August: A new challenger approaches!

  Japanese Chinese Spanish English

Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed the reappearance of one specific language over the last couple of weeks: Mandarin! Due (or should I say: thanks) to a project I was working on, I came in contact with Mandarin and it has been floating around in my head ever since.
To spare you a long and whiny story I will keep it short, but you should know that I do have (kind of) a history with Mandarin: I participated in a language challenge in 2016, where I decided to dabble in Chinese for a very short while, and all of it went horribly wrong. Bad luck with tutors, poorly chosen resources, crushed motivation, you name it. But what I took from it in the end was that I never wanted to touch Chinese again. It felt like a language that I would never establish a connection to (if you know what I mean). Well, never say never, I guess.

So there I was, at the beginning of July, thinking of Mandarin all day. I even started watching some random Taiwanese drama series and waited in anticipation for my lunch break every day so I could watch another episode. I would try to figure out bits and pieces of spoken language and slowly expand my rather sparse vocabulary (consisting of 你好, 你好嗎 and 謝謝, basically). I never thought this would happen, but I absolutely fell for it.

Fast forward and we're in August. I held my "I want to start studying Chinese right now!" horses all July because I knew I wouldn't be able to make enough time for it, and now that the day has finally come, I can't wait to get started. (I sneak peaked at the pronunciation and tones a tiiiny bit already but that's really all I did in July.)
Because Mandarin is completely new to me and does not resemble any language that I already know, I refrained from doing a super detailed study plan yet. I got myself a textbook and lots of flashcards but I have absolutely no idea how quickly or slowly I can adapt, so I will use this month to get into a rhythm and see what method works for me.
Knowing Japanese, or more specifically, knowing how to handle hanzi feels like a huge advantage at this point, and I hope that a) I won't have too many difficulties remembering the Chinese pronunciation and b) I won't mix everything up.

As you can see below, Japanese is still a thing in August (with some more specific plans), as are English and Spanish (with less specific plans and therefore not really worth mentioning). Those three will be in review mode for August.
And this is what my plan looks like so far:

  • Experimental phase!
  • try to study at least 30 minutes per day
  • start each session with hanzi review
  • work through one or two chapters of the Integrated Chinese textbook and see how it goes
  • keep watching Taiwanese drama immerse myself in Chinese media
  • Review, review, review!
  • work through 日本語スピードマスター (N4/N5) one more time
  • use previously made grammar cards to review old grammar and practice it by writing example sentences
  • copy vocabulary from my "normal" vocabulary notebook into the monolingual one (and review everything in it)

That is all there is to this month's study plan.
I will keep you updated on Twitter and Instagram, and now please excuse me while I grab some study snacks, head over to my desk and learn my very first characters. THIS IS SO EXCITING!

Update (4th September 2019)

August ended on quite a busy note so I decided to take a short break from all the above. My (almost) daily study sessions have been incredibly fun for both Japanese and Mandarin and I am especially happy with the progress I made with the latter - I haven't come far and only scratched at the beginning of chapter two but everything is much less scary than I initially anticipated. Quite the opposite, to be honest. September will be a bit calmer language-wise but this is definitely not the last time I studied Mandarin!

1st August 2019


It's a me!

Hej! My name is Sandra, I am a language enthusiast from Germany and this is where I document my language learning journey.

I will share my study goals with you, talk about the ups and downs in language learning, try out cool challenges and show you study methods that I found particularly helpful. Making myself accountable here will hopefully give me some extra motivational boosts!

All main articles will eventually be translated into the four languages I am most comfortable with: German, English, Spanish and Japanese. Older posts can be found under "Archive" and are sorted in order of date.

You won't find a comment section under my posts, so if you feel like chatting a bit, or talking about language-y things feel free to message me on social media or write me an email!

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Enjoy your stay and happy studying!