Category Archives: Updates

Two Years of French!

I don’t know the exact date, but this June was also my two year anniversary of learning French! I shot this video on June 26th, which is approximately the two year anniversary date (I think it’s either that or the 25th – I know I started learning French a few days before starting Duolingo, and my two year Duolingo anniversary was June 28th). Unfortunately I didn’t have time that week to start working on the subtitles (then it took a really long time to subtitle the video using Movavi Video Editor, which has an autosave feature which cannot be turned off and saves after every change you make). On top of that, I realized that the default subtitles were sometimes hard to read because I wore white, so on Saturday I needed to go in and add an outline on most of them to make them easier to see (it took about 2 hours just to make that change because there’s no mass edit feature in the program)! So a week and a half after shooting it, here it is:

I stitched two recordings together for this video – the introduction, then the whole second part of the video where I talk about other things. I found I kept getting through the introduction alright, but if I tried to keep going from there I was kind of floundering to start my next topic (these videos are completely unscripted to give a better showing of how well I’m able to use the language). Stopping the recording there gave me a chance to figure out what to talk about without it being too awkward.

I was really happy with how well this video went. While I do still struggle at times with some words, I feel like my French is flowing better now, and I can jump back into French much quicker after having to slip in an English word or two. I 100% believe this is thanks to the instruction I’ve been able to get from the Novocentre, the local place I mention in the video that I was able to connect with to get help with my French. I’ve been doing one two hour lesson once a week, and the lesson is an immersive environment; I’ve noticed that my French comprehension has skyrocketed since starting with them last fall. More recently my speaking is improving, too – I’m more confident, and not as afraid to make mistakes, which is fantastic. Everyone makes mistakes when learning a new language, and it’s okay, nothing to be worried about, it’s just part of the process. 🙂

In the video, I also mention wanting to read one of the French children’s chapter books I got from the library. I ended up reading David et le Salon Funéraire by François Gravel in its entirety over the July 1st weekend. 🙂

While writing this post, I went back and watched my One Year French video. I can’t believe the difference this one year has made, and I can’t wait to see what next year will bring, too! 🙂

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What’s Been Happening…

last picture of my car
My car before it was towed away for scrap 😦

I’ve been fairly quiet on this blog over the last several months. In truth, things haven’t been great: I had a hard time when war broke out in Ukraine (not only because I have friends there, but I also had a really hard time with the disconnect between what was happening there, how WWIII might have started, and how life was just continuing on as normal here). I hurt my back, and later aggravated the injury. And more recently, I unexpectedly had to scrap my car 😥 (which ended up all its own saga – though I am still incredibly sad about it, thankfully the saga is over now!)

So now that things are starting to feel better (my back is doing okay, I’m in a better head space, and the aforementioned car saga is over), I thought that this would be a good time to regroup, take a look at my goals for the year, and see how things are going. I know that things haven’t been great: I haven’t really accomplished much of anything that I set out to do. But I have made some progress on some goals (and have recently stepped up working on other goals). So here’s what’s happening:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books that I already own: so far this year, I have managed to read nine books that I own, but only 5 of them were books I already owned. I’ve once again started bought a few books and read those (for my mom’s birthday, she wanted to go book shopping, so I bought myself something, too!) I also had a really hard time wanting to read things when the war in Ukraine first broke out – a lot of books, both historical fiction and fantasy, seemed to revolve around wars, and I just couldn’t deal with them. So hopefully I’ll be able to read more in the coming months without problems!
  2. Continue working on my story from Script Frenzy: so far, no work has been done on this. But again, hopefully in the coming months I’ll be able to get back to it!
  3. Work on a new story, too: this actually happened, rather by accident. Over the weekend I spent almost an entire day worldbuilding and writing for something totally new. I haven’t been that inspired to work on anything in a really long time; it felt really good! I don’t plan on sharing any of that work here though. I’m treating that as fun writing to help me get back into the swing of things. 🙂 (This wasn’t the story I was thinking of back in January, but that’s okay! I am honestly just so happy to be writing again after such a long hiatus!)
  4. Language Learning Goals:
    1. Duolingo French tree – turning to gold what I had unlocked so far: I’m making slow but steady progress on this. Unfortunately I don’t think I wrote down exactly how many lesson bubbles I had to go back in January (I said I was almost at Unit 5, and wrote down the ones I’m trying to get to in Unit 7). But as of right now, I have 64 to go. I’ve turned 9 from Unit 5 to gold so far – I just finished Junk and Education, and I’m currently on Bad Day in Unit 5.
    2. Reading 101 Conversations in Intermediate French: I haven’t gotten very far in this book at all. I was on conversation 5, restarted the book, got to conversation 5 again, and stopped reading. About a week ago I decided to just continue on from conversation 5 without restarting, and am now on conversation 8. Unfortunately so far the story isn’t grabbing me, but I’ll give it a few more conversations before deciding if I need to give up on it.
    3. Reading First Ukrainian Reader for Beginners: This is another one that’s had slow but steady progress. I just finished Unit 9: Christian listens to German songs. It took a few read throughs, and I didn’t feel that I understood it quite as well as Unit 8: Liuba wants to buy a newer DVD. But I’m moving onto Unit 10 this week. And I’m getting close to the elementary course units (Unit 13 and beyond). It’s really neat reading this book though – I’m able to read and understand bigger and bigger chunks of Ukrainian!
    4. Read another book in French: have not looked at another book yet.
    5. Read another book in Ukrainian: need to get through First Ukrainian Reader for Beginners.
    6. Finish season 2 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast: I stopped listening to Ukrainian Lessons Podcast a few months ago. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it was in part because the episodes have been getting longer and longer – I’m not able to listen to one (or most of one) on my way to work anymore. So last week I made a point of listening to a couple of episodes in the evenings (I’m currently about to start episode 69). I feel like I should almost restart season 2 as a review because it’s been so long. But I made the decision to continue from where I left off – if I need the review, I’ll go back once I finish season 2.
    7. Finish season 3 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast: I haven’t started it yet.
Duolingo 700 day streak

But in other language learning news, I am now on a 700+ day streak in Duolingo! I hit day 700 three days ago. 😀

I will also be working on videos of me speaking both Ukrainian and French over the next month. This June marks my second year of learning both languages! I’m going to move my video editing software to a different, faster computer – hopefully that will speed up the process of adding subtitles to the videos!

So that’s where I’m at thus far for 2022. I’m going to continue to plug along on my goals for the summer, and will check in with them again in the fall. At that time, I’ll reevaluate if necessary.

But how are things going for you? Have you been able to work on/accomplish any of your goals for 2022? 🙂

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Hello 2022!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were good! While mine were once again quiet, they were great. I was able to spend some time with friends and family (albeit in smaller gatherings than in a non-pandemic year). I didn’t send Christmas cards like last year though – I don’t know what was going on, but I just felt so not-on-top of things this year, even though I was on top of all of my other holiday preparations.

I’m also very hopeful that 2022 will be a good year, and maybe even see the end of this pandemic. We shall see!

But now it’s time to reflect on my goals from last year, and set some new ones for the year ahead. For 2021, I set three goals: Read 25 Books I Own, Write a New Story, and work on some Language Learning (mostly reading various books). I’m not going to lie, I completely forgot about setting that last goal (and the whole list of books I wanted to read).

2021 list of books I read that I own
These are the books I own that I read – language books counted, too!

My book goal ended up interesting. I read more than 25 books this year (on Goodreads I read 30, although about three of those were graphic novels, so they don’t count towards my goal here). I read 16 books that I own (plus those three graphic novels). But all through the year, I found myself actually buying new books and reading those, which completely negated the point of this goal! (I think only 3 of those books were ones I’ve owned for more than one year). So I’m going to attempt to redo this goal in 2022 but without buying so many new books!

I didn’t end up writing a new story this year. 😦 I honestly wasn’t very creative at all during 2021. :/ A lot of that is because I was working on the editing project all summer, and when it paused during the fall, it took a long time before I felt even able to work on something more creative. But by the end of the year I was feeling better, and did some work on a very old story that for some reason I was feeling inspired to work on (the story I started working on during 2012’s Script Frenzy). I don’t remember where the idea came from, but I totally revamped the story (and it all clicked into place when I read the backgrounds of the original characters). I reread the original script (which I surprisingly really enjoyed, even though it was never finished), and started working on revamping the characters. As part of that, I also did some worldbuilding that I’m really happy with. I’m looking forward to continuing working on this story in the new year!

Finally, my language learning goal. I turned my Ukrainian Duolingo Tree to gold in January, so that was a very early win. 🙂 I haven’t finished the French tree yet. I actually have been going back and turning the tree to gold (I changed my thinking about turning the tree to gold – rather than quickly finishing lessons and moving on to something new, by taking the time to turn each lesson to gold, I find they’re staying with me a lot better!) I’ve almost turned everything up to checkpoint 4/the start of unit 5 gold, so that’s fantastic progress! (Before I went back to work on the tree in this way, I had made it to halfway between checkpoint 6/unit 7 and checkpoint 7, so I have about 2 full units to go until I’m back to where I was).

Of the books I wanted to read, I finished three from the list: Short Stories in French for Beginners, French Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners, and 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts. I also read 101 Conversations in Simple French, which was surprisingly super fun (it was pretty much all dialogues!) I’ve attempted French Short Stories for Beginners, but for some reason it’s really hard, so I’ll have to come back to it later. And rather than read Ukrainian Language: Texts in Ukrainian, I ended up starting First Ukrainian Reader for Beginners, which I’m really liking. It starts off with super simple texts, then gradually works up to longer and longer ones. It’s making me feel confident that I CAN read in Ukrainian (I still kind of panic when I see a full page text in Ukrainian, thinking “I can’t read this!!!”) Oh, and I’ve also read three Ukrainian kids books by Chatty Parrot (the two listed in this post, and one with winter words).

Oh, and I’m still somewhere in the middle of season 2 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast. That’s been fairly slow going because more often than not I’m listening to music in Ukrainian instead when I walk to work.

One other thing with French – I started getting two hour lessons every week thanks to a local organization. These lessons are immersive – the teacher tries to explain everything in French, and only uses English is that fails. I’ve been doing those lessons for about two months now, and I’ve noticed my French oral comprehension has been skyrocketing as a result (which is super encouraging because that was my biggest problem area)! I still struggle with speaking, but that will come in time. 🙂

Something else that happened this year too: I’m now learning a bit of American sign language. This started during the fall. My sister-in-law was learning with her sister in a really low-key way (they just look at a video every week to learn a few more signs). I’ve been interested in learning because I have a family member who is hard of hearing (and who has a hard time hearing me in particular), but they’ve never been interested before when I’ve asked. When we were all talking about it, they agreed to learn, so I said yes, too! With the caveat that it’s language #3 for me, and won’t be getting as much attention as my other two. So now I know some very basic sign language as well!

So that’s been 2021 in a nutshell. Things didn’t go at all as planned, but that’s okay! I still was able to accomplish a bunch, and even some things I hadn’t planned at all. 🙂

And now it’s time to look ahead for 2022. We’re still in the pandemic, so it’s difficult to really know what the future brings. And some things (like the editing project, which is still ongoing) are outside of my control. So with those caveats, here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish this year:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books I _already_ own – Like last year, I want to challenge myself to read the books I own right now. These books can be either physical books or eBooks (I still have a lot on my Kindle, too!)
  2. Continue working on my story from Script Frenzy – I would love to have at least a first draft of whatever form this story takes by the end of 2022 (I’m currently thinking it should be a novel, but who knows – it started life as a screen play!)
  3. Work on a new story, too – I have ideas for another story that I’d like to flesh out, even if it doesn’t become a first draft by the end of the year.
  4. Language Learning Goals:
    1. Turn my Duolingo French Tree to gold up to what I’ve unlocked so far (I’ve currently unlocked up to the bubbles “Get Well” and “In Class” in Unit 7)
    2. Finish reading 101 Conversations in Intermediate French
    3. Finish reading First Ukrainian Reader for Beginners
    4. Choose and read another book in Ukrainian
    5. Choose and read another book in French
    6. Finish season 2 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast
    7. Finish season 3 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast

I don’t want to overwhelm myself with goals, so I’m only going to set these four. I also feel like I have a better feel for what I can accomplish in terms of language learning this year. If I have time for more French and Ukrainian books, then great, but if not, that’s okay too (especially since reading time in other languages competes with reading books in English).

So how about you? Have you set any goals for yourself this year? 🙂

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Finished 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts!

Over the weekend, I finished reading 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts! As promised, I shot a short video where I attempted to speak in Ukrainian about finishing it. I didn’t get very far (and kind of repeated myself), but I was happy to see that my Ukrainian came together a little better than in previous videos (I was able to put sentences together a little more confidently).

Here’s the video if you’d like to check it out:

I neglected to mention in this take of the video that I read all of the texts at least two times each, plus listened to the audio version of the texts twice as well, so that is partially why it took so long to get through all 100 of them! (I also forgot about the book over the summer, so that’s also why it’s taken me so long!)

Since finishing it, I’ve had the audio versions of the texts playing while I’m cleaning and whatnot. At this point, I don’t understand every word, but I’m able to follow many of the texts, so that’s encouraging! The later ones are a bit harder, so I’ll have to work on them a bit more.

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Almost Done Reading 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts!

cover of 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts

I’m really excited – I only have a few texts left to read in 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts by Yulia Pozniak!

This book has been a real struggle to get through. I’d hoped to have it finished in the spring, but I lost momentum and it’s been lingering on since then. The problem is that the texts themselves aren’t super engaging. They’re almost all a paragraph made up of a few sentences (maybe about 4-6 for most of them) of just description. With the exception of text 6.8, which was a dialogue, they’re all the same, so it’s hard to read them one after the other. (I also ended up really sad after 6.8 because I thought maybe now there would be more dialogues, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case). It’s a shame, because the book is full of great vocabulary and I really like that it includes a link to the audio versions of all the texts, too. I’ve been listening to them as I read, which gives me more of a feel for how Ukrainian sounds when spoken (and has helped me with the pronunciation of different words, too).

As much as I’ve struggled with it though, I also feel like I should go back and reread it, just to help all the words stick in my head better. But I do want to move onto something else, so I’m thinking I’ll probably just keep it around and flip through it periodically (it will be good for days when my brain doesn’t want to do anything too intense, especially once my Ukrainian improves!) It’ll also be nice to focus more on the topic areas that interest me, rather than trying to read the whole book from cover to cover again (the book is made up of 10 texts in 10 different subject areas). I might also load some of the audio files onto my iPod just to see if I can follow them while I’m walking to work or doing housework. 🙂

Pozniak has a second book, Ukrainian Language Reader with Vocabulary and Audio: Pre-Intermediate Level. I wasn’t sure if I would pick it up, but found a preview that showed this book has dialogues like text 6.8 in 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts, so I decided to give it a shot, too. I’m debating between reading it next, or taking a leap into one of the Ukrainian books I’ve bought that are made for Native speakers (if I do that, it will be really slow going as I’ll probably have to look up a lot of words, particularly in the beginning). I’ll probably go with the next book by Pozniak, which will hopefully help prepare me a bit more for the native-level texts.

I’ll make another Ukrainian video when I’m done reading the book (and have hopefully decided what I’m going to read next in Ukrainian!) 🙂

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My Current French Reading

As promised, today I wanted to look at the things I’m reading in French. 🙂

My French is a fair bit more advanced than my Ukrainian, so I’m able to read short stories for French learners fairly well. I’m a big fan of the books by Olly Richards (the first French book I finished was his Short Stories in French for Beginners). I’ve attempted to read French Short Stories for Beginners by Lingo Mastery a couple of times since last summer. The first time I had a hard time with the first story, so I put it aside in favour of the Olly Richards book. I’ve since made it through the first story and have attempted the second story a couple of times, but I still can’t really follow it. So I’ve put it aside once again and gone back to books by Olly Richards.

I ordered a copy of Short Stories in French for Intermediate Learners, as well as 101 Conversations in Intermediate French. 101 Conversations in Intermediate French came first, so I gave it a try. I was a little skeptical about the book because I thought the conversations were going to be just random conversations between random characters. But I was pleasantly surprised – the 101 conversations in the book are all conversations within a larger story! The book is basically a novel with all the description removed (there’s just a paragraph at the beginning of every conversation to give some context). I absolutely love it! I made it through the first three conversations with little trouble, able to follow the just of what’s going on, which was really exciting because it’s a book for intermediate learners, not beginners. I had a harder time with conversation 4 though because it deals with a lot of vocabulary I’m not familiar with (revolving around art crimes). I’ve read it a few times, and am following it a bit better, but I’ll still need to work on it a bit before moving on.

It was at this point that I decided to get the book 101 Conversations in Simple French. Some of the characters from the Intermediate book appear in the beginner book, and it sounded like conversation 4 revolves around what happened in the first book. So I decided to grab the first book on my Kindle to give it a quick read. That way I’ll know exactly what happened in the story (and hopefully pick up some of the words that are giving me trouble in the Intermediate book!) 101 Conversations in Simple French has been a super easy read for me – I’m on conversation 63 already, and have only needed to reread maybe two of the conversations so far to better understand them (everything else I just read once and moved on). It’s been a lot of fun because it really does feel like I’m just reading for pleasure and not having to work at it. 🙂

The other thing I did was purchase the audiobook versions of a lot of these books (the only one I haven’t bought is 101 Conversations in Simple French because I was planning on just reading it quickly). I’ve heard that if you read and listen at the same time, it will greatly help your listening comprehension in another language. I even bought the audiobook version of Short Stories in French for Beginners and started working my way back through that book while listening to it. I’ve made it about halfway through the book reading and listening, then started listening to some of the stories on my iPod while walking to work (I was super excited to discover that the file on my iPod had chapter selections! The file on my computer looked like one big 4 hour file with no chapter breaks). I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the audiobook version so much, so a big thank you to the narrator, Louis Bernard, for making them so engaging!

And that’s where I’m at with French. I’m hoping in the next week or two I’ll finish reading 101 Conversations in Simple French so I can get back to 101 Conversations in Intermediate French. I’ll probably work my way through that book before starting Short Stories in French for Intermediate Learners.

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My Current Ukrainian Reading

cover of Хто живе у Лісі - Who Lives in the Wood

Hey everyone, how’s it going? Today I thought I’d talk a bit about the Ukrainian books I’ve been reading lately: Хто живе у Лісі – Who Lives in the Wood? and Я Люблю Читати – Ukrainian Reading for Kids: Ukrainian–English. Both of these books are bilingual books written for kids. I found Хто живе у Лісі first and thought it was adorable, so I went looking for more books by Chatty Parrot and found Я Люблю Читати (along with another book of winter words that I haven’t really looked at yet because it’s summer).

a random page from Хто живе у Лісі
A Random Page from Хто живе у Лісі

I love how the story is laid out in Хто живе у Лісі. Every page talks about a different animal and the things they like to do; key words are in a different colour, so you can very easily understand what each word in the sentence means. I found it a great vocabulary booster for both new verbs and different animal names (I knew a few of them, like the word for “bird,” but have learned a whole bunch more thanks to this book!) Plus the pictures are just so darn cute! (And having the cute visual is helping me remember the different animals in Ukrainian!)

cover of Я Люблю Читати – Ukrainian Reading for Kids: Ukrainian–English.

Я Люблю Читати is a very generic title for a book with four bilingual fairy tales (I personally would have called the book something more like Я Люблю Казки – I Love Fairy Tales instead). The four fairy tales are the Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, and the Ugly Duckling. So far I’ve just read the first two – I’ve read the Three Little Pigs several times, and have just read Hansel and Gretel once so far. I’m finding I’m now recognizing words better the more I read the tale. As a bonus, some of the animal words I learned in Хто живе у Лісі are in the Three Little Pigs, too!

random page from a book of Ukrainian Fairy Tales that I have
A random page from a book of Ukrainian Fairy Tales that I have

My hope is that these books, which are fairly easy, will help me build my vocabulary so I can eventually attempt to tackle another, harder book of fairy tales (I took one look at the pages of that book and felt a bit overwhelmed by it (take a look at this random page from that book, you can see it’s a *little* harder than the random page from Хто живе у Лісі). I’m also nearing the end of 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (I think I have about 15 texts left to go), but that’s been a little slower going because the texts aren’t super engaging. They’re not really stories, but more like little passages of explanation. They’ve been helpful for vocabulary building though, and I’m really happy that the author, Yuliia Pozniak, made audio versions of all the texts so you can read and listen at the same time! But I wish they had been more like a series of dialogues rather than paragraphs of description.

Next time I’ll take a look at the French books I’m currently working with! 🙂

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My Current Language Learning Routine

Hi everyone, how’s it going? I can’t believe July is almost over already! I’ve got a week off from work coming up in August that’ll be here before I know it – I’m quite looking forward to the break! I’m already trying to decide what books I want to read while I’m off! 🙂

Right now I’m still slowly but surely working on the editing project. I keep calling it that because I was originally contracted to edit it, but it has morphed beyond that and I’m now working on writing several of the chapters. I’m quite excited to be getting near the end of one that I’ve been working on for awhile now. Like I said, slow but steady progress!

I was very happy to fit in some reading over the weekend (and not graphic novels, but a nonfiction book!) I read Robin MacPherson’s How to Maintain Languages (that’s a non-affiliate link to his shop). Robin is a polyglot Youtuber that I watch quite often. I enjoy his videos, and was really excited to give his book a read. Robin maintains I believe 8 languages at a high level, and I was very interested in hearing how he maintains them all, as languages do atrophy if you don’t use them. Reading this book got me thinking about my current language learning routine, and whether it’s working for me.

I usually try to study one language at night and during the morning of the next day, then switch to the other during that evening, so I end up with a week that looks like this:

I started using this pattern so I have a longer chunk of time with each language (being able to sleep with one and wake up using it). Plus this way, I vary the amount of time I spend with each language. I am not a morning person, so generally whatever language I’m working on in the morning has little work done on it; I just listen to it on my way to work. Then the evening language gets a little more time as this is when I can watch something or read. It’s also the time I work on Duolingo (just after midnight, so all the time counts for the next day!)

I do have to change my schedule slightly every week though because I have a couple of language related activities that almost always happen on particular days (I almost always do French on Thursday nights because I attend a French language meeting on Zoom, and I almost always have a Ukrainian lesson booked on iTalki on Saturday afternoon), so I end up having two nights in a row of one language/two mornings in a row of the other language. The days of doubling up aren’t always Sunday and Monday though. Sometimes I will work on the same language Monday and Tuesday nights, or Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I try not to double up Wednesday and Thursday nights though, because that would have to be French, and often feels like a bit too much all at once with the Zoom meeting on top of the more intense regular evenings.

In his book, Robin talks about using dead time for your language learning. Dead time refers to the periods of your day that you’re doing other things that don’t require a lot of concentration. For me, the biggest use of dead time that I make is when I listen to podcasts or music in other languages when I walk to work (and quite often walking home from work too – this is especially important on Thursdays, as listening to French on the way home helps get my brain ready for the Zoom meeting). I have another period of dead time that I would love to add into my language learning routine: my afternoon coffee break. But that rarely happens because my iPod, which has my French and Ukrainian content on it, is locked in my purse in a closet at work during the day. I haven’t been bringing the books I’m working on with me to work either because right now my Ukrainian reading still requires a lot of concentration (and I am now used to reading at home where it’s quiet!), and for French I started doubling up by listening to the audiobook while reading. I could work on flashcards on Anki, which is on my phone, but I really don’t enjoy that (it feels like a chore, plus I think I built my deck wrong – I didn’t know what I was doing and just put in individual words, but I’ve since heard that phrases are more helpful for your brain). I do sometimes listen to music on the computer at work, but more often than not I end up just playing a game on my phone. I’ll have to see if I can come up with some sort of solution for how to better utilize this dead time more consistently (maybe having books I specifically read at work in both languages? Or use that time to write a little something in one of the languages?)

I do have other periods of dead time, like when I’m making and eating supper, but I don’t want to mess with that right now. When I started on this language learning journey (and added French on top of the Ukrainian), I always kept a period of time in my day between the two where I stayed in English and wasn’t worrying about either of them. I wanted that separation to help my brain make the distinction between them, and to help me keep from mixing them up. Sure, my brain still “helpfully” supplies a word in one language when I’m looking for it in the other. But overall, I find I can switch fairly easily from “French Brain” to “Ukrainian Brain” with little problems with this English time separating them.

Plus I need to maintain my English! That’s where I do my major writing. 😉

Thinking of writing though, this week I took the plunge and signed up for Journaly, Robin’s blogging platform where you can write in other languages to help improve your language skills. I really like the idea, because native speakers of the language you write in can offer suggestions for spelling and grammar on your post. I haven’t written anything on there yet (I didn’t know what to write about!) but I’m going to give it a shot soon and see how it goes.

So yeah, that’s my current routine. It’s not perfect, but overall it seems to be working alright for me as I learn these two languages. Do you have any routines in your life, whether for language learning or other interests? What are they like? 🙂

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One Year French Video!!!

Here it is: my one year of French video!

I shot the video 3 weeks ago (so I’ve now been learning on Duolingo for 387 days!), and managed to shoot the whole thing in one take. There are some places where I pause to try to come up with the word I’m looking for (and most of the time find it). I thought about cutting those pauses out, but thought this would be a good benchmark so I can see how badly I’m still doing that in the future. 🙂

The video almost got delayed AGAIN because of technical difficulties. My computer kept crashing when I tried to export the video from Movavi Video Editor, but thankfully restarting fixed the problem. 🙂

In the video, I ended up saying “Je ne connais pas” for “I don’t know,” rather than “Je ne sais pas.” I’m not sure if I used the verb “connaître” correctly, or if some of those instances I should have used “savoir” (although I do believe I got it right in terms of “I don’t know this word”). I tried to annotate the video where I used it, but I’m really not sure if I got those right, either.

This was hands down the longest video I have made speaking in another language though, so it’s pretty exciting that I was able to make this, even with all the pauses (and the couple of times I speak in English because I don’t know the word). 🙂

Other French updates: over the weekend, I actually did start reading French Short Stories for Beginners by LingoMastery (that’s the book I mention wanting to start in the video). I got the audiobook version of it as well on iTunes because I need to work on my listening comprehension. I also had another French lesson on iTalki on Sunday, which I really enjoyed. I’ll be booking more. 🙂

Finally, I took a French listening test online last Thursday as well. I need to score at a certain level to enroll in a local French program. There’s both a written and oral comprehension test; I tried them both back at the end of May and scored really well on the written comprehension test, but not high enough on the listening comprehension test. When I took the listening test again, I scored better (but still not quite high enough to enroll in the program). It was nice to see that progress though – the test itself seemed a bit easier after a few more months of working on French. 🙂

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One Year French Video Still Coming…

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I’m still plugging away at putting the subtitles onto the one year French video. I’ve got less than one minute left to go, so I *should* have it posted before this time next week!

In the meantime, I realized that I never did share this video from work. It was put together for this year’s International Mother Language Day, which is February 21st. As I’d been learning Ukrainian, which is the language of my forebears, I was invited to participate as well. It was a lot of fun filming this (although it was brutally cold that week – we had to shoot outside because of covid restrictions).

I just wish more people had participated. We have many people who speak different Mother Tongues at the library, including Finnish (which would have been great to hear – Thunder Bay has a large Finn population), Polish, and French.

But that being said, I still love watching this video. It’s super fun hearing the phrase “we hear you” in all of these languages! 🙂

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