Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two weeks in... Impatience

I am just over two weeks in to my German studies, and thus far am pretty much on track.  I am a little behind on my LingQ work, about 300 words, but I am not terribly worried about it, I figure it will all come out in the wash at the end.  As I mentioned before this is the first language I am learning on my own, completely from scratch.  I have noticed that I have the tendency to get slightly impatient with my learning curve, chastising myself for not being able to say more.  Then I remind myself that I am only two weeks in and have another eleven and a half months to go, thusly I should not worry.  I can already have some basic conversations and text messages with my German speaking friends.

One thing I have discovered about going at this completely on my own is that it is a little overwhelming at first knowing absolutely nothing and just throwing yourself in the deep end.  I am slowly picking up more and more things every day and I am near 1,000 known words on LingQ.  Overall I am comfortable with where I am and feel like I am on a good pace at this point.

I have not written anything about my vocal journey in a while.  The fact is that I do not have much to report.  I continue to progress towards my goal of being able to sing tenor repertoire comfortably and convincingly.  I was supposed to have a lesson yesterday, however those plans fell through, so I now am looking forward to February and my next potential lesson.  There have been some important milestones in my singing though in my time between lessons.  The most important one being that more of my top notes have begun to show glimpses of themselves to me when singing.  I am still struggling with endurance however.  I sense that this will be a very important year for my singing career, one way or the other.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Der Plan

As we have started a new year, I have already put in two days of study on my new language for the year, German.  I figure I would outline my basic plan for the year with regards to my acquisition of German.

     German with Michel Thomas
     German with Ease by Assimil
     German on LingQ

In general, my goal is to spend ten hours a week studying German over the course of the next year.  As I do not study on my days off from work, that equates to 2 hours a day, 5 days a week.  I will go through one lesson/track per working day with MT and Assimil.  On LingQ, I plan to add approximately 100 known words to my vocabulary every working day.  This is a little bit slower of a pace than I would like on LingQ, but I think it is the best plan for the amount of time I have available to devote to this study.  As I go along I will have to read more and more material to acquire 100 new known words, so ultimately my exposure will grow exponentially as I become more accustomed to the language.

On the side, I plan to watch a German movie every month and listen to some German radio programming every week.  Also, I am going to start praying the Rosary in German and hopefully I will get to the point where I can spontaneously pray in German by the end of the year.  I also have a number of friends and acquaintances who speak German, so I will be practicing my spoken German from a very early stage, as soon as I start to know some more relevant material than:  Der Tee ist kalt.

Based on my previous work in French, I anticipate that I will get to a pretty comfortable place with German by the summer, at which point I will have finished both MT and Assimil.  The rest of my year in German will be spent focusing on listening comprehension and vocabulary building through LingQ.

German does present me with some challenges, the most striking one being that I have practically no previous coursework or study of the language outside of the one month I studied it last year.  With both French and Italian I had taken actual classes prior to my self-study, so I had a little bit of a head-start.  I am excited to see how I do with my first completely self-taught language and hope to be able to use this working plan as model for my future languages.