Language Learning Goals: Clear The List – September 2016

Welcome to September’s Clear The List! Hosted by myself and Shannon of Eurolinguiste, 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.

Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

Your free planner for september!

Before we get started, it’s a new month, which means a new planner! And I’ve gone all out for you this month.

There’s monthly and weekly planners and reviews to really help you lay down what you want to happen this month. Let me know what you think of the new planner design and if you like it, next month I’ll make it interactive for you so you don’t even have to print it. Woop!

Click the image below to download your free monthly language learning calendar for September. Use it to keep track of your language plans and goals for the coming month. Woop!

On the blog this month

My thoughts on the very first North American Polyglot Symposium (spoiler alert: it was awesome): Visiting NAPS: North American Polyglot Symposium in Montreal, Canada!

Languages being in my life early definitely helped me later on. Here’s some of my favourite reading tools for children: 7 Reading Resources to Inspire Language Learning for Young Children

If you’re new to French, this post (and video going into detail about gender) is what you need right now: 5 Essential French Grammar Tips for Beginners

Yum. LinguaLift shared a guest post at the end of the month about food and language learning. Again, yum: Guest Post: The Gourmet Polyglot: Learning Languages Through Food

Language Learning Review for august


Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

Considering it’s summer, I knew I’d do less because Ashley is a teacher and summer holidays means he’s home more, and then we went to Iceland. I’m feeling ok with how I did with Korean.

I wrapped up the things I wanted to wrap up: Colloquial Korean audio and the first Coursera course.

And as I shared in my last update video, I was feeling like it was time for a break from Korean, which…is kind of happening. I’ll explain below.


Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

Oh my goodness. I want to work for the Icelandic Tourist Board because I have the perfect tagline for them: I wasn’t expecting that.

We hired a car to drive the Ring Road of the island and we knew we’d see some pretty impressive stuff, many of it for the first time for both of us. We’re talking glaciers, lava tubes (who knew that was a thing?!) and geysers.

But every single time we stopped, I just found myself saying the words “I wasn’t expecting that”. Every time.

Iceland is beautiful and if you get the chance to go, it will be something you remember forever.

However, there’s a few things that happened recently to Iceland that are leading to big changes.

Circa 2008 the country went bankrupt. In 2010 the fun-to-attempt-to-pronounce volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, erupted spreading what came to be known as “the ash cloud” across Europe cancelling thousands of flights. Iceland was in people’s minds, for better or worse.

In 2011, the Arab Spring started, which made Europeans less likely to travel to countries in Northern Africa that would have previously been about a 3-5 hour flight away yet still pretty exotic.

You know where else is 3-5 hours from mainland Europe and pretty exotic (in a cold kind of way)? Iceland.

Oh, and one more thing. Iceland have got the whole “Hey, stop here for a few days on your flight between North America and Europe” thing down.

So what does all of this mean? Unbelievable rises in tourism.

Iceland has a population of just over 330,000. In 2014, there were over 4.4 million tourists who stayed at least one night in the country. That’s quite a few more tourists than locals.

Ok…so what does this have to do with me learning Icelandic?

It means that it was very hard to find natives to speak with first of all. Add in the fact that every local I did speak with spoke flawless English made it ever harder.

“So try harder! Speak back to them in Icelandic! Hold your ground!”

Well, I have some thoughts on this. I’ll go into it in more detail in another post. But for now, yes, I studied all the Icelandic I wanted to and yes, it was useful when we were there – mostly for understanding the world around us, which is always my biggest aim personally.

Language Learning Goals for september

Indonesian only (ish!)

Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

Ok. This feels weird to write that I’ll be learning just one language.

For the past 13 years, I’ve almost always been learning multiple languages. Say whaaa??!

And I guess it’s not strictly true because I will do little things such as listen to music or read odd things here and there in different languages but until the end of 2016, I’ll be focusing on learning one language and one language only: Indonesian. Yay!

This may not be a surprise to you. Do you remember way back in January where I shared I wanted this to be a dabble year for me? I also shared I wanted one of those languages to be Indonesian.

At last year’s Polyglot Gathering (2015) everyone got a free Complete Teach Yourself Course. I picked Indonesian and I’m amazed I’ve been able to hold off for this long!

Full disclosure: I have dabbled slightly with Indonesian before. I visited back in 2011 and…well, again, full disclosure, I hated my time there. Yeah. Weird, huh? Why learn a language when you hated your time visiting the country that speaks that language?

Well there’s a couple of reasons.

One place I did travel to on that same trip and love is Malaysia. Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia are very similar languages as far as I understand.

So why not learn Malaysian? I’ve read that it’s easier to do it this way round and go from Indonesian to Malay. So we shall see.

But what’s strange is that as soon as I left Indonesia, I wanted to go back. I don’t like to not like a place. I know that I had bad experiences there that had nothing really to do with the country itself.

Indonesia is somewhere we’re planning to visit again next year and maybe hang around a bit longer in either Indonesia or Malaysia, which is why the language will come in handy.

What’s the plan?

Although Indonesian is still a language I wanted to dabble with, I do have a bigger reason to learn other than curiosity as was the case with Esperanto and Korean.

With that in mind, I want my Indonesian study to be much more structured.

I’ve been searching around and gathering resources and tools that look like they’ll be useful and I have a plan. Because all good things start with a plan.

As well as my longer term plan, I’ve also used the new My Month of Languages planner to get specific in the short term. You can download a blank copy yourself for your own language learning this month too.

Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

With less than a year until we head off on our trip, as crazy as this structure might look, it’s necessary from here to make sure I get everything done before we leave that needs to be done. Rolling up those sleeves.

One way I’m going to make sure I make real progress with Indonesian is by documenting my progress on YouTube every month as part of Clear The List. But just like every great (or not so great) lose-weight-fast-fast-fast program needs a before shot to flatter the after photo, my Indonesian needs a before video too. Here’s where I’m at right now with the language.


Clear The List is your monthly chance to check in on your language learning goals. Click through to read mine for September 2016 and download your free planner! >>

One of the other languages on My Languages to Learn List ready for our big trip is Russian. Time to get a wriggle on me thinks.

I’ve never been hugely passionate about learning Russian (I have zero idea why. You’re welcome to try and convince me!) and I don’t like learning languages if I’m not interested.

But basic Russian will be very useful on our trip. So I need to keep it light and easy. Bright and breezy. Right and reezy? Nothing else rhymes with easy and breezy.

What’s the plan?

I’m doing 1 Duolingo unit per day in Russian. Not just one lesson, but one unit.

After being rather impressed with how useful Duolingo proved to be for Esperanto, I think this will be a good way for me to ease into the language without stressing myself out.

However, the Russian Duolingo course is a lot longer than the Esperanto one so I need to start now!


Just when I was feeling all out of energy for Korean, two things happened.

Number 1. The awesome Katie, who teaches English for Lindsay Does Languages, shared with me that she had a Living Language Korean kit she wasn’t using any time soon and offered to post it to me all the way from Milan. Err..yes please!

Number 2. Shannon, my Korean study buddy and fellow Clear The List host, reviewed Eggbun, which I discovered through a Facebook ad the day she shared the post on her blog! Eggbun is cute. Check out Shannon’s post if you’re curious.

Now there’s a little spark reigniting for Korean. It would be foolish to ignore that. Sometimes you have to just go with your gut. And my gut says, “Wiggle in some time for Korean, Lindsay!”

So I’m wiggling in some time for Korean.

What’s the plan?

Friday will be my Korean day. My study hour on Friday mornings will be dedicated to Korean.

There’s a new Coursera course that I’ll be using as a basic structure as well as the Living Language kit Katie sent to me. And of course, Eggbun. And of course, the resources I already have and know about sprinkled in for good measure.

And the good news? I’m looking forward to this.

Join Clear the list!

Clear The List

Your free planner for september!

If you missed it up top, you don’t have to scroll all the way back up. Heck no.

Click the image below to get your brand new language learning planner straight to your inbox for free, amigo. Woop!

P.S. If you’re already on my mailing list, use your password to get it direct from the Little Language Library. And don’t forget to let me know what you think of the new planner!

What language(s) are you learning this month? Join the linkup and share on your blog or share in the comments below!

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About Lindsay Williams

Why hello there!
I’m Lindsay and I do Languages. I blog, vlog and teach all things language. I blog about languages right here at Lindsay Does Languages, and about travel over at Mundo Trundle. If you’re looking for language learning inspiration then stay a while. You might find just what you’re looking for. :)

  • Nina

    Iceland and Icelandic! β™₯_β™₯
    I am, kind of, planning to go there some day. Perhaps I could do it next year or two. I enjoyed the video, I really like your positive energy. πŸ™‚ And thank you reaaaaly much for the planner! I think it will benefit me extremely.
    Btw. You have great plans. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Nina! I hope you enjoy Iceland when you go – I’m sure you will. In the meantime, I’m glad you like the planner! πŸ™‚

  • Artie Duncanson

    I’m glad you’re willing to give a bad experience another go. Years ago I moved to a US city called Portland and had a miserable experience. My vehicle was stolen from me by a homeless girl (all the worse because I was actually living in it at the time! Haha), fined over $700 for running traffic lights… On my bicycle!!, and had my iPod stolen from me at the library (though a scary confrontation resulted in me getting it back). I too didn’t want to hate a place I visited and had high hopes for, like you and Indonesia, so I returned the next winter and ended up having a great time.

    • Oh no! That sounds like enough to put anyone off anywhere! Your return visit gives me hope for my return to Indonesia. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Maureen F Millward

    I’ve just bought the Teach Yourself Get Started in Indonesian which is about half the size of the one you have. I’m going to New Zealand in February and I’m stopping in Singapore and Indonesia on the way home. I was happy to see there are a lot of italki tutors! My most effective way of learning is by having (or trying to have) conversation practice. Catalan was the first language I learned to B1 level just by skype conversations & I also studied verb conjugations on my own but I didn’t really use many other resources. Unfortunately this is probably the most expensive way to learn a language too, but it’s certainly the one that works best for me.

    • I’m excited for your trip in Feb! So far I’m really enjoying Indonesian and it’s coming to me nicely πŸ™‚

  • Wow! What an ambitious month for you! Good luck with all the languages you’re working on – I know you’ll find time for them all. πŸ™‚ And Eggbun is pretty awesome.

  • DorothΓ©e

    Good luck with your goals this month! Looking forward your experience feedback of Iceland!!

  • Angel – French Lover

    Hi Lindsay πŸ™‚

    I’m always so admirative of your many language goals. Indonesian, that sounds super cool. I’m so looking forwards to seeing you speaking it on Snapchat. Also, don’t loose courage for the korean, it’s a super good language, and you’re already very good at it from what I can see.

    Sending you lots of energetic vibes for this month. <3

  • Katie Harris

    Glad to hear the Korean set is coming in handy. Sounds like a very exciting month – your enthusiasm about all those languages is infectious! Bon courage πŸ™‚

  • Maybe you should work for the Icelandic tourist board! You’re making me want to visit Iceland! haha I love the copy of Teach Yourself Russian you have there btw, the retro cover is super cool! πŸ™‚

    • I would LOVE that! Haha! πŸ˜‰ And yes, the retro cover is cool – agreed! πŸ˜‰