My language learning 2019

2019 has come to a close, and Tet is round the corner. In this post I’ll be reflecting on 2019, updating you on what study habits I’ve kept up with and what I’ve changed about my language learning routine.

I’ve started with a general status update of my languages, then moved into a month-by-month breakdown of how I’ve been studying in 2019.


Barely maintaining

It’s such a long time since I’ve been in Vietnam. However, I went to a Vietnamese food festival this year and spoke Vietnamese for the first time in ages!

I still read a little Vietnamese on Instagram and occasionally think to myself in Vietnamese. I am definitely rustier than I used to be, but the language is still there.

Other languages

Russian: Main language

Living in a country where I hear Russian every day, this language has been my only priority in 2019. Focusing is a good thing! I’ve made huge improvements over the last 12 months. I think I’m still working towards B1 level, but in the autumn both a native and non-native have told me they think I’m there already. Nice to hear!

Dropped/Not maintaining:

  • Spanish (2017) – I’d like to pick this up again in 2020 or 2021, once my Russian is a solid intermediate level.
  • Bulgarian (from 2016 and 2017) – Russian messes with this due to similarities (it’s like French and Spanish – totally different languages but similar in some ways). I don’t think I can speak Bulgarian now.
  • Korean – nothing, although I can still read Hangul and remember random words.
  • Esperanto – I rarely message a friend or two in Esperanto. When I do, I tend to understand their messages, but I have to translate when I want to reply.

So, onto my year of language learning…

January to May

Studying Russian – elementary/pre-intermediate level

  • Group lessons
  • Italki lessons
  • Anki study

June to August

Russian Challenge: RFA summer

Anna of Russian for Americans ran a 3-month challenge for the summer. I wasn’t aiming to win, but the fact I was logging my study and posting my log on instagram weekly meant that I got in more study than I would have done otherwise, and was more aware of what skills I was/wasn’t practising.

I’m glad I took part!

September to November

Studying Russian – pre-intermediate level

  • Group lessons
  • Italki lessons
  • Anki study


Studying Russian – upgrading my speaking

I wrote about this in December.

2019 was focused on one language – Russian. I’ve made solid progress this year. I’m able to hold conversations with okay fluency and I can manage daily life (including doctor’s appointments if I have to) but not very accurately. I still have a way to go until I feel comfortable – where I can speak the language without thinking too much. The way I could speak Vietnamese by 2014!

Over to you: How was your language learning in 2019? What are you language learning plans for 2020?

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