January language hours

2018 was off to a strong start, with a lighter work load than usual I was able to put in some extra time studying and doing various activities in other language. In particular I did 3 hours worth of skype lessons in Russian, 1.5 hours in Mandarin, and 1 hour in Japanese.

Japanese: 13 hours, 15 minutes

Mandarin: 10 hours, 0 minutes

Russian: 10 hours, 0 minutes

Spanish: 5 hours, 0 minutes

French: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Arabic: 1 hour, 35 minutes

German: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Portuguese: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Italian: 40 minutes

Clarinet practice: 1 hour, 30 minutes


December language hours

December language hours and 2017 recap:

December is up and it’s time to see if I fulfilled my goals for the past year, and to reflect on my progress and growth. I find this to be a fun and useful activity to do every year, as it helps me see where I failed and succeeded, and make goals moving forward to the next year. I do this in many parts of my life, not just in languages, but since that’s my focus here… that’s what I’ll be focusing on in my writing today.

For the month of December I finally finished reading Inés del Alma Mia, and I made a New Year’s Eve push to hit my 10 hours in Japanese (needed 45 minutes), and studied over 10 hours of Chinese as well, so I am happy with my December work.

December hours:

Chinese: 10 hours, 20 minutes

Japanese: 10 hours, 0 minutes

Spanish: 9 hours, 30 minutes

Russian: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Portuguese: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Italian: 1 hour

German: 40 minutes

French: 35 minutes

Dutch: 30 minutes

2017 language total:

Japanese: 118 hours, 30 minutes

Mandarin: 54 hours, 35 minutes

Spanish: 50 hours, 40 minutes

Russian: 45 hours, 30 minutes

Italian: 20 hours, 50 minutes

German: 13 hours, 35 minutes

French: 9 hours, 55 minutes

Portuguese: 8 hours, 45 minutes

Other: 2 hours, 0 minutes

Total hours: 324 hours and 20 minutes. Most studied in 12 months: 566 hours, 10 minutes.

I did better than I did last year (304 hours), and I met my most important goal of >100 hours of Japanese and >40 hours of Mandarin. I was hoping for a better showing of Italian and Russian last year and I wanted a total hours number over 350 (arbitrary… but something to shoot for). I think month to month goals are better than yearly goals, which is why a goal number of hours per year is a tough one to make and meet.

For next year, I am setting the bar higher for myself. I will be busy, so it will be difficult, but I want to achieve over 100 hours for both Mandarin and Japanese (with a monthly goal of 10 hours per month, but room to fail a few months as I have other commitments in the coming year which will affect my study time during the summer (more on that in the next paragraph). I also want to start having tutor sessions to practice speaking Japanese and Mandarin. For Russian I would like to study >60 hours (average 5hr/month), reading 2 books and regular conversation practice. I have no specific goals for the other languages (maybe through the year I’ll have motivation to push more on one of ). If I accomplish this, I should easily have done more in 2018 than 2017.

I didn’t read much for leisure last year, only finishing 6 books (2 in Spanish, 1 in Italian, and 3 in English). My goals for next year are 2 in Russian, 1 in Spanish, and 3 in English at the minimum.

In July I’ll be moving back to New York City, and with the move I’ll be exposed to all the different languages of New York which will be a lot of fun. So after July depending on my situation, friends/acquaintances in New York my study routine and goals may change drastically, but for now, I think these are realistic goals for me to shoot for.

November language log

November hours:

Mandarin: 10 hours, 35 minutes

Japanese: 10 hours, 20 minutes

Russian: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Spanish: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Italian: 1 hour, 25 minutes

German: 35 minutes

French: 30 minutes

Portuguese: 25 minutes

2017 Running total:

Japanese: 108 hours, 30 minutes

Russian: 43 hours, 5 minutes

Mandarin: 42 hours, 15 minutes

Spanish: 41 hours, 10 minutes

Italian: 19 hours, 50 minutes

German: 12 hours, 55 minutes

French: 9 hours, 20 minutes

Portuguese: 7 hours, 30 minutes

October language log


This months hours:

Japanese: 10 hours, 35 minutes

Mandarin: 10 hours, 20 minutes

Russian: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Spanish: 3 hours, 20 minutes

French: 1 hour, 30 minutes

German: 1 hour, 0 minutes

Portuguese: 50 minutes

Italian: 30 minutes

2017 Running total:

Japanese: 98 hours, 10 minutes

Russian: 39 hours, 45 minutes

Spanish: 37 hours, 55 minutes

Mandarin: 31 hours, 40 minutes

Italian: 18 hours, 25 minutes

German: 12 hours, 20 minutes

French: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Portuguese: 7 hours, 5 minutes

September hours

Weak month overall. No significant language progress made or anything out of the ordinary. I will need to double down if I want to make meaningful progress. Reading ines del alma mia in Spanish, working through Genki 2 in Japanese and the part 2 of assimil’s Chinese course.

Japanese 7 hours, 0 minutes
Chinese: 4 hours, 20 minutes
Russian 1 hour, 0 minutes
Spanish: 3 hour, 10 minutes
Portuguese: 10 minutes
German: 10 minutes
French: 20 minutes
Italian: 10 minutes

Running total:

Japanese: 87 hours, 35 minutes

Russian: 35 hours, 15 minutes

Spanish: 34 hours, 35 minutes

Mandarin: 21 hours, 20 minutes

Italian: 17 hours, 55 minutes

German: 11 hours, 20 minutes

French: 7 hours, 20 minutes

Portuguese: 6 hours, 15 minutes

August hours

I’ve continued learning Japanese and Mandarin over the past month (with a slight edge to Japanese). I’ve really come to love the East Asian languages and cultures and want to delve deeper, but with other life and work commitments I still have limited time for the hobby, but I hope to be able to devote at least on average over 15 hours to the combined languages per month most months, with occasional months giving 20 hours/month. I would still place my competency at ~advanced beginner in both languages (my Japanese has caught up to my Mandarin level).

Reaching my goals in Japanese and Mandarin can be hindered by spending time on other languages that I’ve previously learned. My first foreign language love is French, and I feel confidant in the strong foundation I built in this language, that while my French can get old and rusty, it will always be there when I need it, so I do nothing actively to maintain it anymore, and just use it on an as needed basis. The second language that I still hold dear even though I’m not actively studying it is Russian, which I know I need to still spend more time per month to maintain and I wish to push my knowledge to a higher level of fluency… which takes time away from Japanese and Mandarin. I now have a very utilitarian approach towards Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Italian, which means I use a lot of Spanish- to the point where I’m probably better in Spanish now than in French (living in Texas), and let my Portuguese, Italian, and German slide, knowing that I can quickly recover these languages if I need to.

August Hours

Spanish: 12 hours, 0 minutes (I visited Cancun with my wife, and naturally spent more time learning Spanish, but since I wasn’t actively ‘studying’, I just used it as needed during the trip)

Japanese: 9 hours, 0 minutes

Mandarin: 7 hours, 10 minutes

Italian: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Portuguese: 50 minutes

German: 35 minutes

Russian: 25 minutes

French: 20 minutes

Running 2017 totals:

Japanese: 80 hours, 35 minutes

Russian: 34 hours, 15 minutes

Spanish: 31 hours, 25 minutes

Italian: 17 hours 45 minutes

Mandarin: 17 hours, 0 minutes

German: 11 hours, 10 minutes

French: 7 hours, 0 minutes

Portuguese: 6 hours, 5 minutes


July log

June has been busier at work. I wanted to study 10 hours of combined Japanese and Mandarin, since I really want to devote more time to Mandarin. However I’m enjoying going through the Colloquial series Japanese course and don’t want to put that aside, and I listen to a lot of japanesepod. For Chinese I listen to popupchinese almost exclusively and practice reading on the popupchinese website. For Russian I watch TV, occasionally read news, and I had 2 tutor session last month on skype with a tutor from Belarus.

Japanese 6 hours, 0 minutes

Russian: 4 hours, 40 minutes

Chinese: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Spanish: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Italian: 35 minutes

French: 30 minutes

German: 20 minutes

Portuguese: 20 minutes

running 2017 hours:

Japanese: 71 hours, 35 minutes

Russian: 33 hours, 50 minutes

Spanish: 19 hours, 25 minutes

Italian: 15 hours 30 minutes

German: 10 hours, 35 minutes

Mandarin: 9 hours, 50 minutes

French: 6 hours, 40 minutes

Portuguese: 5 hours, 15 minutes

June language hours

In the month of June, I continued with similar methods for learning Japanese: colloquial Japanese (I’m now on the second to last chapter, but go back a lot to review vocabulary, grammatical structures, and reading dialogues), and listening to Japanese pod 101 beginner podcasts (which are fantastic, and I paid for the basic membership and recommend it to anyone serious about learning Japanese. They do great work).

I was working in the Emergency Department at our county hospital for medical residency, and so I almost spoke Spanish exclusively at work. I also started watching the univision show “El Chapo” on netflix, which has a very similar feel to “narcos”, so I did a lot of Spanish.

Going forward I’m a bit torn, I love learning and progressing in Japanese, but I really want to get back to studying Mandarin. I’m not sure how I’m going to resolve it, but this month I’ll be very busy at work and likely won’t meet my goals anyway and won’t put in much time learning languages. We’ll see.

June hours:

Japanese: 10 hours, 40 minutes

Spanish: 10 hours, 35 minutes

Italian: 2 hours, 10 minutes

German: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Russian: 1 hour, 0 minutes

Chinese: 1 hour, 0 minutes

French: 35 minutes

Portuguese: 35 minutes

Czech: 30 minutes

Running 2017 total:

Japanese: 76 hours, 15 minutes

Russian: 30 hours, 10 minutes

Spanish: 27 hours, 40 minutes

Italian: 17 hours 5 minutes

German: 12 hours, 20 minutes

Mandarin: 7 hours, 10 minutes

French: 6 hours, 45 minutes

Portuguese: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Other: 1 hour, 30 minutes

May hours

Japanese: 11 hours, 40 minutes

Russian: 5 hours, 35 minutes

Italian: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Spanish: 3 hours, 0 minutes

Portuguese: 1 hour, 5 minutes

French: 1 hour, 0 minutes

Chinese: 35 minutes

German: 15 minutes

running 2017 hours:

Japanese: 65 hours, 35 minutes

Russian: 29 hours, 10 minutes

Spanish: 17 hours, 5 minutes

Italian: 14 hours 55 minutes

German: 10 hours, 15 minutes

Mandarin: 6 hours, 10 minutes

French: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Portuguese: 4 hours, 55 minutes

Other: 1 hour, 0 minutes

April language log

I had an amazing trip to Japan: visited Tokyo the cleanest city in the world, and with the fewest trash cans! Ate way too much fish, shopped, enjoyed the beautiful cherry blossoms, visited Kyoto and Nara, stayed in an old Ryokan (traditional Japanese hotel), and spoke Japanese! I actually could communicate all basic needs in Japanese (albeit very imperfectly). I was able to check into hotels, get food, directions, get train passes etc all in Japanese, so that was a major win for me. I had a lot of fun, and hope that someday in the future I’ll be able to go back. So I’m not quitting Japanese, but will continue studying it!

As for other languages, I watched some movies and used my spare time to occasionally read or do other various activities. I also did another online tutoring session in Russian to continue to practice speaking Russian.

I also dabbled in some Esperanto for fun to get the jist of the language, but I don’t plan on learning it.

April Hours:

Japanese: 19 hours, 25 minutes

German: 5 hours, 0 minutes

Italian: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Russian: 3 hours, 25 minutes

French: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Spanish: 3 hours, 5 minutes

Chinese: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Esperanto: 1 hour, 0 minutes

Portuguese: 50 minutes

running 2017 hours:

Japanese: 53 hours, 55 minutes

Russian: 23 hours, 35 minutes

Spanish: 14 hours, 5 minutes

Italian: 11 hours 45 minutes

German: 10 hours, 0 minutes

Mandarin: 5 hours, 35 minutes

French: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Portuguese: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Other: 1 hour, 0 minutes