It's mid-year, and even though I have only completed 5 months with Italian (I started this blog in February), is seems appropriate to consider this my half-way point.
So... how is my progress?
Today I want to give a general self-assessment and talk about what sticks out in my mind... how I "feel" about my progress so far. Tomorrow, we'll look at exactly where I'm at in relation to the goals I set at the beginning of the year.
For starters, I think I've thoroughly examined just about all the Italian grammar, over the course of dozens of posts. That is not to say that I have mastered it — I definitely continue to make mistakes about some things, and completely forget others — but I am familiar with it, I understand it, and I have it all well documented right here on my site, for easy reference when I need to revisit it. (Which turns out to be often!)
Regarding vocabulary, I was fortunate to have an unfair head-start with all the cognates from Spanish, but I think I've mostly exhausted that easy advantage now, and from here out I need to actually study vocabulary — something I must admit I haven't been doing very much of for these past 5 months. I need to know basic words for everyday conversation if I am to be fluent.
Moreover, I'm still struggling with recognizing and forming several conjugations. The basic tenses (present, future, simple past) which get used most often are mostly second nature now, but I'm thoroughly dissatisfied with myself when it comes to the subjunctive.
How to proceed from here
In short, I think I need to spend a lot more time using the Italian language. I need to spend more time reading, writing, listening, and talking in Italian. Reading and listening will help me to acquire new words and hear how certain words and phrases are used. Writing and speaking will help me to get my mind into the habit of forming Italian thoughts and sentences.
I'm going to make a point of writing more regularly at Lang-8, and writing longer content. Naturally, it's a careful balance, because people don't want to do dozens of corrections, so before writing longer content, I need to minimize the number of mistakes I'm making.
I'm also finding more blogs, web sites, and news sources in Italian, and ignoring those in other languages (especially English). I've already found a few interesting travel blogs written in Italian.
And finally, I'm going to have to put some serious effort into filling my Skype with Italian friends for chat and voice... preferably those who do not speak English, so they won't fall back to it when the time comes to slog through a tough explanation.
And one last note about progress reports. I haven't been posting frequent progress reports here (though I may start trying to do that more), but if you're ever curious about how I'm coming along, you can always peek in on my Lang-8 journal. You'll not only see how my language skills progress, but you'll also get a more of a glimpse into my personality, and the things going on in my life. :)
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