Top 100 language blogs
For those of you interested in discovering some really good blogs about learning languages, I highly recommend looking through the list over at this year's nominees for the Top 100 Language Blogs. Fluentin3months.com has the honour of being included in the nominees! The winner will be announced at the end of the month. I'm so pleased with the number of subscribers and comments that this blog has reached in just one month online! So if you think that this is a good site, and that maybe other people may be interested in reading some of these articles, then I'd really appreciate your votes 🙂 Just click the button on the left any time and vote for “fluent in 3 months”.
This week is very important for me! Firstly, it's actually my birthday today 😛 . I've completed an impressive 27 laps around the entire solar system!! I'm not exhausted yet though 😉 But of course it's also been about a month since I got to Prague and started learning Czech.
However, something even bigger for me is that it's actually also been six years since I graduated university, and moved to Spain and my language learning adventure began. I have been travelling ever since (specifically living and working in each place normally for about 3 months) and have usually been very focussed on learning the language of the country that I am living in. I still have the same positive attitude and enthusiasm to learn now as I did then, but a lot has changed! Languages have become a big part of my life (and my translation work now pays for my travels) and ever since I discovered better ways to fluency, I have had some amazing friendships and incredible experiences that would never have been possible if I had just spoken English.
That is why I started this blog; I'd like to share these tips to help others and especially encourage English speakers to learn other languages and stop making excuses why it's out of reach for them. I am not making any money from this site (at least, not right now, maybe never will), but I wanted to share what I've learned with others. Anyone can do what I did and what I am doing; all they need is the right attitude and to go in the right direction with their study methods 🙂 But I still have lots to learn!! You have shown me that in your comments. So I am looking forward to hearing all that you have to say on the many posts that I have planned 🙂
First month learning Czech
So, how has this first month gone? Quite well!! When I arrived, I didn't understand anything written in Czech and anyone talking was just incomprehensible noise to me. But I've been studying my phrase book, memorising words, focussing my efforts, and keeping the end-goal in sight and telling lots of people about this mission! I can gladly say that now I can actually understand pieces and words of others' conversations or from TV programs (harder to understand because they speak fast) and when someone speaks slowly to me, I am actually able to have a conversation beyond the basics and the phrases that I've learned! I am able to come up with my own sentences on the fly to take the converation beyond basic questions and answers, and have even been telling short stories! I've been stopped in the street to be asked the time and immediately gave the answer without hesitation and I even managed to have a couple of semi-real conversations thanks to imaginative use of conversational connectors and being very expressive when I talk.
Of course, there are problems too – my grammar is abysmal and there are plenty of words left to learn!!! I'm still way off having meaningful conversations, and unless someone speaks quite slowly to me, I will almost certainly not understand what they are saying. I've made good progress, but I still have a really long way to go! Out of all the many challenges that I have to reach my fluent-in-3-month goal this summer, none of them are anything more than excuses. Czech grammar is not as bad as people make it out to be (and I only have Irish, Germanic and Latin languages to compare), but there is one thing that may hold me back from reaching this goal: time. Not the fact that I only have 3 months, but the actual hours in the day, since I work full time and have a lot of other things that keep me busy in having a fun and active life 🙂 . I will write soon about how I am “creating time” to learn Czech despite these setbacks, but one of my non-Czech projects is actually relevant to the overall theme of this site…
The important side mission
I can also share my other main mission this summer with you now: perfect my already spoken languages. I've said before that I almost never speak English when abroad, but I also haven't been speaking as much Czech as I ideally would here. This is because I have actually spent (so far) 5 days speaking only in Portuguese, 4 days speaking only in Spanish, 4 days speaking only in Italian and almost two weeks speaking only in French (eating out, going out to dance, chatting, socialising). Morning, day and night (when not working) and with native speakers. Yes, in Prague. There is no point in learning several languages if you are just going to forget them all over time! This side mission has been getting greater focus than my Czech mission in the first month, so hopefully I will find the right balance soon. In fact, the sum of everything I've learned in Czech up to now probably could have been done in one intensive day 😛 This is why, even if I only reach “pretty good” Czech after 3 months, I will still be convinced that anyone would easily reach fluency in 3 months or less if they applied the right methods and were more focussed.
I will share how I've managed to speak these languages, when not even in their country, in later posts. 🙂
My next monthly update won't be until mid-August, since I am spending a whole week not speaking any Czech, but in a different city in the Czech Republic (Liberec) doing something quite interesting. More on that soon! I am also looking forward to sharing my next very short video with you very soon; “How to learn Italian” – a light hearted funny video that I hope you'll all enjoy!
So what are your thoughts on my progess in Czech in one month? I plan to be having comfortable conversations (albeit still with lots of mistakes) and a greater command over the language by my next monthly update so that I can dash toward fluency in the last month. Am I crazy in thinking that this is possible with my daily time restrictions? How about my side-mission? Should I abandon it?? (That wouldn't be so much fun, would it!) Do share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂