German Readalong, Take Three: A Song of Ice and Fire

German Readalong Introduction - Die Herren von Winterfell

Hi, all! So some of you may remember that a long, long time ago, I did a readalong of Die Bestimmung (Divergent, Veronica Roth) in German, where I wrote up my thoughts, made word lists, and generally went through the book in a way that was interesting to me, helped me practise the language, and hopefully provided some help for you all too.

This post is basically me saying: I want to do that again. Continue reading

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Getting Back into Language Learning

Hi, guys! Happy Monday – I hope you’re all having fun (especially any US readers; enjoy Labor Day!).

So, I talked a little on Thursday about my goals for September, and my main aim is to ease myself back into language learning. It’s something I’ve neglected this summer but, obviously, I don’t want that to continue.

So what can I do?

Well, I read this post by Shannon at Eurolinguiste: How to Pick up a Language After a Long Break, and I think there are a lot of good points, though it’s geared more towards how to re-learn a language you once knew more of, as opposed to getting back into the habit.

And, of course, there are plenty of posts out there about how to get back into a habit.

So, instead, I decided to think up some strategies. I mostly want to work on German, which is my strongest language (so though it feels rusty, I haven’t totally destroyed my skills) and due to various factors, I don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate.

What’s key here?

Time is a big one: I need smart strategies – I don’t want to be wasting the time I have. I also am on a kind of deadline; I want to have my German more up to scratch by the time I begin my master’s course, though I will still be working on it after.

I also need strategies that won’t heavily intrude on my current day-to-day life. That means that sitting down with a grammar book for two hours a day is out; I already know that I won’t stick to that because I haven’t been doing it for the past two months and there’s not enough incentive for me to keep at it now. I need interesting activities that relate to what I’m doing.

What strategies will I use?

  • Mobile apps. These are going to be a big one, partly because I always have my phone nearby and partly because I can fit in a quick app session between doing other things. I’m taking a bus for half an hour tomorrow, for example, so I know I can learn/revise some German then. [Apps I’ll use: Memrise, Duolingo, Tinycards; my phone is in German so I can also use some games.]
  • Reading. I’m currently enjoying my free month of Kindle Unlimited, which has a whole tonne of books in German, French, Italian, Spanish… (Including the Harry Potter books! 😉 ) I’ve been reading a lot in English, but I can cut down some of this time and read in German instead. [Books I currently have downloaded: Honigsommer by Diana Wintermeer, Lügner küssen besser by Birgit Kluger, Rabenschwester by B. C. Schiller… and so many more…]
  • Targeted Grammar Brush Up. As I said before, I’m not going to spend a couple of hours a day on this, but reading and using apps should show me where my weaknesses are. A brush up can be as simple as re-reading a grammar explanation or doing a small exercise, but the point is to make active progress. If I make progress, then I’ll feel rewarded, and I’ll be more likely to continue doing this. Still, it’s something to do when necessary, otherwise, it’ll feel like a chore. [Resources I’ll use: Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar, grammar websites.]
  • Social Media. This is a good one – it’s an all-rounder and I spend a lot of time on Twitter, so I know I can give it a try. I can use the Twitter accounts I follow to learn more vocabulary or grammar. I can read news articles (or cinema articles) and watch videos. I can chat to other people, or read what they think. Again, it’s on my phone and it’s something I use often, so there’s a low barrier to entry here. [Social networks I’ll use: Twitter, Instagram, maybe Facebook.]

What do these strategies all have in common?

They all hit the criteria I mentioned above: they don’t take up much time and they’re things I can fit into my daily routine. There’s a low barrier to entry in terms of getting started, so I’m more likely to do them.

I’m going to try these things over the next week and see how I’m feeling about juggling other languages by the end of it. I think I burnt out a little at the beginning of the summer, plus re-discovered another time-consuming hobby I love, but I’m confident that if I can renew my interest in German (and the German-speaking world), then I’ll be back on track.

Let me know of any other strategies you think I should try – or that you’ve tried and have worked. I’m happy to add some if you can think of any!

And I’ll be back on Monday; see you all then!

Super Challenge: May 2016

Hey, guys! So, we’re into June, everything’s great – and can you believe that the first month of the Super Challenge is over already? Now, what I’m planning to do each month is write a short post detailing what I did and whether I’ve noticed any progress.

[Quick note: if you don’t know what the Super Challenge is, then go here first! 🙂 ]

Super Challenge: May 2016 | 学习Sprachen

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May the Fourth be with you

Hey, guys! You didn’t think I was going to skip Star Wars day, now did you? Of course, they are films and so not necessarily related to languages (though you should read this article if you want to find out more about that), so what I’ve done is made something a little special for you instead.

May the Fourth be with you | 学习Sprachen

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My Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Learning German

Hey, guys! So if you’ve been reading any of my New Year’s Challenge update posts, you might have noticed me asking for recommendations of Twitter or Instagram accounts that either teach you or use Japanese regularly.

The reason for this is very simple: I spend a lot of time on these apps. And I do mean the apps; I use Twitter on my computer too, but not as often as I go through it on my phone (even when I’m sitting at the computer!). Plus, there’s only so much you can put in a tweet or an Instagram caption, so it means you get a kind of bite-sized piece of learning (usually explaining one word, phrase, or small grammar feature), so it’s something you can check throughout the day, knowing that you’re not going to be spending too long on it.

With that in mind, I thought I’d put together this post – because I follow a lot of people on Twitter and a lot of those are for language learning. If you’re learning German, these accounts may come in handy for you, if you don’t already know about them of course! 🙂

My Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Learning German | 学习Sprachen

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