date: Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 8:33 PM
subject: Re: How to find reading materials for your level in Italian
Wow! I’m seriously impressed! I know you just started Swedish recently
and you’ve apparently been working really, really hard.
Could you do a post of what your study routine is? Is it your teachers who
create a curriculum, lesson plans, compiti?
All the best in the new year. What’s your next language?
Sent from my iPad
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but with the holiday weekend, and the work involved in our January Sale, your email just slipped past me.
It’s kind of you to be impressed by my progress with Swedish, but actually it’s been a whole year that I’ve been at it (sort of on and off…). So to get to a low A2 level is not so amazing, really.
But yes, at times I’ve worked really hard. It’s easy to spend time on doing something stimulating like learning a language if you enjoy what you’re doing.
And there were moments in 2017 when I got quite carried away with my studies, though often as a distraction from less pleasant tasks or from worries about work.
At other times, though, I did nothing for several months, which I’m afraid is all too typical, not just for me but for many people learning a language, new skill, or otherwise trying to change something in their lives.
In the end, it all comes down to motivation, which can fluctuate and fail so easily!
As regards my study routine, well, I have to confess that at the moment I’m ‘between’ study routines!
A couple of weeks ago I ‘finished’ Duolingo, though I’ve been continuing to ‘strenghen’ my skills over the holiday period using their Android app, which is very good. There’s another, associated, app called Tinycards, which does the vocabulary from the DL course but in flashcard form.
The smartphone comes out at idle moments, when I’m waiting for a lesson, or am generally too tired to do anything else useful. But it’s not what you’d call a ‘study routine’.
I’m continuing to do the online one-to-one lessons, just one last week because of the holiday, two this week I hope, and then a regular three or four from next week on and until I finish the ‘pack’ of lesson credits I bought (very cheaply) from one of our competitors.
About the teachers, lesson plans, homework and so on, I have two different teachers, neither of whom has a lot of experience…
With one, we’re (in theory) working through her own beginner-level materials, which she sends me in .pdf form during the lesson. We just did ‘telling the time’, next is ‘colours’.
This is wildly wrong for my level, but the official topic of the lesson seems to matter little as it’s the interaction with a native speaker which I value. Chatting with her is ideal preparation for the trip to Sweden we have planned for the summer.
The other teacher is a guy, my age, and with similar interests. So it’s more conversational, which is fine. We talk about our jobs, families, and so on. He writes copious notes so that, after the lesson, I can go over my mistakes and study any new words. Often the notes provide a ‘more Swedish’ version of what I had been trying to say. That’s useful because the vocabulary is only what I really need, in order to talk about the topics that interest me.
Besides the lessons, and post Duolingo, I’m trying to create the habit of reading a few pages of my Swedish novel each day. It’s slow going, though.
And from next week, I’ll be listening to and reading daily simplified news stories. But the site I’ll be using for that is currently ‘on holiday’, which is very Swedish…
So, basically, it’s all very unstructured and experimental right now. I’m convinced that the way ahead is to do much more reading and listening (I’m already doing plenty of speaking), which will boost my confidence and help me consolidate and activate what I was supposed to have learned over the past year, but seem to have mostly forgotten!
What’s missing then, is a formal study component. If my teachers were up to suggesting something (for example a course book or their own syllabus of material) I’d be happy to go with that. Or if there was a local evening course, I’d take it.
Instead, I plan to start (maybe this afternoon!) working through the second half of the course book that I began this time last year. I did units 1-10 (the A1 material) before going to Texas in June. So I figure that I’ll be able to get through units 11-20 (the A2 stuff) between now and the planned visit to Sweden in the summer.
If so, perhaps I’ll go to a bookshop in Stockholm and look for the next in the series, which is B1/B2 material and should do me for the coming academic year!
But at this point that’s hypothetical. The important thing is that I do something, ideally something intrinsically interesting, rather than something that just feels like a chore. And so manage to keep at it!
My next language?
I studied French at school, and would really love to revive that. Plus, twenty years ago, I was fairly fluent in Turkish, so that would be fun to take up again. And not to forget Spanish, which is so similar to Italian that it seems a shame to ignore.
But, for the moment, I’m wary of getting distracted from the moose and the Vikings! The languages of Southern Europe are going to have to wait their turn…
What about you? What’s next when you’ve ‘finished’ learning Italian??
Bene, buon anno anche a te. E buono studio!!
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