Although it’s technically not New Year anymore,I thought it would still be good to set out my language learning goals for 2016.
Normally I’m not one for writing down my goals or aims. I’m quite a private and reserved person, so I don’t like to publicise my goals or achievements that much. When I was at school they used to make us write our targets on stickers on the front of all exercise books, and in a way, even if I didn’t achieve every single one of them, it helped to get my targets on paper, to make them more concrete. I guess this is my new technology-centred version.
AIM NUMBER ONE: CONTINUE PRACTICING GERMAN
When it comes to languages, German is my number one. I’m not sure what it is about it that I love so much, maybe because it was a subject that I was really good at, and I instinctively”got” it. Even after 11 years of study, (it’s funny to think that I’ve been learning German for half my life!) I’m still learning new words everyday. Now that I’m working, it’s hard to find time or the motivation to keep going. I’m going to try to read at least four books this year in German to keep my levels up.
AIM NUMBER TWO: LEARN SPANISH
When I first started at uni I learnt Spanish for two years, ab initio. Calling it a beginner’s class was a little bit of a misrepresentation because some students had a GCSE and I only knew the most basic words (Hola! Sombrero! Adios!). Unfortunately, the teaching methods didn’t suit me – splitting the learning into grammar, vocab and translation might have made me learn quicker, but I found it difficult to put it all together come exam time.
When I finished my degree, I promised myself that I would try to get a GCSE in Spanish if I could. In December I asked the school I work at if I could enrol as a private candidate. By January, I’d paid £31 for my exam and started my speaking and writing assessments.
My primary aim is to learn vocabulary and revise grammar structures. Recently I’ve been using an app called CRAM to revise vocabulary and speaking answers. The app and sign up are free, and it can be used on Android, lOS and on desktop. There’s a memorize function, a cram mode and two games to help you revise. You can even write a small hint for each flashcard to help you remember. It can be programmed to use a number of different languages and even has a text-to-speech function to read the flashcard to you. I used this for my first speaking assessment to help with pronunciation of words that I was unfamiliar with. The voice can get a little robotic sounding, but overall it’s been really useful so far.
AIM NUMBER THREE: LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE.
Over the summer, I started learning Dutch online and using Duolingo on my laptop and on my iPod. Unfortunately some languages are limited to learning online rather than the app but it’s certainly a good place to start. I was also learning grammar using ie-languages – a great website with a great range of resources in a variety of languages. My next step is to find a text book to work through, as well as work on my pronunciation. The exam board OCR also has Dutch GCSE and A level past papers that I might work through too.
AIM NUMBER FOUR: TRANSLATION AND NETWORKING
At the very end of 2015 I signed up for Twitter as a way of finding out more about the translation network and the business of networking.
Although I’m not quite there yet in terms of working as a translator, it’s important to start getting to know the business as soon as possible.
I’ve heard that instagram is a good way to learn and practice language learning – if anybody has got any feedback or tips, I’d love to hear them!!
If you want to see more of what I’m up to, or want to chat further, you can find me on Twitter on @amjscorr.
And last but not least, I’m going to try to get better at blogging more regularly. Wish me luck!!
Do you have any languages goals this year? If so what are they and how will you achieve them?