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Is it just me or is journaling of all kinds catching on like wildfire? Literally, there’s everything from gratitude journals and prayer journals to language journals, anime journals, sales journals, goal journals, study journals, and the classic bullet journal.
Language journals, defined by Fluentu as “a space to express your anxieties, thoughts and insights as you’re learning,” are popping up like crazy.
Getting started one yourself can be quite a challenge though.
There’s always the questions like “how do you journal in a foreign language” (*spoiler* you don’t have to) and “how do your organize a language notebook” (Check out 10 effective ways to organize your language journal) that keep people from starting altogether.
However, language journals can be tons of fun. They’re ways for you to track, plan, and record your language learning process.
They’re entirely personal to you. And they’ll be a nice keepsake for years to come. Particularly when you’re fluent and reminiscing on toddler-level you (Speak it into existence, am I right?)
First step to starting a language journal like a pro? Garner inspiration from the pros.
I dug down to the deep ends of the language learning social media communities so you wouldn’t have to. After much frustration and debating, I rounded out the top ten language journal ideas I found.
Journal ideas that I felt would be effective and customizable to all languages. So be sure to bookmark or pin this article for when you’re in need of some language journal inspiration.
This language journal spread is pretty self explanatory and oh so useful for the savvy language learner. I don’t know about you but this is one of the most organized, complex, and in-depth spreads I’ve ever seen. Not only is there an organization system for all the languages you’re learning, but there are 10 different color codes for the aspects of language learning.
Most language learners categorize language study time as: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Not this learner.
This is a journal spread for learners who understand just how different language activities are and the importance of incorporating all of them.
The ten language tasks included in this spread:
- Adding vocabulary
- Studying vocabulary
- Watching videos/series
- Listening to a podcast/radio
Just consider those tasks the 10 pillars of language learning. If you have colored pencils or at least 10 markers that don’t bleed, then this is the perfect spread for you.
My top picks:
This is the Duolingo Tracker I created for my skillshare course on how to create a language journal! Even though I personally don’t use Duolingo anymore, I know that it’s the language app obsession among beginners.
This Duolingo tracker is completely customizable and easy to make because it’s meant to be modified for the language you’re learning.
All you have to do is look at the topics on your Duolingo course and create a rectangle to represent each one. The levels are indicated by dashines lines that divide the rectangle.
I can try to explain it all I want, but the photo does a much better job showing what to do. It’s pretty simple to copy so good luck!
This language journal idea is simple yet powerful. The setup is so neat and organized that just about anyone could totally nail this layout.
There are three columns: word, definition/translation, number. Number is totally optional, but a useful detail for those wanting to count and keep up with how much new vocab they’ve learned.
Be sure to use a ruler for this spread to make everything is aligned and tidy. Note the use a bit of color to liven up the page!
This language journal idea is perfect for language learners trying to quickly build up a vocabulary ‘bank’.
Think about it: If you fill out this spread for a fully 365-day year, you’re looking at 3,650 new words. Done on a consistent, daily basis, gathering all those new words won’t even fill like an overly time-consuming task.
According to Optilingo, people who know 1,000 to 3,000 words in a language can carry on everyday conversations. Knowing 4,000 to 10,000 words makes people advanced language users.
So… by the end of the user, you’ll be in that gray area between an everyday converser and an advanced language user. That’s pretty impressive (as long as you’re willing to ignore the marketing lies about “learning a language in 6 months.”)
What you’ll notice about this language journal spread is that the writer goes more in-depth than just writing the word alone. You have to write a sentence containing the word.
Context is so important for grasping both grammar and vocabulary. Being sure to incorporate it in the notes you take is essential to actually learning the language.
Knowing a bunch of words is useless if you don’t know how to put them together.
Preposition doodles have got to be the best way to learn prepositions.
Personally, I always find prepositions to be slightly challenging so doodles are an easy way to enjoy the learning process.
Of course, you don’t have to a full-blown artist drawing expert raccoons like pictured, but you sure can find a fun, creative way to visualize prepositions.
This language journal spread is especially great for visual learners (A.K.A myself). So definitely try it out if you are one.
Goal setters are goal getters, am I right? This language journal idea actually holds you accountable of accomplishing all those language goals you have.
Personally, I like the fact that the dates listed are “date created” and “date achieved” more so than if one was “date planned to achieve.” Tracking your progress in this way makes the learning process more intuitive and less rushed.
You can use this log to determine how long it took for you to reach a certain mini goal and then use that time as a comparison point for future similar mini goals.
For example, if it took you a month to add 200 words to your flashcard deck, then it’d be realistic to expect to add 600 words in 3 months.
Regardless of how you plan to use the times, setting mini goals are great for scaling your language progress.
They’re motivational and a great thing to include in your language journal.
If you’ve read my article on 10 reasons you NEED to include mind maps in your language journal, then you already know how passionate I am about them.
I love this language journal spread because it’s draws connections between vocabulary in a creative, simple way.
All you have to do is start with a topic and branch out (literally) from there. Topic followed by word followed by example sentences equals an efficient word map.
Although this language journal spread differs by language, the general layout can be the same.
Color coding conjugations and different tenses is a more fun and visually appealing way to learn them.
You’ll actually want to refer to your notes later… which is always a win in my books.
Use this page for affirmatives and negatives, conjugations, words you’re having trouble with distinguishing between, and whatever other vocabulary words.
Simple yet gorgeous. I’m a sucker for a feminine journal spread and this language journal idea captures the beauty of the learning process.
With a highlighter or mildliner, you can easily create dividers between each topic. Then write your native language words in black and their foreign translations in another color.
That’s what I call an efficient use of color coding. Color coding is hardly useful if implemented for aesthetics alone, but when used for visual organization, it’s one of the most useful practices out there. (Check out 5 efficient ways to color code your language journal!)
The few simple doodles don’t overcrowd the layout and they surely don’t draw attention away from the written content. They just a nice flair that make the spread attractive and appealing to study.
Also, notice the use of white space to prevent a mentally exhausting page. There are blank lines both before and after each topic name. While not necessary, that sure does help make a more study-friendly page.
This language journal idea is a bit different from the others, but a well welcomed change.
Myself and plenty of language learners allow our language journals to double as a planner. In the spread pictured, you’ll notice that the journalist’s daily to-do list focuses solely on language learning.
For the more devoted language learners, this a great spread to hold you accountable in reaching all those little tasks you set for yourself on a dialy basis.
Especially when you have as many daily language tasks as the learner who shared this spread does, writing them all down is borderline essential.
It’s a simple way to organize your journal without doing anything fancy. You can opt for a pre-made planner like the one pictured or create your own bullet journal. (Check out the SMART way to bullet journal for language learning!)
Tackle your language tasks one day at a time and you’ll be well on your way to fluency.
But wait, there’s more
It wouldn’t be fair of me to let you leave without sharing my favorite language learning program with you. I’m all about D.I.Y remote language learning, and Pimsleur captures that mission better than any other program I’ve used. And I’ve used alot.
As promised, this review is 100% honest. Pimsleur isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely one of the more effective language learning programs out there.
At least for Spanish and other popular languages. Can’t make any promises on their programs for lesser learned languages, though they do offer courses for 51 languages.
Their French course goes as in depth as their Latin American Spanish one, but be warned that the CD prices are higher.
That’s all I have to say about Pimsleur for the time being, but I’ll be posting a full review when I finish the course for good!
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Keep learning languages my friend! And I look forward to seeing you again real soon.