Welcome to my latest language learning update through #clearthelist, which is a language learning round-up sharing monthly language learning goals, support, and accountability.
What Happened In October?
I feel like October began and then I went travelling and got home and then it was over. In our personal life, big things were afoot as we started the process of buying a flat here in Canterbury. Cue lots of new levels of bureaucracy, which I never knew the game of life could offer.
The month also saw a new speech I made at Toastmasters, this one probably my favourite so far as I spoke about feminism and the Women’s Equality Party, a cause well worth your attention.
Travel in October
Halfway through the month, I set off on a language trip with podcast co-host Lindsay to Croatia and Slovenia. I admit I didn’t study much Croatian before setting off to this beautiful country, mostly because I was relying on the linguistic guidance of lovely Shannon Kennedy (from eurolinguiste), who sadly had to drop out at the last minute.
Croatia’s most exciting language discovery was to spend a few hours in the mental Froggyland museum with Lindsay and trying to work out as many Croatian words as possible from the captions and their English translations. It worked surprisingly well, and later at the Polyglot Conference I learnt that this is an official teaching method called the Discovery Method. Not sure if it always has to involve frogs.
Our travels led us to Ljubljana in Slovenia in time for the Polyglot Conference! Overall, what a fantastic event. I presented a talk on the seven questions you need to answer to learn a language solo, which was my first live workshop on the topic, during the Friday Language Learning Event. The line-up was excellent, with fellow presenters including Olly Richards, Gareth Popkins, Judith Meyer, Katie Harris, Lindsay Williams and Tim Keeley.
I also saw some great talks at the main conference, including Angelo DeLeo re-visiting the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in a talk on Linguistic Anthropology. So interesting!
Sadly I missed a large part of the conference as I got pretty sick, but I was well taken care of by many language friends. Thank you all!
The Fluent Show
My favourite episode of the month has got to be the conversation with Kathryn and Sam about how to start an amazing language journal. The podcast episode was combined with a gallery of inspiring shots from language journal keepers everywhere, and I loved the variety and creativity.
Language Goals and Progress
Let’s have a look how October went in terms of my language goals. I had hoped to focus mostly on Welsh, though I knew it’d be a busy one.
The goal was to switch the TV or radio on in Welsh 2-3 times per week, and somehow I just got too busy and overwhelmed and completely forgot about this. I will be back on this one as soon as I’m feeling well!
The trick with TV is always to find one TV show with a narrative that I want to follow, either a reality programme or a drama. In the goals section below, I’ll choose and commit to one.
Not a bad month! During my trip I worked my way through about 5 chapters of this book, and I’ll be able to finish it as soon as I find where I’ve put the damn thing when unpacking.
I did okay here on the Say Something in Welsh goal, as I completed level 20. It’s not up to 22 as I’d aimed for, but 20 was a long one and taught me several new things. I also got to chat to several Welsh speakers at the Polyglot Conference, though sadly no fully Welsh speaking “paneds.” ☕️
Say Something in Welsh continues to be a great resource when my friends are busy.
My goal was to write at least one instagram caption in Welsh every week, and I did post 3 out of 4 (I’ll add another one today).
In addition, Lindsay’s idea of writing prompts helped me fill a few more half pages. I’ve even found writing prompts inside of the Duolingo app - finally something I like it for!
Monthly Contact Goal
Every month, I log my “daily contact” with the Welsh language. And October was not impressive, with just 13 days out of 31 logged. As always, this depends on me remembering to tick a box, so it’s not a 100% accurate number. On most of those contact days, I did spend a good 15+ minutes, so there’s that for a sunny side.
I’m slowly reducing my fear and getting a tiny sense of the words in Chinese, though I am far from spending 10 minutes every day. Overall, I spent about 60 minutes on Chinese this month. I watched an Easy Languages Chinese video which was excellent, taught me a word, and kept me interested.
Goals For November 2018
I’m pleased to say that November is not much of a travel month, so I can actually get a little bit of a routine going! Fantastic stuff. For the rest of this year, I’m excited to prepare for the Fluent German Retreat in Trier, and start work on my next secret project.
I am planning my goals using the Language Habit Toolkit, my collection of handy self-coaching materials for solo language learners.
As I mentioned above, the trick with TV is always to find one TV show to get into. Last week I checked into the S4C app and saw that the Welsh political drama Byw Cerlwydd is back for a 3rd season. Fantastic! For this month, my listening goal is focused on catching up with this show. That should give me over 5 hours of exposure.
If I write the name Sgwp here again, will you be cross? NO! I am getting better and better at reading in Welsh with the help of this book and there are just under 100 pages to go, so this month’s goal can be really specific: Get to page 150 of Sgwp!
Apart from the Polyglot Conference, last month was a quiet one. So this month, I’m not sure how I’ll do with time but I am making it my goal to book 2 italki lessons and 2 language exchanges, one every week at least.
After the Top Tools episode and the language journal episode of the Fluent Show in October, how could I not be excited about language journaling! I’ve been diligently writing, but this month my goal is to put pen to paper and write in my Welsh journal 3x a month.
I’ll keep up the Chinese dabbling and aim for at least 6x10 minutes during the month. That’s a whole hour, after all, and often a goal of “10 minutes” turns into 20 before you know it.
How Was Your Month?
So that’s it for this month’s goals! Be sure to check out the linkup for #clearthelist, hosted by Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy.
Are you setting goals, too? How do you feel about your target language and its usefulness?
Leave a comment below to tell me all about it!