Clear The List | Monthly Language Learning Strategies Update | July

Happy 4th of July weekend to those of you in the US – I hope you are having a fantastic holiday! I am enjoying the extra time off to get a little extra language study in and some time in the pool.

Since it’s once more the beginning of a new month, I’d like to welcome those of you new to #clearthelist and welcome back those of you returning. #clearthelist is a linkup where we share our monthly goals, and by we, I mean myself, Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages and Mariah of Food, Booze & Baggage. You should definitely take a minute to head over and check out their sites if you haven’t already!

We’d absolutely love for you to a part of our community. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.

So let’s get started, sharing our goals and motivating one another to #clearthelist!

Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist on your favorite social media channels!

Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram

Last Month’s Blog Highlights


18 Things to Do in Paris, France That Aren’t Visiting the Eiffel Tower // We go back to France each year to visit family and while we’re there, we like to pretend we’re tourists. It’s always fascinating how differently you explore a place when you live there versus when you’re visiting.

The Summer Palace // I finally started sharing my posts from my trip to China and I thought I’d start with my first day in Beijing.

Street Foods in Beijing // The food in China is so ridiculously amazing, especially at some of the street vendors.

Language Learning

Korean Dining Etiquette with Useful Phrases // As a part of the Korean Language Challenge Lindsay Dow and I are doing, I wrote this post on Korean Dining Etiquette. It was a ton of fun putting together.

100+ Useful Conversational Phrases in Mandarin Chinese // This is my third post in this series (I also wrote guides for Korean and Croatian). These are phrases and words that I’ve found useful when conversing in Mandarin.

Why Phrasebooks are a Must Have for Language Learners // Plus my top 5 recommendations.

My Maximize Your Month Language Learning Strategies & Goals

Last Month’s Goals

Keep working on my vocabulary in Korean. // I think I did a pretty good job with this. I worked on numbers, a little bit of food vocabulary, and I added to my collection of conversational phrases.

Finish up my Penguin Coursebook for Russian. // Done! Now I’m working through Assimil’s Perfectionnement Russe.

Read one language related book. // Nope.

Finish up my Assimil Chinese Coursebook. // Nope, but I’m getting really close.

Find a Korean TV show that interests me and start to watch it. // Nope. In fact, I didn’t watch any tv this month in any language.

Start watching that new Mandarin TV show that I had bookmarked. // Nope. See above.

Finish up Pimsleur Korean I. // Again, so close, but didn’t quite get there.

Finish listening to the Pimsleur Culture lessons for Chinese. // Nope. I didn’t even load these tracks onto my ipod to listen to. But, I did manage to work through a few of the Chinese and Korean podcasts that have been accumulating in my downloaded podcasts instead.

Read my Korean Culture Smart book. // Yup!

Keep working through my YouTube Queue. // I made it through more than 100 videos this month, but I still have 400+ to go.

This Month’s Goals

Keep working on my vocabulary in Korean. // Because you can never know enough (useful) words in your target language.

Do at least four lessons in my Assimil Perfectionnement Russe. // One per week.

Read one language related book. // Since I failed at this one last month.

Finish up my Assimil Chinese Coursebook. // Only a few more lessons left!

Find a Korean TV show that interests me and start to watch it. // Again, since I didn’t do this last month.

Start watching that new Mandarin TV show that I had bookmarked. // See above.

Finish up Pimsleur Korean I. // I only have about 10 lessons left of Korean I, I am pretty sure I can manage this.

Finish listening to the Pimsleur Culture lessons for Chinese. // Or, at least load them onto my ipod to listen to. Any step in the right direction.

Read my Serbia Culture Smart book. // It’s my last one! Yikes!

Keep working through my YouTube Queue.  // I’d like to get through another 50-100 videos this month.

Finish up my Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook // I’m more than halfway through with this and I’m ready to start a new resource.

Find a Russian workbook that I like // I feel like I need to start doing exercises in the language to really get this one down.

Finish reading Winnie the Pooh in Chinese // My tutor and I started this book last month but haven’t finished it yet because our last few lessons have been more conversation based than reading based.


My Language Learning Strategies and Updates

In June, I really focused on using all of my 5, 10 and 15 minute breaks to really get as much language study in as possible. I did a bit of a refresh with Italian, spent quite a bit of time with Korean, worked on maintaining my Chinese as well as improving my reading, and did a tiny bit of Russian study.

The nice thing about each of those short breaks is that they tend to be spread out throughout my day, so I don’t have to worry about interference when switching between languages. And because I get to jump around from language to language, I don’t get bored.

Resources I Used This Month

A quick recap on the materials I am using (there’s not much of a change from last month).

What I Am Using to Learn Chinese

  • iTalki Lessons – I have weekly Chinese lessons
  • Pimsleur
  • Memrise
  • ChineseClass101
  • Melnyk’s
  • Assimil (Lessons 51-100)
  • Antosch & Lin email newsletters
  • FluentU – I watch anywhere from 3-6 videos per day and then work on the “Learning” section for each of the videos
  • Watching television shows and movies (I watched a few films this month and started watching the first episode of a few different series to try to pick something new to watch)
  • Winnie the Pooh

What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve My French:

  • Immersion (we speak franglais at home)
  • Reading books written by French authors
  • Listening to French radio/podcasts

What I am Using to Learn Russian:

What I am Using to Learn Korean:

The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month

Just because you’ve learnt one language, doesn’t mean that the next will be easier or faster to learn.

With both Russian and Korean I’ve found my progress to be relatively slow compared to some of the other languages that I’ve studied. And while it’s frustrating at times, I know that it’s okay as long as I’m making continual progress in the language (however fast or slow that progress may be). I’m not really in a rush to learn either of those languages, so even though I’d like to learn them a bit faster than my current speed, there’s really no solid reason as to why I would need to learn them faster.

I found that this is something I’ve needed to remind myself of a few times this past month.

And yes, I know that my progress would be much faster if I just focused on one or two languages, but I gave all my attention to Chinese last year and I wanted to have a bit more fun this year with more than one language. Next year I may decide to focus in on one or two once more, but this year is my “dabble” year, so I’m trying out a few new languages and deciding which I’ll keep up in the future.

Don’t forget that I would love to hear all about your goals for this month! Please join us by adding your post to the linkup below!