It’s the New Year! December, with all its festivities and consumerism, has suddenly been replaced by the shock of January. Temperatures are dropping, the days are getting longer, and for many of us it’s now time to get back to work, school, university, or whatever you’re normally doing when you’re not on Memrise.
But the New Year also offers us a fresh start. For many it’s a chance to make changes, resolutions and just decide to do things a little bit differently. And it almost goes without saying, that this is the perfect moment to have another think about your language learning.
What can you improve? What do you need to change? And most importantly, what are you going to achieve in 2015?
Here are five simple ways that you can learn more this year.
1.Have a language audit
The first way to set 2015 off on the right track is actually to think back about 2014. Sit down for a while and work out everything you learnt over the course of the year. Did you achieve all of your goals? Are you happy with the way you’re using your time? Where could you find more time for language learning, and how could you use it better? It’s important to ask these questions to highlight areas where you’ll make changes this year, and to face the facts of whether or not it was successful for you.
2.Fight off stagnation, or the ‘plateau’
This is one of the biggest challenges all language learners face. That moment when you just run out of steam, you lose your momentum, you put your books down and never look at them again. It’s so important to protect yourself from this, and the New Year is a great opportunity to do so. Mix up your methodology by trying out new techniques. Refresh your routine so you’re learning vocabulary at different times of the day and in new places. Stagnation is particularly prominent when learning a new language, and especially a challenging one. Keep working on your existing languages to keep your confidence high and remind yourself: you can do this!
3.Set new goals
It’s nice to give the New Year it’s own shape and feel, and deciding at an early stage what you want to achieve in it is one way to do so. Where do you want your languages to be in a year’s time? Is it the right moment to think about levelling up? January is also a good time for flights and travel discounts, so why not book yourself a holiday and work your goals around your departure date? Memrise could also give you a big hand with this, as it is offering $1000 to whoever manages to learn the most words this January.That would certainly set you on your way!
4.Come to a language learning event
2015 is set to be a huge year for the language learning world, with events taking place all over the world. The largest of these are the Polyglot Conference in New York in October, and the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in May. If you’ve never attended an event like this before, then make this the first year that you do! Hundreds of other language enthusiasts from around the world gather to hear lectures and classes from experts of all fields, and also to meet others with the same passion and feed off their enthusiasm. If you have any doubt about your goals or motivations, either of these events could be just the burst of inspiration that you need.
5.Use every moment this year gives you
Like all things in life, successful language learning requires careful and strategic planning. You need to find out when you can fit it all in amongst everything else you have going on. Lack of time is one of the biggest reasons people give for not meeting their goals, and so in 2015 let’s make sure that no longer happens. The trick is identifying those moments in the day when you’re doing something time consuming like commuting, cooking, or walking the dog, but your mind is in standby. These standby moments are key to fitting in more learning. Listen to music, podcasts, use the Memrise app on your phone, or just try and remember what you studied the previous day. Just do anything that brings your mind back online and makes use of the time you’d otherwise lose. Like this you can fill every moment of 2015 with learning languages and make sure that by the end of the year, you’ve done everything you set out to achieve.
In 2012 Alex Rawlings was named Britain’s most multilingual student after being tested for fluency in 11 different languages. He now lives in Budapest where he is learning Hungarian, and works as a teacher of English, German, Russian and Greek. He is heavily involved in the online language learning community, and helps organise annual International Polyglot Conferences worldwide. He blogs at www.rawlangs.com, and tweets at @RawLangs_Blog.