Languages by the end of summer

My language goals this year are pretty exciting to me.

A few different things in my life might be happening around September, so I’ve decided to direct my language goals toward that moment. Rather than thinking about what I want to have accomplished by the end of 2023, it makes more sense practically for me to think about what I want to have accomplished by the end of summer 2023.

For German, Greek, and Latin, I want to be reading primary texts by then.

I think I’ll get there first with German, once I finish the graded reader I’m using. I’ll probably be reading German texts (with dictionary help) long before the end of summer. After lots of thought, I think what I want to spend time reading, at least at first, is some early Leo Strauss.

I should get there next with Latin. I think I should be able to finish my Latin book before the end of summer and make the switch. Once I do, I think I’ll either read Caesar or Cicero. My ambition is to read Cicero, but if it’s too ambitious to go directly there then I’ll start somewhere a bit easier.

I believe I should be able to finish my Greek textbook by the end of summer, but I feel less confident. As I’ve said before, it took me months longer to find a Greek resource that I liked than the other two languages took, so I’m quite a bit further behind. We’ll see how quickly I can make up the difference. Once I do finish, I think I want to read either Plato or Xenophon. I’d love to get good at reading Greek of Plato’s calibre — not the most difficult or elegant, but still something elevated. But if I can’t go straight there, then it might be better to go with someone like Xenophon first.

I’ve been putting a very little bit of time into French and Italian this past year, but I want to increase my efforts there. So far this year I’ve been putting more time into French and Italian every week. I want to keep that up in the next half a year. I don’t have a particular goal for how far along I want to be in those two languages by the end of summer, but I want to have stayed continuously engaged with them, so that by the end of summer I’ll be much better than I am now. The way I’ve thought about it for myself is to say that by the end of the summer, I want my French and Italian to be at a level where I could hypothetically improve them quickly to the point of being able to converse or read in them if I needed to.

Barring any big surprises this year, those are my language goals. I’m pretty excited about them.

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