I've been trying to learn German for quite some time. It has been a little bit over a year now that I've been learning German. I've used numerous pieces of software and techniques, so I would like to share some of my learnings in a condensed format so that someone wishing to learn a language may garner some useful tips from my experience.
1. Rosetta Stone
This is useful for hearing the language and trying to understand what is being said. It helps build useful phrases into your vocabulary, this is the first phase and helps jump start your learning. It isn't really good for any actual learning, but if you want to get the basic gist of something before a vacation, this is a good tool.
This is useful for practicing your grammar and conjugation. This program tests you on your ability to conjugate things and to remember vocabulary. This application is also available for free on the web, your iPhone, or your Android. I would recommend this is a go-to resource for someone serious about learning a language. This is a great basis and jump off point, currently Duolingo supports four languages, but you can check their website as they are constantly adding new ones.
You can browse all the lessons, see your progress and check out which skills you need to refresh.
The Lessons contain very concise topics and a clear focus so that you can work on what you need to without wasting time.
Typical lessons include translating back and forth between different languages and dragging words in common order. If you enable microphone, there are also pronunciation tests; but you can disable this if you like.
This is a universal flash card application. You can find flash cards for just about anything. The program will test you on your flash card knowledge and review cards that you have difficulty with. You can also create your own flash cards and decks of flash card. This is a great program for building your vocabulary after you've grounded and built up a good base of grammar.
View your current decks, how many cards you have to review or learn.
A typical flash card includes the word, and then a translation which you press to reveal, rate yourself on how easy it was for you to get the card and it will change the duration and frequency with which it will appear in your reviews. Cards may also include audio and other media.
In addition to providing targeted feedback for review and organizing your cards for you; Anki has a sophisticated forecasting and prediction tool that shows numerous graphs and plots about your current and future progress.
Anki also has a great browser and editor for managing all of your flash cards.
4. Watch Media in the Language of Choice
This is real world practice of hearing native speakers talk and formulate sentences. This can be difficult at first, but it may be useful to even watch with subtitles to increase your exposure to the language. It also helps to have a buddy who can help you out and practice simple conversations with you.
- Rosetta stone practice quick start / Vacation gist
- Duolingo conjugation/ grammar
- Anki Vocabulary build up
- TV / News / Radio for real world practice in comprehension and speaking
Consistency is key. Easy goal of 15 minutes a day, before sleep (for good retention),
Best of luck!