Welcome to December’s #ClearTheList! This month, it’s all about Guarani, Indonesian and a sprinkling of others!
Hosted by myself, Kris Broholm, Angel Pretot and Shannon of Eurolinguiste, Clear The List is your chance to set monthly language learning goals + achieve them as part of the community. We share our monthly goals and encourage you to do the same. Check the bottom of this post for more info on how to join in.
Your free planner for December!
Before we get started, here’s your chance to make the most of December for language learning completely free with this month’s My Month in Languages Planner.
Click the image below to download your copy for December. Use it to keep track of your language plans and goals for the coming month. Woop!
Or, if you want something with more detail to take things further, then grab a copy of the brand new Solo Language Learner Planner, which contains calendars, goal setting pages, reviews, and a daily study session planner. Woop!
Join the #IGLC in December!
Did you join the Instagram Language Challenge last month to learn or share the basics of a language? This month it’s all about useful little words to take your language learning further.
It’s totally free + you get to learn a little language each day. Woop!
This month it’s a slightly festive version of the Instagram Language Challenge – and for the first time in what feels like aaaages (probably because it is ages! Ha!) I’ll be joining in again.
Each day up until the 25th has a language listed next to it. The idea is to learn how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in that language each day until Santa comes down the chimney on the 25th…or I guess the night of the 24th…or not then at all if you’re celebrating Orthodox Christmas!
Either way, I figured Merry Christmas is a nice thing to learn to say in other languages. So that’s the theme for December’s Instagram Language Challenge.
Language Learning Review for November
November was a busy month of moving around compared to October spent in one place! But that doesn’t mean I wanted to leave my language learning goals behind.
November started off a bit rocky in terms of language learning. I had good intentions (don’t we all, always) but we were about to leave Merida after 6 weeks (it felt like home. I nicknamed the place Merida Keynes) and we had a speedy few days going through Belize to ensure we made it to Guatemala in time for a run Ashley had booked up a volcano. As you do.
But I figured after a few days that I wasn’t going to let something like that stop me learning Guarani, so I set to work using both the My Month in Languages Planner and the brand spanking new Solo Language Learner Planner to actually get something in place to help me stick to + get stuff done.
It worked! About half way through the month (and after Shannon sent me some Guarani resources she’d found – thanks Shannon!) I was feeling refreshed and revived and good to go again. Yay!
That said, we did have two nights at a homestay in the Mayan countryside where we were filming for an upcoming Language Stories episode and…shock of all horrors…there was no wifi! Which meant I lost my pretty epic 50 day plus streaks on Duolingo, Memrise and Clozemaster for Guarani. Nooooo! Oh well, it just gives me a new target to beat.
Language Reading Challenge
The topic for Shannon’s Language Reading Challenge over at Eurolinguiste last month was “a book set in the country of your target language”.
I’ve been reading Leyendas de Guatemala as well as Dark Lands by Tony Wheeler. Aaaand..I’m still reading both so will continue on into December.
Language Learning Goals for December
Clozemaster + Duolingo + Memrise – Get back on the streak train with Guarani on these three. I’ve started already after returning from our homestay so have a few days rolling to keep me going.
Peace Corps Book – Keep working my way through this with at least 3 lessons per week, allowing myself time to refresh and actually create stuff using what I learn too.
What’s getting tricky now is that although the stamp on every page assures me that this is the “BEST COPY AVAILABLE”, some lessons are impossible to decipher so I’m having to skip a few lessons here and there.
Reading about the language – Shannon sent me lots of useful PDFs and papers about Guarani, which I’m really enjoying reading through so far. It makes a nice break from the Peace Corps stuff, which I was struggling with on its own sometimes in the past.
Songs – There’s some truly beautiful songs on YouTube sung in Guarani. I’m going to listen to them more and get to work trying to translate them – just like the good old early days with Spanish and Shakira and my teeny tiny Spanish Gem Dictionary!
italki – November was tough to get back on the italki train what with all the moving around. But I know where I’ll be a little bit firmer in December so I’ll book 2 lessons in advance so I’ll have no excuse not to.
Indonesian + co
Memrise – Like I mentioned last month, I’m tentatively learning a few basics of some of the languages we’ll encounter when we reach Asia, as well as taking the chance to refresh my Indonesian and Mandarin Chinese.
Listening – I’ve got some of the Colloquial audios downloaded as well as subscriptions to podcast feeds in Indonesian and Chinese. I’m going to prioritise listening to these.
Language Reading Challenge
The topic for Shannon’s Language Reading Challenge over at Eurolinguiste this month is “a book with an invented language”.
Seeing as I have two books already on the go, I’m going to focus on finishing these first.
At the start of 2017, I set myself a goal to read at least 12 books, which I completed already in October so I’m happy to focus on finishing these two I’m currently reading before moving on!
I’m writing this from Guatemala even though we’re leaving at 4am tomorrow to head to Honduras!
We’ll only be in Honduras for a few days before a quick stop in El Salvador before arriving in Nicaragua, where we’ll be spending Christmas. Hopefully with baby sea turtles and I can’t even talk about it because I get too emotional thinking about their baby sea turtle faces with their little baby sea turtle flippers flipping their way across the beach into the ocean. Sigh. I like turtles.
So after our jaunt through Honduras and El Salvador, December should see us pretty settled for most of the month, which makes for much easier language learning (+ work!) unlike the 4am bus I have to look forward to tomorrow morning…!
In other news…
As I mentioned above, The Solo Language Learner Planner launched in November. Woop!
If you find your language learning a bit all over the place and are ready to set things straight and really make progress in 2018, then this is the Christmas gift to yourself that you definitely need!
Equally, if you’re teaching languages online and need some help on the organisation front, The Online Language Teacher Planner is for you.
Ash Does Spanish
We were moving about last week so Ash hasn’t had a chance to record a video update, but here’s his current progress report for his Spanish learning…
So how long does it take for speaking in Spanish to become second nature?
Does an Español switch suddenly just flip en un poco part of the brain, and responses come rápido y preguntas convertido fácil?
2 months into the complete Spanish immersion of Latin America and my understanding of Spanish appears to be creeping on slowly. Slow like a drunken sloth carrying a rucksack of pineapples slowly, as my Spanish appears to improve a word a day.
To say I wish I was further ahead with my Spanish language skills by this point is an understatement.
I can happily read a menu, go into a shop, buy food and ask not to have another plastic bag (they love plastic bags here)! I can also walk into a coffee shop and order my favourite tipple, usually understanding if I’m asked ‘what size drink’ or ‘where I want to sit’. Which I couldn’t do at all before I left.
And I can almost get the gist of conversations in Spanish, adding appropriate nods of approval or head shakes of shame when Lindsay’s at full Latina throttle with a local.
But personally I still lack the finer understanding that separates holiday pleasantries to living like a full blown local. Curve ball comments like, ‘Do you have a membership card?; What type of cup would you like?; Is this your first time in Antigua?’, can quickly cause my language sloth to stumble and my confidence to flop.
Luckily, my obvious expression of a rabbit in headlights, usually expresses a strong enough statement for a question to be repeated or to be explained with points and hand gestures. But it doesn’t stop that feeling of lingo drowning in the ocean of Spanish still ahead of me.
But I am getting better (I think).
Progress from my last goal
Coming from a teaching background, the experience of being a learner again has really opened my eyes to the pressures and tribulations of students learning something new.
For years I think I’ve been taking for granted my role as a teacher, as I’ve now begun to recognise and reevaluate the importance of quality teaching, with teachers as enablers of learning, and helping guides in structured and well planned learning journeys.
Back in Merida (and my last update) I recognised how I might need a tutor to further my understanding. And after scouring italki for the best informal tutor, I found Gustavo, who I quickly booked 5 lessons with.
The lessons with Gustavo were great. They were short, informal and we exchanged many pleasantries and anecdotes about the differences between Mexican and British life. He even kindly discussed running with me, as well as food (my two favourite things). In those lessons, I did feel like I was making progress.
However, being only informal chats, the conversations quickly became repetitive and as my understanding of Spanish wasn’t high enough to take the conversation to the next level of interest, and the amount of short informal lessons, didn’t allow for solid progression on my part.
In hindsight, I should have kept track of my progress on my own, using the lessons as part of a personalised plan. But alas, I did not.
So as we moved on from Mexico, my time learning with Gustavo has been left as an experience of then, with an insight into the importance of self planning and maybe finding a more involved tutor.
With 5 months of immersive Spanish speaking Latin American life ahead of me, I feel it now more important than ever to get confident in my delivery and use of basic vocabulary. Although I’ve continued whole heartedly with Memrise and Duolingo on a daily basis, I’ve lacked the planning to help progress my real world Spanish to anything other than simplistic at best.
So, in the next few weeks, I’m going to start using Lindsay’s Solo Language Learner Planner, to help plan my own progression and also help me assess and review my own progress from this point on.
I’m also going to force myself into being the instigator of Spanish conversations, using skills I know to ask questions and the big whys of life, like asking what’s vegetarian on the menu and where the milk is.
I’m still going to be realistic.
And finally, I’m going to investigate finding a tutor, to help in my self study and future independent learning.
Who knows, with my own solo language learner planner and a mission of crashing more confidently into the ocean of language learning, by Christmas my Spanish sloth might be a full blown tortoise.
Join Clear the list!
1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.
2. Link back to this post. You can use our button code below if you wish.
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5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList.
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Your free planner for December!
If you missed it up top, click below to get your free My Month In Languages Planner straight to your inbox for free. Woop!
P.S. If you’re already on my mailing list, use your password to get it direct from the Little Language Library.
And remember, if you want the beefy version of this planner, click here to grab your reusable copy of The Solo Language Learner Planner. Yay!
Which language are you learning this month? What do you want to achieve? Join Clear The List to share your goals or comment below!