Month in Review – January 2019 – belated

C’est tant difficile de croire que le janvier est déjà passé! Je trouve que l’année 2019 a bel et bien commencé pour moi. J’espère que le reste de l’année continue sur cette voie.

Pienso que mis objetivos de lenguas han pasado bien en enero. Utilizo mi francés y mi español cada día (por la mayor parte del mes) en cualquiera manera. Juego con Drops para practicar mi chino cada día. Practico el italiano, el chino, el polaco, el islandés, y la lengua de señas una vez por semana en una manera estructurada (libro de texto, con audio, y escritura formal) entre 30min hasta 1hr.

Ho fatto pratica di conversazione con il francese, il spagnolo ed il italiano alcune volte durante il mese, è stato fantastico!

看看我的帖子,我喜欢很多颜色!Kàn kàn wǒ de tiězi, wǒ xǐhuān hěnduō yánsè! Looking at my posts, I like lots of colors!

Lubię książki i herbatę! I like books and tea

Mér líkar við hugmyndafræðilega tjáningu! I like idiomatic expressions!

French: I’ve done a much better job of keeping up my language skills over this past year, and I think I have a pretty good routine right now. I listen to Radio France Internationale (RFI) and their “Journal en Francais Facile” (10 min French news, and I wouldn’t say it’s for beginners, so I’m not sure why they call it facile) while making my lunch for the day and my breakfast in the morning. I watch TF1 and their “JT 13hr du weekend” on Saturday and/or Sunday while eating breakfast and doing chores around my home in the morning. I make sure to have a French book in my reading rotation, and usually I’m reading it at least once weekly. I send e-mails to French friends and messages to Francophile American friends online regularly. I follow a number of French language pages & groups on social media, and I have most of my social media/tech set to French language options.

To work toward/improve/add: I don’t practice my speaking skills as much as I should, and I think it’s time for me to try out italki. I’ll probably try doing a language exchange for free with other users first to get a hang of the site. But I have a friend that really recommends paying for a conversation partner/tutor, so I may end up doing that as well.

Spanish: As of only a few months ago, I decided that I couldn’t let my Spanish languish. I was kind of just getting by whenever I had a conversation with someone, and so I’m trying to be more disciplined with my practice now. I’m listening to youtube videos daily and I’m reading sections of a Spanish poetry book weekly.

To add: I want to practice writing more- this may mean doing conjugation tables, writing paragraphs (little diary entries about my day, random stories, answering prompts). I also want to practice speaking more- so depending on how my French italki practice goes, I may do Spanish as well!

Italian: I’m actually really satisfied with how my Italian has been going over the past year. I’ve learned a lot of vocab & grammar, and I can keep up with a simple conversation. Right now, I’m reading Italian Short Stories by Olly on a weekly basis.

To add: A vacation to Italy may be in my near future (in the upcoming year or year and a half), so I may increase my practice of Italian in preparation for the trip. More writing, reading, listening, and speaking practice.

Chinese: I can tell that my Chinese learning is a long-term goal. Daily, I’m practicing with the Drops & Scripts apps for vocabulary & character writing. Weekly, I’m do a lesson in the New Practical Chinese Reader and/or I use a set of Chinese flash cards I have, I also try to go over the 300 most common characters on graph paper, and sometimes I’ll play with a small white board and write out characters.

To add: I’m good with how my Chinese is coming along for now. If I start to plan a vacation (maybe in the next few years?) I’ll increase my practice as well.

Polish: This is one of my “back-burner” languages as I like to say. It has a lower priority in how I’m fitting it into my time for language learning. Once a week, I work on a chapter in my textbook (taking notes, answering the prompts, listening to the audio, repeating phrases out loud after the audio). Sometimes I do an extra activity, but that’s all I’m doing for now.

To add: I’m learning Polish because of my heritage, and I’m really enjoying what I’m learning! I have enough other language work going on that I don’t want to add to much to my plate. I also don’t want to overdo it and make myself uninterested. So maybe in a few more years, I’ll have learned enough to want to start planning a trip to visit! We’ll see.

Icelandic: This is another of my “back-burner” languages (like the back burner on the stove, it’s smaller, you don’t use it as often, and it’s not as powerful. You can put something on the back-burner of the stove, and forget it’s cooking?). I really enjoyed learning the bits of travel Icelandic I learned when I visited Reykjavik back in 2016. So I continued learning the language after I came back home! Right now, I’m working on a chapter in my textbook once a week (taking notes, answering the prompts, listening to the audio, repeating phrases out loud after the audio). Sometimes I do an extra activity, but that’s all I’m doing for now.

To add: I’ll go back and visit Iceland again someday, but it may not be for a while. It was an expensive country, and I have so many places on my list! For now, I’m just enjoying having fun learning it little by little.

American Sign Language (ASL): This is another “back-burner” language for me. I’ve had some retail jobs in the past, and I always thought it would be useful to learn how to sign for the occasional deaf or hard of hearing customer that came in. I don’t have a real connection to this language, I just think it’s practical! I decided to start learning it myself about 2 years ago. I’ve had some starts & stops with it. Right now, I’m doing an online lesson with ASL Univ online once a week. I’ll often add in a short study session at the beginning or end of my lesson, and I’ll continue practicing to sign the alphabet (which I’m pretty good at now) or I’ll learn some new signing vocab from the book, “Learn American Sign Language” by James Guido, that I have.

To add: Like I said, I don’t have a connection to someone deaf or hearing impaired. Maybe someday I’ll make some real life connections to use these skills. But for now, my goals are to continue learning gradually, so I’m good with my current practices.

As an adult: I have a full-time job, I have friends, I work out at the gym, I make sure to see my family once a week or so, and I have other hobbies than language learning.

From this perspective, I’m really glad to be able to keep up the language learning that I do. I fit in time where I can, and I try to find content to enjoy in my foreign languages so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

I don’t watch a lot of American tv…but I do watch lots of foreign film! I find podcasts, news channels, and music in other languages to listen to while doing household chores. I find books that I enjoy in other languages, and read them along with books in my native language.

That’s my January 2019 Month in Review! How’s your language learning going? Any struggles or triumphs you’d like to share? 加油!


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