For years and years I thought I hated any and all forms of working out. Then somehow I decided I wanted to give running a try. It did not come easily to me. I huffed and puffed and ran slower than any little old lady you’ve ever seen, but I made it through a 12 week training program for a 5k, and then again for a 10k. In a few days, I’ll be starting a 12 week training for my first half-marathon.
Thinking about how well working on a set schedule has worked for me with running, I thought I’d go ahead and make one for language learning. The one above is what I personally aspire to stick to, but it would work just as well if you only wanted to do thirty minutes a day or three days a week instead of five. Can’t commit to 12 week? Try six! Work your way up! The point is just to give yourself some sort of varied structure to look forward to and keep you stimulated throughout your language journey.
A few of the tools I’ll be using to implement this plan:
Classes: I’m signed up for an intermediate class at my local Alliance Française but there’s always independent language schools (I took classes at Fluent City in New York and would recommend them), private tutors, and community colleges for an affordable option.
Reading: I always liked the idea of reading in French but was off-put the second I actually opened a copy of a French novel. The solution? CHILDREN’S BOOKS! I like to pick up a few picture books from the library while also working my way through a small chapter book. Right now I’m reading Charlotte’s Web, or “Le Petit Monde du Charlotte,” by E.B. White. I still have to stop and look up words all the time but they’re mostly farm words so I don’t feel too bad about it. Other authors I’ve got my sights set on are Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. So they’re not exactly French… but with Amazon it’s easy to find used copies of translations and personally, I find it helpful to read books I am familiar with but don’t remember word for word.
Conversation & Writing: Hellloooo iTalki! I first heard about this website from The Iceberg Project and have been poking around on it all week. Once you set up a profile you can post writing and have it corrected by native speakers, ask questions about vocabulary or grammar, and set up Skype dates with language exchange partners and tutors. I posted a paragraph two night ago and by the next morning there were already two different corrected versions for me to see my mistakes! I’ve put in a request for my first paid one-on-one conversation tutoring and will report back on how it goes. So far it seems like a really great resource.
It’s also worth looking for conversation meet-ups in your city! I was surprised there were so many French ones in Portland. If your google search comes up empty, you can always check on Meetup.
Listening: Someone mentioned to me that I should start listening to French Radio and it has made my commute to and from work soooo much more fun. I’ve been using the French Radio app which also has German and Italian counterparts, but I’m sure there are more for other languages.
Alright! Hope this was of some help. I would love to hear from anyone who gives this a try and will be checking back in frequently myself.
À plus tard!