Ok, so we like S.M.A.R.T goals (check our previous article). Remember when we said to be specific? Well, often we say ‘I want to become fluent in XYZ language”. But we don’t think about the unique circumstances that make language different. Here’s just three things that make languages tricky:
1. Regional accents – You can be fluent in American English but very confused when meeting Scottish people
2. The topic challenge – You might be able to talk fluently about the news and current affairs in foreign language but not equipped at school to take on the subject of how to bake an apple pie
3. Practice makes Perfect – Fluency means taking time, dedication and keeping the language in practice. Depending on your amount of spare time, becoming fluent in a language by the end of the year might not be possible
Given these challenges, is there another way of thinking of language beyond being ‘fluent’ or ‘not fluent’?
At busuu, we have levels that we teach (CEFR: A1, A2, B1, B2 ,etc.). These terms are jargon to most people. No one wakes up one morning and says, ‘I want to learn A2 German…’. However, there is a way of making these levels relevant to day-to-day life.
If you’re about to begin your language learning adventure, set specific milestones that echo your daily life.
The road to fluency is exciting but you are putting the odds against yourself if you don’t celebrate smaller milestones along the way. Achievements come in all sizes. The ability to tell a story, or even flirt, in a foreign language should be celebrated!
Here’s some reasons we think you should define language goals in terms of day-to-day life and not just ‘fluent’ or ‘A1’:
1. Everyday approach
You’ll see how the language applies to your everyday life, making you more likely to stick to it! For example, your goal might be to deliver a work presentation in English and answer related questions (which may also help you get promoted. Yay!)
2. It’s easier to measure
You can see if you’ve achieved your daily life goal. Did you managed to deliver that presentation? Bonus points: Did you slip in a joke or a cat meme?
3. It helps you focus and prioritise
With a practical goal in mind you’ll find it easier to prioritise. If you’re building your vocabulary for business talk, you’ll start learning words like ‘investment’ before words like ’spinach’. Unless you’re working for a spinach investment company.
So think of your goals in terms of the real-life situations you want to master in a foreign language. Forget this vague notion of fluency. You’ll get there! As you learn with busuu Premium you can also obtain a McGraw-Hill certificate for each level named above. Good luck in your language learning journey – so far! There’s many more milestones to come.
The busuu team!