It’s been a while between language updates. The last one was back in January 2020, which feels a lifetime ago like anything pre-pandemic seems these days.
Throughout the three years since my last update I have continued working on my German, French and Russian language skills, and have recently added a new one: Polish.
In January 2020 I was planning a trip to Germany to visit friends who live there – an ideal opportunity to practice my German as I travelled solo around the country! Unfortunately, as we all experienced, my April travel plans were cancelled when the world shut down to try to stop the spread of Covid.
I’ve continued practising my German. Over the past year I’ve refreshed my grammar knowledge. I’ve improved my vocabulary, and watching German Netflix series and documentaries has helped me pick up words that I wouldn’t have used myself.
I want to continue improving. While I find it fairly easy to speak, listen, read and write in German, there are colloquialisms and abbreviations that native speakers use that I haven’t grasped yet. It would be great to be able to be fluent in German.
In 2020, I was struggling with French. I struggled with conjugating the different tenses, especially the conditional and future. I would actively avoid using pronouns because I didn’t understand where they went in the sentence structure, and which one to use when.
I’m much more confident using these now, helped by daily Duolingo use and watching enough Netflix (The Circle is my guilty pleasure, and I loved watching The Circle: France for the ability to practice my French! Same with Emily in Paris – being able to hear the French characters speak in French and understand what they are saying has shown me just how far I have come in my language learning).
I do need to listen to more native French speakers – in some cases they speak so quickly it’s difficult to distinguish each word that was said. That will be my next challenge in learning French!
A controversial one these days, though I have still continued with it, buoyed by being able to use it as a base to be able to more easily pick up other languages in the Slavic language family.
I’ve been improving. It took the longest time to be able to write and remember the sounds for the Cyrillic alphabet, and my overall progression has been slow, especially since Duolingo has been my only tool for learning Russian, and grasping grammar and syntax has been difficult.
I can form simple sentences, and have basic conversations about my life. I’ve passed Russian speakers in the street and have been able to understand the few words I heard, and sometimes I can translate the Russian used in news segments before the English translation is spoken over the top of it. I’m hoping that the further I work through the Duolingo course, the easier it will come to me.
One day I would like to visit north-western Poland, where my ancestors originated from. To this end, I’ve been dabbling in learning the basics of Polish (made easier by sharing certain similarities with Russian). I’m hoping to learn enough to one day get myself to the small village where my relatives lived before they migrated to Australia in 1836.
What are your language goals for 2023?