Wow, how quickly did July go? Over half way through the year, on the downward slope to Christmas now… but let’s not wish the year away just yet! With another month gone, it’s time to look back on how my language learning has gone and set new goals for the next 31 days.
For those who don’t already know, #Clearthelist is a language learning community that brings together fellow language learners by sharing their monthly goals; hosted by Shannon of Eurolinguiste, Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages, Kris Broholm of Actual Fluency, and Angel Pretot of French Lover.
July was a great month for my language learning! I had some really good progress across the 3 languages I was learning (Italian, Spanish and German) without feeling like I had to dedicate every moment of my free time to it. I love learning languages but without any downtime I can get burnt out quickly. My preferred relaxation method is playing on my Xbox; Battlefield 1 being my game of choice. Like with diet, language learning is all about balance.
Setting the daily goals was a great way of forcing me to do little and often and I felt like I got more done this way than any other method I have tried before. My bullet journal language tracker was looking really healthy with a lot less empty gaps than last month. Progress!
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
Deutsch – Mimic Method and beyond!
19/31 – Good Job!
After completing the German Elemental sounds course last month (see my review here) I moved on, training my ear by learning the 500 most frequently used words. With the course I was given audio recordings for all these words which saved a lot of time compiling them all to practice. I didn’t focus on the meaning but just on recognising them and pronouncing them properly. This seemed to work really well and can definitely hear the difference when listening to German songs.
Español – Mimic Method
23/31 – Gold star for you
I powered through the Spanish course in just over a week. I knew the format and had learnt a lot of the sounds from German the month before which meant I could spend more time focusing on the tricky sounds in Spanish I didn’t know. I still can’t trill my R’s properly but I am getting there with all the other sounds. I am currently teaching myself Despacito (which I am sure everyone has heard now) from the original song… not the Bieber version! Focusing on hearing and replicating the sounds. I will be writing a post about how I am applying the techniques to my learning moving forward. Taking it from theory to practical. Stay tuned for more details!
Italiano – Reading
31/31 – Perfection!
A perfect score! I read a lot of Italian manga this time. Last month I read 70 manga and within the first week in July I had finished the remaining 70 chapters and had to find a new one. With Boku No Hero Academia finished, I moved on to One Punch Man which I have heard lots of good things about. Having them all downloaded on my phone made it so easy to do some everyday. Now I have had this goal for a two months I feel like it is time for a change. I need to push my boundaries if I want to see the benefits. On to a new frontier!
All Languages – Music
31/31 – Home run!
Another resounding success. While I made breakfast in the morning, in my lunch break or doing chores in the evenings; I seamlessly fit music into my daily life. Along with Despacito and the other Spanish music I have been listening to, I found a great playlist of Spanish Disney songs (versions from Spain) with around 400 videos. Great if you want a hit of nostalgia when you are listening to a new language. As with reading, it is time to mix things up and set myself a new challenge.
Bonus Round! – Coffee Break Spanish
While trying to get healthy over the last month, with varying degrees of success, I did manage to create an opportunity for some additional bonus learning. Picking up running again in the mornings meant I had an additional 20-30 minutes which allowed just enough time for a Spanish podcast… or 13. This has given me a basic understanding, and a small selection of vocabulary, which is going to serve me well for my goals this month.
This month the focus is on one language; Spanish. I want to see whether I can make some solid progress if I focus all my efforts on one language. To do this I have chosen four goals, as it works so well for me, with a mixture of easy and difficult to push myself but not make it unachievable. Little and often is key.
To go along with my new goals, you will be glad to hear I have made a new language tracker in my bullet journal. The reaction to my trackers has been amazing and I have had a lot of people say they are inspired to make their own or want me to explain the secrets. I am pleased to announce I am working on a how-to post which explains how I have designed and made my August tracker which will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.
The theme, this time, is really simple with a geometric layout which I will be crosshatching in a herringbone pattern. Each row represents a week (with 7 sections) and there are five rows which cover all the weeks in August.
And now on to the goals…
Baselang – Talk
Through the special offer from The Mimic Method I have a two week trial with Baselang; an online service that offers unlimited Spanish tutoring for a monthly subscription. The deadline for the trial was the start of August so I increased my Spanish learning at the end of July to prepare myself. I want to get through the early part quickly so I can make the best use of having plenty of face to face time with tutors. I am really interested to see how the Baselang curriculum works and whether I enjoy working with a tutor, as I haven’t done this before in any of my languages. Once my trial is up I plan to try and find a language partner with tandem or italki so I can continue my conversation practice.
Memrise – Practice
Baselang has kindly created Memrise decks to work alongside their curriculum that the tutors use to teach you Spanish so I will be practicing these outside the sessions so I can pick up as much information on my own. That way I can really boost my learning speed and ask the tutors about any of the finer detail I have queries about. The basic levels seem pretty easy to me at the moment so I will be interested to see how far I can get in a month.
FluentU – Watch
FluentU is a great little app (and website) that has a large selection of clips and videos in a number of languages that come with high quality transcripts in English and your target language. There is free content with the transcripts but the full library, and other features, are only available to premium members. As I am just using it to listen to different types of speech and subjects I won’t be investing in premium just yet.
Word of the Day – Record
Back in June (see my post here) I set myself a goal to make recordings and I failed miserably. This time I have tried to make it a daily goal by setting myself the target of recording me saying at least one new word a day that I have learnt. I will then try to go further than this and list all the words and phrases I have learnt which I can then look back on to see how far I have come and what I have retained. This will also help practice my video editing skills which will be helpful as I have lots of plans for great video related projects in the future.
As always I would love to know what your goals are for the month. Let me know in the comments below and good luck conquering August!
Ciao for now!