Language Learning Strategy 2022

Taking a big departure from my traditional blogging to talk about something probably a bit less interesting for those of you who still read this for tech, sorry, you can just skip this one if you want to read up on tech.

Where I am at

Today I have pretty middling levels in three languages French, Spanish and Portuguese (I can have conversations in all of them, with errors of course). A common question is why don't you focus on one and master it? Fair question, Spanish I got pretty close to advanced Spanish, but life got in the way and so picked up Portuguese, that got pretty good then again life changed plans and so then came French out of necessity.

Unlike Spanish and Portuguese I do not feel like I am anywhere near close to mastering or having an advanced level in French. I have outside of that achieved most of my goals in French fine, I have worked in French, bought a house in French, go to the doctor in French, and personally I consume nearly all of my media and reading in French and I am happy with that.

Ok this doesn't sound so bad

</p>No it is not but I had wanted to honestly keep some basic skill in the languages I don’t need for a daily life and I had wanted to be really well integrated in France able to hold my own with the native French speakers in any conversation. Then I wanted to move onto the other langauges on my wish list.</p>

However, I am also hitting a plateau in all of them at once, despite studying a great deal of hours and spending a lot on lessons. Therfore, I think I need to try something radically different. I have thought through the following approaches:

Studying 4 hours a day

Yeah I can't keep that up and the results are super frustrating for the time invested. Yes this "works" but I think I would need another 2 hours a day consistently to make this really work, atm this just treads water, and worse when life doesn't let this happen, I regress in whichever language I wasn't focusing on pretty quickly. It also starts to subconciously put a lot of pressure on me, I am not sure why but it is a consistent thing when I study a lot, and mess up (which is normal) it throws me for a loop.

Watch tv, listen to the radio, read books in these 3 languages

This works great for comprehension, my French tends to suffer the most when I start sliding in other languages into my daily routine, but it allows me to understand all langauges at once, pretty neat. However, this consistently leaves me mute in the languages I use the least. This at least has the upside of being enjoyable as there is great content in all 3.

Focus on one but keep in contact with the others

I have not tried this fully but it is inspired by <a href!"">Gabriel Silva's</a> idea to focus 80% on one language and 20% on another and then switch that around from time to time. This way he can make progress in one while guarding progress in another (since losing progress is the real drag on mastery). In this case I plan on adapting it a bit, since I need Portuguese and Spanish from time to time and even basic levels go a long way.

  1. Language 1 - 75% until I hit B2 in a DELF test, then rotate to the next language.
  2. Language 2 - 12.5% to keep this active.
  3. Language 3 - 12.5% to keep this active.

For today this looks like a good way to do 30 minutes of active study in the primary language and 5 minutes each of active study of the other two (some general app like duolingo or a module in assimil). Likewise, this can easily be doubled if I have a saturday or something. But the main thing is by setting the goal modest it should be doable, any leisure watching I have for fun is just a bonus and not something I should sweat. This is admittedly a very very low amount of time to focus on active study, but I hope the consistency pays off.