musicman1982 here, I hope you are all well? Like many of you here, I have been trying so hard to learn a new language, not come up with anything and used google translate like it was the bomb.com...Now, my attitude has done a 180 in the most positive way. I do not use Google translate anymore or use, so-called hacking ways...(Well, I still use some)....to overcome my own language learning hurdles.
I should talk about my back story, I am currently learning Latvian. Out of all the people that I have been speaking to about this, many people have said, "Why, are you learning Latvian?! Stick to a simple language like...French, Spanish or whatever language that is simple to understand." The reason why I wanted to learn Latvian is my dad is originally from there and it's one of the most individual languages in Europe or (maybe) the world. My attitude today is looking at books, dictionaries or maybe a couple of apps, but I don't use them in the same way as Google Translate.
The best book, I can recommend for getting the idea of grammar, is the Routledge Series. If it wasn't for this book series, I don't know where I will be without it, It explains the grammar in a kind of easy way, so that you can get the idea for how tostring your own sentences, in how someone 'could' speak in their own native language. The best method that has worked for me the most, is probably an approach that most people would never have thought of, I use...mind maps! WHHAAAAAA DA FUDGE?! Yep, I use mind maps. There are alot of mind map apps on the internet, in app stores or you can even make your own! How I use them is to get the grammar books that I have read, look at each section and put the endings into sections of a mind map, which are colourful and easy to understand and memorise, so I can refer to it, if I am stuck with anything (grammar wise). I also use language exchange apps e.g Tandem/Hellotalk to communicate with people in my chosen language that I wish to learn, lastly I found a book called 'Fluent in Three Months' by Benny Lewis, he talks about his language learning experiences and passes them on to others and I do recommend this book, don't be fooled by the title, it's just a ploy! lol It's an incentive title I should say. There is another reason why I use mind maps, I have dyslexia and dyspraxia. With learning differences (learning disabilities) as I call them, no LD is the same, in my case, with my dyslexia I have trouble with things connected to words, rather than reading words. Even though my reading speed is counted as not the normal average. So, when it comes to languages. I have trouble with understanding how it's used in context to something. But, with mind maps, I am able to pick up and comprehend how to use words in a more manageable and fun way. If anything, I know having an LD makes things difficult, but if it's used in the right way, it can make learning more understandable and it can make learning enjoyable for everyone, rather than making anyone feel they can't do something, because of anyone's learning blocks.
This post is not just for people with dyslexia, dyspraxia or anyone with an LD. It is for everyone, no matter who you are, everyone has a way of learning things, in their own way. So, there is no one way of learning a new language. Now that I have been learning Latvian, it has helped with my own learning blocks soooo much, in a positive way and help me to think differently, when it comes to writing in English. If someone says to you, "Oh French is hard." or "Blablabla language is extremely difficult." It is only from someone's opinion of it, if you come across someone who is a bit impatient or even tries to take advantage of you, for your native language. You have to keep going and do what is comfortable for you, when it comes to language learning. Who cares Tom Dick and Harry, or Shirley, Sharon and Tracey and how they did it or what their experiences of it were. Yes, you will comes across blocks in your way, I am not saying it will be hard, but I'm not saying it going to be easy, either. Once you get that balance of learning that language you choose to learn, it is worth all the struggle and frustration that you put yourself through to get there. Trust me, I can say that from experience, I didn't get to where I am in a space of a day or a week, it took me months to get that balance right and see what was right for me, rather than fitting in a box of what I should do, even though whatever advice I was told was the 'right thing to do', some of it, didn't really apply to me, so I took what worked with me and left behind what didn't. Now, I am going with my gut instinct and it seems to get me where I need or want to go to, so I hope this veeeery long message helps, as much as it did for me, in the words of Benny Lewis 'Happy language learning.'