I have finally decided to take the plunge and join the #Clearthelist community, to try and get my language learning back on track. Recently I have been focusing on other things (like completing my German diary posts) and my languages has taken a back seat. Well, that ends now!
If you haven’t heard of #Clearthelist before, don’t worry I am here to help. It is a community created to bring together language learner by setting monthly goals on their quest to conquer languages; one word at a time. This community is hosted by Shannon of Eurolinguiste, Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages, Kris Broholm of Actual Fluency, and Angel Pretot of French Lover.
Right, I better get started already…
In case this is your first time stumbling across my little blog, I thought I would tell you a bit about myself. I am a self-taught language learner, food lover and serial Instagram addict. I have been learning Italian since 2012, when I planned a secret get away for my fiancèe’s birthday after we graduated University. I know… romantic aren’t I? Since then I have been hooked. Continuing with Italian, dabbling in French, Spanish, Icelandic and now trying to get serious with German (again!), after an amazing week driving round Bavaria.
My main focus is developing my basic level of German. I mainly struggle with tuning my ear, when I am learning new languages. It feels like I can’t even hear what is being said, almost like I have noise cancelling headphones on and only a humming sounds makes it through. This makes having a conversation very difficult. So, if I can get my ear tuned in to the German sounds, I will have a much better time in conversation. Sound is the name of the German game this month!
I will also be maintaining my Italian, which I am at an intermediate level in. Keep it ticking over so I don’t lose my hard earned progress. I have tried to equally learn two languages in the past and I never feel I get progress in either so I will switch between maintaining and learning for Italian.
My goals are split into daily and monthly. As the names suggest, daily will be completed each day and monthly is something I want to do at least once in the month. No restrictions on time or quantity here, just doing it once (even for a few minutes) will count towards it. You will also notice that these goals are VERY simple… Better to do a good job of simple goals than to do a bad job of complicated ones… don’t you think?
Ear and Tongue – Daily
I have just signed up for the Elemental sounds course (through Mimic Method) to help me focus on being able to understand German speech and improve my accent; so I stop sounding like a foreigner every time I open my mouth. Hopefully focusing on the sounds now will speed up my progress further down the line because I will understand more. Can’t be bad can it?
Music – Daily
Other than practicing the technical aspects of the sounds, I want to clock some real hours of listening this month. The best way to get used to the sounds of the language is to listen to it… a lot! I will mainly use Spotify for this, as it has a lot of German music and big German playlists that I can play in the background while I am doing other things. My current favourites are CRO (a rapper) and AnnenMayKentereit (a band I think sounds like a German Mumford and Sons). Have a listen yourself and see what you think.
Video – Daily
To make sure that I’m not just passively listening, as can happen with music, I want to try and watch more video. The big difference here, from what I have done in the past, will be that I won’t use subtitles. At this stage it isn’t about me completely understanding what is going on, but mainly listening to a lot of speaking and trying to see what sounds (or words) I can pick out. I also think watching video will be helpful in learning new words and phrases from context; as it is combined with visual indicators of meaning. Sounds good to me!
Language Exchange – Monthly
Before I went to Germany, I found a language partner to practice having real conversations. Since we have got back, and normal life has set in, I haven’t done it nearly as much as I would like. This needs to change! The only way to get more confident speaking is to actually speak. Sounds obvious, but I sometimes forget it…
Reading – Daily
I am a massive manga fan! I currently have around 20 that I am reading. It has been a while since I have read any Italian manga and I think it is about time to pick it up again. I am planning to re-read Boku No Hero Academia, a story about a world full of superheroes and one boys search to become one without any powers. Great story and really looking forward to getting back into it.
Language Exchange – Monthly
Like in German, I need to practice speaking more to improve on my conversational skills. I can read a book and watch TV (to an extent), but as soon as I try and open my mouth, I get brain freeze and feel like an absolute beginner again.. To try and get over this “stage fright” I want to get back on Skype and speak Italiano…
Video – Monthly
This goal isn’t really specific to one language. As part of my new year’s resolution to be more confident (see my English post here and Italian post here) I am trying to record myself speaking in the languages I am learning. It might not be as good as having a face to face conversation, but I find it a little easy to fit into a busy schedule, as it only depends on me getting off my bum and in front of a camera.
That’s all folks! Short and sweet, just like a promised. Time to get started so I can tell you all next month how I have smashed it!
I would love to hear about your language learning goal in the comments below and if you have any suggestions to help me with mine I would really appreciate it. Every little helps!
Ciao for now!