Week 7: Conjugating verbs and organising your first conversation…

Welcome to Week 7 of the Kick Start Languages 10 Week Course! This blog accompanies my Week 7 YouTube video which was released yesterday so if you haven't seen that yet check it out here:

As always, I want to start this blog by congratulating you on reaching this point in the course. If you're still reading it is highly, highly likely that you are now going to finish the course and reach your goal of having conversations in the language you are learning without referring back to English. This is utterly immense. Well done! The end is now in sight! Keep it up!

This week, as I explained in the video, it is up to you in which exact direction you take your learning in a couple of key respects. Firstly, as I've said one of the most important things for you to do this week is really think about how you are going to go about having that all important first conversation in the language you are learning and whether you want to have that conversation next week or the week after. You also get to choose whether you want that conversation to be face to face or via Skype etc. It doesn't really matter which you go for but it does really matter that you really think about the specific details of how you are going to have that conversation this week. In particular, you need to think about who this conversation is going to be with. Do you already know the person you are going to be speaking to? If so, great! Get in touch and set up a chat either next week or the week after. If you don't know anybody use this week to really research your options online or locally and, again, set up a chat. This is so, so important because there is little point in starting a course where you're aiming to become conversational in a language if you won't ever have a conversation in that language! I know it is 'nerve-wracking' but it won't get any less so from putting it off and remember that from you bodies point of view nerves and excitement 'feel' identical so just tell your mind you're excited and you'll be fine! Seize the day my friends! Get your chat booked in and commit to it with massive resolve. This first conversation doesn't have to be anywhere near perfect and it doesn't even have to be 'totally' in the language you're learning because it will either be in Week 8 or Week 9 and you're not supposed to have that 'full' conversation until Week 10. However, if you don't commit to getting a date in your diary it is all too easy to fall into 'perfection paralysis' and to avoid the conversation altogether. You're never going to 'feel' ready to do this. So just get it booked in!

The second way in which you have some personalised flexibility this week is the approach you take to learning verb endings. As I said in the video I would like most of you to focus on learning the rules on how to conjugate the regular verbs in the languages you are learning but if this seems like too much of a mission then you just need to pick 10 or so verbs and focus on learning how to conjugate them. In reality, if you do this properly, you will probably see enough patterns in 10 regular verbs to learn the rules for most verbs from doing learning in this way anyway! To be clear 'to conjugate' a verb is the process of putting the right personal pronoun (I, you, he, she, it, they etc) with the right ending (eg in English 'I am' not 'I are' and 'I play' not 'I plays' and 'I have' not 'I has'). Learning how to conjugate a range of verbs that you regularly use is going to be crucial to being understood in those all important first conversations but don't worry too much if this becomes a 'background mission' for the rest of the course. It's fine to take your time over this. It's all about continuing to build that set of personalised content that is going to be so important to you. As I've said consistently for the last couple of weeks you don't need to know words on every topic under the sun to have a great conversation so keep working on learning that personal content you will need in your every day conversations. If you're still not sure on the cognates side of things carry on learning about them because they really are the key to gaining thousands of new words in many of the languages you are learning. As most of you know by now I have a video on cognates which is well worth watching on this front. Jonno's blog from December is also a great read if you want to understand cognates in more detail.

In addition to all of this conscious learning don't forget to keep plugging away with the unconscious learning through YouTube videos like the Easy Languages series and through learning songs in the language you're learning. Also, don't forget if you want to start reading in the language you are learning check out the Kindle Unlimited free 30 day trial: https://amzn.to/2W75awe (Remember it's £7.99 a month thereafter but you can cancel anytime and if you do so within the 30 days it is totally free)

Catch you next time and let me know in the comments below how you're getting on in this seventh week of language learning! The dream is fast becoming a reality my friends! Let's smash it!

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