Hey all! It’s August and that means that it is time for me to share my monthly language learning strategies update as part of Maximize Your Month.
As a quick introduction to just what Maximize Your Month just in case you missed last month‘s post, it is a goal-sharing link up I am co-hosting with a team of incredibly awesome bloggers. If you haven’t met them already, they are Lindsay, Esther, Mariah, and Hsiao-Ting.
So, I’d like to welcome you to the Maximize Your Month Linkup where we share our goals and motivate one another to pursue our dreams. We’d love for you to a part of our community so that we can help inspire one another to achieve our goals. You can join us by adding a link to your own goal post below.
Please feel free to tag your posts or photos with either #clearthelist or #maximizeyourmonth
Last Month’s Highlights on Instagram
My Maximize Your Month Language Learning Strategies & Goals
Last Month’s Goals
- Begin taking the HSK 3 Practice Tests. I did and they’re so much more difficult than level 2.
- Have fun with my new language. I did! So, so much fun! I think I love Russian as much as I love Mandarin.
- Do at least two language update videos. Nope.
- Get through 1/3 of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. Yes! I even started HSK 4 to try to get ahead (although, I don’t really like the way this deck is setup in comparison to the previous levels).
This Month’s Goals
- Do one page of Chinese calligraphy/writing practice a day. My penmanship could use a little TLC.
- Get through the second third of the HSK 3 Memrise deck. And keep my momentum up!
- Do at least two language update videos. Since I didn’t really do this last month, I want to try to do it this month.
- Catch up on review on previous Mandarin Memrise decks. There are still a few words that are not in my long-term memory that should be.
- Read at least two books. I’m behind on my reading goal for this year and it’s time to catch up. Plus, finishing books that I have will help me move towards my next goal.
- Have another major minimalist weekend. So, I know I have mentioned that I’ve been making an effort to minimize my life, but this past month I ended up adding more than I ended up removing (new clothes for performances, new travel stuff for travel, new books for study, etc.). I need to get rid of a few things to make space for the new.
- Finish up my first round of the HSK 3 Practice Tests. You all, the difference between level 2 and level 3 is huge!!! It’s kicking me in the rear.
My Language Learning Strategies and Updates
Here are some of the changes I’ve made to my language learning methods from previous months:
- I started studying Russian
- I am going to start doing twice as many lessons in Mandarin
- I am taking a break from Croatian
I started studying Russian
Even though a lot of language learners (myself, included), advise language learners to only seriously focus on one language, I decided to bring in a second. My primary focus will still be Mandarin – until I pass the HSK exam – but I don’t really see any reason why I can’t start to learn Russian. I’m motivated enough in both at the moment that I’ve been able to manage the two. If, however, I start to notice that my Mandarin suffers due to lack of attention or that two languages as once is too much, I’ll cut back on Russian. Or just take a break. For now, I’m enjoying the two.
I am going to start doing twice as many lessons in Mandarin
It’s crunch time, ya’ll. There is less than 6 months left until my exam so I’m ready to amp up my study. Lessons with another teacher will also give me another perspective and more material to work on. So I’m ready!
I am taking a break from Croatian
Recently, my Croatian studies have really only been passive, but I’m going to take a break completely to work on Russian. The two are similar so I want to put some distance between them so there isn’t any confusion. Plus, since I wasn’t really actively working on Croatian, this won’t be a big change.
Resources I Used This Month
So, a quick recap on the materials I am using.
What I’m Using to Learn Mandarin:
- iTalki Lessons – Honestly, this is still one of the best investments I’ve made.
- HSK 3 Practice Tests
- Antosch & Lin
- Various Podcasts – Important Things with Jenny Zhu and Melnyk’s
What I’m Using to Brush Up/Improve my French:
- Reading books written by French authors
- Listening to French radio/podcasts
What I am Using to Learn Russian
The Biggest Lesson I Am Taking Away from This Month
Studying Two Languages Really Isn’t That Big of a No-No
When I first really started studying languages, I worked on several simultaneously. My progress definitely suffered as a result. But when I first stared out, I didn’t have the experience or knowledge that I do now. I also wasn’t quite as passionate about it as I am today. I don’t think I’ll have the same experience studying two languages at once as I did a few years back.
That being said, to really progress to the level I need to get to in Mandarin, most of my time will still be focused on that language. Russian is just a side project for the time being and it will be treated as such.
Even though I’ve read quite a bit from other language bloggers on why we should only focus on one language at a time, I think I’m ready to take on two. I will, technically, be focused on only one, so I am not technically breaking the “focus on one language” rule.
Since this is going to be my first time seriously (I mean really seriously) working on two languages at once, I’m going to pay very close attention to my progress. If my efforts in Chinese are slowed or if I start to have issues with retention, I’m going to hit the pause button on Russian until after my exam.
This is very much a personal experiment. I really want to learn both of these languages and I really enjoy studying them, so I had a really hard time justifying holding off on learning Russian. I just couldn’t continue ignoring all of the awesome resources I discovered.
PS. M and I just launched an Indiegogo campaign for our new album “First Class.” I would absolutely love it if you took a moment to head over and check it out or help us share the project!
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That’s it for me in August. What are your goals for this month?