One of my intentions for 2018 was to take up language learning again – and this was one area of self-improvement in which I fully expected to fail spectacularly!
Ever since school, languages have been something I presumed I was inherently “bad” at, and in that typical ego protecting fashion, which we can all be prone to engage in, I shied away from them in the last ten years to avoid feeling stupid.
In my exploration and openness to all things personal development in the last year though, at one point about three months ago, I sat down and identified some lapsed skills that I wanted to reintroduce into my life in 2018, and languages were high on the list.
My desire was driven partially out of embarrassment at the lack of effort I have made in the past, partially out of a desire to be able to speak Italian with my wife, and partially just for the hell of it as it is a cool sounding language.
Obviously, having attempted learning the “normal” way via school, I wasn’t keen to sit down with my head in grammar and noun books, getting frustrated. So, after a bit of research, I came across a book called Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget it, that promised to make language learning fun again…
In the book, I was introduced to Spaced Repetition Systems. Which I was vaguely aware of and will probably write about again, but having never really tried them out with any seriousness all I can say is: WOW – they are life-changing.
Since early Jan, and using just the first 15 minutes of my commute, I have used Anki to teach myself 750+ words in Italian, and I am now putting together my first sentences, using the same system.
The next step in my plan is to start immersing myself in the language by watching Italian films, increase comprehension using phrase cards that I will make and revise through Anki and, eventually, become fluent enough to start practicing in conversation with people I know who speak the language.
Anyway, if you are unfamiliar with Spaced Repetition Systems and you have some knowledge that you want to learn efficiently, I highly recommend you research it – and if languages are your thing, in particular, I cannot recommend the book Fluent Forever, highly enough.