16 year old takes on the task of learning a foreign language

Hello everyone!

I bought this domain name a while a go with the intention of starting this blog. I know that my website graphics are not the best but I did try! Instead of asking my uncle to help me design my website I was persistent enough to try and do it myself. I digress, the sole purpose of this blog is to do with language learning, so let’s continue…

As I am 16 years old the only experience I have had with modern foreign languages are ones that I have taken at school. My year group got the option of studying Spanish or French at school. I chose French, as at 11 that seemed like the most practical language to choose considering France is a neighbouring country. 

I certainly did not believe that at 11 years old that my language classes would make me ‘fluent’ in French by any means. A couple of weeks ago marked the 5th year in which I have attended French classes. Am I anywhere near conversational? Unfortunately not. My French is borderline A1/A2 on the CEFR scale and I could stumble through a conversation aided by extensive use of hand gestures and miming. I soon found that shortly after I had chosen to study French I began to hate learning it. It was a compulsory subject that we had to take at school and the lessons just demotivated me. I soon had no interest in learning French and I was just studying to pass an exam.

Perhaps my very first experience of trying to learn a language dates back to when I was about 9 years old. There was a Polish girl in my class who had recently joined the school and I remember begging my mum to go to the library so I could get some resources to learn Polish. My mum proceeded to take me to the library to get them but after a couple of weeks of attempting to learn Polish on my own, I asked my Polish friend to help me. I still remember the pleasantries that I learnt in Polish, but perhaps my accent is not so good. I would say that my interest in languages has been there from a young age, but I’ve just never really paid attention to it. 

At about 12 years old I went to see the musical ‘Wicked’ in theatre and went home to try and find the catchy songs from the musical. Interestingly enough I stumbled upon the German version of the song sung by Willemijn Verkaik and I think that is what sparked my interest in foreign languages. I began looking at different ways to learn German and several websites had popped up.

 Later on I joined several websites such as LingQ and HTLAL and those websites are truly amazing when it comes to getting advice from people. I came across the new word ‘polyglot’ when browsing through these sites and typed that into the search bar of YouTube. I came across Bennys video and Richards video among many others such as Moses McMcCormick, Luca Lampriello, Steve Kaufmann and the list goes on. I tried to self teach myself German at the age of 12/13 but I think that perhaps I was a bit too young and naïve to try and take on the task of language learning. From about 14/15 onwards Spanish, Russian and German interested me more and more and I began to do more research. Ever since I was younger, I’ve wanted to be able to learn another language as it seems as though the benefits are never ending. You can get to travel abroad speaking with locals in their native tongue - rather than hoping someone somewhere can speak English.

Now, I did not realise how lengthy this post was, but it was just so that you could all get to know more about me. However, after all that rambling I forgot to mention the language I wish to learn, which is Spanish. That goal is very broad so I am going to narrow down my goal. 100 days from now will be September the 1st (in my country) and I hope to be able to converse with relative ease by the end of those 100 days with my mums Spanish friend. Some may say that may be too ambitious but as my exams are ending soon I will plenty of free time to dedicate to language learning. My expectations are not very high but my goals are. This blog is hopefully going to be a way to track my progress. This is my first time learning a foreign language on my own from scratch with the help of resources such as LingQ and Assimil. I hope that you can join me on my journey of learning a new language.

Videos of my progress will be up shortly!