[Easy English Blog]Goal setting

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I have set some language learning goals. I study better when I have a goal. There are so many languages I want to learn. However, I want to reach a high level in each language, so I need to focus.

These are my goals:

2020: Pass levels 3 and 4 on the Chinese HSK test, and the Korean TOPIK elementary level.

2021: Pass level 5 on the Chinese HSK test, and the Korean TOPIK intermediate level

2022: Pass level 6 on the Chinese HSK test, and the Korean TOPIK advanced level

2023 – 2024 Pass levels 3,2,1 on the French test (仏検)

I want to learn many other languages, so I think I will learn the basics of a few on Duolingo in my spare time. Russian and Arabic look interesting.

Having goals really helps me to focus. How about you?

Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Finding more study time

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I love studying languages, so I am trying to find more time to study. I want to study every day. I also want to exercise every day. So, I decided to combine the two, and exercise and study at the same time.

I have an exercise bike in my house. This is an indoor bike. (It is not the bike in the photo!) I try to use it for 30 minutes every day. While I am on the exercise bike, I read one of my textbooks. I learn new words or grammar. While I am studying, the time seems to pass really quickly.

I tried studying when I go running. I tried to listen to the audio for my textbooks instead of listening to music, but this didn’t work. I need music when I run. I am learning Chinese, so I should look for some Chinese music to listen to while I run.

There are many times in the day when I can study while doing something else. When I clean, I listen to the audio of my textbook or listening practice on YouTube. When I drive, I listen to the audio of my vocabulary book.

There is always more time to study. Studying and exercising together is a good combination for me. I feel healthy and I learn some new things!

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]TikTok

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We joined TikTok a few weeks ago. Do you know it? It is a video sharing app. People post short (usually 15 second) videos with music.

I wondered what kind of videos to post. I decided to post videos of the area of Japan where I live. It is in the countryside, and not many people get to visit it. So, I thought people would enjoy watching these videos. Also, I spend a lot of time in my office. Taking videos gives me a reason to go out more, especially to the scenic spots in my city.

Taking the video is easy. The difficult part is choosing the music. There are so many songs to choose from. For the first few videos I made, I chose classical music and local Japanese folk music. The most famous folk music in this area is called Yasugi Bushi. I like this folk music. I found it on TikTok and used it in some of my videos.

If you are on TikTok, please take a look! Our ID is italkyoutalkpress.

I plan to upload some videos of the autumn scenery in this beautiful area of Japan.

by Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Running again

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Over summer, it was too hot to go running outside, so I went to the gym instead. I like the gym because I can use the weights, machines and other equipment after using the treadmill. However, we are only allowed to use the treadmills for 30 minutes at a time. I like to run for an hour or more.

Now that it is getting cooler, I’m going to start running outside again. I am also going to continue going to the gym. I think weight training is important, and it is also fun. The gym also has a rowing machine. Not many people use it, so it is usually free when I go.

The gym is good, but I still think running outside is better. I like the breeze and the fresh air, and I like being outside. I also like running long distances. I usually run 10km, but this autumn, I want to run 15km or 20km. Eventually, I’d like to run a half marathon, and then maybe a full marathon, but I’ll have to train harder for that!

I belong to a running club. Many members continued running through the summer. They ran early in the morning or late at night. I work early in the morning and at night, so my time to exercise is the afternoon – the hottest part of the day. I haven’t run outside for three months. It’s time to start again.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Keeping a diary

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I decided to keep a diary in Chinese. When I study Chinese, I read, listen and speak it, but I rarely write it. Writing is important. On the HSK test, there are some writing questions, so I need to be able to write.

Also, writing is output. I need more output. I practice speaking with my teacher once a week, but this is not enough. I need to practice more. When I have my Chinese lesson, I ask my teacher to correct my mistakes, and then we talk about the content of my diary.

When I write in my diary, I use the grammar patterns I have studied. I try to use the vocabulary I have studied too. This helps me to remember words and phrases.

I don’t write in my diary every day. I usually write once or twice a week. I want to write more though. I will try to schedule more time into my days to write.

By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press

[Easy English Blog]Reading

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Every year, I read about twenty-four books. That is two a month, on average. I want to read more, but I have many things to do. This year, my plan was to read one English book, then one Japanese book, then one English book, then one Japanese book, and so on. This hasn’t happened. So far, I have read seventeen English books and only three Japanese books.

I think one reason is that I have an English Kindle. It is so easy to buy English books. I just click a button, and I have the book. I don’t have a Japanese kindle, so if I want to buy a book, I have to go to the bookstore or wait for the books to arrive by post. Now I’m thinking of getting a Japanese kindle. Maybe that will help me to read more Japanese books.

Another reason is that I read Japanese all day when I work. I translate from Japanese to English, so at night, when I am tired, I want to read something easy and light. And I want to read in English. Reading in English is important. I translate into English, so I have to keep my English writing level high. To do this, I need to read, write and use English.

I enjoy reading in both languages, but I think I should try to read more Japanese books next year. Actually, I should try to read more English books too.


By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press


[Easy English Blog]Scheduling study time

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I am busy at work every day, and sometimes it seems like I have no time to study. I want to pass level 3 on the HSK Chinese test early next year, so I must study.

Every evening, I write a “to-do list” for the next day. I write each task and also when I am going to do that task – am, pm, or night. I have started to add my study to my to-do list. So, I make study part of my working day.

At first, I felt bad about this. I thought, “I should be working, why am I using the time to study?” But now, I think, “Studying a language is an investment in myself.” Language learning is important because knowing another language opens new doors.

After I passed the highest level on the Japanese proficiency test, many doors opened. I hope this will happen when I pass the Chinese test. Of course, I don’t want to stop at level 3. I want to pass level 6, which is the highest grade. So, I have to study every day.

I had to change my way of thinking. Of course, studying languages is fun, and it is my hobby, but it is also work. Now, I don’t feel bad about putting it on my to-do list every day.


By Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press