5 Tips for Preparing for the 6WC

With tomorrow comes the first day of May, a lovely holiday, the start of my final month at work here in Austria (until September, anyway) and the beginning of another six week language challenge!

Now, I’ve been involved in these challenges off-and-on for the last couple of years (I think?) but it’s always the summer ones that I find the most useful. There’s usually more time as school and university end and, I don’t know, I think there’s just something about having more daylight that makes me, at least, feel a lot more motivated to knuckle down and study.

However, though I’ve been involved in this challenge a lot, I’ve never really written anything consistent and comprehensive about it. That’s a shame, because as far as challenges go, this one is incredibly useful – you can feel like you’re challenging your own time or the times other people have reached and there aren’t any downsides I can think of if you’re spending more time with your target language.

So, for the people who want to take part in the six week challenge and haven’t before – or for those who have but want some tips – here are my ideas on how you should prepare for it!
Continue reading “5 Tips for Preparing for the 6WC”

Happy (end of) February!

I’ve been meaning to get this post up for a while.

Basically, January was a weird month for me, studying-wise. None of my weekends were free (by choice), so that meant I had to try and hit all my goals in the week – which I am notoriously, terribly lazy about. I made a lot of statements here about what I would and wouldn’t do. Some worked, some didn’t.

Here’s what I learnt:

  • Taking on however many challenges I tried to take on for January didn’t really work. I don’t think I logged any tadoku pages (though I did read – it’s hard to log kindle pages) and I was half-hearted about the rest of the challenges too.
  • I said a while ago that I was trying to spend 100 days intensively studying Spanish, but that has really not panned out either. Oops.
  • I did try to use German quite intensively – and still do – but there are some problems I’m having that I’m going to address another time. However, I have been using it more than I used to, so I am still kind of proud of my progress.

February has been a little better, but not much.

Still, the one thing to remember always is that any work is better than no work at all. Yes, try and be consistent. Yes, try and spend time on your hobbies (whatever they may be) when you can. But literally anything is better than nothing. Nothing is just that.

I’m coming to accept that now, which is nice. I’m also beginning to flex my conversational muscles a little again (in German here in Austria and in Chinese with some friends online), which is helping me to rebuild some sorely needed enthusiasm.

I’m also still trying to power through with Spanish – I’ve been using a Teach Yourself Complete Spanish book (that I picked up really cheap) and I am enjoying that. I might also be learning a little Slovak on the side. 😉 I just couldn’t resist!

I’ve also spent some time thinking about what I might blog about for the April A to Z Challenge (which I have signed up to take part in) aaaaaaaaand I have an idea for a weekly feature I’m going to start here later this week.

It has something to do with books.

Anyway, how are you doing? Getting on with your languages? Don’t forget that the six week challenge is running through February and the first couple of weeks of March – so we’re only halfway through; there’s still time to join in. I’m in about 43rd place, I think.

I hope everyone’s enjoying February – and looking forward to spring! 😀

100 Days of Spanish

I guess it kind of seems like I’d given up on this blog.

Not really, though I’ve been absent of late. I’m so glad that I managed to get through 26+ posts in August – but I do not know how people keep up with daily posting on a regular basis; it wore me out. Then mid-September, I moved to mainland Europe and started my job in Austria at the beginning of October. …I’m not sure what happened after that, because here I am, having left the UK over two months ago and I’ve not updated this blog at all.

So, first things first: the currently-running six week challenge. I’ve entered with Chinese, which kind of is a massive cheat language for me (though saying that, I can’t break into the top ten; those people are hardcore!) but I could literally feel it trickling out of my brain and it was time to act fast. Plus, I’ve been looking for a course and a friend found me a B2 level one – but that covers the last handful of lessons in NPCR 4, which is the book I used at uni last year. So I found out that apparently I’m at C1 level (what the what I don’t believe that at all) but also that there are no courses in Vienna that will accommodate that. So I’ve used the six week challenge as a way of prioritising Chinese (obviously I’m doing a lot more in German, but still) and getting back into the swing of studying after a couple of months of neglect.

But as you can guess from the title, that is not the point of this blog post.

My plan is, over 100 days, so from 00:00 on 1st December 2014 to 23:59 10th March 2014, to study as much Spanish as I can.

Continue reading “100 Days of Spanish”

6WC – August 2014

It’s come around again: this month (and the first two weeks of September) brings another round of the six week language learning challenge! And for this one, instead of Spanish, I’m learning Italian.

It’s not the first time I’ve studied Italian; I did two hours a week in my first year of university, but the class was all taught in Italian and the textbook was all in Italian and I just didn’t really get on with it. However, I’m going to be living in Europe next year and I plan to visit Italy, so I started flicking through books about the language on a whim – and decided to learn some more again. There’s no pressure on it, I’d just like to be able to wander around and speak to people casually.

I’m using the Teach Yourself Beginner’s Italian book (I did two lessons in July) and I’ve got hold of The Hunger Games in Italian – which though I can’t read it yet, of course, I can use to test my level and look for new vocabulary when I finish the Teach Yourself course.

I’m also genuinely hoping to finish the Teach Yourself book before the end of this challenge, but we’ll see how that goes. And I’m going to try and keep up with my German, Mandarin and Spanish, obviously. 🙂

I know there’s a whole bunch of you out there doing the six week challenge too: are any of you keeping a blog/log? Which language(s) are you studying? Let me know! 😀

Hello August!

So here I am, back on this oft-neglected blog with some fun stuff planned for this coming month. As it is, I’ve got this full month in the UK and then I’ll be off to Europe, so I’m hoping to get some kind of regular posting schedule up and running before then.

However, that’s not the point of next month – I’ve finished university, so my only obligation is working (part time); that leaves me with a lot of free time on my hands and a sudden urge to be productive with it. Therefore, I have some cool stuff planned.

Firstly, it’s August, so that means another round of the 6WC is starting. If you’ve not heard of it, I’ve spoken about it before, but essentially the goal is to pick a language to focus on for six weeks and try to make as much progress as possible. I’ve chosen Italian for this round, but I’ll explain my motivations for that in another post later in the month. 😀

I’ve already mentioned I’m heading off to Europe in September – specifically, to Austria, to be an English language assistant in a school. That means I need to get my German up to scratch too, whilst also making sure I’m working on my Spanish (which is not much improved from May) and Mandarin. My goal this August, therefore, is to spend at least 60 hours (15 hours a week) studying languages (combined), though I’m hoping to hit a much higher number than that!

Second of all, is what I’m planning for the blog this month. Every April, the Blogging from A to Z Challenge runs. I didn’t take part this year because (a) I was coming up to my final exams and my dissertation deadline and (b) I couldn’t think of any kind of theme/enough things to talk about. However, I’ve thought of something! My plan for August then, is to do my own kind of A-Z blogging challenge, where I’ll post about endangered languages every day except Sundays for a total of 26 days. I’ve chosen endangered languages because I think they’re very interesting; my dissertation this year was based around the status of ethnic minority languages in China, so it’s one of those things I like to talk about. I’m going to post information about the languages, about the communities who speak them, and about any and all revitalisation methods and resources I can find.

Hopefully you’ll all find it as interesting as I do; if not, I’m going to be running other posts on the Sundays as well, so there’ll be some more practical language stuff going on.

I’m going to post the complete list of languages I’ll look at with the first post tomorrow; so if anyone has any suggestions or information they want to share, feel free to get in contact. My email address is on the ‘about’ page; or if you prefer, I also have a tumblr connected to this blog. Let me know if you’re doing the 6WC as well! 😀