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Winner TAC 2011
Joined 4251 days ago
2150 posts - 3229 votes
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, Greek, Japanese, Turkish, Italian
Studies: Mandarin, Persian, Arabic (Written)
Message 73 of 7624 December 2012 at 4:34pm | IP Logged
Time to sum up what I actually accomplished this year and what all I fell short on. Unfortunately it wasn't the productive year that I had imagined it would be. Though I was even ahead of my goals for the first three months of the year, after March things began to slow down significantly, and by the end of the summer my studies had practically come to a complete halt. I'll attribute this to the fact that I was extremely busy around that time with the end of the school year and graduation, as well as finalizing all of my plans for my exchange this year and college next year. After that I just wanted a couple months to relax and enjoy not having any commitments whatsoever, which meant that my language studies were largely neglected. And finally, I moved to Croatia in August, after which point I was so busy trying to adjust to my new life that I nearly forgot about my studies altogether.
My time-based goal for the year was 770 hours of study, which would have meant an average of about two hours per day. I managed about half of that -- 360 hours, or about an hour per day. However, there has been a huge amount of Croatian study time since moving here that has gone undocumented, and in the past month or so I stopped recording my time and study activities altogether, so that figure is actually inaccurate and is somewhat lower than it should be.
I also set out to read 16 books over the course of the year in multiple languages. Though I had the best of intentions and started ones in Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Greek, and Croatian, I always lost my focus and never actually finished any of them. That's something I want to keep working on for 2013.
Now to move on to assess the individual language goals, other than time spent and books read. Aside from my success with Croatian and half-success with Japanese, most of the rest are rather disappointing and depressing cases...
I set the goal of reaching a B2 level in Croatian, and I think I've reached it by now. It's crazy to think that at this time last year I still knew so little of the language that I now use for my normal everyday interactions. I can now speak fairly fluently, if not always accurately (note the distinction between fluency and accuracy), about anything that I need or want to communicate. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but just knowing that I have survived the past four months using almost exclusively Croatian at home, school, and out in public is quite an accomplishment in my mind, considering that I knew so little last year. I doubt that I would have been able to get to this level in Croatian so quickly without having dedicated so much time to it all year long, and definitely not without having lived in Croatia the past several months and used and been exposed to the language constantly.
I had several goals for Japanese. The first was to do well at this year's Japan Cup in April, and I did. My partner and I came in third place at the highest level, competing against university students. My second goal was to get at least a 3 (out of 5) on the AP Japanese Exam in May, and I also accomplished that. In fact, I received a 4, which was better than I had expected, considering the exam's reputation for being impossible for non-native speakers of Japanese. The next goal I set was to have a solid knowledge of all of the jōyō kanji by the end of the year. Unfortunately I didn't manage that, and in fact have forgotten a good deal of the kanji that I used to know, despite having studied them in earnest during the first few months of the year. Lastly, I hoped to be at a B2 level in Japanese by now, which I can't say that I am at all. I may have been there around the time I took the AP exam in May, but since the end of the last school year, I've barely used my Japanese at all and have forgotten far more than I'd care to admit. Even though I didn't learn many new things in the Japanese class that I had at school the past two years, I now realize how helpful it was just so that I would have contact with the language almost every day to reinforce and improve my knowledge of everything that I already knew.
My Persian was a total failure this year. I wanted to reach a high B1 level by the end of the year, but I barely studied any Persian at all and decided to stop my official studies of it sometime in March. Since then I have forgotten almost everything I used to know and am now having to start from scratch yet again. Being on a Middle Eastern TAC team for 2013 should hopefully help me keep my focus for Persian in the next year...
Just like with Persian, I had high hopes for Swahili that just didn't come through. I don't think I even did anything at all with the language until the past couple weeks -- I also stopped my official studies of it in March, like with Persian-- so no wonder I've forgotten so much. I definitely am nowhere near the B2 level I wanted to be at by now.
My end-of-the-year goal for Russian was a high B1 level. However, at some point in the first few months of the year (I don't even remember when) I made a decision to drop Russian to focus on Croatian. The two Slavic languages were far too similar to keep from mixing up in my mind since I wasn't very advanced in either of them yet, and since Croatian was more important I had to let Russian go. I'd definitely like to come back to Russian sometime soon, once I'm sure that it won't interfere with my Croatian, but it's not in my immediate plans for now.
My goal for the year with Finnish was to reach a B1 level. I studied it intensively during the month of February for the Accelerated Finnish Challenge that Sprachprofi organized, and by the end of that I was around an A2, as evaluated by a native Finnish speaker. Since then, though (this is starting to sound very familiar), I have done next to nothing and don't remember most of what I learned during that time. Time to start over with Finnish once again...
Dutch is a sad story. Though I did a respectable amount of study during the first part of the year, I didn't do enough and in the second half of the year, almost forgot about it completely. My Dutch has actually gotten worse as the year progressed, to the point where I don't feel comfortable saying that it's a language I speak anymore. I'll try to fix that in the new year, of course, but for now, I definitely have not reached my desired B2+ level.
Greek is another sad case. I didn't do much with it after the first part of the year, so it ended up rotting, just like my Dutch. I can still speak it at a respectable level, of course, but it's not the C1 level I was hoping for by the end of this year. Being the "godfather" for the 2013 Greek Team and spending a few weeks in Greece later in the year should definitely help me bring it back up to speed.
Though I didn't make a whole lot of progress forward with German in 2012, I also managed not to let it fall too far behind, which is an accomplishment only because that happened to so many others of my languages this year. So even though I didn't reach a high C1 level like I had hoped, I'm just happy to have maintained what I knew from before and not let that slide. I also visited a German-speaking country this year -- Austria, just last week! -- and was able to manage just fine with the language (the only problem was that I kept accidentally trying to use Croatian at first).
I did exactly nothing with Swedish this year, so no wonder that I made zero progress. So much for that B2+ level that I hoped to regain...
I forgot until now that I was even supposed to have been studying Esperanto this year, that's how little I paid attention to it. Sorry Team Ne Nur!
I've more or less been able to maintain my French this year, though I don't have many opportunities to practice speaking it, so my speaking has gotten a bit rusty.
Like I predicted in my goals at the beginning of the year, Spanish continued to assert a minor presence in my life during the beginning of the year. However, recently it has become a much bigger part of my life since some of my best friends here in Croatia are the Mexican exchange students and we always speak Spanish together. :)
I spent almost no time on Portuguese this year, and as a result it has deteriorated considerably. I was still able to hold a decent conversation in Portuguese with some Brazilian exchange students who I met in Salzburg last week, but it's definitely not a language that I know well enough anymore to list in my "speaks" section, at least not without a good deal of review.
I intended to take the AP Italian Exam in May of this year, but due to a complication it turned out that I wouldn't be allowed to take it without having to go to another city. Long story short, I didn't take it. I only did a little Italian study this year and didn't accomplish very much, but that's alright because I essentially set no goals for Italian. However, I went to Italy briefly in October and wish that I could have spoken more Italian than I did.
I believe that's all there is to say about my language studies in 2012. I'd like to thank everyone for the time they’ve spent reading my log, especially those who took the time to provide support, corrections, advice, and feedback over the course of the year. Also, congratulations to everyone who managed to complete the TAC this year! Wishing everyone all the best with their language studies and more in 2013! I will be posting a new log within the next few days for the upcoming TAC 2013.
Edited by ellasevia on 25 December 2012 at 10:04am
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Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
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Joined 3665 days ago
2210 posts - 3734 votes
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona
Message 74 of 7625 December 2012 at 1:57am | IP Logged
That's fantastic news mate - you've risen from A1+ to B2 in Croatian in a mere year... I had a Croatian student in my class last semester, and this would often trigger thoughts of wondering how you were coping on the other side of the world. I'm really glad to hear that everything's turned out so well, and that you're enjoying your immersion experience to the max in this beautiful country. :)
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| Solfrid Cristin|
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Joined 3443 days ago
4143 posts - 8862 votes
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Message 75 of 7625 December 2012 at 2:23am | IP Logged
I can't help smiling when I read your log. You have accomplished more than most of us here, and still you
make it sound almost like a failure. You have done wonders with your Croatian, and just hanging on to the
languages that you have is a major success in itself. I know how easily the other languages slip away when
you really focus on one particular language.
Try to reduce your goals to a near human level, and it will be easier to reach them :-) You are amazing, there
is no reason why you should feel that you do not reach your goals.
Edited by Solfrid Cristin on 25 December 2012 at 4:47pm
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Winner TAC 2012
Joined 2816 days ago
5310 posts - 9398 votes
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish
Message 76 of 7625 December 2012 at 12:56pm | IP Logged
Don't worry, now that you've gotten all of that out of the way you will be able to regain
some of these languages the coming year!!! You went to fluency in a single language in a
year, that's an achievement most of us can only dream of! You have like 15 languages to
juggle, it's understandable that one or two or even four suffer.
With time you'll get to all of them, and most importantly - you've already been around
the block on a lot of them, it's just a matter of refreshing!!! Within 5-10 years, it'll
say Super Polyglot anyway. And you'll vie with Iversen for the title of top HTLAL
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