6WC November 2015: Progress Report #001

Hi guys! So, it might seem a little soon, but here is my first progress report for November’s 6WC. I was going to do weekly reports, but I always plan to do those and then never follow through; I think it has a lot to do with which day the beginning of the challenge falls on and weekends just do not work well for me. I thought, then, it might be better if I tried to post a (short) update every few days instead.

Part of that is because I figure if I’m talking about this challenge at the beginning, when it’s still exciting and everyone’s putting in all their effort, I’d be encouraged enough to keep going for the rest of it. Part of it is because the more often I post, the shorter those posts can be. It’s win-win for all of us! 😉

And so, without further ado…

6WC November Progress Report 001

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6WC: November 2015

Hey, guys! So first things first, Happy Halloween! I hope you’re all doing something fun today – even if you’re not interested in Halloween at all.

Obviously, it being Halloween means that tomorrow is the 1st November, which means we’re moving ever closer to the end of 2015. I was thinking a while ago that November is kind of a ‘meh’ month – the weather gets worse, there are no major holidays (for me, anyway) and generally it’s just a long wait until Christmas and New Year.

But then I realised that I have two cool things going on this month. One of them is NaNoWriMo, which has absolutely nothing to do with this blog but I figure most of you will have heard of it. The other is another 6 Week Challenge – the final one of the year!

6WC November 2015

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6WC Halfway Point (and why I’ve not been around…)

Who else has been taking part in the six week language challenge? Surprisingly, there were only 39 sign-ups this round (it’s usually at least a bit higher, I think) and 34 of us have logged some time, ranging (at present) from 55 minutes to 57 and a half hours (!) spent on their target language alone.

I’ve spent just under eight hours on Slovak so far this challenge, which is not too bad, all things considered.

I’ve gone through the first two lessons of Colloquial Slovak (though I need to revise some of the vocabulary) and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m trying to learn some of the grammar but I’m not too interested in intensively studying it at this stage – I do like the Colloquial series, but they throw a lot at you all at once, so it can be a struggle to take it in. What’s important right now is that I understand most of the information and that I can produce information about myself.

I had hoped to write weekly updates during this challenge, but honestly there haven’t been so many breakthroughs (I’ve literally been working with the book and with memrise) and I’ve been pretty busy.

See, this is my last month in Austria, so I’ve been busy with classes (most of which are over) and saying goodbye to my colleagues. My weekends have been mostly free, but I’ve been trying to fill them with the things I’ve wanted to do but not got around to yet (plus I’ve seen friends too, because we’re all leaving) – and the week before last I got another job teaching English online, so I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to make sure that I’m doing a good job.

However, I go home in a little less than two weeks and I’m hoping to then spend a lot more time on this blog, as I have many more ideas for it. Plus, I like interacting with the language-learning community all over the web and I feel like I’ve been neglecting it of late. (Maybe not yesterday. We had a fun Eurovision party over on twitter, hosted by the wonderful Lindsay – it was so great!)

So let me know what you’re up to, languages-wise. Working hard? Taking a much-needed break? Also, if anyone has any suggestions for a German book I should read from June and blog about (much like I did with Divergent – Die Bestimmung in March/April), then please let me know. I am open to anything!

Learning Slovak – With Difficulty!

We’re three weeks into this year now and that means three-quarters of the way through the uTalk challenge… and there is the slightest possibility that I am not doing as well as I had hoped.

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I’m perhaps a quarter of the way through the lessons on the app – and I’ve not been super diligent about using it, either, which means that I’m losing all progress I’m making.

However, I am enjoying using the app in and of itself. The speaking game gets neglected, because I’m not willing to utter mangled Slovak to my phone on the train to and from school, but the memory game in particular is a fun one. So yes, the app is cute and user-friendly and useful – but there are some things I’m going to need to do in the next week to make sure that it’s useful to me as a whole.

For one, I’m going to have to find a guide to Slovak pronunciation somewhere and practice it. Most letters seem to have the same or similar sounds as English (or German), but there are some that just don’t make any sense to me; and this means that even if I slow the speaker speed to half of normal, I don’t quite catch how they’re saying it.

Second, I’m going to have to dedicate some time to doing the speaking game – and just pronouncing the words in general. Speaking is my weakest skill in any language (even, I dare say, in English), but it isn’t helped by the fact that Slovak is the first Slavic language I’ve tried in any depth and getting my mouth around those consonants is kind of difficult. Practice will get me there, but I need to remember to do that.

Finally, I have to make sure I spend time on the app in general. I’m going to set myself a target of 10 minutes a day from tomorrow until Friday 29th (I’m going to Rome the final weekend of January, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to use the app much) – which is only 80 minutes total, but it’s really getting myself onto the app that’s the important thing. After that, I tend to play on it for a while.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at. Oh, and here’s a screenshot of my (low) score, for those of you interested:

IMG_4380How’s everyone else getting on with the challenge? I know one of the EuroTalk staff has finished the whole app already, wooh! How’s everything else going this January? Let me know! 🙂