I’ve finished the final week of my one-month summer “language sprint”. For the last four weeks I’ve upped the work I’m doing on Basic Japanese Project, from 30 mins a day, seven days a week, to one hour a day, five times a week and aimed to put in another hour at my intermediate Basque. Here, then, is the final diary-style update on how this summer study of Japanese and Basque, this “two-language tango” has gone (video update at the bottom of the post):
Monday 12th August (1 hr Basque; 1 hr Japanese)
Week started at 6.55 with one hour’s work from Japanese from Zero 3: the Q and A section of Lesson 2 and the mini conversations. There was lot of focus on questions like How long does it take? How many minutes?
Next, an invigorating run in the park.
Later on I negated the benefit of the run with trip to my favourite Portuguese café for a bolo d’arroz and an espresso (I’m still hardly drinking any coffee at the moment). It was the first time during this month off that I’ve treated myself to a café trip. Really, I could spend the rest of my life hanging out in cafés.
Mid-afternooon I did 45 minutes Basque from Bakarka 4 Lesson 6: Nor-nor-nork in the past and verbs that always take the dative. This preparation for the Skype session with Eider at 4pm.
Shortly before the lesson was due to start I had a message from Eider that the lesson was postponed for technical reasons.
I spent the rest of the day working on an upcoming post for the blog. The topic is “talent” in language learning. It’s a development of my talk at the Polyglot Gathering last year.
Recorded the latest video diary ready for tomorrow’s slot on the YouTube channel (The vid is looking back over week three of the “sprint”).
Worked out the structure of Wednesday’s Russian webinar, which will be on telling the time and dates.
Finally, at 23.05, fifteen minutes more Basque: gold listing vocab from the Habe course, Unit 7.
Collapsed into bed shortly before midnight.
Tuesday 13th August (1 hr Basque; 1 hr Japanese)
Hit the desk at 7.20 and did another hour on Lesson 2 of Japanese from Zero 3. That involved working through three more of the mini conversations. Then I struggled over the reading comprehension.
It is the first text presented in a more traditional-looked (“paintbrush style”) of writing, top to bottom, right to left. It took ages and there were lots of gaps in my attempted translation. The problem was items of vocab I couldn’t recall more than the layout, though.
Thirty minutes Basque came next, working for the first time from the Arian B2.1 work book. There was a text to read about an accident when out walking in the hills, then some exercises.
Did further work on upcoming blog posts.
Late morning into central London, first time during this month. Pimsleur Japanese playing through the headphones as I walked to the underground station, then reviewing some flash cards while on the train. I was meeting a friend to buy him a birthday lunch at one of my favourite haunts. Afterwards, I was unable to resist a quick visit to the language section in Foyles bookshop, Charing Cross Road (London’s largest bookstore).
Tonight – working on Russian seminar for tomorrow.
Then, finished editing today’s video diary update. Did thumbnail. Uploaded and published.
By now – 10 past 11 pm. Thirty mins Basque but all I had the energy to do was read some of the passages out loud from Bakarka 4 Lesson 1 and re-read some of the texts I’ve already worked through in Arian. Crashed out at midnight.
Wednesday 14th August (30 mins Basque; 1 hr 15 mins Japanese)
Started 6.40 with 1 hour 15 minutes of Japanese from Zero 3, going through the questions to yesterday’s difficult reading passage. That was after re-reading the passage itself. Then I felt the urge to return to Assimil and read Lessons 20, 21, 22. I feel much more ready for this course than in previous months.
9am: thirty-minute Skype lesson with Gari. For the first twenty minutes talking in general, including about my Canterbury trip of last weekend. Then we did another exercise from Bakarka Lesson 1, practising “egon” (to be) in the past.
The rest of the day was very intense: full on prep for Russian webinar in time for going live at 8pm. I just managed to finish it.
I was completely drained when the webinar finished shortly before 9pm. I hadn’t left the house all day. Quick dash to the supermarket for some provisions. After a quick snack and crawled into bed.
30 mins short on Basque today 🙁
Thursday 15th August (1 hr Basque; 1 hr Japanese)
Started at 7.30 with one hour Japanese from Zero 3. Did the substitution exercises and questions and answers from Lesson 2. Vocab dredged up such as chopsticks (おほし) and boiled rice (ごはん), that we haven’t covered for ages.
Second thirty-minute run of the week in park. The Pimsleur Japanese course playing through the earphones for the duration (as for Monday’s run).
Prep for and interview with the translator, language teacher and accomplished language learner Stefano Suigo for the YouTube channel. I’ve known Stefano for several years from the Polyglot Gathering. The conversation was flowing, such that there’s probably two instalments’ worth. A pleasure.
I then turned to touching up yesterday’s Russian webinar notes and re-recorded the webinar (screen formatting was not right last night). Edited the video and uploaded both into the student area.
In the evening I stuck with video editing: finished editing and uploading today’s vid for the Channel: a Vienna “Bookshop Safari”. It’s ages since I shot this and it was great to remind myself of the trip and to get the vlog out there at last.
By this time it was 10 to 10 and it took a lot of effort to do one hour’s Basque: reading and prep from Habe Unit 39, again, about problems around noise in society. There was no escape though, after yesterday’s fall.
Friday 16th August (1 hr Basque; 1 hr Japanese)
The final day of my “language sprint” has arrived.
8.25-9.25: made a start with Lesson 3 of Japanese from Zero 3. First, there were 7 new kanji (“Chinese” characters) to learn. Well, I was going back to Heisig to remind me of 6 of them and learning just new one: “gold”.
Then I did some of the kanji writing practice set out in the Lesson, including the days of the week Monday to Saturday, all of which use one of the new kanji as their first element with “day” (surprise, surprise) as the final element.
Quick dash down for some more herbal tea before starting my 9am lesson with Irati. As usual it was very enjoyable and chatty, though the internet connection was bad. I put this down to the rain we had mid week. Had the same connection problems for some of the conversation with Stefano yesterday. We never got on to Habe course material that I had prepared.
Much of the middle of the day went on editing the sections of video that I recorded last week for the new free webinar for people who sign up the the Howtogetfluent email club.
16.30 – 17:00 Basque exercises from the separate workbook that comes with Arian.
17:00 – 17:30 more from Japanese from Zero 3 Lesson 3. Finished the new kanji exercises and began the new grammar: て- form verbs (“do it”-type imperative).
Looking back, looking ahead
That’s it, then, the “sprint” is over.
In the time available, though, I did less of the “new” stuff I’d planned: no new Japanese flash cards made this week, for example. I haven’t been watching Japanese YouTube videos or getting other audio exposure (beyond some listening to the Pimsleur course when jogging or walking to the tube). Neither have I had many gold list method sessions for Basque (and have not once done a second distillation, though they will come). None of that is due to bad planning or lack of discipline. It’s just that there’s only so much you can do in one hour a day on each language.
For all that, setting an increased target and logging my progress helped me to do more that I’d otherwise have done, though, without a doubt. I had eleven thirty-minute Basque lessons on Skype. That was all great.
From Monday, I’ll be back to my on-going routine of thirty minutes (minimum) Japanese a day and such Basque as I can fit in round that, round the day job and round work on the site and Channel. Next: the run-up to Japan!
Week One totals – Basque: 6 hours, 40 mins; Japanese: 5 hours
Week Two totals – Basque 4 hours, 10 minutes; Japanese: 5 hours, 15 minutes
Week Three totals – Basque 5 hours; Japanese: 5 hours, 25 minutes
Week Four totals – Basque 4 hours, 15 minutes; Japanese: 5 hours, 15 minutes
SUMMER SPRINT GRAND TOTALS – Basque: 20 hours, 5 mins; Japanese: 20 hours, 55 minutes
Other posts in this series: