I was looking for a good New Year’s Resolutions a few days ago. Obviously, I wanted to improve my progress in languages I learn. I’m very good at not succeeding in fulfilling such resolutions but this time it has to be different. I decided to keep them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). This, hopefully, is going to help me achieve my goals and improve the said skills.
I wanted to improve some general skills – speak more fluently, know more vocabulary, make my grammar more accurate and generally be able to use richer language. This sounds super ambitious, but I’ve found two things that can help me in all those skills.
Firstly, I decided to start learning poems by heart. Maybe I’d be able to do the same with prose but this is more difficult and I don’t want to start at such high level. I will choose short poems in different languages, learn them and publish videos of me reciting them. Not reading! Just saying them from memory. Every month I want to learn at least two, so this should make 24 poems all together. They shouldn’t be shorter than 10 lines. I’m not good at learning by heart, but I think this will help me to enrich the vocabulary in my daily conversations.
Secondly, I want to start a language diary. The idea is quite simple and I have been recommending it to my students a lot of times. I did it myself from time to time. However, now it is going to be more regular and public. I decided to write a diary entry of at least 10 sentences in a language that I’m learning at least once a week. The topic is not very important, the idea is to write – in German, Spanish, Latin, Russian or whatever language I’ll be learning at that moment. Naturally, I will post it on this blog. This is also a challenge, because I will have to put some effort to find good topics to write about. For example, I can already imagine the struggles at describing my day in Latin. Yet, the result should be great. New vocabulary, new structures and everything ready to be used in other contexts.
I want to encourage you to do the same. Start you own Language Diary. As I mentioned, the idea is very simply – you just have to write something in a language you are learning every week. You don’t have to have a blog for it. You can use a simple notebook (a paper one, not necessary a computer) where you will write the diary. If you want you can share your notes with friends or online. You can do it on Facebook, Instagram or blog. This is up to you! I want us to help each other. We can share those entries on social media with a hashtag #LanguageDiary. That would make it easier to find. We can then comment each others’ posts, give feedback and encouragement. If we make a friendly network of like minded people, the benefits can be great!