***This post contains Affiliate Links. This means that when you click through to purchase a product or service, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! You can read my full Affiliate Disclaimer HERE.***
So…2020 is officially OVER!
I know 2021 has already shown us that there are plenty of shenanigans to come but I don’t care. I just need last year to be in the rearview.
As far as language study, last year was definitely mostly me slacking. I’m gonna be honest, I just wasn’t in the headspace for it. Every time I woke up it felt like another thousand things on this planet were exploding. And parsing conjugations wasn’t high on my list of ways to cope.
The only thing I did semi-regularly was talking to my friend in Korea.
That being said, I miss it a lot. And now that I’ve said all that about what mostly didn’t happen last year, let’s get on to my plans for this year!
German – Maintain
If you’ve been around for a minute you know that German is my second language. I’ve been studying it for over half my life at this point so it’s always going to be a permanent fixture. While I feel my grasp on the language hasn’t slipped too much, I don’t use it nearly as much as I need to to keep it fresh in my mind.
So for 2021, I’ll be working on maintaining my German at the B2 level. My Virgo moon initially had me wanting to try and hit C1 by the end of the year but I’ve been working hard to tamp down on my perfectionism lately. There’s nothing wrong with making sure my foundation is as solid as can be before hopping up to the next level.
Korean – Advance
I want to kick my Korean up a notch and sit comfortably around the A2 level. I actually engage with Korean the most on a daily basis so I’m expecting to see the most progress here out of the three.
I’m fairly covered on speaking practice (thanks 언니 ^^), so I’ll be focusing more on writing and listening to bring them up to par.
Japanese – Begin […sort of]
I’ve actually studied Japanese before. Twice! Once my senior year of high school and the second time my senior year of college. College was very strange because I was in this weird middle ground between true beginner and high beginner. So of course I just took both classes simultaneously. Why am I like this? I still don’t know.
But I miss it. A LOT. I always said I would return to Japanese when I reach an intermediate level of Korean but that’s going out the window in 2021. It’s 日本語 time! I can’t freaking wait.
Sidenote: I feel like I should add that the older I get the less I feel obligated to put so much emphasis on the CEFR levels.
They’re still a useful way to gauge where I am in my language learning process, but I’m more interested in my ability to use the language how I want. Yeah, I might be A1, but if I can hold a 15-minute conversation then that means more to me than anything else.
Now, goals are all well and good yeah, but what am I going to use to actually accomplish them? Well, I’m glad you asked.
A few months back I discovered that I had hella italki credits on my account. I think my teacher at the time had to cancel the sessions I’d bought because she was working on her master’s thesis or something. Either way, there’s money chilling in there and I’m going to put it to good use.
Because I already have a friend in Korea that I speak with on a regular basis, I’ll only be using it for German and Japanese.
With Japanese, I’ll need an actual teacher, preferably one who provides their own materials.
My German is much stronger so I’ll be looking for a community tutor to have consistent conversations with. I need to get used to using it regularly again.
It’s no secret that I love textbooks. I know they’re not as flashy as apps (which I also love) but I feel so much more accomplished when I finish a textbook chapter!
I don’t know what kind of shenanigans go on with German textbooks but I’ve never had one. Ever. And I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for one. The best I can do is reference books. At this point, any textbook I’d find at B2 level would probably be mostly reading and writing anyway. I’ll just use articles on the interwebs and social media.
I have a plethora of Korean textbooks. I can feel you judging me. Don’t judge! They all do different things I swear. I prefer the Ewha set and plan to continue working out of those.
For Japanese, I technically have the Genki textbook. I bought it because that’s what we used when I learned in high school. It’s very much structured for classroom learning rather than solo learning but I think I can finesse it.
I also love apps but I’m starting to be more selective about which ones I use regularly. The main app I’ll be working through is Lingodeer. I did a review of the app last year.
I’ve only tried it out for Korean so I’m excited to see how it approaches Japanese. Especially with Kanji. Originally I planned to only use it for those two but I might slide over to German occasionally as well.
I need more German podcasts. I only have one that I listen to regularly and lowkey it’s been kind of depressing since it’s a travel-related podcast, haha.
I’m on a true crime kick so if anyone has a favorite German-language podcast in the genre please let me know! And if all these apps and companies want to really do something unique, they can make it easier for us to find podcasts in our target language that aren’t just “Let’s learn this language!”
If there’s anything last year showed me it’s that I don’t have to do all the things even though I desperately want to. While I won’t say I’ll never dabble in anything else this year, I’ll be keeping my focus on these core three languages.
What about you all? Are you learning any new languages this year? Keeping up with some of the new ones from last year?
Pin a picture for later
Stay In The Loop!
From the podcast to the shop, stay updated on all things language, culture, and travel.
I came across your site and it was really inspiring to see a person of color in this space.
My team and I are building a marketplace technology designed to help language and cultural coaches attract and retain clients.
Please note I am not looking to sell you anything, but since you have so much expertise in the space, I’d love to get your advice on our product, so we don’t build the wrong thing. For your valuable input, I can offer you six months free when we launch the platform.
Are you available Thursday or Friday of this coming week for about 45 minutes?
Happy to answer any questions. I look forward to speaking with you.
I am an editor with Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, one of the biggest magazines in Germany. For an article which will be published online I am collecting tips by people who are fluent in multiple languages.
I am doing phone interviews or interviews via videocall with various people and will be writing what we call a “protocol” out of the interview, a long quote in which they explain their tip on how to learn a language easier/ become fluent faster. It is a very different topic and in German, but you can imagine the article looking similar to this one: https://sz-magazin.sueddeutsche.de/liebe-und-partnerschaft/green-flags-dating-vertrauen-91630. Additionally, we will include the article in a weekly newsletter we send to our readers, which is titled „How to live easier”, where we share lifehacks for different kind of daily struggles.
Would you be interested in participating in this story with a tip? We would do an interview of about approx.. 15 minutes, preferably end of this week (Thursday/Friday), but next week would be fine, too. You could read the quote before we publish it, this is a normal thing to do for us as German journalists. Also, I would include some short personal information and a photo of you, if that’ fine with you.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and would be very pleased if you were interested in participating.
Kind regards from Hamburg