It's incredible how fast this year went by and how much I learned, not only about languages but also about how to learn them and what methods better to keep my hands off.
The first four months were completely dedicated to Japanese 🇯🇵 because I went to Japan for a few weeks in April. I started to solemnly focus on Japanese in September 2018 because I wanted to improve my listening and speaking skills to such an extend that it would allow me to approach locals without too much of a struggle. Spending all my time and completely immersing myself in Japanese was not only a wonderful and fun experience but also gave my self-esteem a huge boost and lead to one of my favourite memories of my trip: I talked to a shop assistant for what felt like half an hour, we understood each other and I left the shop with the biggest of smiles on my face. These four months were packed with tutoring, textbooks and sneak-peaking into Kansai-ben, and I absolutely loved it.
After my trip I felt more motivated than ever, and while I could keep up with my studies in May, the amount of time I spent for Japanese slowly declined, until I stopped with it altogether in September.
September and October where some kind of lurker months. I hardly shared anything of my studies on social media, mainly because I felt too stressed to study to begin with and the thought of "reporting back" (in a way) didn't make it any less stressful. Was I burned out on language learning? Not necessarily, I think, I just had a lot on my plate those two months and had to rearrange my priorities. Unfortunately, language learning drew the short straw.
Luckily, a tiny bit of Spanish 🇪🇸 dabbling during those weeks helped me to get back on track, and in November I made a decision to repeat what I did with Japanese at the beginning of the year, and boost my Spanish to a level that I called "self-proclaimed fluency". To set a deadline for this undertaking (or else I would be idily studying along like I did all those years prior) I took my 30th birthday. That would leave me with enough time to remember lots of vocabulary and finally end my eternal grammar struggle with the Spanish tenses. And, most of all, get immersed in everything Spanish related.
Along the way were a few other languages that I spent more or less time with: At the end of April, I tried to study a tiny bit of Czech 🇨🇿 because of an upcoming trip which, to be perfectly honest, helped me not in the slightest when I strolled through Prague. But that's fine.
In May, I started my second attempt on Swedish 🇸🇪, this time together with my husband. Sadly, we made it only through half the month before life came in our way and we stopped altogether. In June, I dabbled a bit in Turkish 🇹🇷 and absolutely loved it.
August was all about Mandarin 🇹🇼 and probably my most serious attempt when it comes to starting off with a new language. I studied almost every day and completely fell for it but, as mentioned above, September turned out to be quite an un-language-y month so my journey with Mandarin came to a standstill for the time being. And finally, in November, I worked through a Greek 🇬🇷 script book and taught myself how to write and read Greek - more or less.
Throughout the year, it always felt as if I wasn't learning "enough" or "the right things" but now that I look back at 2019 I feel really content about the overall picture. One of my resolution for 2020 should be to be a little bit more chill when it comes to my main languages. With my current levels in Spanish and Japanese and the language plateau and all that, I simply cannot ask for instant progress and that is absolutely fine. Everything will work out and piece itself together eventually.
In any case, I am super happy of having found my drive again and I'm very much looking forward to 2020 and the goals I have set myself!
29th December 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!