Filipino, French, Hungarian, Japanese

90-day language challenge times three!

Posted by Cat Ramos

Whew! July flew by so fast and tomorrow is August 1st. Excuse the lack of updates as things have been so crazy this month. One, I moved to a new house. Yay! I am a homeowner! Two, I started teaching again. Three, things have been pretty busy at the office, but nothing the team can’t handle (I hope). Here is another language-related update. I found that this is one part of my crazy busy life that I’ve been very consistent about. At least, with French πŸ™‚


No major updates. The lessons have been on and off because of things. But I am making more decks for my boss. After my discovery of Forvo and Audacity, I’ve been on a deck-making spree on all the languages I am learning (or teaching). Vernon says it helps to regularly hear things so he gets used to the pronunciation and the normal speed of speaking. So I am now making decks for all the useful expressions and important vocabulary in each chapter of the book. We are using Book 1 of “Salitang Pinoy” by Thelma Cleto-Salumbides. I like this book because it teaches conversational, daily Filipino and did away with the “Ako ay masaya”, “Ako ay mag-aaral” kind of shit we had to learn in grade school. I mean, who uses them now, anyway. I certainly cannot imagine my boss speaking in this way. People will laugh at him and tell him he is so old-fashioned. I love it when he tries to speak in Tagalog to random people like baristas and when they compliment him on his Tagalog (Sir, ang galing mo mag-Tagalog), he would always say “Hindi naman…medyo lang”. That “medyo lang” bit, I decided to teach him so it would inject humour into his replies and people would be more comfortable talking to him the next time they see him. πŸ™‚

Here are some of the finished decks for Filipino, the last 2 have audio files that I manually split using Audacity.
Here are some of the finished decks for Filipino, the last 2 have audio files that I manually split using Audacity.


I am now back in the classroom! I started teaching an Elementary 1 level class this month. I teach only during Saturday afternoons, which leaves my mornings free for whatever crazy stuff I want my students to do in class. Kidding. πŸ™‚ It is a VERY BIG class, 17 people in all. Usually, a class is limited to around 12 students only. But I guess the admin staff didn’t want to open another class (and pay me again, haha) so they squeezed everyone into one class. Poor me πŸ˜€ I have one Russian student, and a Filipino student who is not comfortable in Tagalog so this means I have to speak in English for the most part — and Japanese, of course. Pano naman ang inipon kong mga joke, di ba? πŸ˜€

It is fun being back. I realized how much I missed this. I see my co-teachers in their classrooms — they sit at the teacher’s desk while teaching. I can’t get myself to do that. I want to stand up and walk around so I could see everyone. It also makes it easier for my students to ask me questions if I go around, because I noticed that not all of them will raise a hand if they want to ask something. Shyness, perhaps?

In the past meeting, I introduced Brainscape to my class and made them practice basic greetings using the app. Of course, I used Forvo mp3 files again πŸ™‚ I plan to make a deck for every chapter of the book so my students can practice at home (instead of wasting precious time on Facebook). This will help them get used to reading Kana and listening to native speakers. I remember when I was still studying, listening has always been my Achilles heel. I would get perfect scores in grammar, reading and vocabulary tests but will always mess up during the listening exam. If only I had Brainscape and Forvo then…;) Next meeting, we start with Katakana and after that, more exercises to help them read Kana faster.

For my own studies, I have no progress to speak of. I have not added a lot of cards in my Business Japanese deck. I don’t know how I am going to fit Japanese in, when I want to fast track French and Hungarian. But I will come up with something.


So! I think I have found a workable plan for materials. Ta-da~
Presenting, my draft battle plan! OK, so I listened to the Pimsleur program, as I wrote in my previous post and I realized I needed that amount of repetition and that level of attention to pronunciation in order to be more confident at the beginning. Then, according to Amazon reviews, the Teach Yourself book is a little below the level of Colloquial Hungarian, which I was studying before. Assimil comes last but I can insert a lesson or two once I have progressed a bit with Teach Yourself and Colloquial. I also got a Lonely Planet phrasebook just for the heck of it — I was excited to find something Hungarian at Fully Booked BGC so I had to buy it before someone else does πŸ˜› I also plan to watch 2-3 videos of Hungarian cartoons every week. Stuff like Pumuklis and Dr. Bubo come with subtitles. I may or may not understand what is happening but these will help me with pronunciation and listening. Vocabs…I hope.
hungarian materials


Making great progress so far! The futur simple tense was a bit of a speed bump in an otherwise smooth road. Not too worried, though. I mean, I never expected that I would learn about the future tense in the 8th hour of a basic Michel Thomas course. That is certainly more advanced than anything I learned from my 2 24-hour modules at AF. Now I am working through the review CDs before I go into the Advanced program.

french progress 27 july

Today, I also purchased a voucher for a 6-month LingQ premium membership via Beeconomic. This enables me to use all the funky features of the site. Admittedly, I am still at a lost with using the program. I just find a lesson to read and listen to and then add words to my vocab bank. I don’t always create “LingQs” (links), although Steve stresses that this step is important.

Also at LingQ, Steve has reopened the 90-day language challenge! Yay! I joined for French and Japanese. They didn’t have Hungarian in the list of languages, but I can just make my own challenge.

Here are the details:

Make a Breakthrough!
Have you been stuck at the same level of German for too long? Have you always wanted to learn Spanish?

We know many people want to learn languages but lose momentum along the way. That’s why we started our 90-Day Challenge! Just meet your targets on LingQ for 90 days and you will make a breakthrough. Interact with other challenge participants to keep each other motivated and make it more fun! Together we will take our languages to the next level!

How it Works
Click here to register for the challenge.
Meet the targets in your Progress Snapshot for the 90-day period from the date you sign up in the challenge.

After 90 days, if you have met your targets, you will have achieved a major step forward in your language! On top of that, you will receive a special artifact for your avatar which you can show off to all your friends!
Share your commitment with your friends and social network (#LingQ #90daychallenge on Twitter). Share your progress and interact with other challenge participants on the 90-Day Challenge page or LingQ Facebook page.

There is no set of instructions on how to go about this challenge. From what I have read, you have to devote about an hour or so per day for the language you are studying. Do anything. Study a book. Read on LingQ. Memorize using flashcards. Listen to audio. Anything to help you move forward in your target language.

My plan is to spend only 30 minutes each on French, Hungarian and Japanese. Only? I don’t always have the luxury of 3 free hours so I have to make do with half hour. Also, the Japanese part would be the easiest as this challenge is mainly just increasing business vocabulary using Kanji I already studied, and reviewing 1-2 grammar points from N1 and N2 materials (Kanzen Master, Dictionary of Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar).

For Hungarian, I will work first on Pimsleur and each audio lesson is around 30 minutes so I got it covered for about a month πŸ˜€

For French, I want to do vocabs daily and also try to finish all the Michel Thomas files before the end of August. Then back to my beloved Assimil after that. LingQ is something I do at work, during a bit of downtime. I do only one reading each time and not everyday. Only when it is not so busy in the office.

3 languages, 3 months. Challenge accepted! πŸ˜€

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