Early Year Language Thoughts

Yesterday I finished my first week at work for 2013 so I thought now would be a good time to assess how my weekly language study schedule has worked out on first pass.

First thing to note was that this week was only three days – so I was trying to do four days’ worth of work plus holiday catch-up plus four days’ worth of language work – so no wonder it was busy! From next week though I will be adding in my next bit of accounting study so that will take an extra half-hour out of each day / 2 hours a week.

Second thing is a review of the guidelines:

  • language time is limited to work and commuting time – so as the work part of week 1 is now finished that’s supposed to be it!
  • “time” at work is not like real time; there are a lot of interruptions and distractions and things take longer, so an hour in work time is not a real hour in actual time.

I’ll go through the language challenges one by one:

  • Reading pages: I have French (8) German (4) and Japanese (5) with vocab to look up and list afterwards. I got French and Japanese done because I had a sleepless night. The plan was to do these on the train home but the train journeys were largely taken up with other things. I have half a page of German and all the German vocab still to do. 
  • Russian Harry Potter – for 1Q I just want to get through one page each work day and I made it this week! The first page was the start of a chapter so only half a page really (lucky!) but I was learning Russian keyboard so it took ages. The longer pages took about an hour (in work time). I can type without looking up the letters now so that’s a big step forward for week 1. If I finish 1 page a day for 1Q I’ll have 4 pages a day for the rest of the year and I hope I’ll be able to do that.
  • Russian vocab – did this the last days on the morning train. I made a list of the most important/useful vocab from each day’s reading and learned these on the following day (hence no vocab on day 1, which I used to test leftover kanji from last week).
  • German listening: did this walking from the pool to work on Wednesday morning. Got through quite a lot in that half-hour.
  • Kanji testing – this was my big hit, I managed to get through the whole list of previous kanji, all randomised and mixed up together (instead of separated by grade) and then I practiced the 43 failures on the evening train. This was a LOT to do in three days; even in four it will be quite a lot and I find I’m spending a lot of time going over kanji I’m not likely to forget any time soon, so I’m not sure this is the most efficient way of doing it – although quite often I could feel myself “catching” some tricky kanji when I was just on the verge of forgetting how to write them, so I think consistent testing is still key to retention. I’m debating either (a) having a week off from testing to practice the top 50 kanji I get fails on, and then going back to testing the week after (a 2-week cycle) or spreading the kanji testing out over a two week period and continuing to practice on the train. Next week I will have 4 days so I may just try and get through everything again to see how it feels fitting in to four days, and then make a decision the following week.
  • New kanji – just about managed to fit this in although they’re a bit shaky. Did practice on the train home. Will need to add these to next week’s for a couple of days to make sure I have them in my head completely.
  • French writing 1/2hr – managed to get this in on Friday afternoon, and it was ACE! I just started writing about things that happened last week and found myself trying to go into detail and making longer, more complex sentences – it was just great to feel those juices flowing again! I came up with a handful of things to research and revise and learned some new vocab.

So the things I have left undone from this week:

  • Incidentals – am hoping to get in a session with the hubs this weekend though. 
  • German vocab – will either do this over the weekend or leave it for next week 😉
  • Finance study – NA because I don’t have the books yet

So I’m pretty happy with that! The Russian was the best thing, I’m so intrigued by it and it’s all starting to make sense. The kanji took the most dedication, and the French was the most fun, although I am LOVING each and every element of this process!

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3 thoughts on “Early Year Language Thoughts

  1. I am impressed! You’re covering so much, it’s awesome. You’re very inspirational. Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis beckons me from the bookshelf in my room…

    • Thanks!! Yes if I keep going at this rate I’m excited about what it might be possible to achieve this year! It’s just little bits at a time but fitting them in around other things is the hardest part!

  2. Pingback: 2013 Week 1 Round-up « alifeindetails

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