Sunday, 5 August 2018

Language Goals - Clear the List, August 18

It's healthy to review your goals as you go along to see where you're making progress, but more importantly, where you're not! If you can see where you're failing, you can take action to turn it around.

Clear the list is a monthly round up of your language learning. It's a review of how you did last month, and goal setting for the upcoming month hosted by Lindsay Does Languages and Eurolinguiste.

Let's see how I did this month...


Last month's goal - improve my listening skills.

I had a pretty good couple of lessons with my tutor this month. I wouldn't say my conversation skills are fluid - far from it, but they're getting a little less disjointed every time. I really need to attend more French speaking meet-ups for the practice. It's been about four months since I've been to one! One sad thing for me this month - my tutor is moving to Canada! It's a real shame for me, but really pleased for her. I have one more lesson before she moves, so I need to make the most of it - one solid hour French only listening and speaking!

This month's goal - find a new tutor!


Last month's goal - character recognition and writing practice.

I'd stared off the month just reviewing Memrise, as you do, when LingoDeer was recommended as a great little app for learning the language. I'm very impressed with the app, and even though all I wanted to do was keep up with character and kanji recognition this month, I've actually started learning the language with gusto! I haven't actually made any time for writing this month, so I really need to focus on that next.

This month's goal - continue with Memrise and LingoDeer, and practice writing.


Last month's goal - explore cases.

I didn't do any delving into cases - I just carried on, business as usual! I'm continually adding to my vocab and taking notice of the patterns in the grammar. I think I'm doing ok. I might have to ask my Polish friend if she wouldn't mind sitting with me for half an hour here and there to figure out what I'm doing.

This month's goal - continue learning, record myself speaking.


Last month's goal - continue with Duolingo and Memrise.

I've been keeping up with Duolingo and Memrise and the more I do, the more I want to learn! I've started watching the Easy Spanish videos and I'm surprised by how much I've picked up. This wasn't a language I was really interested in, but it's just suddenly grabbed me with both arms!

This month's goal - buy a coursebook and start studying in a more structured way


Last month's goal - switch up my learning methods.

I didn't go looking for different ways to approach Swedish, instead I decided to take a break this month. I'd been having some difficulty with it and it was getting me down. I do honestly believe that you need to step away from something occasionally to get your bearings before trying again. Hopefully August will be kinder! One of the resources that was suggested to me was so I signed up. I haven't really looked at it properly yet though, so we'll see how it goes.

This month's goal - start the course!


Last month's goal - get more exposure to the language .

Ebargofiant by Jerry Hunter is a Welsh language novel I bought quite a while ago, but I haven't got round to reading it properly. It's been written in a dialect, a bit like the way Trainspotting by Irvine Welch was written.
I'd been putting it off because of this reason, but I bought the book so I had to read it... The reason I bought it in the first place was because it's reasonably short and it was highly rated - I had to abandon it as the writting style was too distracting.

Other exposure was downloading an app called Clic which is an on demand service for the Welsh channel 4, S4C (like iPlayer for BBC). I only watched one episode, but it was a documentary about the river Rhine, all in Welsh.

This month's goal - continue to get exposure to the language.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Language Goals - Clear the List, July 18

It's healthy to review your goals as you go along to see where you're making progress, but more importantly, where you're not! If you can see where you're failing, you can take action to turn it around.

Clear the list is a monthly round up of your language learning. It's a review of how you did last month, and goal setting for the upcoming month hosted by Lindsay Does Languages and Eurolinguiste.


I'm doing ok in French, but there's a long way to go yet. Listening is my weakest skill. My tutor is really good, and allows me to steer my own lessons (with her guidance) so generally I get to work on what's been troubling me the most. I only have two lessons with her a month because my life is pretty hectic, but those lessons are so valuable! Before my next lesson I'm going to prepare some questions for her (in French, obviously) so that she can do the talking instead of gearing me up to get plenty of speaking practice! French words seem to just blend into one another and getting some quality listening work in this coming month is going to help immensely.


This is a pretty big language and for now all I'm planning to do is keep on top of character recognition, and writing practice. I'm not quite ready to leap into this language yet, but I've noticed that the company I work for has started making contacts in Japan, and we've had a couple of Japanese reps come over to visit us. It's been pretty disappointing for me that I was only able to say a few greetings to them in Japanese. They seemed to be impressed but I think they were just being polite!


I absolutely love the sound of Slavic languages. Two of my friends are Polish and they seem to think that learning the language is pretty pointless, but are quite impressed with my pronunciation nonetheless! The grammar seems tricky, but I haven't really looked into the grammar that much. What I have been doing is noticing the patterns as I'm learning set phrases, and it seems to be sticking! This month I'm going to look a bit deeper into how to use cases properly.


I accidentally added Spanish to the list of languages I'm learning. There's no reason for me to learn it, as I've never felt connected to Spain or any other Spanish speaking country, but thought I'd add it on Duolingo just to see what it was like... Well, I've only just started learning and I've fallen in love with it! Maybe it's because I've been learning French for quite a while, picking up another romance language has seemed pretty easy! Having said that, I'm not far along, so all I'm planning to do this month is keep up with Duolingo and Memrise.


This is the language I'm struggling with the most. I really don't want to shelve this language yet, but for some reason, things aren't sticking. My only goal for Swedish this month is to try out different learning methods or courses. I need to find something that will work for me. I should be beyond the beginner stage by now but I'm still just clutching on to the basics which is frustrating.


Being rusty in my own native language is quite shameful! I really need to get more exposure to the language (I don't live in Wales anymore!). This month's goal is to find some TV shows, books and podcasts that are relative to my interests. I'm also going to continue teaching my other half words and phrases, but in a more structured fashion.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Language Goals - April 2018 Clear The List

It's healthy to review your goals as you go along to see where you're making progress, but more importantly, where you're not! If you can see where you're failing, you can take action to turn it around.

Clear the list is a monthly community round up of your language learning. A review of how you did last month, and goal setting for the upcoming month hosted by Lindsay Does Languages and Eurolinguiste.

I took a bit of a break from language learning (except for French) over the last three months but I was itching to get back into the other languages. I've realised that focusing my efforts was great for French, but absolutely terrible for the others! Oh well, you live and learn. Onward and upward!

I keep a bullet journal, and follow other bullet journal users on Instagram. One day I came across a spread that was a goals bingo sheet. Only yesterday did it occur to me that I should create a goals bingo sheet for language learning too!

So, for April, my clear the list, my goals are coming in bingo form. Let's see how this goes!

Sunday, 18 March 2018


So, I'm not a blogger, and a lot of my post were just lists of things I was planning on doing. I want my blog to be a bit more positive and be records of positive stuff I have done.

I've subsequently deleted my posts other than my first post - a window into my past learning experience, as it's a reminder of what I came from and where I'm hoping to be.

I like the #clearthelist tag run by Lindsay Williams, Shannon Kennedy, Angel Pretot and Kris Broholm.

Other than this post, I aim to only have one "planning" post a month, and it wont really be a planning post, it will be the Clear the List post, stating my goals for the upcoming month and an action plan for achieving those goals.

So, what languages do I want to work on for the remainder of the month?

After having a good three four months away from languages (other than French), I feel invigorated and want to jump right into learning 20 languages! Ha! Seriously though, I need to come up with a workable plan to include language learning in my hectic life! I work full time, I run a Girl Guide unit weekly, I run a craft group twice a month, I go swimming weekly, I attend an astronomy group twice a month, as well as find time to spend with my partner and friends. It is still possible to find time for language if you are serious about it.

English (native)

  • Learn and understand one grammar rule.

Welsh (native)

  • Learn and understand one grammar rule.
  • Find a radio show or podcast to listen to.
  • Teach my partner one new phrase and two new words a week.
  • One Instagram post in Welsh a week.

French (upper beginner)

  • Learn and understand one grammar rule.
  • Grammar drills to solidify my understanding.
  • One Instagram post in French a week.
  • One blog post a week in French.

Swedish (complete beginner)

  • Play Word Feud with my Swedish friend.
  • Find pronunciation videos on Youtube. 

Polish (complete beginner)

  • Learn three words a week - add post its around the house.

Japanese (complete beginner)

  • Learn to read and write Hiragana and Katakana

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Languages are not hard!

A little bit of my language background

I grew up bilingual, so I've already got two languages under my belt (English and Welsh), and when I got to secondary school, we started learning French - language numero trois! Then a weird choice was given to us in our third year of secondary school, where we got to do an extra class, but we had to choose between Drama and German. I was not made for the stage and I'd been enjoying French, so naturally I chose to study German - language Nummer vier! However, German for me wasn't as enjoyable as French was. Maybe it was the teacher, maybe it was the learning methods, maybe it was me. Who knows? It was a long time ago now!

Anyway, let's skip forward in time a bit. I moved to a city from rural Wales in 2007 and I made new connections and friendships. I was introduced to a Polish girl back then and we're still good friends now. Whenever I hear her speak Polish I'm just amazed that those sounds mean anything! However, I wasn't inspired to learn her language or even revisit the ones I'd studied at school.

Fast forward a bit more, and I start a knitting group (hey, don't judge!) made of friends and friends of friends! A few of them spoke other languages. One speaks some Polish as her family on her dad's side is Polish, and she spent time in Russia and France, so she speaks some French and Russian. Another studied French, and two others are Swedish. Talking about languages crops up almost every meeting! It really got me thinking about picking up the French and German that I'd forgotten but I didn't actively pursue it.

One day, while watching some TED talks (not actually about language learning), I came across a video by Benny Lewis which inspired me:

Polyglot. What? I'd never heard of this word before. I couldn't imagine that there are people out there that can speak up to 20 languages (at various levels). I immediately went to Benny Lewis' blog - Fluent in 3 Months and read some of the posts. I started to see that there was quite a large language learning community online with so many people learning and teaching with lots of free resources. I quickly downloaded some apps, watched videos online and read blogs. It turns out that I had to get to my thirties before I wanted to rekindle my love for languages. It's never too late!

French was the language I wanted to pick up. France is only a stone's throw away from the UK and it's spoken in many parts of the world. So it began. I started using an app called Duolingo to casually ease me into it, a little app I came across through reading language blogs that takes a mere couple of minutes to complete short vocabulary building lessons. I was hooked! Two years later and I'm nowhere near fluent as I fit language learning around my hectic work life but I can have basic conversations with natives! The more I delve into the language learning community, the more I want to learn and succeed.

Over the last couple of years, I started with French, and I've recently added Japanese, Polish and Swedish to the list of languages I'm learning. Because I have a limited amount of time in my life to study, I know I'm not going to reach a good level as quickly as others and I'm ok with that.
There are no quick fixes to learning a language - you have to work at it. The only thing you can do is make it fun and fit it around your current work life.

My aim here on this blog isn't to tell you how to learn a language. This blog is here to share my journey with you and share the resources I find useful. I hope it will help you!