2017 Language Goals + Resources

language goals and resources

 

One of my nerdiest (and most beloved) hobbies is learning languages. I grew up in a multicultural university town and many of my friends spoke two languages. I grew up listening to Korean, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic, and it planted a seed for a lifelong love affair with foreign languages.

It has taken me until last year to figure out the most ideal ways for me to learn a language. It’s been a lot of trial and error. Acquiring a new language is different for everyone, so take what you can from my methods and supplement with what works for you.

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission when you purchase through my blog. You are never charged more and you are supporting Autumn on Fox Street. I only recommend products I really love.)

While my “to learn” list of languages is VERY long, here are the 4 I’m focusing on in 2017 (+a bonus language).

 

German – Current Level B1/B2

I’ve been learning German since I was 11 – that’s ALMOST 20 YEARS. And I hover around a B1/B2 level (for more info on language levels, visit this page). With regular study, most people can reach a B1 in a matter of months, and I did, once I started SPEAKING the language.

American schools are notorious for teaching grammar and vocabulary with no practical applications for speaking and communicating in a second language. Last year, I signed up with italki and began talking with native speakers over Skype and my ability to communicate in German skyrocketed in a very short period of time. If you use my italki link above, you get $10 toward your first language lesson. You can also read my review of italki here. I will be using italki for ALL of the languages listed here at some point.

My goal is to reach a C1 level in 2017, which would make me pretty close to fluent in German. We are planning to have a baby this year and I want to raise our children bilingual in German and English.

My German Resources for 2017:

Studio D – B1 & B2

The Studio D series is an awesome set of German textbooks that were introduced to me by two German teachers on italki. I love them, but they are notoriously hard to find. You can buy used copies at AbeBooks or get copies from Germany here. I recommend this whole series to anyone learning German on their own or with a teacher. You can schedule lessons with Daniela or Christoph, the teachers who got me started on the series. Daniela also has a great blog for German learners!

YouTube

My favorite German YouTube channels are Extra, German with Jenny, and Easy German.

News and Blogs

In addition to Daniela’s blog above, I often read articles on Deutsche Welle.

Writing Letters

I write to about 7 or 8 women from Switzerland, Germany, and Austria in German. It’s been a HUGE help in learning vocabulary. Find out how you can find penpals around the world.

Dictionaries

Collins German Dictionary is my favorite, but I also use Leo for an online dictionary.

 

Spanish – Current Level A1/A2

I started Spanish in the fall and reached about an A2 level, then neglected it through November and December and forgot most of what I’d learned. However, I adore Spanish and I’m excited to pick it up again.

My Spanish Resources for 2017:

Books

For 2017, I’ll be using Spanish Demystified, Easy Spanish Reader, and Practice Makes Perfect Complete Spanish.

YouTube

I also watch Extra in Spanish and use Easy Spanish. Still looking for great Spanish YouTube channels. Recommendations anyone?

Dictionaries

This Collins Spanish Dictionary or this online dictionary.

 

French – Current Level A1

Oh, French. ::shaking my head:: I have a life-long love/hate relationship with the French language. I love the way it sounds, but it has been immensely difficult for me the past two times I’ve attempted to learn it.

I started up with French again the first week of January, and so far, I am loving it this time around. I don’t know what has changed, but, J’aime le français maintenant. 

My French Resources for 2017:

Books

For French, I am using French Demystified, Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French, and Mastering French Vocabulary.

YouTube

Easy French and Learn French with Alexa. Oh, and Extra…always Extra.

Dictionaries

Collins – hard copy and online dictionary.

 

Chinese – Current Level A0

Does it make me crazy that I think Chinese is easier than French? It’s just that Chinese is so LOGICAL and French is not. The tones are tricky, but I think those will just take practice, and I plan to really focus on those in the beginning with the help of a teacher from italki.

My Chinese Resources for 2017:

Textbook

Chinese for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Chinese. I bought this book on a trip to North Carolina and glanced through it. It’s a good intro, and it comes with an audio CD to help with pronunciation.

Chinese Children’s Books

I picked up a number of children’s books with the Chinese characters and pinyin in them at a used book sale. I’ll be using these to increase my vocabulary and ability to recognize characters.

YouTube

I haven’t really delved into all the choices for Chinese YouTube channels. What are your favorites?

Dictionaries

As always, I’m a huge Collins fan, and I’m using this online dictionary, which isn’t glamorous, but is very complete and functional.

 

BONUS: Polish – Current Level A0

When I delved into genealogy in 2016, I embarked on learning about relatives from Poland who were left neglected, aside from their names, in the family tree. Between that and reading The Lullaby of Polish Girls, I have become very interested in the Polish language. I don’t have any desire to be fluent in Polish, just conversational, and I think it will be fun to play with in 2017.

My Polish Resources for 2017:

Duolingo

I have used Duolingo for other languages in the past, and while it gets a little repetitive, it’s one of the better free resources available to learn a number of more unusual language choices, including Polish.

A Free Online Polish Course

I’m using Mowic Po Polsku.

 

What other language programs do I recommend?

Here are a few of my favorites.

Pimsleur – Improves speaking.

Muzzy BBC – Not just for kids!

BBC Languages – FREE courses for over 30 languages!

Living Language – Online and hard copy courses, very complete.

Fluent in 3 Months Hacking Series – Books from my favorite language blog.

 

YouTube Easy Languages

 

Is this the year you’re going to learn a language? What language is at the top of your list?


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3 Comments

  1. Mother of 3

    January 13, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Wow, I have never heard of this program. This might be helpful in teaching high school to my boys. Pinned!

  2. Twochicksandamom/Donna

    January 19, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Very intriguing article! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.

  3. Amber auf Deutsch #1 - Autumn on Fox Street

    January 25, 2017 at 10:44 am

    […] Leute! (Hey guys!) If you read my Language Goals for 2017, you know that I’ve been learning German for awhile – since I was 11 – but that I […]

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