It’s been quite a year so far!
But just looking at the past month of May…I’m pretty happy with my language learning progress. It’s a stressful time with this pandemic, not knowing who’s going to get sick when. And those worries can get to me in my personal life. I have the privilege of working from home and staying employed, but I do still worry for all those who are sick and dying. I worry more for my loved ones and friends, that they might get sick, than I worry for myself.
But I can’t live my life full of worry. I still want to do things that make me happy, like language learning!
I’ve actually caught up with the collection of paperbacks that I bought during my travels to France back in 2018 (when I went to Arles, Avignon, Marseille, and Paris). I buy a small pile every time I go- it’s cheaper to buy them in person than to buy them through amazon.us- and it tides me over for a while after my trip. I really enjoyed reading “La fille qui lisait dans le métro” by Christine Féret-Fleury (I bought it in a Monoprix in Marseille).
I’ve found a few more podcasts to enjoy! I finally went through a list that someone suggested to me on Instagram, and I did my own research via blogs online and searching on Spotify. If you’d like to see the full list, it’s in my story highlights on Instagram here. Some of my current favorites are El Washington Post podcast (with hosts in DC, Bogotá, and Madrid), and Radio Menea podcast (in Spanglish). I have a couple of running Spanish music playlists that I’m trying to keep interesting for myself, so I’ll have a bit more Spanish listening practice. I’m also still reading my copy of Spanish Short Stories by Olly Richards, and I watched She-Ra on Netflix in Spanish too.
I finished the beginner version of Olly Richards’ Italian Short Stories! I started it by taking my time and re-reading the chapters out-loud to get the most out of the exercise, but then as it got to the end of the book I just tried to read through it like normal. I think I’m at a point where I could read a regular book in Italian! But I also have the next version of the Short Stories, so I’ll probably read that first and then tackle some of the Italian paperbacks that I own. I did buy a few children’s books when I visited Rome last fall. They’re great practice for when you’re just starting to read in another language.
I’m mainly using the Drops and Lingodeer apps for my daily practice, and then doing the occasional textbook lesson. I’m wondering if I’m not pushing myself enough. It’s kind of hard to know my level, since I’m not in a typical class getting tested. Maybe I’ll take a practice HSK test this year finally! That will also give me clues as to what grammar topics I need to work on and what vocabulary I might be missing. Skritter also has nice short videos on helpful vocab topics on their Youtube channel, and Netflix has a few more epic Chinese movies to watch with subtitles as well.
I’m occasionally doing a textbook lesson, and then checking out the occasional Youtube videos, Fluent U blog, and Transparent language blog. I’ve gotten some corrections from native Polish-speakers on my Instagram posts lately, and I know I have a lot of grammar work to do. But I’d rather keep making posts and using my language skills to create something, than not write anything because I’m not ready or good enough yet. I know that I have a long way to go, but I’m enjoying the learning process. Poland actually has a lot of UNESCO world heritage sites, which is something to look forward to visiting in the future!
It might make you feel a little guilty, but a situation like a pandemic brings about a lot of similar news across the world. So there are new language terms and phrases that you can learn, in relation to current events. I’ve learned a lot of medical vocabulary and how to wish people well in Icelandic recently! It has also been interesting seeing how this small island is doing- they had very few deaths, there are currently very few infected cases, and a lot of their country has opened back up. They’re also working on getting their tourism industry running again.
I haven’t worked on this language much lately. But that’s okay, I have enough on my plate. Something that I have noticed, is that all of the official press conferences related to the pandemic have an ASL interpreter present. Which they should! So I have tried to catch a few signs by watching the interpreter, and I do find it fascinating to watch them express all the things that the speaker is saying in just a few signs.