Having kept my study attempts rather casual over the last couple of weeks seems to have helped me regain my motivation for a more serious approach. I can't describe how good it feels to have found my internal language drive again - I want to study first thing in the morning, dabble in whatever language crosses my way and surround myself all day long in any language other than German. But because I know I tend to overdo it in the heat of the moment and I do not want to not wear out this precious, regained state of mind, I will stick to Spanish for the time being.
As I mentioned in my September post I decided that my strategy from now on will be less super-focused study sessions and more immersion in all things Spanish. And I will keep it that way.
I feel like having reached an intermediate or advanced level in your target language makes it harder to just sit down and learn from a book. The knowledge you acquired so far is quite extensive already and problematic areas might not always be clear to you or maybe are only nuances that you feel are not being covered with whatever printed or digital material you are using at the very moment.
That is why immersion will remain my number one priority, with some sprinkles of vocabulary and grammar review here and there.
Hopefully, this will help me find areas I struggle with and get more comfortable with "real life" Spanish.
So far so good.
But while I was semi-seriously studying Spanish in October I quickly realized that this building momentum will disappear again without a proper goal and at least some kind of deadline in mind. I mean, yes, my overall goal for Spanish is to be able to communicate without too many breaks or stupefied faces because I don't understand something, and to be able to consume Spanish media without too much struggle. I want to reach my own definition of fluency, a level with which I feel absolutely comfortable. But this could be achieved in a month-long Spanish boot camp or in ten years at the speed in which I studied for the last years.
And so I decided to reach this self-proclaimed fluency until I turn 30 - which is in approximately six months. That leaves roughly half a year for me to fill vocabulary gaps, become besties with the past tenses and get used to the lightning speed conversations between native speakers.
I don't plan on dropping Spanish altogether the day after my birthday but I want to finally finish building a solid foundation without holes the size of a car so I can then casually maintain and nurture it from there.
My written and “detailed” plan so far is merely a list of what chapters from my vocabulary and grammar book to look at each week, as well as a reminder to listen to podcasts and watch videos in Spanish more frequently.
Oh, and I finally turned my back on Harry Potter.
While it is helpful to read something that you already know the plot of and don't have to worry too much about missing something important because you don't understand everything, somehow this made me want to not continue reading. So I scrolled the interwebs and found Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a Spanish author who also writes books for teenagers (yay for vocabulary level) that aren't too long and tedious to read (yay for motivation). I checked out his website, got myself a copy of "El Príncipe de la Niebla" and what can I say - I'm almost through with the first novel and can't wait to read the second part of the trilogy. There are still a lot of situations in which I'm not quite sure whether or not I understood everything correctly but I decided against looking up each and every unknown word for the sake of an enjoyable reading experience. And it works well so far - or at least I think I know what is happening in the book, haha.
With this being said, I will return to whatever I was doing before I posted this belated update. I hope you have your own study goals all figured out and I wish you good luck with everything you want to achieve this month! You can do it!
Update (11th December 2019)
There isn't really much to say: My plan worked and I got a good amount of Spanish immersion in November. I finished my Spanish book, watched two seasons of "Casa de las Flores" with Spanish subtitles and found some more Spanish podcasts that I can come back to. I am slowly building up an Anki file with all the basic vocabulary I am missing, and on days that weren't that studious, at least I got my vocabulary review done or wrote something in my Spanish diary. Now all that is missing is a bit of speaking practice.
Shielded from the eyes of social media, I also worked through a book about the Greek alphabet.
Because I love Greek and I want to learn it since forever. Just because. Will I continue with it? That's what I thought in November but, to be honest, looking at what lies ahead (December and Christmas), I quickly disregarded that idea. So maybe in 2020 but not for the time being.
11th November 2019
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!
Enjoy your stay and happy studying!