Goals for the year that wasn’t

united-kingdomWell, they say better late than never… it’s no secret that this blog post was a bit of a rush at the last minute. I’ve been a little conspicuous only by my absence in the online language learning community as of late, but I promise I have a good reason. You often hear that buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can do, and let me tell you, they aren’t exaggerating. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since late June, and I’m constantly picturing ways in which the whole thing could go wrong. I’m finally ready to talk about it, or even admit that it’s happening, because I’m sort of nearing the end of the process now and ready to start thinking about what kind of fridge I’m going to need to buy. So I’m afraid to say there hasn’t been a lot of excess brain power left over for language learning, reading, writing, or anything else I enjoy. That said, I have managed to put aside some time every week to vanish into the world of Pokémon, where I don’t have to think about mortgages or disused coal mines; but that’s been pretty much my only escape.

As things are starting to wind down a little bit now, though, and there are still five months left of the year, I thought it might be nice to look ahead and set some goals for myself – nothing too strenuous, just something I can feel proud of in December. Or perhaps even scold myself for not achieving, depending on how the rest of the year pans out. So, in the spirit of biting off more than I can chew, I’ve set myself three pretty hefty goals for the rest of the year.

IMG_8118As you can see, I’m continuing with Estonian. I know, I know, it’s been over a month – an almost unheard of level of commitment when it comes to me and language learning. I find the course on Keeleklikk to be incredibly helpful (although admittedly I’ve beens lacking a little lately), and I do want to move further with it. One of the nicest little touches about is that the end of every unit has an exam question, which you have to answer in Estonian, which is then sent to a real person – who actually replies within a few days! It’s a nice little personal touch which makes it feel like you’re not just shouting into the void, which is always nice.

I’ve also been asked by my employer for a long-term goal, so the new goal on the list was related to that. I decided it might be helpful for my career to add another language to my portfolio for which we only have limited or no coverage… I spent about an hour yesterday flirting with Thai, before eventually deciding to run back into the arms of Japanese. And though I know it probably won’t be possible to learn to speak fluent Japanese in addition to all of my other goals, I thought that learning kanji would be a good way to increase my reading comprehension – which is the skill I’ll mostly be using at work. So that’s my goal – 100 kanji by the end of the year. A drop in the ocean, I admit, but it’s better than nothing. And I already know… some? Actually, now I’ve said that, I need to check which kanji or phrases written using kanji that I know.

Skärmavbild 2020-08-01 kl. 20.26.07

Okay, so it’s hardly an exhaustive list, but that’s nine separate kanji I can recognise already done. So that’s something! Some progress already made… it’s not cheating, you’re cheating. Shut up.

And finally… quite possibly the chunkiest of all the goals I’ve set myself… despite the fact that I’m yet to successfully complete Polyglot NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to add another layer of difficulty. Due to some gentle coaxing from a friend (you know who you are, and my revenge will be swift and brutal) I’ve decided not to use the language I’m most comfortable in (other than my mother tongue), I’m going to write in a different language this year. Depending on how prepared I feel coming into November, this self-imposted ban on Swedish might also disqualify Danish and Norwegian, though for the moment I’m clinging to those as a kind of safety blanket. Because other than those three, God knows what I’ll end up writing in. I’m nowhere near ready to try it in Estonian, and though my housemate suggested Japanese, I honestly can’t see that happening within the next five years. So… we’ll see! Dutch, maybe? German? Only time will tell. Maybe I’ll pick up a whole new language and try and write something more simplistic as a vocabulary-learning exercise. Your guess at this point is as good as mine.

So, in the interest of holding myself to account later in the year, here are my goals. I probably won’t mention them again here until I come to take stock at the beginning of next year, but you can follow my progress more easily on Twitter and Instagram (I’m @sprakskatan on both!) and as always, feel free to reach out to talk about your own goals for the rest of the year – or even if you want to be a kind soul and help me with mine! As always, thank you all so much for reading, your support over the past four years has honestly meant the world to me.

– J.


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