These days, Marie is not a happy learner.
Don’t get me wrong. I love learning Korean, and I’m not about to give up. But it can become really frustrating at times, considering all the time invested and the absence of (visible) results.
I have to confess I even feel like a loser at times. “Seriously Marie? Haven’t you learnt that word just a second ago?” “Hey girl, don’t you think you should be able to know this by now?”. My supposed-to-be-fun K-drama challenge just showed me that I was not as ready as I thought I would be, and my last italki lesson, the first in a long time, was beyond catastrophic. I am not doubting that my knowledge of the language expands every week, but it’s still not enough at the moment to build my own sentences, read modest texts and start enjoying what the culture has to offer. My patience is running out.
But I also made some nice discoveries in May, so I’ll focus on that.
Summer is back
You know it is June when I start adding dill to everything I eat. I have found memories of my trip to Finland and my first Midsummer, and I always think about it around this time of the year. It was my first trip solo and my first attempt at learning a language other than English.
After long winter months, my favourite time of the year is finally here. Staying inside studying or even writing for my blog just makes no sense. Luckily, I’ve found Pimsleur (my review here) and I am loving it (thank you Eurolinguiste!). It perfectly fits my morning routine. I noticed how words stick more easily, including some that I had been trying to remember for a long time. I listen to a chapter every day when walking to work. And yes, I do talk alone on the streets.
Out of the comfort zone
This month has been all about preparing for a Korean speech contest. I’ve wanted to participate to such an event ever since I saw a Japanese language learner doing it on Youtube. I thought to myself I’d be really proud the day I’d be able to give a speech in an Asian language (I should have written that down for the disappointed me here). So I wrote the text, had it corrected by a fantastic tutor. I am now repeating it every day. And something interesting happened: my vocabulary improved! Yep, words do tend to stick around when you know you’ll have to repeat them in front of an audience in about a week.
I like to read other polyglots’ blogs when they write from a learner’s perspective rather than from an expert point of view. I like to read about their struggles and their victories, about that one lesson that didn’t turn out great, that time they almost gave up, or that encounter that changed their view on their learning.
Here’s are some of the bloggers that inspired me this month :
20thousandwords wrote a fun before/after post about learning victories. It motivated me to register to the speech contest. Maybe I, too, will be able to come back with a first small Korean victory. Her blog is very refreshing. Check it out if you haven’t already.
No matter what they say, all languages are not equal when it comes to learning them. Olly Richard explains how it was hard for him to encode Japanese, his first Asian language, and how he had to switch to a different learning technique in order to progress. I found it very inspiring, considering my current language frustration, and the fact he speaks the language so well now. “At the 1.5-year mark, I started getting frustrated with my lack of attention to the language. (…) It didn’t happen naturally, like with my earlier experiences.”
Hitorabi writes about how she fell out of love with Japanese, just like it happened to me with Swedish. Strangely enough, shortly after reading that post, I started watching an old Swedish teen series I used to love, and I even took some of my Swedish poetry books out of their shelves.
I also came across Kris Broholm’s podcast where he talks about his Russian learning “It took me (…) more than half a year to be able to understand basic things”. Not that I’m happy it took him so long, but I’m happy he shared this with us. Can’t wait to go pass that beginner hump after which things get a little easier.
My goals for June?
- Attend the Korean speech contest and do my best
- Continue listening to Pimsleur and Iagi (from TTMIK) on my way to work
- Enjoy summer weather (when rain will finally stop)
- Take time to live outside and leave technology inside
I wish you the best of luck with this month’s goals. Don’t forget to go play outside! 😉
#ClearTheList is all about reflecting on your progress of the past month and setting new language learning goals for the coming weeks. It’s hosted by Lindsay (Lindsay Does Languages), Kris Broholm (Actual Fluency), Angel Pretot (French Lover), and Shannon Kennedy (Eurolinguiste). There are a lot of cool language related blogs to discover at the same time. If you’d like to join the party, you can find the rules and more information here: