I've decided to start openly publishing my quarterly language goals. Here you'll find my plan until March '22, though I will most likely review these in January. (This is inspired by Lindie Botes, if it's not obvious!)
Focus languages 🚀
I've lived in Germany for almost 6 years and have no plans to leave so it's time I got serious. My German is entirely "fine". I can live and function in German and get through any situation I need, but I make more grammar mistakes than I'm proud to admit, and I struggle with discussing more complex topics. Basically, I've allowed myself to be a little lazy.
The result is that whilst I can survive, I don't feel comfortably fluent and this is where I want to get to this year.
Here's my current plan for German:
- Meet a tandem partner once a week and go through one focus topic each session; either a specific topic where I want to improve or reviewing new Redewendungen from the fantastic book: "Endlich nicht mehr nur Bahnhof verstehen, sondern wissen wo der Hase im Pfeffer liegt". I received this book many years ago as a gift from my girlfriend but never read it (there's that laziness again).
- Go through one grammar exercise a week from the book "Grammatik aktiv B2/C1" (another book I have collected and neglected).
- Read a novel in German. Right now I am considering to read the surreal-comedy "Die Känguru-Chroniken" by Marc-Uwe Kling.
For the second half of the year I am considering to do an official C1/C2 language test, as I've never done this and for sure that could push me to study and improve. Plus it would be fun material to blog about. ;)
My history with French is complicated. I started learning it even before I learnt German and ditched it when I made the decision to move to Germany so that I could focus on my German. I've retained a decent passive understanding due to dipping into French here and there over the years but my ability to speak is poor. My goal is to be able to hold a conversation without it feeling like a struggle. I can understand a lot passively but it's time for me to activate this language.
Last time I tried this I succeeded with moderate success but never got over the struggle of "no, brain, I really do want to speak French and not German, please kindly stop substituting the French you don't know with the other foreign language knocking about in here."
Plan of action for French:
- I'm trying out Speechling for the first time. This is a nifty little tool which serves you phrases in your target language which you can record and instantly compare your own recording to that of a native (and for a fee, get feedback too). I'll be doing 5-10 minutes a day just to form a habit of speaking French every day.
- I'm lucky enough to have a free subscription for 24 Babbel Live 1-on-1 lessons and I plan to use all of these for French. I've never used the platform and it seems very rough around the edges but lets see!
This may sound strange but this language is like a warm blanket for me. It's the language of delicious food, interesting culture and friendly people. It's the language I always end up dabbling in when I need a break. I just love this language and the feeling of gradually unlocking the meaning behind characters is rewarding, and I love the creativity involved in coming up with mnemonics to learn them. I'd like to take it a notch higher and move from 'just dabbling' to 'actively learning'. To start this off my plan is:
- Work through the HelloChinese skill tree & podcasts, with the aim of 20 minutes per day.
- Work through Bennie Lewis' new book Language Hacking Mandarin
- Once I'm at a basic level of understanding, taking some lessons on italki
Living in Berlin I hear Turkish all the time, and I also have several friends who speak the language, so it's a surprise even to me that I've never tried to learn more than a few phrases. It's a beautiful language that's always felt "too hard", but I'm excited to dabble in it. I'm not going to commit further than "dabbling" right now because I recognise the above is already way more than enough.
I don't yet have much of an action plan but I've heard great things about the book: "The Delights of Learning Turkish". If you have resources for me then please shoot me a message!
This is always the hard part.
I love Spanish and Italian and I'm sure they'll be appearing during the year, but first I want to put the focus on French before I pick up another similar language. I already have challenges with interference between French and German and last time I tried adding Spanish into the mix it just confused things further. So for Q4/Q1 I'll put them on the back-burner.
Similarly for Dutch, I would like to really push my German first, and I want to avoid interference whilst I solidify my German grammar.
As I'm not in the UK much anymore sign language was also put on hold as I have little opportunity to practice.
...and that's it! I love the idea of setting quarterly language learning goals and I think it's a great way to keep yourself motivated long term. What do you think? What's your system? Tweet me and let me know! Or you can shoot me an email or write me on Instagram
I'm excited to see how this goes and for sure I'll be posting an update in January to share how much I've actually followed my plans.