Friday, October 24, 2014

90 Day Language Learning Challenge: Mandarin Chinese - Day 30

I did it!  I am 1/3 of the way through my 90 day challenge.  I had only one or two days that I missed due to how  busy October has been, but I caught up easily and am back on track!

After 30 days, how do I feel about this challenge?  I feel both encouraged and discouraged.  I figured that this would not be easy and I was right.  Here are a list of things that I have found to be discouraging & encouraging over the last month:


  • It's hard to stay motivated.
  • Learning new vocabulary is a long process with not many immediate results.
  • My ability to come up with sentences on my own is severely lacking.  I'm not sure if this is because of my lack of a full vocabulary, or if I am just trying too hard to get it perfect, therefore causing nothing to flow out.
  • I don't feel like I have really grown by leaps and bounds as I thought I would in this time.
  • I was hoping that by this point I might be able to have a basic conversation with a native speaker with a reasonable level of confidence, but I don't think that I have reached that point yet either.

  • I have learned quite a few new words.
  • Pimsleur has been a consistently helpful tool.  I don't think it will take me near as far as I would like to go, but it has been a good constant study friend to me.
  • Memrise is probably one of the easiest ways to learn new vocabulary and the spaced repetition that it provides is wonderful.  It's a fun way to learn, that's for sure.
  • I am understanding more words when I hear them in movies or when I see them on everything from jars of food to Chinese literature.  I still have a long way to go, but it is nice to recognize things here and there.
  • My children have learned more Mandarin as a result of my 90 day challenge.  It is fun to think that they could be so much further than I am if they keep it up in years to come.  Ah, to have a mind like a child!
  • People think it's very cool that I am learning Mandarin.  That's a fun aspect of this whole thing as well.

So what now?  Tomorrow I am going to start up Pimsleur's Mandarin II and do that for the next 30 days.  I'm also making my way slowly through the HSK set on Memrise.  I am in the HSK 3 vocabulary right now and so I am going a bit slower, given all the new words.  I would like to add something else to my practicing, but I don't know what that could be considering my time constraints.   Maybe I will try to utilize iTalki more.  If anyone reads this and has ideas of how I can get over some of the hurdles I mentioned above, let me know.  

If anything, I am happy that I have done what I set out to do and don't plan on stopping any time soon.  Here is to the next 30 days!

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