My language learning plan for 2023

January 11, 2023

I am a linguist. I have always loved learning languages, how they function, how they came to be, how they influenced each other… As I live in a foreign language environment (technically 3rd, if not 4th language), I am constantly asked to challenge myself to maintain my mother tongue and my other working languages. However, I also want to add more of them. So, here is my language learning plan for 2023.

Why I made this plan?

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle to actually make time to sit down and study grammar or learn vocabulary by heart. This cost me dearly in my Latin classes throughout my schooling, as I could translate and talk about the texts really well, but I would barely be able to produce a sentence, as the language was not spoken around me on a daily basis.

Here is the inconvenient truth: I seem to be learning by passive assimilation first before I can actually learn and apply grammar and syntax rules. I need to build up a consequent vocabulary bank, then, and then only, I start talking.

Instead of watching Netflix shows or browsing online papers without ever taking notes of new vocabulary, I knew I had to plan sit-down periods of time during which I will actively learn vocabulary as well as make sentences (hey, Duolingo, I’m back).

How I made this language learning plan for 2023?

I got my inspiration from Lindie Botes who made a video about her own timetable for the upcoming year.

In this video, she explains her method:

  • Identify your languages and your current level
  • Define the level you’d like to be at
  • Select 4 main languages
  • Write down quarters and months. Assign a main language to each quarter and two other columns with the rest of your languages as side activities
  • List your resources and define your ideal week. When do you want to study, watch, read, write, rest?

I integrated all this into a Notion page using different databases. Let me show you below.

My language learning plan for 2023 in Notion

As all of you know by now, I love Notion and I couldn’t resist making a page. Have a look at this short Notion tour!

The way I organised this space is as such:

  • An ideal week and a task list (tasks I blocked for today will automatically appear there).
  • My metrics (precise goals). I focused on the number of words learned, books read and textbooks studied, as my plan this year is to learn as much vocab as I can.
  • An overview of the languages I will study this year, by quarters and month. I am not showing you the “inside”, but there are all linked to a database I use as a dictionary.
  • My resources (books, apps, Netflix…). I’ve not specifically added music or podcasts.
  • A calendar view of my tasks, filtered to show only those that are language-related.

And this is how I hope to reach my language goals this year!

The tools I will be using to learn languages in 2023

Here are some suggestions that can be useful to you as well in your language-learning journey.

  • I sometimes subscribe to Scribd. I’ve used the service to have access to language textbooks.
  • The national library service in Norway has its own app, BookBites, that allows you to borrow thousands of digital or audiobooks as long as you have a valid Norwegian library card number. I will be using it to read more Norwegian books.
  • Duolingo Premium. I’m back on Duolingo, mostly to learn Welsh, but I’ve also found it useful for Italian and German.
  • Drops. Learn vocabulary by matching a word with a picture. Though it has a tendency to put me to sleep quite quickly, it’s actually quite useful and fun to use.
  • Netflix. I know they are other streaming services specialised in programs from all around the world, but I have quite an impressive list I still need to watch on Netflix.
  • Digital newspapers, podcasts, music, ad hoc cultural products…

Which languages will I be studying in 2023

In 2023, my main languages will be:

  • Norwegian: maintain at C1 and grow
  • Spanish: recover fluency to C1
  • Italian: go from a passive B1 to an active one
  • Japanese: go from a passive A1 to an active one

My other languages will be Swedish, Danish, Latin, German, Portuguese, and Icelandic.

I have some passive or active knowledge of all these languages, so I guess that it will be easier to study them as part of a “cluster” (Nordic & Romance).

My wild card for the year is Welsh. It was never my intention to study Cymraeg, however, I started playing around with it before Christmas 2022 and got hooked. I recently listened to a podcast by the National Centre for Writing in which the interviewee compared writing to an illicit affair with a lover that you should look forward to. This is exactly what I have been feeling for Welsh the past few weeks, looking forward to studying in the evening after work. I hope the feeling stays.

Conclusion

If you want, you can tell me about your own language learning plan for 2023 or your journey in general. Just follow me on LinkedIn or Instagram to share your progress.

I view language learning as an essential part of my job as a translator and a writer. It helps me stay open-minded and constantly discover new artists and cultural trends.

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My last published translation

Opposites attract in this historical romance.

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A tale of several quirky sisters who never thought they would attract husbands.