#clearthelist June 2019: I Am Not a Perfect Polyglot

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Welcome to Clear the List, my monthly language learning goals update. Clear the List is a round-up hosted by my friends Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy. It is SO motivating and I recommend it to anyone who wants to share goals and celebrations.

I hope you find these goals and reports inspiring for your own language learning. It clearly shows that I’m far from perfect. But I don’t think perfection is what we’re aiming for.

If you want a “learn 25 languages in 16 weeks” polyglot, read something else.

If you want a real person loving languages and getting marginally better, this is for you.

What Happened in May 2019?

May was a fairly quiet month for me. After the exciting launch of German Uncovered and the latest language retreat, I took a well-earned break…in Wales to speak as much of my target language as possible!

This was followed by a week away in Amsterdam, and a few weeks doing something completely unrelated to languages…which has been a welcome planning month for new projects here at Fluent Language.

One of those projects is Teach & Thrive, a new set of workshops all about online teaching! I’m starting these in July together with Lindsay Williams, and there’ll be an exclusive podcast for you if you’ve registered to get notified.

The Fluent Show

Hands down, my favourite episode of the month was this inspiring interview with Paul Kaye about being a translator in the world’s biggest translation office: the European Commission!

Paul shared tips on how to become a translator along with his own fascinating story. If you dream of getting paid to learn languages, this is for you.

Language Goals and Progress

Let’s quickly cover Welsh first…I love the Welsh language so! In May volunteered at the wonderful Machynlleth Comedy Festival this year, stewarding at Welsh venue Caffi Alys. During the festival weekend, I also ran into my friend Nicky Roberts, who surprised me by whipping out a microphone to record me for his podcast!

As we spoke lots of Welsh in the podcast, you’ll read more about it below.


In addition to the talking, I also finally got the Welsh Grammar book back out and did a few pages of Welsh conjunctions in the garden. I strongly recommend wine to go with your grammar books.

Chinese Language Progress

In Chinese, I had more specific goals. Let’s see how that went.


I watched a few EasyMandarin videos on YouTube. I haven’t quite found my ideal listening resource yet and am not sure what to do about this.


I had no specific goals. But…GUYS!! I finally discovered the joy of Lingq! This app’s simple texts proved perfect for me as a beginner and the story structure is making me want to progress and read more of what’s going on. Compliments to Lingq. I’d been aware of the app for years but it doesn’t support Welsh, so it’s a delight to finally get it.


I had hoped to complete 3 Skype lessons and that didn’t happen, as I messed up the times of my booking. But I did get to one by the end of the month and had done so much reviewing that my teacher was happy with the speed of progress. So I’m happy enough!


I had three different goals:

to follow up each language lesson with a page or revision notes

Success! I’m a pretty good reviewer and my teacher was excited that I learn “so carefully”. Mind you, I only had the one lesson!

to write 4 notebook pages about myself or my family (these pages are full really quickly when I write in English + pinyin + characters)

I did write a few pages, but none about me. I think I touched on a few important points such as 我有一只猫 - I have a cat.

and to figure out how to type pinyin.

Got it sorted on the Mac!

Goals for June 2019

Let’s try a new structure of going by core skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and writing my goals in each language.

By the way, did you know I have written a book about those core skills? Check it out here for your summer language read.


In Welsh, I will do my usual listening practice which is now a consistent 1-2 radio or TV hours per week.

In Mandarin, it’s harder as I’ve not come across anything specific yet. LingQ is helping me a little bit here as its own learner content comes with matching audio. If you can recommend anything else at A1 sort of level, please do comment below.


My focus here is on Chinese and I want to get somewhere with LingQ. I find the idea of a daily streak quite suffocating, so instead I’ll try one of the in-built challenges and aim for 250 “LingQs”, which are new words added in the app.

All these words make for longer flashcard revisions so let’s hope I stay sane doing that.


In Welsh, conversations are a key part of this annoying “intermediate” learning stage and they’re never easy to come by or as comfortable as I want them to be. So this means…I need to have more of them!

I will hunt down 3 friends for at least one chat this month.

In Mandarin, it’s also important to talk but my lessons are quite structured. I can get away with less and aim for 3 Skype lessons like the May goal.


No specific Welsh goals, I type and text regularly and update kersydysgu too.

Mandarin: I’ll keep up my habit of reviewing my notes and writing lots after every lesson. It’s not always easy to find the time, but I do find writing in Chinese quite relaxing so I hope I won’t need a specific goal here.

Who am I kidding. 3 pages at least!

Chinese or Mandarin?

By the way, I know I’m using “Chinese” and “Mandarin” interchangeably in this article. I’m trying to re-habit myself to referring to it as Mandarin for clarity. It’ll take me a while though.

What are Your Language Goals for June 2019?

Do you take summer breaks? Or step on the gas when the days are long?

Leave a comment below to tell me all about how you’re getting on, and what you are planning to study next.

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