Welcome to /int/'s official language learning guide. This guide is a compendium of wisdom from /int/ and, more specifically, /lang/. We encourage all members to contribute what they can to this wiki for the benefit of future /lang/uage learners. The purpose of this wiki is to provide resources and insights into learning specific languages in an effort to make such a task more approachable. If you know what language you want to learn but there isn't a guide for it here, you can request it on my talkpage, or consider making it yourself! We get around 250 hits daily, so don't be a stranger. Note: If you are viewing this page on a mobile device you may not be able to see all page content. Select view as a desktop site in your browser to see all page content.
The Very Basics
Language specific guides are here, but it cannot be stressed enough that this general guide should be read first.
- How to choose a language: Most likely, you already have an idea of the language you want to learn. If not, there are many considerations to make: Do you like the culture, the people, the literature, the history, etc.? Learning a new language takes a lot of time and effort, so you should have a good reason for spending so much time on something. However, if you're not sure or you're simply seeking a challenge, look here
- How does one learn a language? Everyone learns differently and has their own methodology. Some believe it's all about "input" (i.e. reading, listening, watching), while another may focus on grammar and linguistics, and others on conversational skills and immersion. You will need to do a bit of everything. You can read about various language learning methods here and share your own.
- How difficult is it to learn a foreign language? The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve fluency. Keep in mind these are based on the success of highly motivated (read: paid) US diplomats. For reference in regards to English speakers, look here and here. Generally the more closely related two languages are the easier they will be to learn. A Norwegian will have a very easy time learning Swedish, Germans can pick up Dutch fairly quickly, the French can easily learn Spanish, etc.
- What do I need to learn a language? Besides the General Resources you will need patience, determination, perseverance and a lot of time. Language learning is not all that difficult, but it takes a lot of time and practice. At minimum you should study for 1 hour per day if you expect to progress. Your study will have to be varied to include all the aspects of language learning: reading, listening, speaking, writing, grammar, etc. These things need not be boring.
- I don't have anyone to practice with! There is likely a general on /int/ where you can shitpost in your target language. Maybe consider getting a gf who is a native in your target language. Just talk to her, bro. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, mispronouncing words, or sounding foolish. Native speakers are often flattered by your attempts to communicate with them and may even offer some help.
- Grammar is so boring! How in the world do I study this stuff? Most people can't stand studying grammar. Yet without grammar, one cannot expect to achieve a reasonable level of fluency. It may be boring but the rewards far outweigh the boredom. Think of learning a language like mathematics: if you don't know basic arithmetic, you have no chance of doing algebra.
- How can I help? Go to the main page of any given language and contribute whatever you think will improve the page and help others. Don't underestimate your knowledge and don't hesitate to contribute what ever you consider useful. Even correcting spelling mistakes can help a lot, and resources such as movies, music, books, etc. are things others might have a hard time finding. Every page usually follows a template so all you need to do is type in the name of a language you feel you can contribute to and see what's missing from the temple. If a page doesn't exist yet either request one to be made on /int/ or give it a try and create it yourself. Don't be afraid to ask, we're here to help.
- Main page: General Resources
- Find more in-depth reviews of the general resources here
- Methods and Brotips can be found here.
In general it is unnecessary to buy language software or apps in order to learn a foreign language. Most apps are free, but have premium editions which typically remove ads and add some features. In general you can expect 90%+ of the same functionality when using the free version. Most commercial programs have free alternatives as well and we do our best to provide them for you. Keep in mind that when learning a language no resource is perfect alone, and they are typically suited for different purposes. For this reason you should expect to use a combination of textbooks, dictionaries, apps, media, etc. when studying. Language learning requires a complete package of tools.
For language specific resources please visit the pages below
|Slavic||Baltic||North Germanic||West Germanic||Celtic||Gallo-Romance||Ibero-Romance||Other Italic|
See also: List of Language Guides, for a complete list of language guides on this wiki.
If you think the chart and list above are a bit unwieldy, you can check the following links and start browsing languages there: Category:Meme Language if you want a more unorthodox language learning experience. Category:Classical Language, if you desire to learn more about classical languages. You can also browse Category:Indo-European to see all the languages of the language branch that has by far the most guides on the wiki.
When you are learning a language there will often be characters which don't exist in your native alphabet. Even languages closely related to English such as Norwegian and German have some extra characters. Others like Greek and Russian will have an entirely different alphabet. You do not need to buy a new keyboard, or constantly use an online virtual keyboard for these characters.
- If you are using Windows, it is very simple to add a new language, following these simple instructions . Once the language you want is installed, simply press Shift+Alt together to switch to the new keyboard, and just press them again to switch back.
- If you use Mac, follow the instructions here . Once the language is installed, simply press Command+Space to switch between keyboards, and press it again to switch back.
- For Linux, it will vary depending on your distro. For the two most common ones, Ubuntu and Mint, the instructions are very similar. When the language is installed, switch quickly between the language you are using by setting up a custom keyboard shortcut, described in the guide above.
Changing the language you use on your phone, desktop, in games, Facebook , and elsewhere is very highly recommended. Some people have even said that they have learned English entirely from playing video games. A video game shouldn't be your only source of learning, but it can definitely help if you are still learning it passively while relaxing.