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How can you use a planner for language learning? And what even is a language planner??
Sounds intimidating if you ask me.
A language planner instantly conjures up this image of a notebook filled with calendars and to-do lists exclusively related to foreign language learning.
At any language learning level, but especially as a beginner with limited time– who really has time to set up language goals for months to come?
Chances are you want to devote as much time as possible to actually learning the language… not planning how you’re going to learn it.
And let’s be real– we’re all busy people. We shouldn’t have to ditch other things in our lives just to reach our language learning goals.
Meaning that if you’re a boss queen or productivity king, you probably already own a planner to organize that hectic life of yours. Just not for language tracking.
Luckily for you, it’s super easy to add your target foreign language to your daily/weekly planning endeavors. You don’t have to actually track your foreign language progress to include said foreign language in your planner.
So how can you use your planner for language learning?
Dates & Numbers in the foreign language
Kind of obvious. Kind of not.
The simplest way to get started including your target language in your planner is to translate dates.
All weekdays, months, and numbers can easily be written in the language without disrupting the planner’s flow.
As in, you’ll most likely be able to understand what date you wrote down even as a beginner.
Keep in mind Holiday names can also be translated if you’d like to include those dates in your planner as well.
Are you even doing your planner right if you use labels? I’m talking about ‘self-prescribed’ labels like:
That’s a pretty basic way to ingrain those words in your mind.
And remember– labels are a whole lot more fun if you color code them! (Check out 5 super-efficient ways to color-code your notes!)
If I’m being honest with you, my daily ‘quote’ typically takes the form of a scripture but I’d only ever suggest that for religious people with holy books in their target language.
I love quotes since they provide context, alongside a bit of higher-level communication.
It’s easy to get comfortable with the basics, but quotes force you to learn new words and how they fit together.
Write your to-do list in the foreign language
Of course, this isn’t as possible for beginners. But if you’re really dedicated to learning quickly, then find a quality translator and get to writing.
These can totally be ‘elementary-level’ tasks like “breakfast” or “sleep.” But ideally you’ll also use your list to learn new words.
Plus going that extra step never hurt anybody. So try writing “take a nap” instead of just “sleep” or “walk the dog at the park” instead of just walk.
Remember that comprehension of context goes a long way when learning a language.
Track your goals in your language planner
I know you have goals. You’re looking a bit too put together over there for you not to.
So as with anything you can write, translate them in your target language.
Goals generally represent the things we feel passionate about, and you’re always more likely to care about something you’re passionate about.
It should be easier to remember how to say “learn how to sing” if you really want to learn, then “finish homework by midnight.”
That’s just an example, but I think you get my point. Goals are memorable.
You’ve probably seen all those totes adorbs mood trackers on Instagram and Pinterest by hardcore bullet journalers.
But even if not, the concept is self-explanatory. You write down your mood daily. I’d definitely recommend adding in a visual element to your mood tracker, but don’t skip out on including text.
And don’t limit yourself to the most basic of emotions. Sure, you can say “happy,” but try to go a bit above and beyond.
- excited > happy
- sorrowful > sad
- annoyed > mad
- repulsed > disgusted (though disgusted is more advanced than the others!)
I think you get my point. A mood tracker is a totally fun, engaging way to learn new emotions in your target language.
There’s no better way to break a habit than tracking it. At least in my opinion, anyways.
So think of some of your bad habits– and translate them into your target language.
As you track the habits, you could write down the words for “success” or “fail” or possibly learn a few color names (like red, green, and yellow) and color code each day’s progress.
Since you’ll likely be using your habit tracker daily, those habits’ translations will be ingrained in your head.
As you quit certain habits, start rotating in new ones– including good habits you’d like to start, instead of of just ones you want to quit, you’ll be slowly learning the translations for all kinds of words.
It makes the language applicable to your life and motivates you to keep learning.
Meal tracking has slowly exploded in fame and is a very real part of many health conscious people’s lives.
Think about all the foods you eat in a week. You could gradually learn all those foods in your target language just by writing them down at the start of the week.
And of course, you’ll inevitably learn words like breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert.
You may even find meal tracking to be great with familiarizing yourself with a foreign time system.
Long story short — just track everything. Staying active is a pretty essential part of many people’s lives but unfortunately, it’s challenging to incorporate a foreign language into the movement.
Unless, of course, you listen to foreign music or are proficient enough to understand foreign workout videos (which is surprisingly challenging…)
Don’t just write down when you plan to workout, but how long, where, and what kind of exercise.
Cardio, strength training, pilates, yoga, swimming, and plenty of other workouts are pretty easily translated into most languages.
So give it a try– and hey, it may even help you get fit (or fitter).
If you’re anything like the average consumer, chances are you have an ongoing mental list of the things you’d like to buy sometime in the near-ish future.
From a blanket to pan to grill to a Pimsleur subscription, it can be hard keep up with those future purchases.
The solution? Write it down. The solution from a language learning perspective? Write it down in your target foreign language.
Again, you’ll need a reliable translation tool (see The RIGHT way to use Google Translate for language learning).
Eventually, you’ll be able to right down your whole shopping list in your target language without looking anything up.
Now, how cool will that be?
Don’t miss out
If you’re looking for some more language planner advice, head over to 10+ Creative Ideas for your language learning Journal.
Don’t hesitate to direct message me or comment on one of my posts! I’d love to get to know you beyond this blog.
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Keep learning languages my friend! And I look forward to seeing you again real soon.