Last week I was browsing the forum and found drp9341's fascinating log. This post in particular really stood out to me:
okay, I was just thinking, and decided that right now, I'm "making myself a syllabus."
Let me elaborate. For the past couple of months, I've been learning by focusing on "Skills." For example, If I notice my vocabulary is my weakest area, I try to focus on exposing myself to more Polish and marking down everything I don't understand, putting it into Anki, and banging out those Anki flashcards daily.
If I notice that I don't fully understand a grammatical concept, I will drill that grammatical concept, sum it up, make some cloze deletions cards, and a decent amount of example sentences, and put it in Anki.HOWEVER,
I just watched a video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alh0RmJQ1T0
about China's involvement in Africa. It's a topic I'm familiar with, and have stayed up to date on, but I still had trouble with the video. There were lots of words that I didn't understand, or realize could be used in such a context, (especially verbs!)
It made me think. I'm going to try to 'sorta'
implement a new strategy. I'm going to focus on certain topics, for a certain amount of time, until I feel comfortable discussing those topics.
For example, I need to teach English to students here who's English is very poor. If the student is very sharp, and I can tell has awareness of how Polish works, then I'll give grammatical explanations in Polish. I have one student who I do this a couple of times a week with. I also ALMOST
finished Luca Lampariello's book about language learning, (The one that's only in Polish,) and I read it pretty intensively, looking up everyword, and reading every sentence at least twice, and reading entire portions of the book over again once I finished reading them the first time. Now, I can talk about language learning very well. I want to be able to talk about other things though...
I'm going to do something similar to what I did with the topic of "language learning" except I'm going to do it in a more structured way. I plan on watching short informational youtube videos, news casts, and reading articles. I'll try to start writing about that
specific topic when I'm ready, and posting it on iTalki for corrections.
I've thought about doing something similar with Spanish, but so far I haven't made a real effort to do it. This post has motivated me to actually start! This week I'll pick a topic to start with, and then I'll make a list of other topics and a rough schedule to cover them.
While I'm at it, I want to think about my plan for learning languages other than Spanish. I know I want to finish my Homeric Greek textbook, but right now I've been going through it veryyy slowly. However, if I can do 2-3 lessons per week I'll be done with all of the grammar lessons by the end of the year. I might be able to do that, but we'll see.
I originally planned to study Italian next, but I'm having second thoughts. It's so similar to Spanish that I think it will hardly feel like I've started a new language. Maybe I should study a more different language first to have some variety. And I also feel like I don't want a lot of commitment yet...I mean, I've been studying Spanish pretty persistently for 10 years, and the thought of starting a new language and then studying it years and years is a bit intimidating. I think I deserve some time to dabble? So what if, starting in 2020, I study a different language every ~3 months or so? (Not copying Benny Lewis on purpose, but three months just seems like a good amount of time for dabbling! I definitely would not be "fluent in three months".
) Off the top of my head, the languages I'd want to study during that year are French, German, Korean, and maybe Russian. Of course, I also want to seriously study Mandarin...so I'm not 100% set on that dabbling plan either. I'm just itching to start studying a new language.
Oh, and one other thing: I'm still very dissatisfied with my pronunciation in Spanish, but I think I have an idea for how I can work on it. My issue with pronunciation isn't so much about pronouncing individual sounds, but that my intonation and the way I link words aren't native-sounding enough. So I think I will try to find a specific native speaker, like a Youtuber, and focus on mimicking their speech patterns. The routine could go like this: 1) watch the video and make a transcript for it (which would be a good listening exercise in itself!), 2) play the audio in short clips (possibly in Audacity?) and repeat after each segment, 3) try to analyze what I need to do to make my normal Spanish speaking more like that.
That will hopefully help me with better intonation and linking my words more naturally, but I also speak very slowly in Spanish. I think I need to practice speaking more and consciously try to talk faster. I did this last week and it worked well, but I made the silliest errors (swapping "el" and "la" even when I knew which one it was supposed to be, and conjugating verbs wrong, etc.). I guess I just need to practice to make grammar more automatic, and maybe I should force myself to keep going when I make an error? But at the same time, stopping to correct myself seems beneficial too. Has anyone else struggled with speaking too slowly in their target language?