So, as you know, last month I decided to try NaNoWriMo, and it went pretty well. Not in the sense that I have anything ready to publish, but I challenged myself to write 100,000 words, and I did it.
I’ve always worked best under pressure; at school I was way better at exams than assignments, and I generally find I’m easily distracted from a task unless I have a deadline looming. So, following November’s success, I’ve decided monthly challenges are the way to get things done.
That’s why, this January, I’ve decided to learn German.
Now obviously, as someone who spent ten years studying Spanish*, and still wouldn’t consider myself fluent, I am aware that learning a language in a month isn’t really possible. But I want to give it a good crack, just to see how much I can learn in that short space of time. Fortunately I happen to work for a language learning company, and will be using our app, uTalk, to get me off to a good start.
So why German? Well, I was made to choose between Spanish and German at school, and obviously chose Spanish, so I’ve never had the opportunity to study German. And I’m rapidly becoming convinced that it’s one of the coolest languages in the world, because you can describe pretty much anything just by sticking words together. Also, German is the language that brought us one of my favourite words of all time, Backpfeifengesicht (‘a face badly in need of a fist’). Need I say more?
This challenge started out as an idea just for me. Then I dragged a few colleagues into it. And then we opened it up to anyone who wants to have a go (although with the slight caveat that currently, to use uTalk, you do need to have access to an iPhone or iPad – apologies to anyone with an Android, Windows or other device).
So I guess my question is, who else fancies taking on a new language this new year? It doesn’t have to be German; the app has 100 languages to choose from and my colleagues are learning everything from Thai to Icelandic. There are details on how to get involved on the EuroTalk blog – or contact me here or on Twitter to join in. It’ll be fun, I promise…
By the way – I quite fancy the idea of setting myself a new challenge for each month of 2015. So if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. (Within reason; ideally the challenges should be free – or really cheap – and measureable, so I know when I’ve achieved them. And I won’t be jumping off any buildings, or anything silly like that.)
* I can also say ‘where is the bank?’ in Swahili, which is bound to prove useful one day. Right?