#clearthelist October 2018: Language Hunt In The Brecon Beacons

clear the list language goals october 2018

It’s time again for my language learning update with #clearthelist, the monthly language learning round-up sharing language learning goals, support, and accountability.

What Happened In September?

After all the summer’s travels, it was nice to spend a consistent bunch of weeks at home. I got back into my usual language routine — only to the extent that that routine actually exists! I’m not a “1 hour at this time every day” kind of person. In fact that kind of schedule would drive me crazy, so instead I focused on the goals for the month and making sure I maintain that daily contact level.

All in all, a good month for language! Plus, I’ve now started meeting on a weekly basis with Lindsay and Shannon again because we’re putting on a Women in Language sister event in November. Make sure you’re on the Women in Language list to stay up to date!

In other activities, the month was full up with promo, planning and bookings for the next Fluent German Retreat, which will be Christmas themed in December. I. Cannot. WAIT!!!

Travel in Wales: Is Welsh Useless After All?

At the end of the month, my husband and I spend a week travelling in Wales. It was lovely, we visited the Brecon Beacons, I swam in a lake, we walked in stupendous landscapes. By all measures, this trip was a success.

Except…I hardly spoke the language! You may have read how much I spoke in just 3 days at my last Welsh visit, the Eisteddfod in Cardiff., and wonder how come I didn’t get as much practice in this time?

In truth, I couldn’t find anyone who spoke Welsh. You may have heard before how the Welsh language was pushed out by English over the last 100-200 years. In the Brecon Beacons, this is super evident. Lots of people told me about parents and grandparents who “got beaten up in school for speaking Welsh, so they stopped”.

Make of that what you will. I think it’s not funny.

Where I grew up in Germany-near-Luxembourg, it was common to head to another country and for the border region folks to be bilingual. Yes, even in a tiny language like Luxembourgish. No one EVER would call Luxembourgish useless. Yet here in the UK, people do it to the Welsh (and probably the other UK languages) all of the damn time. Why would you have this presumption that a language is “useless”?

Anyway!! Do you have thoughts about this? Share them in the comments below, or come to the Polyglot Conference, buy me a drink and let’s put the world to rights.

The Fluent Show

The Fluent Show celebrated European Day of Languages (26 September) in style this year, with a HUGE 20 language quiz edition hosted by me and Lindsay. We quizzed each other and you lot. I’ve yet to find anyone who recognised all 20 languages. Could it be you?

Listen Here To Take Our 20 European Languages Quiz

Language Goals and Progress

Let’s have a look how September went in terms of language goals. I’ve got a feeling about this one!

Listening

The goal was to switch the radio on in Welsh 2-3 times per week. I managed this in week 1 (starter’s enthusiasm) and in week 4 (the car radio had Radio Cymru). In between, I did watch a few shows on S4C including coverage of Ironman Wales. I’d say 8 out of 10 for this goal.

Reading

Sgwp, Sgwp, Sgwp. It’s the book that keeps on giving. I’ve not set up a pretty good routine of reading the chapter, highlighting vocab, looking it up and putting it into my notebook, and reviewing previous words while I’m there.

I got through more chapters in September, but feel like more reading in Welsh is necessary.

Speaking

Speaking was pretty great! I had two meetings with Nicky and arranged to meet my friends Dafydd and Gavin while I was in Cardiff on the Wales trip.

I also set the goal to get through Say Something in Welsh 2 up to level 18, and in fact I’ve just finished level 19. Da iawn!

Writing

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Well…I did download the exam papers. But then I didn’t look at them in detail. In fact, I totally forgot about this goal so it’s time I got back to it.

Through instant messaging in Welsh, I’m noticing that slowly I’m better able to translate “what I want to say in my head” into Welsh language without hesitation. Writing is always a slower skill for me, because speaking comes naturally with my extrovert/gregarious personality.

But as my tax advisor said…”you can’t hand wave through everything”.

Monthly Contact Goal

September looks pretty good, with 22 days out of 30 checked on the “daily contact with Welsh log”. Even when I didn’t speak Welsh to people on my trip, it was contact every day through bilingual signage and Radio Cymru in the rental car.

Other Languages

There’s always a chance for other languages to sneak in, and I did a tiny bit of playtime on the [Drops app] in Chinese and watched some Netflix with French subtitles.

Goals For October 2018

In October, I’m planning a trip to Croatia and a talk at the Polyglot Conference in Ljubljana, so it’s a busy one. Are you coming?

In October, I want to keep up the current Welsh level and play with a few other languages such as Chinese. I’m hoping to spend a good amount of time with Lindsay and Shannon, so maybe I can annoy them with my practice of tones.

Listening

At this stage, I feel it’s important for me to get lots more realistic spoken Welsh input so it’s definitely key to keep that TV or radio habit up. The goal’s 2-3 times a week, as before.

Reading

It’s not a particularly inspired goal, but I will continue to make progress with Sgwp and have a book of short stories lined up for afterwards. Reading is such a great way for me to grow my vocabulary. At this stage it’s more helpful for new words than online lessons!

Taking into account the big amount of travel I’ve got coming up, my goal is 5 chapters of Sgwp.

I want to dedicate the rest of the time to picking up the good old Chinese in 10 Minutes a Day again. Perhaps I should actually spend 10 minutes a day on it and then I’ll learn way more Chinese!!

Speaking

I will continue to book in an hour or so every week for a virtual paned a sgwrs (cuppa and a chat) in Welsh when my friends can spare the time. I am also craving contact with more speakers, so am considering putting together a Meet-Up Cymraeg here in Canterbury in the next month.

I'm also very pleased to be back on the Ceffyl (horse) with Say Something in Welsh, so my aim is to complete challenges 20-22 in level 2.

If you want to start learning Welsh yourself, download my free Teach Yourself Welsh toolkit here.

Writing

Tricky! I do want to work on that exam paper, but this month I don’t feel ready. I’ll set a different goal and park this one. My goal is to post a Welsh language caption on Instagram at least once a week.

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.

By the way, if you want to hear more about what you can do when you’ve failed to meet a goal, check out September’s Fluent Show episode about goals with tips from me and Lindsay.

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!