This month’s #clearthelist will be a bit different from the rest. While I was thinking about what to write and what to plan I had a revelation, so things will change a bit for me in September.
August was a time for holidays and reflection after a messy July. I’ve been busy planning work related things and I’ll be even more busy doing in September.
I also had the chance to assess where I am with Swedish – more of it in a moment.
Finally, I failed badly at my Japanese August on Instagram. No big deal.
Alright, let’s start from the beginning!
Where am I with Swedish?
I’ve been studying Swedish now for about one year, at first very casually. Since January I’ve been more consistent, but I haven’t studied intensively at any point.
I am now at the point where I understand what’s going on with the language. How did I find out?
First of all, I recently tried and reviewed Interlinear Books. It gave me the chance to strengthen my self-confidence when reading, as I managed to read a real novel without too much struggle and using the translation only occasionally.
Second, I spent a week in Sweden and this gave me a clear idea of my strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side I can follow a casual conversation between natives without many problems. On the negative, I still cannot answer promptly and interact effectively. I still speak slowly and need to rehearse a sentence in my head before being ready to say it.
Despite that I surprised myself by actually using Swedish every time I could in shops, bars and restaurants. I was afraid everyone would immediately switch to English but no one did! So yay for trying!
Tomorrow I’m off to Stockholm again for the wedding I wrote about a few months ago and I am shamefully unprepared. Still, it’s good to know that I can tell people to go ahead and speak Swedish because I understand what they say. Maybe I won’t charm them with my language skills, but at least I won’t be a bother! Silver linings…
What about September?
So about the changes I mentioned earlier, the plan for September is that I will have no plan.
I know that this whole Clear the list thing is about sharing goals, so shall I be disqualified maybe?
I’ve been reading a million times about how setting achievable goals is key if you want to learn a language. It’s all over the language learning community and I’ve accepted this fact without questioning it. The truth is I’ve always been a bit of a Bastian contrario, as we say in Italian (Mary Mary quite contrary in English, apparently). I’m used to questioning everything, especially if it’s something that doesn’t resonate with me. So while I agree that one should be consistent to make progress, I don’t necessarily feel like goals are a part of the equation for me.
Goals can be great sometimes, but other times they make me feel anxious and constrained. That’s why for September (and possibly longer) I’ll try to go ahead without a study plan and without setting monthly goals. I feel more confident in doing so since I teamed up with Tiia to support each other as study buddies for Swedish. Chatting with her helped me to see things more clearly and to be more forgiving of my failures, which was refreshing.
So this is all for now, in September I’ll stay loose of any commitment. We’ll see in a month how the experiment goes!
Do you think that short term goals are necessary to successfully learn a language? Have you ever thought of studying without a fixed plan or routine? Let me know what you think, even if you totally disagree with me! 🙂