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Greek Update One

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It’s about time for me to give an update on my plan to acquire basic Greek in 16 weeks. I’m currently in Week 10 and have six weeks to go before I leave on my trip. I set myself a pretty ambitious schedule, but I think this was the right move.I’veprobably made a lot more progress than if I had more relaxed goals.

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In my last post I set out several stages, and I should currently be in Stage Four. Based on the tasks in my plan, I’m about at the end of Stage Two, and thus about four weeks behind where I want to be (althoughI’vestarted a big food vocab list so some of Stage Three is underway). There are still more advanced Memrise courses that I’ve yet to start, andI’venot yet created my one page bio.

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What is working well

Memrise has allowed me to learn words and sentences verythoroughly. To help ensure I’m not just conditioning myself when prompted by the computer, I aim to use a couple of new words from Memrise with my Greek colleagues in the office. They’ve given me goodpraiseon my pronunciation, helping build my confidence to keep going. These conversations usually yield new slang for me to load into Memrise.**

I’ve found a partner through conversation exchange andI’vebeen meeting up with her once a week. We usually have a fairly open discussion and she writes down new words for me in a notebook, which I then load into Memrise. The best thing about this approach is we talk about topics I am interested in, and she gives me vocabulary that native speakers actually use.

I make sure that I load as many words into Memrise as possible from discussions I have with my conversation partner and colleagues. If you can continue to recall words they taught you a couple of weeks back, they become much more invested in your future success with the language. This is a very powerful way to leverage the time of native speakers.

What is not working well

I’ve got a couple of other projects going on outside work and so much of my time is taken up on these. Lack of time is the main reason I am behind on my plan. I amconsciousof making sure that time I spend is effective, andI’vebeen focusing on getting enough sleep to support this.

The other big problem I am having with is keeping my garden watered in Memrise (i.e. revising flashcards quickly enough). Frequently I have my word spellings correct, but use incorrect accents and thus increase flashcard frequency. I need to strike a balance between adding new words to my ‘garden’ and watering the existing plants.

Finally I need to be aware that soon I will need to start to apply Memrise to sentence construction. Vocabulary on its own is not useful if I can’t buildsentenceswith it.**

Next steps

Vocabulary is still an area that needs rapid expansion so I will now try to learn at least 40 new words every day on Memrise before starting any revision. This will help me complete the outstanding beginners Greek courses to get me past Stage Three on my plan.

I will also try to complete a one page bio during this week so I can draw Stage Three to a close by the end of this week.Then I’ll try to condense Stage Four into three weeks and I’ll be back on track. I’ll be meeting some Greek people over the weekend so a good reason to up the intensity this week!