Friday, 28 March 2014

Week One - Resources

Week One of my new 'official' project is coming to a close, if you don't count the weekend (hopefully this weekend I can focus a little on my main blog!).

What have I done so far? Not a lot, really. As I've said in the previous post, this week has been a little unstructured. I've been trying to figure out what methods to use, what will work best.. When will I work on each language, and how, and for how long? All these little questions were in my head this week. Sadly, I've not figured out a schedule yet. I'm not a big fan of schedules..

Here's what I have done:

In Spanish, I finished Mi Vida Loca, a really fun interactive program. It's not really a game, but it feels a bit like one. You become the main character of a mini series. If you are learning Spanish, I truly recommend it. Even if your Spanish is already quite good, it's worth it just for the entertaining aspect. I turned off the English subtitles and turned on the Spanish when I watched the episodes to have a little extra practice. I finished the last episode today, and took the test. You can get a certificate, too! Unfortunately, I clicked the wrong button at the end, so I'll have to redo the test at some point to get my certificate..
I have also been using Busuu, but it doesn't seem to help me speak more. I always get good 'marks' on the reviews, but the vocabulary is staying passive. My premium trial ran out, and there are more limits to how I can use the site now, so that's also annoying.

In Finnish, I listened to all the 'Finnish in three minutes' podcasts on YouTube. I'm not sure if there will be new ones added, but they were useful, and great for short attention spans. ;) I'll have to review them to make sure I commit the phrases to long-term memory, but already I can say 'my name is/ I am/ do you speak English?' amongst other things, so I'm not too unhappy about my progress! I also use Finnishpod101 for other phrases, and flashcards, but from what I've seen so far, it can be limited if you don't have a premium account. I started a Memrise course, but only did a few minutes, so I don't know how effective it will be. I use Memrise for Arabic, and it's given me lots of vocabulary, but sentences are fewer. (Of course, there are many courses I haven't tried. In the course I do, there are some sentences, just not very useful ones for a beginner).

In Arabic, I've been very bad and haven't done much.. :( I went back to Memrise and have over 200 items to 'water', and I couldn't face it. Unfortunately, it really is important to do a little, often, or things get forgotten. I still remember some words, so some Arabic is in my long-term memory. I was using Busuu for Arabic before, but the way the system works was very unhelpful, with everything in Arabic. For a newbie, that was tough, because it would take me quite a while to read a sentence, let alone paragraphs! I have trouble reading Arabic if the text is not large enough. I also don't want to focus on reading, as I feel it's much more important to work on the speaking and listening skills first. Having to decipher sentences becomes a distraction.

Another thing I've done is start a notebook for all three languages. So far, I've written down transcriptions of podcasts, and a few words from the 'core 100' list I found on the languagepod101 site for each language. I also am using a moleskine sketchbook to write down things in each language that I hear, remember, or see.
I hope to figure out a proper method and have some kind of structure by the end of next week, but we shall see how things go..


Are you learning languages? What methods do you use, and do you have a favourite program you use? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below! Thank you for reading.

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