Today our regular writer Angel Armstead is back - she's gone through a busy time and had to take a break from language learning. Busy being the key word - this lady is rocking so many projects! Like I have found myself, sometimes we need to cut to progress. Ouch. So how did Angel get back on the wagon?
Always Good Intentions
I started my language learning like most people with good intentions. I had good intentions of learning multiple languages and traveling to those countries and meeting the people. I could imagine myself speaking multiple languages and traveling to multiple destinations. I have not let go of that dream but good intentions can only take us so far.
Never Enough Time
When I first decided on Japanese, Russian and Mandarin at the same time I had what seemed like limitless time. Ideas kept flooding in: I decided I would get back to work on my novel after becoming great at my languages. Then I found a way to create my very own video game. During all of that I decided to sell coffee in my own home business. And I went ahead and worked on these projects! Before all these projects, spending time in three languages seemed easy. My time is going to be even shorter when I go back out to college. But of course I need to be able to fund that dream somehow if I'd like to live it.
Sometimes You Have To Let a Few Things Go
I am not giving up learning Russian or Mandarin Chinese. For now I shall focus on Japanese and the blog that I'm working on to help people in Japanese. I will re-add Mandarin and Russian to my currently studying languages in time, but I will not add them at the same time when I do. There are a few things I still need to learn in Japanese before I can move on to another language. I did make it to the Intermediate stage in Japanese in college. Intermediate level can sometimes feel like the worst level to be at. I understand a lot and there's still a lot that confuses me. I want to move on to Mandarin or Russian only after I take a trip to Japan. I plan on doing the same for any later language I work on learning. Letting things go to focus on a specific subject can also help with interests outside of language learning.
Intermediate level can feel like the worst level to be at - I understand a lot and still get confused!
Failure Can Be A Learning Experience
I don't really consider having to focus on one language a failure in my language learning. It does show me that time can be one of the biggest factors in how many languages you can learn. Some people do have the time and motivation to learn three or more at a time and that's great for them.
How I Got Back Into Language Learning
For some people language learning is a fun activity and it is for me too. But I think at times I don't take it seriously enough. I thought of other things that I have been able to learn and realized one of the things I could utilize to keep me going.
- Set Aside a Time to Learn/Listen to Your Target Language
This one is probably very obvious to most experienced language learners and it's what helped me with other things I learned. I now set aside time at midnight to either listen to a language lesson or watch a Japanese film/anime. I picked that time because I'm not the partying type and it's the time for the least amount of interruptions. It works very well because of that. Anytime the clock hits midnight I should be doing something in my target language. You have to be strict at times with your own self and maybe even friends and family. Maybe tell a close friend or family member so they can encourage you to stick to your goal. Remind yourself on why you wanted to learn that language in the first place and then get serious about and figure out when is the best time to work on it.
- Rediscover Sources You Love
There are a few other things that I used to do a lot that I've just gotten back into again. I've re-added using YouTube. There is a lot of bad stuff on YouTube but it's also a good resource for free language lessons. I've gone back to playing my games in Japanese and posting on my Japanese blog. I try to listen to Japanese music any chance I get. I also take flashcards everywhere I go. Since my language learning is done so late I have a lot of time during the day to glance at flashcards. YouTube is also a good resource for music from other countries.
I wrote this post for myself and because I've met many people who have started learning a language, then found that their career or education limited their time to learn. The problem was that they never got back to learning the language they wanted.
Sometimes when you get back to your language learning it means starting over to give yourself a quick refresher. I think many dislike that but it is sometimes the same in real relationships to feel that you have to start over if time has passed between the two of you. I will try to blog once a week my progress on getting back up to speed in Japanese, even though my blog was quiet while I focused on other things.
But even if you've procrastinated for years you still have time to make that decision to pursue that interest whether it's language, music or anything else you have an interest in learning.
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