Yikes.
Well, I'm sure the Cambodian language hasn't changed that much since then. And based on the review of it, it seems really good.
Or should I go for something newer but maybe not as good? The newer book also has CDs sold separately. So maybe I'll get the old book and the CDs for the newer one.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow. I think I wont have to buy the CDs after all. Turns out that the older book did originally come with tapes. I couldn't find them for sale, but the publisher now offers them for free to download as mp3. So I now have 52 mp3 files of about 20 minutes each.

I think that's more than I need for the audio part.

I listened to the first file and well... I think I'll have to work on the pronounciation. Yikes!!! I don't think I can talk that fast.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by marie-p View Post
Has anyone ever tried to learn a foreign language without a teacher, and without knowing anyone who speaks the language?
How did you do it?

If all goes to plan, I should be starting grad school next September. I will be doing some research with Cambodian refugees and I would love to be able to speak a little bit of Cambodian/Khmer (I think both terms are correct). To my knowledge, no one around here offers Cambodian language courses, so I would have to learn by myself.
I found a few cds / books that could be useful. I just don't know if they will be sufficient.

Has anyone ever tried to learn with just language tapes and books? Did it work?

With some luck, I might be able to go spend next summer in Cambodia... but I'm not sure if I can afford it. It would probably be the best way of learning, although a bit scary because I'd be going by myself.

I tried to learn Lao that way, in the mid-80's; and there were no tapes around. I was tutoring Laotian students, teaching them how to live here.

I taught myself Spanish (much easier, due to lots of materials available!), so I could do the same with Mexican students.

I've learned my other languages (Latin, French, Italian, and German) the normal way, through school. This was a good grounding for self-teaching Spanish.

My advice: learn your grammar as soon as you start! Don't just learn conversational anything. Most of the time in school, this is what they teach you. Latin was different--grammar started at the same time as vocab. Then, you can REALLY speak the language.

When I taught English, I made my own flashcards--I cut out magazine pics of common items, pasted them to cardstock. You may want to do this for yourself, and quiz yourself. Once you start learning words, walk around, looking at items, say, in your house. Think/say the Cambodian word for that item. Do this anywhere; at work, in a store, walking down the street.

I wish you the best of luck in learning Cambodian! You deserve a lot of credit--it must be a difficult language!
post #17 of 17
Okay, I have a major and long opinion on this subject.
Because of entrance testing before HS, I got into the Spanish honors class. I continued through until my senior year. I also took 1 semester in college.
During my junior year, I fell in love with a guy whose family was from Italy and they spoke Italian. So, I took Italian and they put me in Italian II because I understood it from Spanish.
I have an affinity for languages. My daughter and I have been to Spain 2x and persons there ask me in what part of Spain did I study Spanish. Never ask my daughter which doesn't amuse her.
Anyway, my Mom's side of the family is German (she was born there) and I grew up hearing German phrases, mostly to do with food, terms of endearment and beer drinking songs.
My husband and I went to Germany this past summer and we met up with my cousins. I was suprised at how well we could communicate and decided to sign up for adult ed German.
BIG MISTAKE! I took German I. The first things the language teacher says are full sentences in German. Not only that, but she had students in the class who had taken a full year last year. They sit in the back of the class and talk while we are up in front listening to a language tape. The teacher is out of the room most of the class. She recommended that we buy the tapes we use. I bought them and dropped out of the class. I email my cousin in English and he emails me in German. I am learning more this way than in that class.
What a waste of my time and money!
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