Let’s focus on the positives first. I have successfully been writing a Danish journal on Lang-8 every day for 2 weeks running. It certainly feels like I have a lot of momentum there, despite almost every sentence literally being incorrect in some shape or form! I’ve also been watching “TVAVISEN med sporten” (news and sport in Danish) every night this week with my wife, except on Friday when we just kicked back and watched How to Train Your Dragon 2. I love that movie to bits, by the way.
The bad news is that I have still not done any of the exercises in my “Ordet er Frit” Danish textbook. I’ll explain why a little later, but basically it comes down to poor time management. But rather than beat myself up about this, I’d like to think that I’m learning how to find a way of doing this stuff.
So let’s check in with what I’ve been up to this week, and to share some observations that I’ve made.
Dealing with uncertainty, and listening for the gist of things
When I watch the news in Danish, it is a brilliant listening exercise, and I also get to pick up on visual and social cues to make the context of new words (of which there are many!) easier to remember than seeing a word written down on a piece of paper. But as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really understand much of the news at all. It is a really intensive exercise as I strain my ears and desperately try to figure out what is going on. When I embraced the uncertainty and accepted that I don’t need to understand every single word, I started doing a lot better.
Corrections are good; constructive feedback is better
Although I am really proud of writing a lot of Danish on Lang-8, I have to admit that it takes up a huge amount of my time. It is good to get corrections, but they will never be as in depth as explanations from a teacher as to why you made the mistake. I got some recent feedback from a teacher in my language school, and it instantly helped me to write much better.
Sometimes, you need a desk for “desk time”
As the cryptic title of this blog post suggests, I need a desk for “desk time”. For me, my “desk time” with my language learning is when I use my laptop on the train to and from work. But the problem with me failing to do any of the exercises from my Danish textbook is because I need to refer to the book while having my laptop open, and this is impossible during my train journey. So what I need to do is actually use a real desk and get all the materials ready for my “desk time” on the train. This could be handwriting notes from a passage in the textbook I want to work from, or just gathering the listening materials and copying the accompanying questions into a blank text document, all ready for me for when I sit on that train seat and open my laptop. This is the crucial step that I have been missing out on.
My goals for next week:
- Write a journal on Lang-8 every day
- Watch the news in Danish at least 4 nights a week
- Maintain my Danish Duolingo tree
- Do the exercises from Ordet er Frit (and prepare them in advance)
See you next week, vi ses!