#Clear the List – Language Goals January 2018

Share This Post

Happy New Year Everyone! New year, new start and new language goals. As you may know I have set myself the ambitious resolution to pass the C1 Italian exam by the end of the year. It will take a lot of work but I am confident I will be able to do it.

The first step in climbing this language mountain is to break it down to manageable micro goals and that it what I will be using Clear the List for this year. But, before all that, let’s have a look back on my Advent Language Challenge.

December Summary

December Language Tracker

I had a really great time learning about all the Christmas traditions in all the languages I can speak. The thing that amazed me the most was how similar so many of the traditions and stories were. Even with such a great distance between us we all have these things in common. Listening to Christmas carols in different languages was really fun, especially when it was a carol that I know in English. I love seeing how the lyrics have been adjusted to fit the foreign tongue and also keep the meaning behind the song in tact. That is the true talent of translation. Not just showing the literal meaning, but keeping the heart, culture and deeper meaning behind the words. I hope that I can gain an even greater appreciation of this as I develop my Italian skills to an advanced level.

January Goals

My goal for 2018 is to become an advanced user of Italian. My love for language learning started with Italian when I learnt it as a surprise for a trip to Rome and ever since I have been hooked. Amazing how one little decision can help you find your hobby and passion. Now it is time to really knuckle down to my studies and climb off the intermediate plateau and join the realm of Italiani avanzati (Advanced Italians).

For my monthly goals I am going to choose four tasks to chip away at each day. This has worked really well for me in the past so “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

January Language Tracker - Square

My tracker this month is fairly simple. After the complexity of my advent tracker I wanted to go back to basics with this one. Each bar represents a week so I can highlight them to go along and see my total progress as well as the split throughout the month.

Make sure that you share the pictures of your language trackers on Twitter or Instagram by tagging me in and using #p2ptrackerchallenge. I can’t wait to see what you guys do

Before I explain my goals I want to give a big shout out to Katie from Joy of Languages, Elena from Hitoritabi and Elfin from All About Italian for all the helpful advice and useful tips they have given me on how to prepare for the exam.

1. Translation technique – Speaking and Writing

This one is straight from Katie’s post on preparing for the French C1 Exam. The idea of this is to develop your skills in expressing yourself clearly and naturally in your target language. It will then highlight how your responses differ from a native speaker and adjustments that need to be made.

Katie’s translation technique is:

  1. Find examples of native Italian speakers answering questions.
  2. Translate the Italian into English.
  3. Wait a few days until the memory of the correct Italian response has faded.
  4. Translate the English back into Italian.
  5. Compare the response with the original speaker.

As soon as I read about it in her article a light bulb went on. Eureka! The perfect way to get instant feedback on how to express myself like an italiano autentico (authentic Italian).   

2. Tune my ears – Listening

From my experience of Spanish and German last year I have realised the importance of training my ear for the languages I am learning. With listening being one of my weakest skills in Italian I want to put my focus on this from the very beginning so I am more than ready when the exam comes round. Here is a quick list of the different activities I have planned:

  • Lyrics Training – Fill in the gaps of popular Italian songs
  • Audio Transcribing – Listening to audio and transcribing what I hear to identify mistakes or confusion
  • Newspapers on speed – Another great tip from Katie’s post on listening to audio quicker to make it easier to understand at normal speed
  • Podcasts – Listening to Italian talk radio to practice for the listening comprehension section in the exam

3. Renovating my foundations – Grammar practice

While most of this challenge will be about learning new things, I think it is important to make sure I have a strong foundation before I start building towards the dizzying heights of fluency. To do this I am going back to basics and review all the essential grammar for Italian from the beginning. This will mainly focus around revising the different tenses and increasing my base vocabulary from the most frequently used words. That way, when I start learning the more complex concepts and structures I will have a clear understanding of the basics.

4. Pronunciation Practice – Language Diaries

Along with tuning my ears, I will also be putting focus onto my pronunciation. To be able to clearly be understood and reach the machine gun speed Italian I am so used to hearing, being able to pronounce all the sounds correctly will be vital. I will break down the individual sounds and then build them up to make natural joined speech.

The key part of this will be to get native speaker feedback so I will be recording myself speaking as part of the Language Diaries challenge on Instagram. This way I will hopefully find some lovely, and helpful, Italians that will give me some pointers.

Bonus Round

While these aren’t part of my goals I have some additional plans for this month to get me setup ready for a year of language success.


I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with flashcards but I want to try and get back into the habit. I have re-downloaded all my flashcard apps to find what works best for me. Rather than a traditional flashcard I am going to take inspiration from the video flashcards I made last year by getting the word I want to learn, adding an image from my own library (where possible) and then recording the word and sentence for usage. Doing this really helped me memorise and recall the words I was learning for Spanish so I want to apply this to my Italian.


As the goal is to pass an exam it is essential that I have a good resource to learn from. I will be buying a B2 and C1 textbook so that I can check that I am focusing in the right areas for the content that will be covered in the tests.

Exam Practice

As I have never taken an exam before I want to be ready for the process when I step through the door. To do this I will need to do a lot of practice papers so that I can see what progress I am making and get used to how the exams are organised. I am aiming to do these almost once a week, starting with the B1, B2 and working towards the lofty heights of C1. As the saying goes… Practice makes perfect!

Italki Tutor

Lastly I need to find a good tutor that is well versed in all things CILS. While I have had some substantial achievements with my self-motivated studies I really need a helping hand to push my level further. I am hoping to have a lesson a week (more if funds allow) where we focus on exercises that will prepare me for the specific tests I will be presented with in the exam.

Wow, that was a long one! Thanks for sticking with me if you have made it this far. As you can tell I am very excited and can’t wait to get started.

What are your goals for this month? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

Ciao for now!

Set your language learning goals as a part of the Clear the List Link Up hosted by Shannon Kennedy of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages


More To Explore

Italian Teachers Answer – What is Fluency?

Buon Ferragosto a tutti! As a special Italian treat, I have an Italian special of “What is fluency?”. Where polyglots and language experts tell us about what “fluency” means to them. Check it out!