Fluent in 3 Months? My New Language Challenge

I’ve been really inspired by Benny The Irish Polygot’s blog Fluent in 3 Months (go read it now!) and now that I’ve decided that I’m staying in Germany, it is time to get off my butt and do something about improving my German.  Therefore, I’m taking some of the tips I’ve learnt from Benny and his amazing blog and adding some of my own and coming up with my new language challenge. Some of the things I have started doing this week, but the main language challenge will kick off on the 1st October.

Therefore, from the 1st October I will:

1. Speak only German at the office.  My workmates are fantastic guys and this challenge is something that they came up with since I’ve now been living in Germany for a year.  It is going to be really tough, but I think speaking only German during the workday is really going to give my German a huge boost.

2. Using Anki, which I’ve loaded on my phone, work through the deck Basic German 2 every single day, thus increasing my vocabularly and reinforcing the words I already know.

3. Listen to German audio for at least 30 minutes every single day.  I will be using Deutsche Welle’s Langsam gesprochen Nachrichten and Radio D for this. Even though the Nachrichten is beyond my current level of German, they do provide a transcript so this will be a good opportunity to hear how words are pronounced, which is something I have a lot of problems with.

4. Watch German TV (with subtitles) at least 3 times a week.  Due to German TV not having subtitles on most channels, I will be using mainly DVDs for this.  I have just brought Coupling (Wer mit wem?), one of my favourite British comedies, so this will get a good workout as will my German language versions of Sherlock and NCIS.

5. Start reading German books. On my bookshelf I have Heidi and the first Harry Potter book in German. I will definitely need a dictionary when trying to read these books, but I’m up for the challenge.

Will I be fluent in 3 months after doing all of this?  Honestly, I don’t think I will be, but I am going to give it my very best try.  If at the end of the 3 months, I’ve only raised my German to the level of conversational, I will be extremely pleased.

If anyone wants to join me in my language challenge, please do.  You don’t have to be learning German, you can substitute it for any language.  Also, if you have always wanted to learn a language, then now is the time to start! You can do challenges 2-5 no matter where in the world you are.

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About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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19 Responses to Fluent in 3 Months? My New Language Challenge

  1. Roxanne says:

    You can absolutely do it! Reading books in the language you want to master and watching TV shows certainly helps. My Spanish fluency improved dramatically when watching “Friends” in English in Colombia with Spanish subtitles… Good luck!

  2. Scott says:

    I’ll probably end up writing a blog post of my own in response to this (it took me about 3 years in Germany to become “fluent”, and I had a lot of advantages 20 years ago that you don’t have now). My immediate suggestion would be to add newspapers and newscasts to your list. I’m a news junkie, and back then skimming through the headlines in the Hamburger Abendblatt and watching the evening Tagesschau whenever I could helped me both to improve my German and to better understand the country. When you start picking up on the biases in the German media, you’ll know you’re making progress! :-)

    • Riayn says:

      I already read the headlines of the Frankfurter Allgemeine as that is the newspaper we get delivered to our office each day. But I shall add some news shows into the mix as well.

  3. Dixie says:

    I think watching some German news on TV would be more helpful than you may imagine. Newscasters tend to speak clearly, there’s almost always video to help you and you’ll be challenged to figure things out. Even watching commercials can teach you slang and word play because it’s so heavily featured.

    • Riayn says:

      I agree watching actual news on German TV would be helpful, but the fact is I’m rarely home when the news is on. I’m lucky if I’m home by 8pm on most nights. However, Deutsche-Welle does have a daily news show on their site (actually I think this is the German news we got in Oz), so I will watch that.

  4. Scott says:

    That’s no excuse, Tagesschau broadcasts are archived at tagesschau.de! :-)

  5. Benny Lewis says:

    Great mission! I love your initiative! As you say, even if you don’t reach fluency, by aiming so high, as long as you keep it up enthusiastically you will have way more to show for your 3 months than many people could dream of – and will definitely pass by conversational level.

    You’ve got a definite plan of action, and are planning to use the language for real instead of just diving into books. This can only lead to rapid progress!

    Keep up the good work!

  6. genevieve says:

    I did a lot of work with a speech therapist in my studio and she recommended wearing earbuds when learning a new language.

  7. Riayn you have inspired me once again! The idea scares me to death but I’d like to start the journey with you…I’m going to look at the website now and give some thought to how I can do something similar without killing myself with anxiety. I have the advantage that my husband forces me to watch German television with him daily (he finally got tired of having to watch things in English all of the time) but I know that there’s so much more I can do….time to step it up, huh? Looking forward to hearing how your journey goes….I know you’ll do fantastic!

  8. Sarah1976 says:

    Best of luck with your challenge! If you implement even half of the suggestions above, your language comprehension should rocket forward. Another blogger, http://www.residentonearth.com, once said that there is a kids’ news program, only 15 minutes long, that uses simpler constructions but covers mostly the same headlines. That might be a good way to start getting your German news. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where to find it.

    I made some good leaps when I started listening to German music. The urge to sing along will get new vocabulary into your mouth with very little effort. And good call on the books – I read the first 4 Harry Potter books in German (after having done it in English and knowing them fairly well). I felt compelled to look up a lot of the words for the first couple of chapters, but after that, my comprehension really started to flow and I was able to use context clues to figure out what new words meant about 90% of the time.

  9. coldfrisian says:

    I think, Sarah1976 is talking about the kids’ news show “logo”.
    You can watch the latest edition on http://www.tivi.de/fernsehen/logo/start/index.html
    And you could try “Videotext” on your tv. You often can get german subtitles via “Videotext”.for many shows on ARD and ZDF.

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  11. Pingback: Deutschland und USA gratulieren Libyern zur Freiheit | Nachrichten | Deutsche Welle | 24.10.2011 « Helmut Zermin 's Blog

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