Like most people who have traveled a bit and learnt one second language in some detail, I feel justified in listing language learning as an interest on my CV. Yet recently I realised I don’t do anything toward this goal anymore – and technological advances make it easier that ever to rectify this. During my lunch hour I can listen to a Michel Thomas course, the easiest way to assimilate the first steps of a new language. And with a smartphone and Anki I can review flashcards for any number of languages. Not to mention actually choosing to spend an hour sitting down and learning something when I’m not working.
So I’ve set myself a few medium-term goals, which I aim to document and hopefully fulfill:
1) Learn to read and write Arabic.
This shouldn’t take more than 2-3 weeks. It’s a cool thing to know, and useful if I ever take study of the language further.
2) Get to a proficiency in Korean that I should have from having lived in Seoul for twelve months.
By this I mean basic conversational language ability. I can already read and write Hangul, but can say very little in a language I should at least be able to say a bit in. I’d hope to get to this slightly undefined level in about six months: then I’d actually feel justified in putting “Korean” on my CV (even if followed by the word basic).
3) Keep up the Nihongo
Having an N2 business Japanese certificate doesn’t mean much if I lose the ability to speak the language, and over the past 1-2 years I’ve let my Japanese slip. I need to find a way to keep practising what I know regularly – or learn something new to compensate for the loss.
4) Learn a European language (Spanish) properly
Learning a European language is not only important for the language in itself, but it’s also a gateway toward learning other European languages. Like it or not, saying you know five languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German) is far less impressive than saying you know five languages (Hungarian, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Korean). Why? Because knowing one Euro language inside out is a massive advantage in learning two or more. I’ve chosen Spanish as I want to travel in South America in the future – read this for the similarities to other Euro languages.
The big issue in all these goals is motivation – hopefully by putting a post up about this and buying a couple of new books I’ll be motivated enough to achieve these goals. I’ve learnt a lot in the past this way, but also given up regularly at other times. Motivation is key. Goal setting is also key. We’ll see how it goes – and I’ll share any useful resources I come across.