Language Learning Journals: Novice-level Prompts


Language Learning Journals: Novice-level Prompts

Start with The 5-Week Linguist Audio Training. This audio training will show you how long it will take to reach your language goals and where to focus your time and efforts. 

Get your tools ready:

  1. My iphone with the following apps: 

Voice Memos, but any that records will do.

Google Translate


Google Docs


2. My Macbook:

Vocaroo, Again, any recording device you like will do.

Time Tracker to keep track of the time I am investing in my fluency work. 

3. Notebook or Journal. I love these, but any that is portable works.

4. Language Learning Journals: Novice-level Prompts

Use the tasks to test and build your fluency. Tasks are the successful learner and teacher’s secret weapon. A task is a specific communicative function. For example, a task might be as simple as greeting someone. It can be much more complicated, like explaining your political views in great detail. Tasks shift the focus of language learning to what you CAN do, and not on what you CAN’T do. They keep all of your learning goals firmly focused on communication. Tasks keep every bit of vocabulary and grammar learned on context. And the best part? Each task you learn and master spills over into others. For example, learning how to make polite requests at a restaurant transfers over into making polite requests at hotels, at the doctor’s or at a store. Each word you learn can be useful in multiple contexts. Learn enough tasks and you will be able to express whatever you wish in your target language.

Assessment and learning. These topics are inextricably intertwined. As you work through this book, use the tasks to gauge where you are and where you would like to go. The test of the mastery of a set is to be able to easily move through a list. Are you stuck, trying to think of the words to express something on the list? That gives you the opportunity to go find what you need to complete the task, practice, and ultimately master it.

Use for speaking or writing, or mix it up. Writing is the last skill we master in languages. With that said, you can use that skill you already have in your own language to learn a new one. I love to journal to learn new languages. Short periods of time work well. Choose a topic, set a timer, and write. When assessing, I don’t allow myself dictionaries or translator apps. This shows me where my gaps are. When using to actively learn a task, I allow myself whatever tools I need.

Talking to yourself is a great way to build fluency. I love to use the recording apps I listed. The recordings are a great way to hear your progress. I share mine each five weeks on my blog. You will hear mistakes and awkward pauses. It is strange to talk to yourself at first! However, it works. You will be blown away the progress you hear by talking to yourself and recording it regularly.

One of the tools I mentioned was FaceTime.  You can use this to speak to native speakers on italki. Many of the tutors also use apps like Skype and Google Hangouts. Get a tutor in your target language and make amazing progress fast. Check out their referral program. We’ll both get ten dollars in credits.

Ready to get started? Start with these language learning journal prompts for novice- learners, and move through the tasks. When they start challenging you, get into learning mode. Learn, practice, and then go through that set until they become easy. Keep going until you get to the end.

This set of language learning journal prompts for novice learners is designed to get you started in any language, or review. They are for absolute beginners. Use these to build your notebooks or recorded practice to guide your fluency practice. 

Language Learning Journal Prompts for Novice-level Learners-Day 1

Name the countries where the target language is spoken.

Name the capitals of the countries where the target language is spoken.

Greet people in the morning.

Greet someone in the afternoon.

Greet someone in the evening.

Ask someone what his/her name is. Say what your name is.

Say the word for you formal.

Say the word for you informal.

Ask someone how they are (formal).

Ask someone how they are (informal).

Introduce someone to someone else.

Say how you are.

Take leave.

Tell someone you are pleased to meet them.

Have a conversation in which you meet someone for the first time.

Say basic classroom commands.

Count to ten.

Count to twenty.

Say your phone number.

Say at least five body parts.

Say the names for at least five things you use at school.

Ask how something is said in the target language.

Say the alphabet or names for written symbols in the target language.

Language Learning Journals: Novice-level Prompts- Day 2

Spell your name in the target language.

Spell the names of your family members.

Say the days of the week.

Say the months of the year.

Ask what day it is.

Ask what the date is.

Say today and tomorrow.

Ask what the weather is like.

Say what the weather is like.

Say the seasons.

Say the verbs for basic activities.

Say what you like to ask.

Ask someone what they like to do.

Language Learning Journal Prompts for Novice-level Learners-Day 3

Say who you are.

Say what you don’t like.

Agree with what you like.

Agree with what you don’t like.

Describe your personality.

Say ‘the’.

Say the names of your classes.

Describe your classes.

Talk about your school classes.

Understand basic school systems in the target culture.

Say I.

Say you formal.

Say you informal.

Say things you do on a regular basis.

Say the names for at least ten items in your classroom.

Use basic prepositions to describe where things are located.

Say what your possessions are.

Ask what…?

Ask who and/or which…?

Ask when…?

Ask what something is…?

Ask what there is or there are…?

Ask how many…?

Ask where is…?

Ask from where…?

Ask why…?

Language Learning Journal Prompts for Novice-level Learners-Day 4

Say what you love.

Say basic foods.

Say the names of meals.

Say the names of basic drinks.

Say what other people do using the present tense.

Say basic physical exercises.

Express hunger.

Express thirst.

Express being tired.

Express fear.

Form basic questions.

Say the time.

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