My peripatetic years are behind me I must finally admit. Here in Austria now on more or less the anniversary of my 4th year, it is time I get serious about learning the language of the place that is for now home.
Arabic, Spanish, Quechua, Albanian. My old sweethearts. I no longer live nor travel regularly enough in regions speaking those languages to justify their upkeep, particularly when I live in Austria and have abysmal German.
I've never really had polyglot aspirations; rather I just wanted to get along and be integrated with where I was.
Here and now in Austria this means aiming high, C1, and beyond.
This go around I won't be tracking extensively every page, hour, and rep/card like I've done previously. Even though I really enjoyed looking back on those stats, the extra bookkeeping is onerous. I want to reduce friction and, even more importantly, reduce possible excuses for postponing study. Often I've spent more time preparing to study (finding resources, reading HTAL) or fiddling with the tracking (creating graphs, stats) than actually studying.
That said, I need some sort of tracking to keep me motivated. It's animistic I know, but streaks and hour/rep deadlines do work for me. If I set a 100 rep goal in Anki, I'll push through just to be able to tick off that day and extend streak. Still need to work out what sort of minimal tracking I'll be using for this journey.
The Status Quo
My German is a hodgepodge of strange vocab and grammar. Living in a place, soaking up the language while being involved in various real-life activities all while not formally studying will do that. For example, I learned the word *Geschirr* to mean harness years ago, and only just learned that it also means dishes. Having a dog and talking about dog-things caused that.
My level is definitely in the area of A2 (I've passed two A1 exams for visa/papers purposes years apart), however when preparing for this run, I've encountered words in the first pages of books/materials that apparently I should have learned on Day 1. The most recent is *gern geschehen* (my pleasure, or, you're welcome). I partly blame the Tirolean dialect for that.
Deadlines motivate me, it may be sad, but it's true. Aiming for C1 isn't concrete enough, I need a shorter term goal to aim for.
So I'm setting the concrete goal of taking (and passing) a B1 exam on October 25. Once I get there, I'll re-evaluate and see what comes next.
How do I get from some unspecified A2 adjacent level now to B1 in 75 days? Mind you, somehow over the past years I woke from a daze and found myself in my 30s with a proper adult life. Work, quality time with the partner, dinner parties, chores (so many chores), hobbies, errands, did I mention work? Gone are the days when I could luxuriate in 4+ hours of studying.
This is how (I hope):
- Duolingo (Grammar Drilling) - Duolingo is a great way to start my studies in the morning, it's snappy, quick, and those juicy sound effects and increasing counters get the endorphins flowing in a way that makes me feel good about studying, even if the time spent Duolingo itself is of questionable efficiency. Goals with duolingo: maintain the streak, aim for top 10 in the leagues. I'm torn between Gold Crowning all the skills, and just progressing down the tree. The completionist in me loves to get all those Gold Crowns, but to be honest, it's a waste of time after 2 or 3 levels. I don't really know how far the Duolingo German goes, so I don't want to set the goal of finishing the tree. But I'll try my hardest.
- Glossika (Listening, Vocab Acquisition) - 5 months Relaxed Schedule - 60 minutes a day -- This is the old school audio+paper version. I find the new web version to be very slick and nice, perhaps even more efficient with less mistakes, but super expensive, especially when I've already got German F1-F3 IRL. I might need to skip ahead and find out where I am.
- Assimil (Grammar, Listening) - I will definitely need to skip ahead, but once I find where I am, I am to do 1-2 new lessons a day and review a few more.
- DLI's GLOSS (Listening, Reading, Native Material) - I think DLI's GLOSS is underrated, so much native material their for all levels. Sure the site is clunky and ugly, but it works well enough.
- LWT/Lingq (Intensive Reading) - Using local news articles, and whatever else interesting content I can find.
- Extensive Reading - Graded readers (I think it is still too early for me to dive into German translations of my favorite books.. unless I use Siomotteikiru's Listening-Reading method). I have a few graded readers, hopefully I can work through some fun short stories without much stress.
- Intensive Listening - I'm an avid podcast listener. I've found a few short-ish German podcasts I hope to be able to intensively listen to.
- Anki - I'm a huge SRS fan. Used it many different ways over the years. These days I'm a fan of the simple sentence (w/ audio if possible) and cloze cards. I used to dread entering all my learning content into Anki. The data entry was just killer (especially back with Arabic before I could type fast). Now though I won't bother entering content from most other sources. Rather, I'll curate my own deck from words encountered in daily life. AnkiDroid can record audio directly in the app now, great for impromptu capturing sessions with strangers.
On/around the halfway point of September 17 I will take a practice B1 exam to guage my progress.
Alright, enough typing about learning. Time to sleep, tomorrow it begins.