Practicing Languages in 2013

One of my goals this year, now that grad school is coming to an end and I’ll have my life back, is to practice a language. I’ve always wanted to become fluent in a language, if not proficient. I took French classes in high school and I’ve been able to hold on to basic sentences and vocabulary in my brain so to get me back on track, I’ve been using Duolingo to brush up on the basics.

I heard about the site from Fluent in Three Months, which has additional free resources for learning any language you want. So far, I’ve been taking a short lesson everyday where I practice writing English sentences in French and vice versa while also listening and repeating French recordings. There are several levels throughout the French course and you can share your progress with friends on Facebook and invite them to learn with you. What I love most about Duolingo is that they also have a great free iPhone app so I can take a lesson while I’m waiting for the metro to and from work. Once I finish Duolingo, I have a Living Language CD and workbook program that I bought and started using a few years ago, to prepare me for my Paris trip, and which I fully intend in immersing myself in addition to other online resources.

The bigger language goal is to learn Lebanese Arabic since its what my family speaks primarily. I’m 100% Lebanese but my Dad was born and raised in the States and when my Mom married my Dad and left Lebanon to come to the States she spent more time learning English and speaking it around my Dad and my brothers and less time teaching us all Arabic. So my Dad’s side doesn’t speak Arabic and my Mom’s side does. My Mom’s side speaks Arabic around me all the time so I’m used to hearing it and can pick up conversations and understand questions that my aunts and uncles ask me in Arabic but I want to learn more and be able to go back to Lebanon one summer and actually use the language. Two of my cousins who only spoke English previously have taken proper lessons in schools to learn Arabic and they speak really well now so I figure I can do it too if I just discipline myself.

So here’s to practicing my French and learning Arabic in 2013!

Are you learning a language? What are your methods for learning?

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