Monday, 27 October 2014

21 Day Language Blast - Day 1

Day 1 - Today was the first day of my 21 day language blast. I don't want to say exactly what this involves as it is an idea/technique I've taken from the book mentioned in the post below. However, it does involve spending lots of time listening to the language you are studying. I fell a bit short of this today. I didn't get all my free listening done (only about 15 mins). To be honest it's hard to fit this in as I have my children around me for most of the day, and they do not enjoy listening to Russian! So, I'm going to have to think about that. I did get my listening/reading activity done. I was actually quite proud of this one, and amazed myself by being able to translate some Russian sentences so they made perfect sense by putting together the words I knew, and having a sensible guess at the ones I didn't. I'm now going to spend sometime on my language journal and flashcards. 

If anyone else is having a go at this challenge then please leave a comment below. 

And just in-case there is someone else who is doing this with Russian some websites that I found useful today are -
Russian radio -
Russian audio with Russian and English translations -
Anki -

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Language Master Key

I recently discovered the book Language Master Key on my wanderings around the internet. I found it such a helpful read. I actually went through it twice, the second time I spent a while taking notes and looking at the resources suggested. It's different from most of the books I've read as it focuses very much on learning through listening, something that made so much sense once I thought about it! I think this (along with the other instructions and advice given) is a technique that will really work for me. The book also gives advice on how to embark on a '21 day language blast' which I'm going to have a go at. I will be updating here with my plans in the next few days. Very excited about this! :D

Friday, 24 October 2014

Still here, still learning...

Just not necessarily Russian! ;)

I hope this blog makes sense I have written it in bits and pieces, and it's kind of random.

I have been meaning to blog for quite a while. Over the summer my Russian learning (almost) ground to a halt. I signed up to babbel in an attempt to motivate myself, and also because I could use their app on my phone. And this did work a bit. It's easy to jump on for a few minutes and pick up where I left off, but I don't feel as if I'm progressing very much with it. I actually think my random approach to learning is not helping - I use a book, get distracted, use an online course (free or otherwise), get distracted, check facebook, then I might watch some youtube videos, maybe listen to a Russian radio station, perhaps go on memrise, but it's all kind of random and I'm not progressing. In turn this leads to frustration, which leads to me not bothering. I clearly need a better plan. I could really relate to this post at the blog to be fluent. This is me.

I have realised that I need to change my way of thinking, and think about my goals. Why am I learning Russian? What do I want to achieve? I read so many wonderful language blogs, which although fantastic and helpful sometimes make me feel like my measly efforts are just not worth it! This is my problem and not the lovely bloggers :) ...I decided that my goal actually isn't to be fluent. It would be great, but I don't think I have that all encompassing passion to learn Russian (or any language). What I do know is that I love languages, and learning about them. I love words. I have been on a bit of a Shakespeare kick recently (which has been one of the reasons my Russian got put to one side). Reading plays, going to the globe, studying a free futurelearn course, securing tickets to see Hamlet (yes, the one with Benedict Cumberbatch!!!!!!!) and so on. I also have a desire to learn Romanian and Arabic, as I plan future trips (in my head so far) to Morocco (as a volunteer) and Brasov (to work with Bears!). Most recently I visited the Language Show in London. I attended a Russian class, but my main reason for going was to find more information about teaching English as a foreign language (Celta/tefl/Trinity CERTtesol anyone?!). Other interests this summer included taking a counselling course, and an ongoing addiction to Homeland. Of course I also have 3 children, and partner who need my attention as well! 

I have so many thoughts, ideas, passions, and things I want to do I honestly pondered that I may have adhd. Then, I read a revealing, and oh so well timed blog post, about scanners. How I could relate, this is me! I am a scanner! This was a huge light-bulb moment! You can read more about scanners here.

So, how does this all relate to Russian. Well, I've come to some realisations. I decided that writing is down at the bottom of skills for me, as a borderline dyslexic I struggle with English spellings so you can imagine how I am at Russian! I love reading Russian, and of course speaking is very important (as is listening!) so these are the things I'm going to focus on. I would like to know enough so that when I return to Russia I can do things such as order a meal, ask directions, read signs, visit museums, and (maybe) take tours in Russian. Enough to have brief conversations. I won't be perfect, but will hopefully be understood! I would like to be able to read more in Russian, maybe even Shakespeare eventually (although starting with children's books!). Anything more would be great, but this is what I'm aiming for right now. Of course I'm going to get distracted and maybe take some diversions, and discover different passions, but I'm hoping I can keep my Russian going throughout all (most...) of that :) ...Now to make some decisions on how to go about it - what resources to use, what to get rid of,  and to try and stop buying Russian course books!