30 Day Challenge – Learning Italian & German

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Having just dedicated the next 9 months of my life to living in northern Italy where barely anyone speaks English and everyone speaks German and Italian, it seemed like a great place to dive into a learning a new language.

The idea for this challenge actually begun when my current Aupair host offered to pay for a language course. What happened when we went to the facility was, we were declined for Italian and was left with German. We left the place to think about if this was something I definitely wanted to do as Italian was my preferred choice, as we left I could feel there was a higher reason as to why the course was full. I mentioned this to my host who doesn’t seem to share the same metaphysical perspective on life as I do and she just looked at me a bit funny.

It was that night just as I was going to bed, I was hit with a strong idea that lingered like a wave covering my mind. I have been receiving more ideas in this fashion recently and so far they have been good, quitting Facebook was one of these ideas.  

The idea that presented itself to me was to just learn the language independently, using the internet as the powerful tool that it is. I have learnt so much from the internet, a huge portion of my knowledge on this site has been inspired from the abundant access to information that the internet provides.

I also thought that why not try to learn both languages at the same time, it seems like something that wouldn’t be too hard, just 1 more tab to do the translations with.

This turned out to be a great idea in a couple of ways. My host offered to pay for a different course of my choosing and I found a Qi Gong and Tai Chi course that was just starting! It’s kinda funny because they were scheduled to start at a date which meant I would miss the first class but due to unforeseen circumstances they had to delay the course until next week, perfect timing for me to start! There definitely was a bit of synchronicity flow here.

So at the time of writing I am 5 days into the challenge and I can confidently say I know over 10 sentences and phrases in both Italian and German as well as many more words. The months of the year (Which are quite easy once you get to August) and the numbers up to 20.

I will continue to do this challenge for 30 days then reassess to see where I am at with my knowledge and then see where to continue. Maybe doing 2 languages at once will be too much by that point, I don’t know. Although at the moment it seems easy. Most likely I will continue with at least one language after these 30 days so I can communicate with the local people.

My method is really simple and simply involves a memory exercise. Also, I think just being in the proximity of people who consistently speak the language helps in the subconscious realms so the mind has an easier time adapting to the new language. Also I can actively practice with one of the family who I am staying with.

I would say it is easier to learn a language once you are at the country that speaks it but it’s totally possible to not have to go to a country to learn it’s language.

All I do is think of what phrases, words, or numbers I would like to learn, write them down in English then underneath write the Italian and then the German. I have a translator open that can speak the word also as this helps a lot to be able to have the vocal reference. I then repeat whatever it is I want to learn a few times. Then I look away from the text and try to remember. Even when doing a cluster of sentences at a time it doesn’t take very long to memorise an entire page of words.

Now after only 5 days with at least 30 minutes a day I am picking up words in people’s conversation so that’s a good start! Whereas before it was complete gibberish. I imagine it won’t take too long before I can actually join in for a sentence or 2 before resorting to the confused look and having to say “Tu Parli In Inglesse” (Do you speak English).

Even with the language barrier I am enjoying being in this place, thankfully the locals are super friendly, they seem a bit shocked to see an English person here, apparently, I am a rare breed in these parts. I hope the bearded English look doesn’t frighten them too much. I also had an awesome idea to do a trilingual rap once I have the capability to do so, but lets walk before we can run shall we?

Once I have completed this challenge I will do an update article to let you all know how it went. If I am successful then this method could serve as an inspiration to anyone else who wants to learn a new language, or even 2! If I fail then at least we know it’s not a good idea or that someone who has a better memory than me could show me how it’s done.

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