2018 was the first full year of language studies after picking it up again last year. There wasn’t a single day without studying for any language (I kept my streaks on Duolingo and Memrise even when I had almost no time). This year showed me once again how much I love languages and that I definitely want to continue learning!
Last year in October I decided to focus on Japanese for a while. And after taking the JLPT N5 I was even more motivated to study Japanese, so in January I mostly studied Japanese and started preparing for the N4 level.
At the end of January the results for the JLPT were published and I passed the N5, which gave me another motivation boost. I also started tracking my Japanese study time, which helped a lot to motivate myself and to see in which areas I needed to do more.
Thanks to some unexpected changes in my life I had the chance to go to free language classes during spring/summer so I decided to pick up Spanish and French again. Part of my February was still studying Japanese, but I started spending a considerable amount of time preparing for the language courses, especially the Spanish one.
In March I went to a French A1 course. It was a 3 weeks intensive course, 5 times per week, 3 hours per day + 1-2 hours for homework. I really wanted to focus on French during these 3 weeks to get a good foundation so I did almost nothing for Japanese. I don’t regret it, I learned a lot in this course and I absolutely loved it! In the exam I got the best grade possible with 99/100 points. This was amazing for me because in school I was really bad at French and this showed me that if I really want to study a language, I can be very good.
April – July
From the end of April until the end of July I went to a French A2 course and a Spanish B1 course. Since I also had to work I was really busy during these three months. I didn’t have time for Japanese anymore and only reviewed some words and kanji, but not very regularly. I also stopped making goals for Japanese because I couldn’t meet them anyway.
At the end of June I felt like I was about to hit a language learning burnout. I still continued with both courses and took the final exams. I got a very good grade in the French exam and a good grade in the Spanish exam. I felt like I learned a lot in this French course. I wish I had progressed more in Spanish in regards to speaking, but at least it gave me more confidence in Spanish in general.
In August I was on vacation and went to Amman (Jordan) for about 4 weeks. I mostly used these 4 weeks to take a break from everything so I didn’t really study any of my languages there. I kept reviewing some words and did some Duolingo lessons, but just on a very minimal level.
I also didn’t go there with the purpose of learning Arabic. Actually, this would have been very nice and I would have loved to try being in a country for 4 weeks and learn the language there. But I was so tired and worn out from my language classes and work that I just couldn’t add more work. I also didn’t think I could continue Arabic after these 4 weeks since I already had 3 active languages, so learning it at that time felt pointless to me.
September – November
After coming back from my break I realized how much of the N4 vocab, kanji and especially grammar I had forgotten, and that there were only 3 months left until the JLPT. So I started putting all my time into Japanese only, trying to study 2-3 hours every day. It was very tough because I also had to work a lot. At the end of November it was really hard for me to continue but I kept pushing, trying to practice as much as possible.
I barely did anything for Spanish or French anymore, except for watching some videos here and there and listening to music. I also kept reviewing both Spanish and French on Duolingo, though I was annoyed about the high amount of absolute beginner material they added instead of more advanced stuff.
In September I dabbled a bit in Irish because I found a free online course. I noticed quickly though that I can’t add another language at the moment and just looking a bit wasn’t very satisfying. I need to put more time into a language, otherwise I will just forget everything immediately and that’s too frustrating. So I decided to drop the language for now.
In October I participated in the Language Jam #2. The language that was chosen randomly for me was Tagalog! I had never considered learning this language so it was a nice chance to learn something about it. And it was so much fun studying it for a bit! I really like the language and might pick it up again later.
On December 2nd, I took the JLPT N4. I had pretty mixed feelings about it and it showed me how bad I was prepared in some areas. I realized how bad it was to take a break in Japanese because I had to study basic things like grammar before the test instead of focusing on practice tests and improving my listening and reading skills. I don’t regret taking the Spanish and French courses, they really helped me, but now I think I shouldn’t have neglected Japanese that much.
After the test I started preparing for the N3 level. This time I plan to study regularly so I won’t have the same problems in the next test.
I also finally finished learning the meanings of 2042 kanji with the Heisig method! I was very happy when I finally did it because now I can move on to learning kanji in context.
Overall I’m happy with how the year went and I think I learned a lot in my 3 main languages. I hope next year will be great too!