At the start of each year, I make targets for my language learning. This year, I will be spending a lot of time studying Chinese, Scottish Gaelic and a little bit of Irish as well as maintaining my better languages . I had a few Chinese lessons before my short trip to China in January but I liked Chinese so much that I decided to continue with my studies and I am currently doing a 90 Day Language Challenge for Chinese until April this year. After that, I expect to carry on with my regular Italki tutor.
With regards to Gaelic, I did a course last year with a college in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. It was a distance learning course with one telephone tutorial per week. I passed the exam and I have now registered for the next level.
I will be attending a Gaelic immersion course in the Isle of Skye in May and I will also have some time to travel around the island and get some speaking practice.
It’s possible when my challenge for Chinese finishes in April that I won’t be doing more than one other challenge this year because my Gaelic course will take up a lot of time until June so my priority will be with that until then. In the last couple of years I have done various language challenges to learn German, Greek, Gaelic and Catalan and then I have wanted to continue my studies in those languages which then fills a lot of my free time.
My best languages are English (native), then Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Catalan. For all of these (apart from English of course) I have skype sessions at least once every 2 weeks just for conversation practice and to maintain my level. I therefore don’t need to spend much time actually studying these languages as they are now in “maintenance mode”. My intermediate languages that I really want to improve are German, Norwegian and French so I do need to keep studying these but I have skype sessions focusing on speaking. I expect the French to be the first of those to reach “maintenance mode”. Then my basic languages Gaelic, Chinese and Irish will require the most study time and one lesson per week.
I’m at my maximum with how many languages I can keep up for now and so I won’t be able to learn any new languages this year. Next year hopefully my French will be in “maintenance mode” and I can start improving another language I already know at basic level (Lithuanian, Dutch or Arabic).
In order to maintain the 9 languages I already speak to intermediate or advanced level and keep up with learning Gaelic, Chinese and Irish, it may mean in future some languages I will only learn shortly before a trip to the country , but then in the future just revive it as and when needed so that I do not have to keep studying it every week. Unfortunately I don’t have as much time as I would like to keep up more languages on a regular and permanent basis.
I have a study schedule between lessons for my intermediate and basic languages and I tend to study each language for 30 mins at a time, usually in three study slots throughout the day.