French · Goals · Korean · Mandarin · Norwegian · Resources · Studies

It’s Been a Year…

It’s been almost a year since my last post on here. That post was about how I had been away for several months and wanted to get back into the swing of things…we can all see how well that worked out. *sigh* Life is sometimes completely unexpected and as much as we try to plan, those plans often get derailed, whether we want them to or not. Basically my language studies got put on the backburner with everything happening in my life. This is not to say that ALL language learning was put off as languages are part of my daily life but it was pretty much all passive learning these past few months. If we are being honest this pretty much only applied to Korean as I barely touched any other language. With the amount of media I consume in Korean I have picked up several new things, primarily vocabulary. This continues my never ending issue with knowing too many random vocabulary words but rarely being able to use them because my grammar is still so lacking due to my lack of active learning recently. I’ve been slowly changing that these past few weeks and I recently signed up for a Free Online Korean course on Future Learn though I went with the 2nd part of the course as I am already fairly familiar with the basics. So far I’m only on the first week’s lessons but it is mostly stuff I already know but I can always use the practice on. I’m hoping to get a better grasp on some of the beginning grammar so that I can finally move further in my studies.

In other recent language news I am also trying to revamp my French. I have let go of it for far too long and I am really regretting how terrible my grammar and ability to speak has gotten. I purchased a new resource I am hoping will help me review everything I have forgotten or am rusty on. I also have decided to start a new language…because obviously I am doing GREAT at maintaining my other ones… 🙂  I think I had talked about it in a previous blog post but I will finally be starting *drumroll please* Norwegian! I’ve been interested in the language and the country of Norway for a while now and it is a language that is pretty different from all the other languages I have studied. (Look forward to an upcoming post about how terrified I am right now HA!) I’m getting together a few resources and will formally be starting next week. The last bit of news is that I have been dabbling in some Mandarin. No I’m not going to be formally studying it yet but I’ve picked up a couple thing this past year and am slowly learning. This is pretty much just to familiarize myself with the language. I’ve always wanted to study it but the tones always scared me, they still do but I figure if I give myself the permission to just dabble and take it REALLY slow that I may get over that fear. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone else but we will go with it!

I am really going to strive to post more regularly on here, at least once a week. I think my next post will be about my goals for June regarding Korean, Norwegian and French. Have you ever been terrified to start a language or scared of the language itself? Let me know so I don’t feel all alone! 🙂

Goals

Not All Days Are Created Equal…

One thing I am understanding more and more as I get older is that not all days are created equal, and that’s okay! To be honest I have always been super hard on myself, and I know that in part it’s a defense mechanism. If I was hard on myself, then the judgement from others would pale in comparison, or so I told myself. I thought I was protecting myself but in reality the failures multiplied times 1000 because I couldn’t move past them. Slowly I have been working to overcome this in the past few years. Key word being SLOWLY…

One big aspect where this comes into play is my language learning. I often set out to do XYZ and am disappointed when I don’t quite accomplish it, even if I do ABC instead. I’ve had to remind myself that language learning comes in many forms and that just because I don’t meet every single goal I set out to, it doesn’t mean I am failing. If I am doing SOMETHING in that language then I am learning, whether it be one word or 5 chapters in a textbook. I wrote about some of my goals for the month here, but then I went even further and broke it down by days. I detailed what I thought I needed to get accomplished each day in order to meet those goals and even started keeping track of how long I was studying each thing everyday. To be honest, we are 6 days into the month and this feels like a chore.

Each day this month has looked  SO vastly different in terms of my studying. On Sunday, I studied for 8 hours straight! Guess what? I had a blast that day, I not only felt accomplished but enjoyed every bit. Monday, I posted a 10 second recording of myself speaking Korean for my pronunciation to be judged. On Tuesday, I got 2 hours of physical studying in and watched 4 hours of Korean television shows. Wednesday, I listened to a good number of audio lessons while at work. Yesterday, I only did 20 minutes of Duolingo French BUT spent about 2 hours chatting with my French language partner and even managed to write several sentences in French and learned a couple new fun expressions. I also read Boucles d’or et les Trois Ours (Goldilocks and the Three Bears) and understood about 80% of it without looking stuff up for clarification.

Did I meet all those daily goals I had set for myself? Nope, not on most days, but I can’t see this as a failure. Every single bit of the aforementioned and the rest of the studying I did, is a WIN! I can end this week knowing more than I did when I started. Heck, I even learned the names of three more obscure body parts in Spanish! What this shows me is that I am better off not trying to regulate what everyday looks like for me when it comes to studying. I love the monthly goals but I am done with daily ones. The only daily goal I want is to do something, anything, in one of my target languages, be it for 15 minutes or 8 hours.

I LOVE language learning and I want the freedom to enjoy it without constraints, goal setting and consistency are both very important but so is loving every minute of it, or at least it is for me. This week I even let myself throw in a little tiny bit of Norwegian and Indonesian which I am super excited about! I can’t wait to see what I learn the next week with no daily constraints.

How was your first week of the month? 🙂

Challenges

#365daysoflanglearning: Day 1

day001

Hey everyone! Today I am bringing you the #365daysoflanglearning challenge hosted by Charlotte over at Xuexisprachen. As the name implies, this is meant to be a daily challenge but knowing myself there may be days I miss or group together depending on how crazy the day gets but I will TRY to do as many as I can. As I type this it is 2:40 AM and I have studied/done language related stuff for 8 hours total today…I figured I’d kick the year off right. Because I studied a combination of French, Korean, Medical Spanish, and randomly a teeny bit of Norwegian (we will talk about this later), I thought I would do 5 new phrases I learned overall and not just in one language. Note: there wont be any Medical Spanish phrases because I didn’t go over anything new to me today. By the way if I make any errors in my phrases or translations please feel free to let me know so I can have them corrected.

  1. Norwegian: Takk!/Tusen Takk! – Thanks!/Thank you very much! (Fun note: Tusen Takk literally means a thousand thanks, which reminds me of the English phrase thanks a million!)
  2. French: Tout ça ñ’est qu’un début. – This is only the beginning.
  3. French: Ce ñ’est pas si simple que ça. – It’s not that simple.
  4. Korean: 오늘 날씨가 추워요. – It’s cold today/The weather is cold today.
  5. Korean: 한국어 공부가 어려워요. – It is difficult to study Korean.

That’s all for today! Let me know if you learned any new phrases or words this week! 🙂

Goals

My Language Goals: January 2017

It’s almost a brand new year which means brand new beginnings! This year I want to start keeping track of my language goals, what I set out to do and what I am actually accomplishing. I figured what better way than by joining in on Clear The List which is hosted by Kris BroholmAngel PretotShannon of Eurolinguiste, and Lindsay Does Languages!

This is where I’ll be discussing what I want to accomplish in a given month and then looking back to see how much of it I actually got done. The month of January is a little jammed pack for a couple of reasons:

  1. I want to start off the month with a bang and take advantage of all that new year motivation!
  2. A lot of the material I want to cover is for absolute beginners and as I am past that to some degree it should go by faster than lessons will further down the road.
  3. I want to actually see what is feasible for me and make changes as needed for the coming months.

I’m still SUPER excited to see what this new month will bring! Let’s get on to the goals!

Korean: 

  • KoreanClass101: I got a good deal on a monthly Premium subscription a couple of weeks ago but haven’t been able to really get started on it. I am hoping to get through the 25 lessons in Newbie Season 1.
  • Talk to me in Korean: I have been a huge fan of the TTMIK website for a couple of years now and have done several of the lessons but I want to start from the beginning again since I have since forgotten a lot. There are 25 lessons in level 1 and I want to get to at least 10-15 of them. This includes the audio podcast, the textbook and the workbook for each lesson.
  • Coursera: I am currently enrolled in two classes on here: First Step Korean & Learn to Speak Korean 1. Due to the moving I am WAY behind on both of these and ideally I would love to catch up and complete them but I am not sure how realistic that is. I can always roll them over to another session so we will see what happens.
  • Textbooks: I currently have a decent amount of textbook resources that I haven’t used yet and I am going to take some time in January to do a lesson or two from each and get a feel for them. I’ll make sure to report back what I do end up using next month.
  • Music & Lyrics: I have been a huge fan of all kinds of Korean music for about 10 years now so I have no problem incorporating music into my everyday life. I’ve been working on learning Eric Nam’s 못참겠어 (Can’t Help Myself)! It is so upbeat and adorable and it has a good bit of English so I feel like it is more feasible.
  • TV: This is the same as with music, I’ve been watching Korean programming for years now and do it regularly but this month I will try to write down even more of the vocabulary I pick up while watching.
  • Reading: Unlike with French, I can’t really pick up anything very extensive yet so I am hoping to get through 아기 다람쥐 다람이 which is a short kids book about a baby squirrel.
  • Chatting: My goal is to use more of the Korean I know while chatting with friends. Even if I can’t make a complete sentence I can at least use the Korean words I know. I tend to get so fixated on not making mistakes that I second guess myself even when I know how to say something. I need to get over this!

French: 

  • FrenchPod101: I recently got three months of Premium through their holiday sale and am hoping to get through at least the 25 lessons in Newbie Season 1. I am hoping to use these as a refresher on stuff I learnt years ago that may be a little fuzzy now.
  • Duolingo: I’ve been using this for a couple of weeks on and off due to the moving and have only made it to Present 1. I’m aiming to make it to at least Pronouns but most importantly I want to keep up a 31 day streak. That’s right, I’m aiming for everyday! I know there will be days where I don’t get much language studying done so I want this to at least be a constant and it only takes a couple of minutes a day.
  • Living Language Essential: I bought a set with three books and some audio CD’s and want to get through at least the first 4 lessons in the first book, Essential.
  • Reading: I really want to take advantage of the fact that my reading comprehension is still higher than a lot of my other skills in the language. I’ve been looking at some shorter stories I can work through in a short amount of time and I also made a very exciting purchase: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in French! This is one I love and have read many times and am hoping that will help make it enjoyable even when I am frustrated. I forget how long the chapters are but if I can make it through 1 or 2 chapters in January I will be happy.
  • Dictionary Fun: I got this idea from Bakari over at Home Grown Spanish. Basically it involves picking a word from each letter of the alphabet within the dictionary and writing its definition along with the sample sentences it provides. I haven’t tried this yet so I am not sure how it will work out for me but I am aiming to try to do this at least once a week.
  • Music & Lyrics: One thing I enjoy in all languages is music. I never feel exhausted when it comes to music so I like to take advantage of this. I am not very familiar with French music but this month I discovered Kendji Girac and am currently a little obsessed with his song Andalouse! My goal is to study the lyrics and learn the song, not just how to say it but understanding it as well.

Spanish:

  • Complete Medical Spanish: I want to get through 2 or 3 chapters of this book and I also want to create a Memrise deck for any of the terminology that I am not familiar with.
  • Reading: I mentioned this in a blog post earlier this week but even though I am a native Spanish speaker, I rarely ever read in Spanish. This year I am wanting to change this and read at least one novel in Spanish a month. For the month of January I have chosen El Alquimista (The Alchemist) by Paulo Coelho. I am super excited for this one because it is so loved by many!

Braille*:

  • Braille Material: In January I want to revisit the Braille alphabet and make sure I am still familiar with it. I also want to go through lesson 1 and do the drills provided. With so much on my plate with the other languages I’ll have to see how much more time I can dedicate to Braille next month.

Language in General: 

  • Reading: One thing I love almost as much as languages is reading about languages or things that can relate to language learning. In January I want to read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It is not exactly language related but seeing as one of my language goals this year is to make studying habitual, I figured this would be a good book to bring in the new year with.
  • Listening: I need to find some really fun and interesting Language related podcasts! If you have any recommendations please leave them below.

*I know technically Braille is not a language but rather a tactile writing system but for the purposes of this blog I will be including any Braille goals along with my other language goals.

Studies

A Very Unproductive Study Week

I’m working on several goals and study plans that I want to kick into gear this upcoming year, but I was hoping to get a good bit done before then as well because why wait? This hasn’t really gone as planned unfortunately. I am currently in the process of moving and I have spent the majority of my time outside work, packing and sorting out utilities and paper work. When I’ve been able to catch a small break I’ve been too tired to properly study. I have gotten in small bits here and there:

Korean

  • Watched about 3 episodes of 맘마미아 (Mamma Mia) which I have been loving.
  • Finished  lesson 5 in Module 1 of the Yonsei University online course
  • Reviewed the 5 lessons in Module 1
  • Several minutes of vocabulary review

French

  • Did 10 Duolingo skill modules

Yup, that’s all I have been able to do this week. I’ve been trying to squeeze in bits of studying in any way I can. This week that has meant watching an episode of 맘마미아 before bed when I am too tired to look at a book, taking my flashcards with me to work and reviewing them if I get a break, and doing quick Duolingo lessons on the go while in the car (not driving of course!). I am proud of myself for not letting this hectic week become an excuse for not studying at all but am hoping by next week I will be more settled down and can make up for time lost. I’ll be posting my study goals for the new year sometime later this month.

I’m off to pack some more!

French

My Language Journey: French

Talking about my French language journey always makes me angry…mostly at myself. I ended up taking French my Junior and Senior year of high school and always thoroughly regretted not starting it my freshman year. I started with French 1 my junior year and jumped to French 3 Accelerated my senior year. I learnt so much during that time and I cringe thinking how good I could have been had I been working on it the previous two years as well. This was mostly due to the fact that I had an AMAZING teacher. Mr.P was not only excellent at making the class fun and engaging but he always pushed us to do better. Once he taught us the basics, he would only teach in French unless it was completely essential to explain something in English. He also required we only speak to him in French. Even if we ran into him outside the classroom he would say “Quelle? Je ne comprends pas” if we tried to talk to him in English. He really had the patience of a saint because I know I would sometimes go up to him and babble for 5 minutes trying to tell him something, half of which was nonsense, yet he never rushed me and always took time to correct my mistakes.

My second regret is that I never continued with the language after high school. Why? Because I obviously don’t make wise choices…The truth is that when I got to college I was lured in by all these other languages I was dying to learn and kept putting French on the back burner. Essentially, I took it for granted. Somewhere in my mind I thought that I would just retain everything I had already learned and I could just as easily pick it up later on down the road. That worked out fantastic! Okay, fine, it was a fail. As time went on I retained vocabulary but I started losing my grasp on the grammar and as that faded so did my confidence in my ability to speak and write it. So where does that leave me now? Close enough to the beginning that I am ashamed to admit it. I can still listen to speech at a slower pace and grasp the general meaning and I can still read text in French and understand a decent amount. This is half in part to retaining vocab and the other half due to the similarities between French and Spanish that allow me to cheat a little.

I work in an office setting and we have to take monthly Cyber Security quizzes which are excruciatingly dull, so to spice things up earlier this week, I took one of the quizzes in French after watching a 2 minute video also in French. Yes, this is my idea of spicing things up. Don’t judge! Anyways, I ended up only misunderstanding one of the questions but got the others correct, which I must admit, made me feel a little proud. Just a little.

One of my goals for this upcoming year, which I will be focusing on in this blog, is to get back to an intermediate level of French. If I am being realistic, it will be most likely be an upper beginner level, as I will be doing self-study. Maybe once I have reviewed the basics, I will invest in a tutor to fill in the gaps and to practice my speech as well. We’ll see what happens, I’m still working on a study schedule and it will depend on how much time I can allot to it a week.