Weather Forecast for May 2017 (And My Language Learning Goals)

Talking about the weather is probably one of the most widespread small talk topic across different cultures, right? It may be an old stereotype that Finns don’t do small talk, but I’d say it is mainly false and it certainly doesn’t apply when it comes to chatting about the weather. Although, I don’t know if it always fits in the criteria of light small talk; you could also say we like to obsess about the weather, especially around holidays. Will there be snow on Christmas? Will it be cold and rainy on Midsummer? When will it finally get warmer? Will it snow on May Day? Having our four very distinct seasons and often rather passionate feelings about each of them, we can get very worked up over whether, for instance, the progress of spring is as fast as we would like to expect (usually it isn’t).

What does this have to do with my Clear the list -post? Well, I was trying to think of the first sentence of this post, and found myself writing “Wow, it’s May already”, and then something about the weather. I love each of the four seasons (although my love for summer doesn’t run out, like the love for winter does around March) and I definitely like to obsess about the weather and the progress of spring. So you’ll probably find me starting each of these monthly reviews with a weather report and some happy or less happy expectations about what the weather will be like by the end of the month.

So Tuesday this week started in Helsinki with a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard. No exaggeration there. Today we got a hail shower. Only a few until May Day, a holiday we like to celebrate by going out on picnics. It’s usually really cold anyway, though. Sometimes it snows.

Last time I wrote that I know April will bring spring with it. Well, even though the spring is still kind of cold and snow-showery, it is here: birds are chirping like crazy, tiny green things are pushing out of the ground everywhere if you look closely, and on sunny days, you cab go out in a lighter jacket (if you are brave, because sleet storm may appear when you least expect it).

And May is a month that will bring summer!

The seasons move so fast, and that just seems to highlight the how fast the time flies. It feels like I just wrote the previous learning goal post, and now it’s that time again.

This post is inspired by the Clear the list challenge hosted by Lindsy Williams from Lindsay does languages, Shannon of Eurolinguiste, Kris Broholm and Angel Pretot.

Clear The List

Review: April 2017

April was good. Rather busy and I worked hard to turn in a first draft of my Thesis before Easter, but I found that when I needed a break from working or wanted to do something relaxing after a long week, I was drawn to my language activities and didn’t suffer from language laziness at all.

I was using my tracker actively to plan activities for each week beforehand, here’s how it looks now (many of this week’s activities are still waiting to be done):

File 27.4.2017 21.37.16

Russian

Tandem: Meeting once a week – Done three weeks, one we had to skip because we were both so busy. But that week I managed to find a bit of time to review some of the early Tandem meetings. Watching the videos my partner had found me to watch for the very first meetings, I was happy to notice I could understand them a lot better than I remember I could back then! I also prepared better for the meetings this month. But still didn’t review enough afterwards…
Babbel Review once a week –
Done! I have a feeling I’ve pretty much learned all the vocab there is in my Babbel Review manager (it’s only around 300 phrases).
Translate two dialogues from my textbook – Almost done, I think I’ll finish the second one this weekend.
Reading Ася – Класс!ное чтение -reading practice book one chapter per week – Done, finished reading it!
Audiobook 2-3 times a week – Done!
Write one entry per week in my diary in Russian – Done, except this week, but I still have time. This was fun! I’ll never know if what I write is correct, but it gives me confidence to notice I can actually describe my day in Russian and manage to find an alternative way to express something I first felt like I can’t write.
One set of verb grammar exercises from the textbook each week
 – Done! And still enjoyed it 😀

French

Listening to an audiobook 2 times a week – Sometimes just once a week, but basically done.
Writing and reading something each week – I actually ended up just writing OR reading each week, taking turns on which skill I focused on. I read some science article on Le Monde and another time I read some travel site and looked for ideas of what to do in Paris, and I picked a random education video about sustainability, transcribed it and then tried to write my own sentences using some expressions from the video. This was quite fun!
Speaking French with a friend – Done, we met once. I’m so happy I’ve got this opportunity to practice speaking and especially that I’ve gotten to know her, she’s great! I also keep getting amazed by what kind of topics I manage to keep up a conversation about with my French. This month I was explaning about the Finnish Defence Forces and voluntary military service – not exactly my everyday topic in any language…

Swedish

Reading Vägen till Jerusalem – I managed to read a bit more this month because I took the book with me and read on the bus sometimes. Bedtime reading is not my thing, it seems. Now I’m about halfway through the book…

So still going strong all in all, and still quite happy with my routines!

2017-04-22 22.03.24

Learning Goals for May 2017

Last month I wrote I need to decide after April, if I’ll continue with Russian as my main learning project or if I’m ready to give it a rest. Well – definitely not ready! I feel like I’m only now getting the hang of it! So another month of Russian sprint, French and Swedish marathon (these two terms I’ve borrowed from Katie at Joy of Languages).

As for goals in each language, they haven’t changed much from last month. I want to push my Russian learning a bit further from the comfort zone, try to challenge myself and study slightly more deliberately. I’ll try to review what I learned a bit more often and try to apply what I learn to something new in my everyday life, and I’ll try to read and write more, to get more comfortable with it. This month I’m also adding a goal to acquire a lot more vocabulary!

Russian

Speaking: Tandem and Review

Tandem meetings once a week, prepare well and review afterwards. In addition to that, I’ll start doing review of my Russian notebook three times a week. The notebook is full and I’ll start a new one, and it seems like a great idea to go through the old notebook and pick the words and phrases I still haven’t learned and maybe move it to the new notebook. I’ll review by reading and writing but I’ll also add some speaking to the review sessions, for instance by doing Instagram videos.

Listening: Audiobook and Review

I’ll keep listening to audiobooks twice a week, and also review more of the old tandem practice videos.

Reading

I got a bit carried away in the library and borrowed a pile of Russian learning materials and children’s picture books (the library had a great many alternatives to choose from). I’ll try to read some of the “Болшой Атлас для самых маленьких” once a week and go through a few chapters of Book2 Russian-Finnish phrasebook twice a week.

2017-04-20 17.10.10

Writing

I’ll keep on writing my diary in Russian once a week and writing grammar exercises from my textbook once a week.

French and Swedish

Same goals as before: In French, I’ll try to practice each of the core skills, so write, read, listen and speak something every week or every other week. I’ll use the same techniques and activities as last month.

In Swedish, I really want to finish Vägen till Jerusalem, but that would mean reading about three times more than last month. We’ll see.

There we go! I hope by the end of May, it will be sunny and warm and you and I will be happy language learners with a lot of goals reached!

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15 thoughts on “Weather Forecast for May 2017 (And My Language Learning Goals)

  1. The weather in Scandanavia is rough this year so I can definitely commiserate. I’m back in Indiana where it is 26 degrees while in Sweden, it is nothing but snow. It’s been a huge but welcome adjustment. 🙂 Vägen till Jersualem is such a classic! Would you recommend it? What part of your language learning routine would you say makes the biggest difference? I’m always on the look out for new strategies to use. So happy to hear that your daily writing in Russian has been such a success – I’m looking forward to seeing how May goes as well!

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    1. We’ve finally got some proper spring weather here this week, yay!
      Vägen till Jerusalem started off quite slowly and felt a bit tricky to read at first because the style is kind of “old”. I think now that I’m half way through the book it has started to get interesting. If you like historical novels in general, then it certainly is worth reading. And it does give some interesting viewpoints to the history of Sweden!
      Hum, that’s a tough one, I guess I should give some thought to which parts of my study routine matter the most. The real speaking practice I get with my tandem partners in Russian and French seems to have made a big difference in a few months time, especially for Russian. But then again, if I didn’t prepare for the Russian sessions and study between them they wouldn’t be too useful, I think. In French, which I concentrated on, audiobooks and Babbel courses made a huge difference. I think what has been most important hasn’t been any individual part of my routines, but finding a combination of methods that I can stick to and that support different areas of language skills – and then stick to them for long enough, at least a few months!

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  2. Good luck with your goals this month!
    I like your language tracker 🙂 I try to make one too, but I’m confused what I want to track really… It was easy when I just noted I learned “something” in this language what day… but I want to keep track of more precise competences… but now my table is enormous :S Maybe I’ll come up with something for June!

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    1. Thank you!
      I know, it can be a bit tricky to determine what to track. For French, I’ve now just ended up tracking activities for the four core skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking, and not specifying between different types of activities. Russian gets more detailed tracking because it is my main project at the moment.
      I hope you can sort it out for yourself and find something that suits you! It may take a few versions, I’ve been developing my own tracker a bit each month 🙂

      If your on Facebook, you can try to find the live class from Kestin Cable in her FB group “Fluent language learning”, posted on March 24, it was about about tracking and what kinds of study you might want to track, maybe that could help!

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  3. I always get carried away in the library! ;P There’s a huge range of books in scripts I couldn’t even identify and it’s like “Oooo! The possibilities!” Good luck for May!

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    1. Thank you!
      I guess the books would be in the library the next time we go there, too, so we don’t need to take everything at once! 😀 But it’s so hard to decide.

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  4. Wow – you did an awesome lot of language learning in April. And I still love the tracker.
    I use one to track my habits, but if I would also use one for languages, I’d probably be more consistent. It certainly seems to work for you, so, congratulations.

    Good luck for your May list. I know you’ll rock it again 😉

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    1. Thank you Angel! I love the tracker. I’m only using it for languages, but I think I should also try it for other habits to be more consistent – or persistent – with them. So the other way round 🙂

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  5. Wooo you did great last month!
    I can totally relate about the weather, I am always looking for signs of spring. At least since I moved from Italy to the UK, before I took it for granted – happy times :D. I was in Sweden recently and I could not assimilate the fact that at the end of April it was still 3°!
    Best of luck with all of your goals for May and with working on your Thesis!

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  6. (Seriously. That cat is toooo cute.)
    Je te souhaite bonne chance pour tes objectifs de mai. Ton agenda avec les couleurs est vraiment une bonne idée. J’espère que le soleil se pointera bientôt. J’attends tes prochains articles avec impatience, car ils sont vraiment intéressants!

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