After devoting the majority of this year to meeting aspiring new language learners to give them my best advice face-to-face, I can now get back to focusing on my own goals!
I am a strong believer in intensive missions at the start of language projects – it skyrockets us forward at what is undoubtedly the biggest hurdle for most people – the beginning. Once you have momentum and a base in the language, you will have the confidence to bring it somewhere beyond that project.
It's the core of my three-month missions. I always say that there is only so much you can do in three months, and that needs to set the stage for your longer term goals.
This is what I did with my Mandarin three years ago. I took on one of the most notoriously “difficult” languages in the world (it's not that bad), aimed really high, and got pretty high after a few months. It was by no means the end, but it was an excellent beginning, ending with me having a basic conversational level in Mandarin.
With other projects taking most of my time since then, my level has gone down a bit, but I am eager to get this on my list of fluent languages some day. As such, I am going to devote my next project to seriously improving my Mandarin again!
Part 2 of Benny's Mandarin: Singapore edition
Unlike in my previous projects, I'm not really aiming for an end-goal. That plan-of-action got me to a good level, but consistent long-term practice will take it from here.
Instead, I'll be looking to hit various milestones.
The first one involves a trip I'll be making to Singapore in two weeks for a quick book signing and for a 3-hour intensive language academy.
The last time I was in Singapore, since it was just after my time in China, I used the opportunity to practise my Mandarin and had a blast using it on unsuspecting Singaporeans, well used to white faces, but not used to hearing Asian languages coming out of their mouths!
For the next two weeks, I'm going to wipe the dust off my Mandarin and try to push it back up to something close to the level it was three years ago, and get talking! If possible, I'll record a video of my experience and some of my Skype sessions before – make sure to stay tuned to my new Youtube channel for that!
In my next update on this mission, I'll share my strategy and plans for regular practice.
Singlish and Singaporeans
As well as Mandarin, I'm really interested in documenting some lesser-known (to the west) English creoles in my travels. Singlish is a very interesting one, and if I can find someone to interview I'd like to upload a video discussing how unique it is.
Singaporeans, let me know what your recommendations are, and who I should invite for an interview on the Fluent in 3 Months Youtube channel! And I hope to see you at the language academy & book signing!
What are your strategies for shaking off the dust from your languages? And how are your own long-term language improvement projects coming along? I will have other milestones I'll share on this long journey in months to come, and hope you'll enjoy reading along!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.