Recently, I’ve been learning Persian.
Here’s where I started:
And here’s where I ended up:
With the help of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge, Drops, Pimsleur and my language tutor, I was able to have a 15-minute conversation in Persian after about 2.5 months (I started the 90-day challenge about 2 weeks late).
How to Learn Persian: My Strategies
Each week, I had a lesson with my tutor. Prior to each lesson, I would propose something we would work on. It started with introductions, the hobbies, then basic conversation, one week we spent on prepositions, and so on. My teacher was amazing and flexible, willing to go with whatever I wanted to work on and support me whatever way I needed to be supported.
After each lesson, I would add the notes from our shared Google Doc to a Google Sheet, then copy and paste the new vocabulary and phrases into Memrise.
Each day, I would study my Memrise flashcards, do 5-minutes in Drops, and listen to at least part of a Pimsleur lesson.
Partway through the challenge, I picked up Script Hacking Persian by Judith Meyer and started to learn how to read and write in the language.
Doing these things helped me get to the point where I could converse in the language on a basic level — and have a 15-minute conversation.
How I Decided On What My Tutor and I studied
My first lesson with a tutor is always a self-introduction. I learn to introduce myself, talk about the basics of who I am and what I do, and then ask the person I’m talking to the questions related to the answers I’m giving. For example here’s some of what I might say in a first lesson:
- Hello, my name is Shannon. What’s your name?
- It’s nice to meet you.
- How are you?
- I’m xx years old. How old are you?
- I have two kids. Do you have children? Are you married?
- I am American. I live in California. Where are you from? Where do you live?
- I’m a musician. What do you do?
- My hobbies are martial arts, reading, cooking, writing, playing video games and learning languages. What are your hobbies?
My next lesson, I’ll choose something from my introduction to further expand on. It might be my work, my family, or my hobbies. Essentially, I keep a mind map in my head and I continue down it until I feel I’ve fully explored a topic, then I take a step or two back and go down a new path.
Here’s what it might look like:
What I Would Do Differently If I Learned Persian Again
My tutor was an amazing resource for me during the challenge, but I didn’t feel as though I truly understood the grammar I was trying to use. If I were to learn Persian again, I would absolutely dive into a course book sooner rather than later.
I did end up studying Teach Yourself Complete Persian, but that wasn’t until after this particular challenge was over and I had started my next language project (which I’ll share more about later). I think understanding Persian grammar a little more than I did during this project would have boosted my confidence.
I usually wait to learn grammar, but I definitely felt I could have started on it sooner this time around.
How I Feel About My Progress in Learning Persian
I’ll start out by saying, I made mistakes in my Day 90 video. But I’m okay with it. We were able to keep the conversation in the language and I understood most of what was said to me. I was also able to say what I needed to say.
My favorite mistake was when I told my tutor I was sixty-one (shish-o yek) rather than my correct age. At first, I didn’t realize the error. But then I saw her expression, reflected back on what I had said and corrected myself. It was definitely a facepalm moment but I was even able to laugh about it as it was happening. Plus, I thought it was already a big step from where I started because I was able to identify the mistake I made.
I also incorrectly conjugate a few verbs and don’t conjugate others. But again, I’m alright with this. Making mistakes is a part of the process.
I’m announcing my next language lea b rning project soon, but in the meantime I’ll share this — I’m going to keep on with Persian.
I’m happy with the level that it got to and I’m not ready to move onto something new or different quite yet.
What about you? What are you working on? Let me know in the comments!
By the way, I’m going to announce some pretty exciting things very soon to my email list. Want to find out more? Sign up here.
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My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover, traveler, and foodie behind Eurolinguiste. I'm also the Resident Polyglot at Drops and the Head Coach of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.