Wow, it’s been awhile. To make a long story short, I was so busy in Stockholm with my intensive B2 Swedish classes and volunteering as a translator/marketing/event planning volunteer with the royal family’s charity that I felt like my language needs were pretty much covered. Now that I’m back in the US, focusing on keeping up my language learning should be and is my #1 priority.
What I achieved while in Sweden (January to April)
My Swedish level is really advanced now. I only speak Swedish with Jonas’ family, our friends, and my classmates at a high conversational level and I rarely feel hampered by my ability when speaking. In addition, I translated my volunteer opportunity’s (see above) annual report from Swedish to English with minimal problems. I am not fluent yet but, dang it, I feel close!
Spanish and Portuguese
Part of my role was translating documents from English to Spanish and Portuguese and vice versa. It was the same feeling as when you stretch after a long car ride – it feels good to get blood pumping into those areas again. However, while my writing, reading, and listening levels are still intermediate/advanced, I’ve noticed that I slip in Swedish words when speaking. I need to work on compartmentalizing my languages better. Does anyone have advice on how to do that? On a positive note, that means the my Swedish is becoming automatic 🙂
- Finish the Mötley Crue biography in Swedish – Unusual choice, I know! Jonas had it in our apartment and I thought it would be a fun way to learn unusual words.
- Listen to Filip och Fredik twice a week – As possibly the most popular Swedish language podcast, they are a great way to focus on my language flow and sentence melody. Also, they have an episode in English once a week so I can listen to that one as a way to acclimate myself to Swedish ‘humor’ and pop culture.
- Write an essay weekly – Jonas is the best boyfriend in the world and said that he would read and correct a Swedish essay by me once a week as long as I picked an interesting topic. Last week was on growing up in ‘Trumpland’. Hopefully, I can keep up the momentum.
- Maintain independent study schedule– Because there is no demand for distance B2+ and C1 classes, I need to study independently now. Before I left Sweden, I bought all the recommended Folkuniversistet course books so I can replicate advanced courses here. I created a plan so I could finish all the lessons by September so sticking to the schedule is a MAJOR goal.
- Speak only Swedish at least once a week – I wanted to set a manageable goal for speaking, especially because this is one of my strongest suits. In addition, I have more people to speak with now so this should be easy.
- Learn 10 new phrases on Memrise every day – My Spanish level is pretty high so this is a great way to review and clean off the cobwebs
- Find an opportunity to speak Spanish once a week – Between a large Spanish-speaking population in my home town, a trip to New Mexico, and quality time planned with my little brother (also a Spanish speaker), this should be a home run.
- Learn 10 new phrases on Memrise every day – Again, this is should be more of a refresher.
- Translate a Portuguese-speaking Youtube video’s subtitles into English once a week– I did this with Swedish and it was super helpful! It increased my comprehension by leaps and bounds and I picked up conversational phrases that made my speaking sound more natural.
- Learn a new vocab word every day (and use it in a sentence) – I saw this list on Pinterest about beautiful words in the English language. Many were already familiar to me, but there is always opportunities to improve your native language 🙂
For some background — Japanese was actual my first foreign language. Long story short, my grandpa, who had lived in Japan during the Korean War, spoke Japanese at a conversational level. When I was around 5 years old, he taught me Japanese. We used to speak Japanese with the one Japanese immigrant in our county and we both had pen pals in Toyko for many years. When our native speaker friend passed away when I was 8-9 year old, we gradually stopped speaking it. Finally, over the past ten years of battling Alzheimer’s, my grandpa barely speaks English, let alone Japanese. For me, learning Japanese achieves three goals: becoming a polyglot, reconnecting with a culture I loved, and remembering happy memories with my grandpa. Currently, my goal is to become B1 level in Japanese. To achieve that goal:
- Learn ten new words in Memrise every day– I’ve already started on this and I can feel old Japanese knowledge coming back.
- Start Duolingo course – According to their website, it should be released in Beta around mid-May. This should be a good supplement to Memrise.
- Learn all of the Hiragana – This will be the hardest. Confession – neither my grandpa nor I understood any written Japanese. We just spoke and listened so I am starting from scratch. Does anyone have any recommendations for apps to use to learn all the kinds of Japanese characters?
What are you doing with your #languagegoals? Are you learning one of these languages? Do you have advice for me? Leave me a comment below!