#clearthelist April 2019: Structured Chinese Goals

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Hello and welcome to Clear The List, “that was the busiest month” edition. This monthly language learning round-up brings together my progress from last month and my goals for the next month.

What Happened in March 2019?

I feel like the correct answer to this one is “everything happened”. First of all, the month of March kicked off with the best possible start as I co-hosted Women in Language with Shannon Kennedy and Lindsay Williams.

The event was a big success, and we’re super proud to share that our online language conference brought in over 500 people from over 50 countries. Thank you so much if you were one of them. We cannot wait for the next Women in Language event!

After those 4 days of fun, it was time for me to start the engines for my new online course launch. It’s actually happening this week. My new German course German Uncovered is out on Thursday, and you can peek inside the course by joining a free mini-course too.

So that was a lot of course building and promo writing, talking about the German language and all round getting busy.

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The month was not over yet, as there was important work to do. Say what you want about the Brexit: it certainly takes up a lot of mental space. I went on the People’s Vote March in London along with a peaceful million others and Gareth from How to Get Fluent.

Here’s a video showing our experience on the day:

So that’s a glimpse into March - a busy month!

The Fluent Show

With all that was going on, we didn’t miss a single episode of the Fluent Show.

One of my favourites was my interview with calm and centred language learner Nicole Miles, who shared rich insights into the deep motivations for learning a language…the kind that will fuel your progress long after the first weeks of excitement are over.

And talking of being in for the long run, let’s see whether I squeezed in a lot of language practice.

Language Goals and Progress

I’ve got to admit one thing right from the start: This month, tracking and lessons fell by the wayside and this makes today’s review a little harder. If I don’t keep track of what I do, I get to the end of the month with a vague sense of progress.

Did I study? Didn’t I? Did you? No one knows unless we write this down.

(Or maybe your mind is less of a sieve when you’re busy..)

As you know, my current beginner language is Mandarin Chinese.

Chinese Progress

A local café - perfect study space

A local café - perfect study space

My Chinese studies are progressing at a leisurely pace. After failing to find any Chinese self-study materials in the library, I decided to give the old 10 Minutes a Day another try and it’s been going fine in combination with the Drops app.

This month I learnt numbers 1-20, consolidated the basics, and got a little more to grips with classifiers like 张 and basics like rooms in a house. I have a Chinese speaking acquaintance in my Coworking space and am rather proud that I was able to say “Excuse me, where is the house?” and they understood me.


I’m very close to booking my first Chinese lesson on italki, but haven’t quite got the courage together yet.

Welsh Progress

In the first two weeks of the month, Welsh took a step back as I worked on Chinese and Women in Language. But I started to miss it, so I feel like especially part two of the month was when I stepped it up.

I was not able to meet my goal of having more conversations on a grand scale, though I did

  • chat to Gareth in Welsh on the protest in London,
  • wear a Welsh flag at that protest and chat to a fellow flag wearer in Welsh,
  • bump into my local conversation partner by coincidence.


This Welsh element of surprise made me a much worse speaker - it’s so much harder to speak another language without warning. But I got there and this kept me practicing.

I also said I’d finish Level 2 of Say Something in Welsh. And I did! I am very proud of this achievement.

Finally, I continued to listen to the Mynd am Beint Gyda podcast, started watching the TV show “Fferm Ffactor” (a farm-based games show, what could be more Welsh!), and got a habit of reading The BBC Cymru or parallel.cymru articles.

Welsh = going well!

Daily Contact Goal

Every month, I log my “daily contact” with the Welsh language. In total, March had 17 contact days out of 31 (and 12 of them in the last 2 weeks). I don’t track the length of each “contact”.

In Chinese, I track a goal of “10 minutes” with the language, rather than daily contact. This is because I’m such a beginner that I feel a 2-minute Chinese session wouldn’t teach me enough. All in all, I tracked 80 minutes of Chinese during March.

Since I use an app for this tracking method, it’s not 100% accurate. If you’re interested in a tracking template for your own language routine, check out the Language Habit Toolkit which contains two templates you can print or copy.

Goals for April 2019

I love April, it’s springtime and my birthday month!

Welsh Language Goals

My habit of learning/speaking Welsh is now well established, as you saw in March where I actually started missing my language practice. Wonderful!

I’ll trust myself to keep up the reading and listening by myself and will focus my goals on speaking practice. I must speak every week! Time to book more italki lessons and meet-ups with my local buddy.

Chinese Language Goals

In Chinese, I’m slowly building up to my usual structure of listening, speaking, reading and writing as a goal structure. Let’s try it!


I dabbled with Coffee Break Chinese for a little bit, but didn’t really fall in love with it. But with Chinese being a tonal language, it’s probably very important for me to listen to it lots. So here, my goal is to find and try some more materials starting with the Easy Mandarin series on Youtube.


I can’t say much yet. My goal is to book an italki lesson but I’m not putting pressure on myself to do this at any cost. I’ll see if I feel like there would be any benefit.


Most of my materials are written and that’s the core of my practice at the moment, so all’s well here. I just aim to learn more, really.


My goal in Chinese is not about the characters at the moment, but I do find that I enjoy practicing a few of them here and there. The notebook is very helpful here, so my goal is to just spend a little more time practicing and playing here.

How Was Your Month?

As you can see, it’s possible to keep your goals light even if you do use the structure of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Have you ever tried it before?

Be sure to check out the Clear the List linkup for #clearthelist, hosted by Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy.

So that’s it for this month. Leave a comment below to tell me all about how you’re getting on.