Sexy Pink Heart

the most important thing to consider when making language learning goals is if there’s the possibility of maintaining the level you’ve just reached after months of hard work. Did I just state the obvious? Sometimes I forget that- I revise a huge stack of [insert random language here] vocab flashcards and then I abandon the whole language for months, à la The Sims binge play. I hate that. So, on this goals list I promise myself I won’t write useless goals that will only make me waste my time.

☑ find a Mandarin speaking friend who lives in my same city to hang out and practice the language
☐ C1 in Mandarin in January ’22
☐ A2 in Japanese in June ’22
☐ find a Japanese speaking friend? maybe my aunt’s friend?
☑ sneak into my uni’s Arabic lessons and see what’s up
☐ improve my French vocab (problem: who to revise it with?)
☑ improve my Chinese writing skills and calligraphy, deadline: Dec ’21

there is no doubt that learning the English language made me become the person I am today, and sort of "saved" me- I know, it's kind of a big statement to make lol, but the English internet has been my main source of comfort for years, before meeting my bestest friend; I met her on tumblr, she's from London and me, her and her sister have been inseparable ever since :'-) they (and their parents as well!) are the best people I know and I can't believe how lucky I got to meet them it didn't only "save" me psychologically, but also academically: I adored English grammar (might not look like it lmao) and English literature in school, and I was able to get good grades even if my energy was way below 0.

I started seriously studying Chinese at the beginning of 2018. I already knew the basics, which made me confident enough to raise my hand in class and try to answer the professors’ questions. Since then, studying Chinese has always helped me calm down, regain focus, feel refreshed and even made me feel proud. I’m not the best of the class but I’m doing good, and I’m determined not to let my problematic competitive mindset ruin this for me.
I’ve decided to write my bio in Chinese and to use it here and there on this blog, hopefully it doesn’t look like I’m boasting! and French have a complicated relationship, lol. Technically, I’d love to be amazing at it. I started learning it when I was 11, in middle school, and I used to hate it, haha. I think I don’t like Romance languages because they’re too close to my native language; several things seem so similar, yet are in fact pretty different and it confuses me. I also don’t particularly like France (if you’re French pls forgive me)— I mean, the places I’ve been to, aka Paris and random villages. That being said, I still want to visit new places in France and I’m determined to reach the C1 level (not C2 because that’s just not realistic lol).

sooo.. yeah! I changed my uni degree which means I’ll start learning Japanese in September. I’m very excited but also scared and anxious. I wrote a list of pros and cons:
pros: I love the language, the literature, how the country looks and their cuisine. I think it’s kind of a useful language, and I think it might be somewhat easy for me to integrate in/understand their culture.
cons: too many people study it, too many people are obsessed with Japan (no prob there BUT—>) there are too many weaboos, what if they think I’m one? I also feel like there might be too many tourists/foreigner students in Japan and I don’t wanna bother the locals.

Yeah. I'm putting Spanish here just because. I mean, I actually studied it and everything, but I never really liked it. I just had to study it in high school, lol. The culture and literature part, on the other hand, were great. So yeah, there you go. These are all the languages I've studied so far.

12/OCT/21: I started my C1/HSK5 course. It was brutal. The teacher is absolutely delightful and I’m a dirty goblin who doesn’t remember how to describe
27/SEPT/21: Officially started Japanese on this glorious day! It was nice but also the professor said it is practically impossible for us (undergrad) to score a place in the Japanese erasmus program, because you need a solid basis of the language first. I assumed they had uni courses in English for erasmus students like in every other uni I’ve heard of :( oh well. The rest of the lesson was cool!
12/JUL/21: spent the last semester on a conversation and consolidation course. My final grade is 86/100. The whole exam was oral and I was so nervous and I messed up the first part, bless the teacher for helping me chill out and giving me a hand. The rest of it was fine, I think my main errors were the one I made at the start and the fact I didn’t talk about a topic long enough. I’m looking forward for my C1 course, starting in September! When I first started Mandarin I honestly didn’t think I was going to get this far! I’m very happy
of MAR/21: trying to watch French YT videos every day, trying to read a book in French (White Oleander, so I already know what's going on in case I feel lost).. really need to pick this language up again
of 2/FEB/21: yesterday I had my B2 exam, today they sent us the grades: 84/100. Honestly I was hoping for something better, but at least I passed. I personally believe my problem is the listening/talking part, but I can't see the corrections yet, so I can't be sure. I really want to do better.
of DEC/20: My uni's language test determined me as a C2, but I think I still have some work to do to reach the native level, so plz excuse my errors thanks :-)

What was your first language-learning experience?
In elementary school we had around 2 hours of English per week, and I really loved it. The teacher made it really fun and approachable, and our textbook was cool. Every chapter was introduced by a short illustrated story, and it had five volumes, each for every school year. I remember immediately reading all of it (not understanding much, obviously) when my mum brought the new school books home for the new year. It was great
What languages have you studied and why did you start them?
I started learning English, French and Spanish because they were compulsory in school. Latin and ancient Greek too but it’s not like they count, and I don’t remember a single thing anymore. Now I’m studying Chinese and Japanese. There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to study them and other languages too, but in general, it might sound dumb, I’m very food motivated, lol. Ever since I was a child I wanted to try new tastes, buy new stuff from new supermarkets. When I discovered Chinatown and its huge amount of completely different products I went insane. I also always loved Chinese food and we often had it at home and for my birthdays. Obviously there’s more to that, but food was kind of the catalyst for my interest in Chinese. Same thing with all the other languages I’m interested with: in 2015 I was starving and I found an Eritrean street vendor, I didn’t even know Tigrinya existed back then. I sat down, ate delicious food, and a switch turned on in my brain; with Japanese, when I was in middle school my dad got me a kappamaki. That was my first time eating anything Japanese. It’s just cucumber and rice and nori, but it was so good I wanted to cry.
It’s also interesting how my least favourite languages and least favourite cuisines are pretty much from the same countries. It’s obviously not tightly related lol, but interesting nonetheless.
How does your personality affect how you learn languages?
I’m a very curious person, so that’s good, but I’m also shy. There are a lot of Chinese people who speak a decent putonghua in my city, but it’s really hard for me to break the ice. It’s also because I’m scared to annoy them.
Do you prefer learning languages in a class or individually?
Both are essential to me. I’m not sure if only learning individually makes sense, unless your goals are strictly related to grammar. You need a native or someone who’s extremely knowledgable about the language to teach you how to speak naturally.
What are your favourite language-learning materials?
Plain old flashcards
How much time do you spend actively learning per day?
It really really varies. It could go from 0 to a whole day (not uninterrupted though lol)
What are your short-term and long-term language learning goals?
My long term goal is getting a C2 in Chinese and doing as much as I can in Japanese.
Short-term.. I’m not sure. Passing my uni exams, lol.
What is your favourite language?
English and Chinese (Mandarin). I can’t really choose between them
What is the next language you want to learn?
Not to be depressing, I know my language page is pretty ambitious, but I can’t imagine myself actually, truly learning another language, ever. I still wanna know how some other languages work, and if I find them fun I might try and get to a somewhat half fluency level, but that’s it. Mainly because to be C2 like fluent in a language you need, in my opinion, to 1. focus and 2. to immerse in the language. There’s so many languages I can do that with at the same time, and when I’ll be done with these ones my life will hopefully be very different from now and I’ll have other responsibilities. Who knows though! I’m not even sure what is the next language I’d like to learn. It depends. I think it’s either Tigrinya, Arabic or a Chinese dialect, the latter being the most realistic. Wenzhounese and Manchu are currently the ones I could have access to.
What advice can you give new language learners?
1. go with your gut unless you’re trying to economically profit from a language
2. don’t be hard on yourself
3. find native friends you genuinely like so you’ll constantly be excited to talk to them and what they tell you will stick to your brain way more than what a random person you don’t care about says
4. in the beginning, focus on learning three groups of words: (1) common words (2) personal words (3) words to describe other words (“it’s like…” “its meaning is the same/similar/opposite to…” “I heard it in this context”). In Chinese, learning the radicals' and the strokes’ names will also be helpful
5. don’t fall into the youtube/social media polyglot rabbit hole