Summer in Other Languages: How did you do?

Back in June, I decided to challenge myself to spend the whole month of July reading books in French to try to boost my language skills. I invited anyone who was interested in reading in another languages to join a challenge I called Summer in Other Languages. Now summer is coming to a close, so I wonder how it went for you?

If you had good intentions but failed to complete them, don’t feel bad. Believe me, I know how hard it is to stay motivated to make progress in a different language, especially if you’re not living in a country where you are forced to use it on a daily basis. It may seem as though your love of reading would easily transfer over into that other form, but actually it’s hard work and can take all the fun out of your beloved hobby.

If you did succeed, I’d love to hear about it! I was very pleased with how my challenge went; I only completed three books in July but I have continued to read almost daily and I can see how I’ve progressed since last year, which is encouraging. I now have an online French book club to help keep me motivated, thanks to Emma of Words and Peace. (She’s inviting others to join, if anyone is interested.)

Even if I’m the only one, I think I’m going to make this a yearly challenge for myself. Next year: German? I’ll give more notice this time, in case anyone else wants to join.

A spontaneous challenge: Summer in Other Languages

As part of my personal language learning goals, I’ve decided to challenge myself to read only French for my pleasure reading in the month of July. I’m pleased the lovely Emma of Words and Peace has agreed to join me for a buddy read of Complètement cramé by the popular contemporary novelist Gilles Legardinier. Paris in July, hosted by Thyme for Tea, is an annual celebration of all things French, so I’m going to join in that for some inspiration and companionship as well.

Some other books I have on hand to choose from:

  • Toucher la vie by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Ta deuxième vie commence quand tu comprends que tu n’en as qu’une by Raphaëlle Giordano
  • Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • L’étranger by Albert Camus
  • Les plus belles contes de Suisse by Edith Montelle
  • Le chien jaune by Georges Simenon
  • Candide by Voltaire

I’m sure I won’t get to all of these, but to complete even one or two within a month would be an accomplishment for me. I shall also be trying to read more articles, blog posts and such, in an effort to boost my compréhension du français.

It occurred to me that perhaps you’d also like to challenge yourself to something else in a language other than your mother tongue, and reflect on the experience. That could of course be English — I know there are a lot of you amazing multilingual bloggers out there — or it could be a language you’re currently learning or learned in the past. It would be wonderful to hear from a variety of perspectives, and to celebrate many linguistic streams. Vive la différence!

So here is an invitation to read something in another language this summer, and if you wish, challenge yourself to meet one of the following goals:

Level 1: Tourist
Read one book in a language other than your mother tongue.

Level 2: Long-term visitor
Spend an entire month reading books in another language (total of two or more).

Level 3: Immersion
Spend the whole summer reading books in another language.

Does this challenge appeal to you at all? What would you read, and in what language? What level would you aim for? I hope you’ll share your plans with us, and let us know how you did at the end of the summer. I’ll be checking in to see how it’s going and to share my own progress.