After deciding which C language to add, which is a whole process in itself, and reaching, say B1 level*, which methods are the most adapted ones among, or except:
Different people learn differently of course, but my experience of learning Polish as an adult suggests the following. (Subsitute any other languages, nationalities or countries for EN & PL as appropriate below.)
To do this attend language classes once or twice a week but do most of your studying in your own time and at your own initiative. Work through a couple of school text books or learn Polish books in this time. The language lessons gave me motivation to study in my own time, even though I didn't get much out of them per se. When I stopped going to class I stopped studying in my own time as well. Pay a Pole, not a teacher, to come and listen to you painfully and slowly try to string sentences together. (Students are cheaper than teachers, and the latter will explain everything whereas what you need is time trying to get it right yourself.) Approx. 2 years.
Take up some activities that bring you into regular, talking, contact with PL speakers. (Scuba diving and football are not so great. Drinking, book clubs, office jobs and dating are quite good.)
Start reading all the newspapers all the way through, and the weekly current affairs magazines.
Watch a lot of TV and listen to talk radio every spare minute of the day. You don't have to concentrate on it, just listen all the time. Catch up the 000's of hours head start that native-speakers have on you. (Get a small portable radio & headphones for use when walking, commuting, ironing, cooking etc.) Talk radio has a nice combination of repetition of subjects and register, and variety of the same. You'll get the most of the subjects talked about, and registers used, the most by the natives, but some of the rarer stuff as well.
Later in this year you can start reading the literature. Sit down with a Pole and watch the cult TV series and films. (You'll need someone to explain why they are funny, cult, brilliant etc. Understanding the language is often not enough!)
I don't know about "the best" method - but given the fact that we can use the internet for practising foreign accents, fast speakers and difficult subjects and also given the fact that we have a global network of colleagues, we can practice as "Tandems":
A „Tandem-Team“ consists of at least two conference interpreters joining forces in order to support each other in their training who meet or work together either. Ideally, both interpreters are native speakers of the other’s B- or C-language.
A little instruction on "How to tandem" can be found here:
It is a matter of taking the initiative and addressing colleagues who might want to improve their language skills in your native language in turn. You might even meet them at a multilingual conference for which you have been hired.
Adding a couple of hours of tandem work with a team colleague before or at the end of a conference can really be helpful. Apart from working together directly when you are in the same place, you can connect via Skype or other chat software.
As I can tell from experience, tandem work can be highly effective - and GOOD FUN!
answered 20 Apr '12, 17:59