I have the Swedish public broadcaster’s news app on my smartphone and, at some point very early in the morning before I’ve opened my eyes, it sends a notification.
It’s something like ‘Läs nattens nyheter’, plus a link to the relevant page in the app.
‘Read the night’s news’ it invites me, and so I haul myself up onto a pillow, take a swig of the coffee my wife has, if she’s in a good mood, placed on a shelf next to the bed, and do just that.
It’s always three short articles, so takes just a couple of minutes. It’s too early in the day to be making excuses, too.
Besides, sometimes there’s something interesting to be found, in amongst the routine stories about shootings and house fires (Sweden’s a terribly dangerous place, Donald says…)
Yesterday morning – I’m writing this yesterday, as I have to go to the hospital to get prodded and poked by neurologists this morning – there was the rather unwelcome news that Cypriot scientists had discovered a new variant, the bastard child of Delta and Omicron, which they christened ‘Deltakron’. Read more here if you’re interested (Swedish isn’t that hard.)
Later in the day, I was trudging through the snow to a distant supermarket, the only one to open on a Sunday, while listening to Swedish public radio’s selection of ‘Toppnyheter’, so cleverly combining exercise, saving the planet, and language learning.
And to no great surprise, there was Deltakron again. This happens quite a lot, and for obvious reasons, but it’s very handy from a language learning point of view! You read about something on one app, then hear about it on another, which gives a context for the listening, and perhaps key vocabulary.
Reading notifications at breakfast, listening to the language I’m learning while exercising or commuting, are both profitable habits.
And habits, once established, are relatively easy to maintain, certainly requiring much less effort than purposely sitting down to study. Better still if they reinforce each other.
After ‘Nattens nyheter’, I usually click on the notification that the latest edition of La Matinale (beware, it’s not free) is ready for me.
That’s a selection of stories that the French newspaper, Le Monde, publishes each morning at seven a.m. CET). I rarely, if ever, actually read the articles, but I do read through the twenty headlines and brief descriptions, so at least getting an idea of what’s going on in L’Hexagone for my €17.99 a month.
There, a second dead-easy-to-do habit, and the coffee’s hardly been touched!
On the way back from Lidl, I had the France.info app playing live news in French on my bluetooth headphones. Someone in a right-wing party, not sure which, has defected to the populist presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour. Increasing numbers are protesting against the Covid restrictions. And so on. There was no mention of Deltakron (perhaps the Swedes made it up?), but there were plenty of things I’d already read about before rising.
Thanks, by the way, to everyone who bought an ebook or one-to-one lesson credits during our January Sale, which ended last night. We appreciate your support, and hope you’ll find the materials/lessons helpful.
Why not try to make a habit of reading/listening to a chapter a day of one of the ebooks you purchased?? No need to check out all the difficult words. No need to study. And so no need to spend much time or willpower on it.
Just read/listen to the end of the chapter and you’re done. Repeat that a couple of times if you really must, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you can’t be bothered… The best habits are EASY, as well as profitable.
And take the lessons you paid for, obviously. Once a week for thirty minutes should be manageable for just about everyone, and there’s absolutely no shame in telling the teacher you don’t want homework and/or that you’d just like to chat.
Don’t be shy. Don’t put it off.
Being terrified is OK, but it’ll pass, don’t worry!
You’re probably reading this on a Monday, which is my Swedish conversation day. I’ve been chatting, weekly, to a club member from Sweden for a couple of years now. It isn’t a lot of time out of my day, and it doesn’t take much effort (no preparation, no homework…)
Has it improved my Swedish?
Perhaps, or perhaps not. Sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards.
But compared to not doing it?
Compared to not having listened to, spoken to, interacted with a native speaker Swede in his own language for thirty minutes each week over a period of years?
It’s difficult to imagine how doing nothing would have been better.
Confidence-wise it really helps, anyway. I have no qualms about chatting to a Swede in Swedish, when I manage to lay my hands on one. Except my Swedish mother-in-law, naturally, who makes every effort to look bemused whenever I try, or simply pretends not to have heard…
Anyway, reading habit + listening habit + speaking habit = language learning that just happens.
Better still, it’s language learning with a point, it’s language learning that’s easy to keep up, and so it’s language learning which, over time, is likely to deliver results.
Want something you can do for FREE, with minimum effort, which is habit-forming, and that will actually improve your Italian?
Subscribe to EasyItalianNews.com and so receive thrice-weekly bulletins of ‘easy’ news (text + online audio) directly in your email inbox.
As I said, it’s free.
Eleven thousand one hundred and seventy-nine people have already subscribed.
Given that it’s free website, we can’t afford a paid-for mailing service, so don’t have stats on how many of those 11179 well-intentioned people actually managed to make reading/listening to the bulletins a regular thing.
I’m guessing it’s a fraction of the total, perhaps a quarter or a third at best.
If that’s you, loyal listener, then brava!
(Or bravo, if you’re a guy.)
But if you signed up, yet don’t actually opened the emails?
Why not put the work in to create a ‘profitable habit’, as I have?