How I Shall Tackle a 15min Vietnamese Conversation in 90 Days

I have decided on my next goal: I want to be able to have a 15 minutes conversation in Vietnamese in roughly 90 days from now. Right now I know zero Vietnamese: not even the pronunciation, not even “hello”. However, I have experience succeeding in language challenges. This is my action plan:

  1. Sign up for the Add1Challenge, which I have successfully used to achieve the same goal in Hebrew in 2015.
  2. Familiarize myself with the basics of Vietnamese pronunciation. As Vietnamese pronunciation is very difficult for Westerners (it’s a tonal language and has unusual sounds), I will also keep working on my pronunciation throughout the challenge, and ensure that all my materials include audio.
  3. Study Assimil’s “Le Vietnamien de Poche” as a quick introduction to the grammar and useful phrases.
  4. I haven’t yet studied a language with Glossika, but I will try it this time, since 15 days of Glossika are included in the price of the Add1Challenge. Afterwards I will decide whether to continue with Glossika or one of my more typical choices (Teach Yourself or Colloquial).
  5. Start using Vietnamese every time I eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. At the beginning I might just use the greetings and “I would like “, from there I will graduate to being able to understand numbers (for paying) and being able to have a bit of small talk. Schedule a restaurant visit for day 3 and regularly from then on. (Oh the hardship of learning a language… must have more Vietnamese food, oh no!)
  6. Within one week of the start, I will start taking italki lessons. I will aim to overlearn one conversational topic per lesson in order to quickly develop a number of topics I can have conversations on. All topics must be things I find interesting and practical for my current situation (e. g. talking about language-learning rather than practicing booking a hotel room).
  7. Use Anki in order to retain the vocabulary I gain from the lessons, since vocabulary retention tends to be a problem for non-European languages. I will use chunking and flashcards enhanced with sentences and audio in order to make the most of this software. I will resolutely refuse to learn all words that are too advanced to be useful for my Day 90 conversation. A key factor in success is knowing what to chop.

Wish me luck!

My introductory video for this challenge:

Feel free to adapt the above plan for your own Add1Challenge!