I’ve tried to some foreign languages then one pattern to go deep into a foreign language is getting to form. I would like to write it down here.
I come to have some interest
First, I have some impression of the language or know some interesting story. For example, wikipedia’s articles, the mechanism series by hakusui-sha, essays by liguists or translators, etc.
Next, I come to have some interest like that … “it will helps me!”, “It seems to have a strange mechanism!”
or “Fictional characters speaking it is very exiting for me!”.
These steps are not included in learning phases, I do them naturally before learning. When I want to know more detail, go the next phase.
I get to know some feeling or basic mechanism
I read a textbook through roughly with simply imitating characters and sounds.
In this phase, I study NOT slowly, NOT hard or NOT strictly. If I aim at perfect then I would give it up. I understand basic mechanism and always can refer it later — That’s enough. It’s difficult to tune myself, I tend to spent much time but it’s bad. It’s quite better to give up for a short time than struggling with nervous. Unless you restart someday, there is no problem, even for several years.
In a textbook usually former descriptions may be more important and latter descriptions may be less important, so it’s natural I go on reading it then getting to be rough. I read first sessions (usually characters and pronunciation, existence, presente tense) very hard, but I skim last sessions (i.e. subjunctive mood, politeness). In case of some kind of languages characters of which are not familiar for me — like korean, arabic or russian langauge — If I only study some former sessions in textbook then sounds come out lively from symbols, which has been only set of lines! What exiting that is!
There are quite various textbook, especially of major languages, and is very wide range of seriousness and I choise only your feeling. Actually I go to a large book store, skim every textbook, and buy favourite one. If I buy serious one then I can read it roughly.
By the way, The “basic books of linguistics” series by Hakusui-sha, the covers of which are similar to Koudan-sha’s paperbacks, seems to be serious. If I learn a language seriously the series is for me.
I buid a database in my brain and grow it
Simply I read many example sentenses and listen raw talks on internet radio.
It’s same to video games. I get experiences and grow myself. No termination condition is very boring for me. Well My database deteriorates unless keeping my motivation? Maybe no, so I can do with being relaxed.
I tend to get tired from thinking and buy vacabulary book, but such book has relatively less efficiency in a long term view bacause in which every sentenses doesn’t share a context. From the first, I should put a dictionary on the right of me and a grammar textbook on the left of me. It’s also rather fan. Or recently there has been some context focused vocabulary books, they are also OK.
And then I imitate writing and speaking. These are physically outputs but don’t do assemble sentenses or sounds from mind scapes, so that it’s one of the input phases.
I write down my feeling and thought
I use the language at a note, blog or SNS.
I have no idea about this phase. It may be just enough that I do whatever I want to with the language. The bigger the database gets, the better my output may get. However I may have not to recognize that.
I put each phase orderly but I have not to follow each phase this order, acutually I don’t and usually they are change each order or run parallel each other. Only I felt some correlation in these running order.
Well I wrote “In this phase, I study NOT slowly, NOT hard or NOT strictly.” above, but it may be apply to not only that phase but also every phase. Learning a language will never complete and cannot define a relative progress so that it’s boring for me, however at least I will not degrade. I should go with being relaxed.
I often see a comment like that “If you want to continue learning a language, set some purpose”. It might depend on a case. In my case completely as hobby so I don’t set any purpose. However I have a slight motivation like that fictional characters speaking a foreign language is exciting for me. Such “slow fire” keeps my small small “fever”.