January always feels like a really short month for me. A couple of days off at the start of the year and then my wife’s birthday at the end, it’s a nice way to ease myself back into things. Along with work, I also got back on track with my language learning and push ahead (at least a little). So, now it’s time to share my language goals for February… here we go!
As always, I will be setting my language goals as part of Clear the List. A community hosted by Lindsay from Lindsay does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste. Sharing our goals and supporting each other on the journey to fluency.
But one community just isn’t enough! How about one for practicing your language with learners from all over the world?
Get involved with the Language Diary Challenge
The Language Diary Challenge is back again for February with a brand new prize. It’s a monthly challenge that I host on Facebook and Instagram. We share our progress, get support from other learners and make friends. It’s a great way of staying accountable and having fun using your language. Best of all there is a monthly prize that’s up for grabs and all you have to do is take part. Amazing, right?!
The prize this month is a free language on utalk. An app that is perfect for beginners learning the key vocabulary and intermediates trying to fill those gaps in their repertoire. They have a selection of over 140 languages to choose from, so this is great for any level language learner.
Sounds great! How do I get involved?
On Facebook, you simply join the Language Diary Challenge Group and post something in your target language.
On Instagram you post something using #languagediarychallenge and make sure to tag @discover_fluency and @languagediarychallenge. That way I can find your great work and share it on the challenge page so other learners can find you too!
Make it part of your language goals for 2020. You won’t regret it!
What can I post?
Anything! A picture, a video or even just a couple of words about any subject you like. What you have learnt that day, your favourite TV show or what you are having for dinner. Anything goes!
Can I take part if I’m a complete beginner?
Absolutely! You can write single words or basic sentences – everything counts.
Can I write in more than one language?
Yep, it’s totally up to you which/how many languages you choose.
What happens if I miss a day?
No worries! It’s fine to miss the odd day, were only human and sometimes life gets in the way, just be involved as much as you can. .
Check out Instagram for more details about the challenge and the amazing prize for February. Or ask any questions in the comments below.
With my ambitious language goals of passing the C1 Italian exam in June looming, I am feeling the pressure. I know that I have a lot of time but it already feels like it is slipping away. The other day I booked my lessons with my tutor until the end of March (to get the time slot I like) and I had a little panic as I have to book the exam in April?! I’m not ready?!
Luckily my wife managed to talk sense into me and calm me down. Reminding me that it is only January and not March already. While I find enjoyment to be the best motivator, having a little pressure is forcing me to work hard. Which makes a nice change. With hard work comes more results (or at least it did this month).
I didn’t quite hit my target of 2 lessons a week, due to scheduling issues and birthday celebrations, but I was close. To fill the gap I talked to myself a lot more. You would think I am sick of the sound of my own voice by now, but you would be wrong. It was nice to hear the Italian flowing little more easily and finding some new words I didn’t realise I had learnt.
Working through the grammar book was nice to remind me that I have learnt a lot of the basics. Confidence is always a big issue for me, so seeing that the easy stuff is, in fact, easy, made me very happy. Although I need to get cracking on the more advanced stuff so I can get practicing ready to use it in a recorded exam monologue… scary times!
During the long weekend/ birthday celebration, in the Forest of Dean, I spent some time doing some exam research. Finding advice and discussion about the structure and how to approach my studies.
After doing my first couple of practice tests in January (passing B1 easily and almost passing C1), I found the structure of the exam was much harder than the actual content. I’m a slow reader, so listening and reading through all the possible responses and questions is difficult for me! So, practicing those kinds of activities should give me the skills I need to tackle it better next time. The number of past papers are very limited meaning I have to ration them, so that I have something to practice with closer to the time of my exam.
I also started reading my Christmas present from my wife; In Altre Parole. An amazing Italian book about the author’s journey to learn the Italian language and her struggles along the way. The first night I started reading it, I stayed up till 2am and finished half the book. It’s that good, I struggled to put it down! It’s the first time I have read an Italian book and enjoyed it as much as an English book. I don’t know all the words but I get the feelings and emotions clearly. The added bonus is that I have found my ideal Italian voice.
The way that the author writes, and how she expresses herself, is emotive, expressive and fun. So, I have decided to set this book as my benchmark for my writing tasks. If I can write something as well structured and varied during my practice then I will be very happy. There is also a mountain of words and phrases I don’t know so I can’t wait to dissect the book again; chapter by chapter.
So, what are my actual language goals?
I spend too much time reading my web novel and need to increase the difficulty. Apparently, a lot of the reading exams are based on Focus Italia articles so I am going to use these for a more detailed read. I have also loved reading In Altre Parole so much that I want to work through my other Italian books to increase my vocabulary. I have tons so I won’t run out any time soon.
I’ve decided to write a diary. For me, a diary is a bit like yoga or meditation. I have tried it before but it has never really stuck. But this time I am going to expand it further than just talking about my day. I want to express my feelings and emotions about lots of topics to help increase the variety of expressions. I rely heavily on a hand full of phrases and tenses and so I need to push myself to be more creative. So, to be creative, I must create!
My listening skills have increased dramatically over the last 12 months and so I am pretty happy with this part. Even in the practice exam it was more of a vocabulary issue than listening. That being said I want to now focus on some more advanced radio interviews to match the exam more closely. Supplementing that with more Netflix binging, because what’s life without a good series to watch?
I’ve already booked 6 lessons this month with my tutor and will get some language exchanges in the mix to get used to different accents. My goal this month is to use the more advanced expressions from my writing practice in conversation to really activate them. This double production should make them a lot easier to use in the exam (and in general).
There we have it. Another ambitious plan for February to take a huge step forward in order to book my exam in April… Ahhhh…!! Wish me luck!
Let me know what your language goals are for February and if you will be taking part in the Language Diary Challenge.
Until next time!