Back to it

It’s been far, far too long since I’ve been seriously focused on my languages. Through one thing or another, it must be close to a year now. This happens to a lot of people be it for personal reasons or just moving the interest to another language. It’s not something to worry about. In fact some linguists say, that by forgetting the language you actually make it stronger when you revisit it. Well, we’ll see. So, last week I decided to set myself a couple of challenges with my languages. A three month challenge for Italian and Japanese which I will hopefully post on each week.

So, I’ve thought carefully about what I would to achieve. Like all learning endeavors, there needs to be some kind of goal to reach otherwise you just end up coasting (if you’re lucky). These long-term goals need to be broken down into chunks – mid-term goals (month) and short-term goals (weekly/daily) So, for me this means the following.
3 months of immersion 
 
Japanese – 3 months: secure my past knowledge and be ready to tackle the difficulties of N3
Month 1 – can I secure N4?
500 Kanji
N4 grammar and vocabulary reviewed, noticed and used
LingQ.com for a wealth of reading and listening
Italian – 3 months: take part in an Italian book club
Month 1 – how far can listening and reading get me?
Reading & listening (vocabulary revisited simply as part of the process)- ‘La Fabbrica di Cioccolato’ (finish) ‘Io Sono Leggenda’ (complete about 50%)
For my weekly goals, I’ve simply worked out how many chapters I need to cover a week. For alongside these goals, I’ll be doing other things with the languages. immersing myself into books that take my fancy, watching films/dramas, listening to podcasts and generally following articles on websites in my target languages. It’s good to have goals but it’s also good to do whatever I like. I find this nurtures my enthusiasm and motivation. So, time to get comfortable with the language.

January Challenge – Reading

hokusai_Winter_Evening_in_Japan_I follow a number of blogs and Olle Linge’s site has really helped in introducing such things as various methods of strengthening vocabulary but lately I’ve been intrigued by his news of a reading challenge. The challenge can be undertaken through http://readmod.com/ but also by leaving a comment on Olle’s site (I’ve linked the full article below – worth a read). To take one summary from the article:

  1. Set a goal for January
  2. If you read longer texts, report the number of pages directly
  3. If you read shorter texts, count sentences (about 20 sentences per page)
  4. If character counting is convenient, treat 400 characters as one page
 I’ll be leaving a comment on Olle’s site but I’ll be posting my progress on a weekly basis. At the moment I’m studying three languages all of which are at different stages so my goals will reflect this. Also in my reading I want to try to include as much listening as I can. Equally I would like to spend time noticing features about the texts and perhaps consolidate this in a discussion with my Italki friends or in writing. So I agree that there will be times where I am simply reading for enjoyment but there will also be times where I’m getting the most I can from the experience. In addition, I have other commitments to Kanji, Hanzi, grammar and vocabulary practice that I need to work on. So my goals will accommodate this interest. The challenge is still there but I don’t want to forget or fall behind. So my challenge is to make an active effort to read throughout the week. That’s it. It isn’t my aim to set myself an unachievable amount of reading, leaving me feeling like a failure when I don’t meet my target. It is rather to secure an active (and hopefully enjoyable) reading habit. That is my goal.
  • Japanese (low intermediate)
  • Weekly approx :
  • News report – 14 pages (1 article is about 400 characters/1 page)
  • Manga – 50 pages
  • Novel – 5 pages
  • Month= 276
  • Chinese (6 months of studying)
  • Assimil – 5 pages
  • Textbook – 2 pages
  • Month = 28 pages
  • Italian (about three weeks of studying)
  • Textbook – 7 pages a week  (20 sentences a page)
  • Month = 21 pages
If you’re going to do the challenge please leave a comment below 🙂