Multilingual Plan for 2014


I’ve been enthused about language learning all my life, but my discovery of Benny Lewis and his multilingual abilities at his website fluentin3months.com has really inspired me to become multilingual in 2013.

One of the things he encourages those members of his community to do is to set out a plan on how they want to tackle a new language in the coming year.   Last year around this time I put together a “multilingual plan for 2013.”

In the chart below, I list for each language what level of fluency I am at now, any notable accomplishments I’ve done in learning that language in 2013, and then what my target level for 2014 is, together with any specific goals I have and what method I plan to use to reach those goals.

I must first, however, explain the shorthand I use when it comes to the fluency level for each language. This is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This framework has been influential worldwide because China’s proficiency exams have been changed to conform to this framework.

Level Explanation
A1 Beginner Can introduce oneself and understand familiar everyday expressions.
A2 Elementary Can describe oneself and communicate about one’s immediate environment.
B1 Intermediate Can talk about past and future events and about most situations encountered at work or school.
B2 Upper Intermediate Can communicate about simple ideas and concepts in a way that is generally understood.
C1 Advanced Can communicate about complex ideas and concepts in a way that is easily understood.
C2 Fluent Can summarize complex idea and concepts and create coherent presentations.

With the fluency levels understood to be those referred to above, here’s my language planning chart for 2013. In the chart, RS means “Rosetta Stone”, DL means “Duolingo,” TB means “Textbook”, FSI means “Foreign Service Institute course.”  The various abbreviations in the “Achievements” column are for the officially recognized proficiency exam for that country.

Language 2013
Fluency

Level

Achievements in 2012, 2013 2014 Fluency

Level

Plan for 2014 Learning Resource(s)
Spanish B1 Passed DELE A1,
RS Level 4
B2 DELE A2, B1,
RS Level 5, FSI Advanced Spanish
FSI, DL
French B2 Passed DELF B2, RS Level 4 C1 DALF C1,
RS Level 5, FSI Advanced French B
FSI, Duolingo
German B1 Passed Zertifikat B1
RS Level 4
B2 Zertifikat B2,
RS Level 5, FSI Advanced German
FSI, Duolingo
Japanese C1 Passed JLPT N2 C2 JLPT N1 (C2), Kanji Kentei Level 5 TB (Live in Tokyo), iPhone Apps for Kanji
Chinese B1 Passed HSK 3 (B1) B2 HSK 4 (B2), FSI Module 7 (out of 9) FSI, iPhone Apps for Chinese Characters
Arabic A1 Completed RS Level 1 A2 RS Level 2-3, ALPT A1 RS, Textbook (Al-Kitaab)
Portuguese A1 Completed RS Level 1 A2 Duolingo 25, RS Level 3,
CELPE-Bras A1
RS, Duolingo, FSI
Italian None N.A. A1 Duolingo 15, FSI Duolingo, FSI

 

So essentially my plan is to move up one level of fluency in the five languages I’ve studied and am already proficient in (B or C level), as well as in the two languages I’ve studied and am still a beginner in (A level).   I also plan to continue my study of Italian this year.   There are other languages I’ve wanted to study for a while, such as Korean or Farsi, but the biggest thing I’ve learned this year is consistency.  

I study each of these eight languages EVERY DAY.   How did I do it?   Through the following practice:

  1. I subscribe to the List app, which helps you create and maintain daily habits through the power of social media.    This helps you create a consistent practice:   even if you study for only 5 minutes every day, this is better than studying 30 minutes every week!
  2. I listen to foreign language recordings while driving, in particular my Chinese recordings from the FSI course.
  3. I listen to language recordings while doing housework.  It takes away the drudgery of routine physical tasks by listening to foreign languages while doing it.   You’ll reorder your brain while putting order into your environment, let’s put in that way.
  4. I use Duolingo for my European languages.    It is like Rosetta Stone lite, in that it helps you practice the four language skills of reading, writing, listening, and (to a lesser extent) speaking.
  5. For a more difficult language like Arabic, I use Rosetta Stone.   Now that I’m using Rosetta Stone every day thanks to the Lift app, I am really starting to progress!    
  6. Finally, the proof of language learning is in the speaking, and I plan to find incorporate the learning of foreign languages through Meetup Groups, and specialized Toastmaster clubs as my High Performance Leadership project in the coming year at Toastmasters.     

These are some creative ways I try to use my time so that I can do something as audacious as to follow Benny Lewis’ lead, whom I mentioned at the beginning of the post.   There’s no reason why I can’t shoot for the same goal of being fluent (C2 level) at a dozen or more foreign languages.   It is a journey of 1,000 miles, but I can do it–one step at a time for each language I’m studying!

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