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  • NEW LANGUAGE PROJECT: LEARNING HUNGARIAN

    Over the last couple months, I’ve been learning a language in secret. I recently revealed that language was Hungarian and now, I’m excited to share more details about this language project – the how, the what, and they why.

    But first, if you’re interested in following this project along, be sure to subscribe to the Drops blog! It’s where I’m sharing all my updates.

    Getting Started with the Hungarian Language

    Just over two months ago, I decided that I wanted to learn Hungarian.

    Why?

    Because I wanted to surprise my colleagues at Drops on our team trip. In November, we all met up in Budapest, Hungary and it seemed like the perfect occasion. Not only would I be in the country that speaks the language, but I’d also get to surprise the founders of Drops with their native language.

    I signed up for the Fi3M Challenge for motivation, keeping the details of my language a secret, saving my videos and updates for after the big reveal.

    In many ways, this project was different from anything I’ve done before. To start, it was a secret, so I was limited to how many people I could reach out to for help. Luckily, Benny Lewis over at Fluent in 3 Months completed a similar project – Hungarian in 3 Months. He and I chatted about language projects and learning Hungarian, and he offered me tips for filming the reveal in Budapest.

    Limitations Offer a Creative Environment

    One of the other things I really wanted to do with this project was change my approach. Lately, I’ve found a lot of success in the conversational approach and because of this, I’ve stuck to it for my last several projects. Getting too comfortable with a system or routine can cause learning plateaus and with a short-term project, that can be dangerous. 

    Rather than use all the resources, processes and methods I typically use when I start a new language (or refresh an old one), I did something different. 

    First, I limited myself to two resources – Drops and italki. I had originally planned to use three (a coursebook being the third), but ended up not using it. Doing this meant that I really needed to maximize my experience with the two resources I was using.

    I had to get creative.

    And that creativity not only led to several breakthroughs, but helped keep me from burning out during the time I spent studying.

    Second, I cut grammar out almost completely. During that time, I did not learn a single grammar rule. Instead, I studied tons of vocabulary and practiced the language with my tutor. In doing these two things, I learned some grammar through context without ever having to sit down and learn how to conjugate or use cases.

    Third, I took an almost month-long break in the middle of a two-month project. A few weeks before our trip to Budapest, I also had a trip to Shanghai, China for music. As a part of that trip, I needed to focus on preparing presentations in Mandarin and Japanese, so I had to step away from Hungarian until after I got back.

    Despite this break, I still successfully completed this project.

    Finally, I decided on every milestone I wanted to reach as a part of this project. There were eight in total. You can read about them more in-depth here, but here’s a quick summary:

    1. Learn 50 words in the first 3 days // This would get me access to the Drops Tough Words Dojo so that I could review challenging new material.
    2. Find a conversation partner // Having a date on the calendar would help keep me focused and on-track.
    3. Write my first script // This would help me navigate that first conversation. It included phrases and questions that I might need.
    4. Have a Hungarian lesson // I found a fantastic tutor on italki and ended up taking several lessons the week before the trip.
    5. Have an unscripted chat in Hungarian // Before I went to Hungary, I wanted to try to make my way through a conversation in Hungarian without the help of my script.
    6. Learn all the words in Drops // There were about 2,500 words in Drops while I worked on this project.
    7. Use Hungarian around Budapest // To get some practice in before the big surprise.
    8. Surprise the founders of Drops // The project conclusion!

    You can watch my project introduction video for more context:

    To Sum Up

    I plan on sharing updates for each of the milestones over on the Drops blog so you can follow along with my progress. Each post will include videos of where I’m at with the language as well as the exact steps I took to achieve each milestone.

    In the meantime, if you have any tips for me as a new Hungarian language learner or if you have any resource recommendations that you couldn’t have lived without, please let me know in the comments below.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    November 27, 2019 • Language Project, Language Resources • Views: 684

  • 5 Reasons to Speak Your New Language Even If You’re Shy

    Speaking is the best way to learn a language.

    How many times have you heard this advice? A lot, right?

    How many of you ‘know’ you should speak more but hesitate to do it for one reason or another?

    If you’re shy, like me, speaking is an enormous challenge. And more often than not, it’s all too easy to put off engaging with others in your new language. 

    But practicing your new language with other people has a huge number of benefits. Here are just a few.

    You get to hear the language how it’s really used.

    When you spend most of your time with language resources that are aimed at language learners, the language that you learn is just that – geared towards language learners. It’s usually incredibly polite, a little bit outdated, and rather limited. Real people are dynamic, they say the same things a lot of different ways, and are an amazing source of knowledge. 

    You’ll get insider tips on culture, on the colloquial language, and even non-verbal aspects of the language like body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. 

    You can evaluate your weak points and strengths. 

    When you chat with a native speaker, you’re put in an unfamiliar environment. Your skills are really tested. You get the chance to evaluate what you most need to work on and what you do best. 

    Learning with a course is kind of like functioning on a closed track when driving a car. A lot of the real challenges are removed to create a “safe” learning environment. They’re designed to help you succeed in a specific scenario, but real life doesn’t work that way. When you work with a course it’s easy to think you know much more than you do because you’re getting all the questions right and completing all the exercises. 

    When you chat with real people, you get to work on the language in a new context and you can quickly pinpoint your weak points so that you can tackle them head-on.

    You get feedback on how you’re doing. 

    Ever wonder how your level in your target language really stacks up? Native speakers can give you an honest evaluation. They can let you know about mistakes you don’t even realize you’re making. But they can also let you know what things you’re doing really well.

    They can offer you suggestions to help you correct mistakes you’re making, whether you realize you’re making them or not.

    You get to practice speaking and train your muscles.

    Speaking requires training the muscles in your mouth and throat to work together to create the sounds needed to speak your new language. The more you speak, the more you train those muscles to do what they need to do. 

    You can get to ask all the questions.

    When you’re working with a set resource like a coursebook or audio course, you have to hope that it will at some point, answer your questions. If it doesn’t, it means that you have to try to find those answers yourself elsewhere.

    Practical Steps to Get Started

    Despite knowing all the benefits of speaking with native speakers, it can still be tough to take initiative and actually do it if you’re shy. And even if you’re not.

    You feel vulnerable. As though you’re not in control. And it can be scary. 

    That’s why it’s important to look for people to practice with in the right places. You want to connect with people who understand what it takes to speak your new language with another person. With people who won’t judge you for the mistakes you make. And with people who have the patience to help you sort a new language out.

    Not sure where to find these types of exchange partners? Here are just a few ideas.

    Find a partner on an exchange platform.

    There are lots of excellent language exchange platforms where you can find native speakers to practice with. These are fellow learners who understand exactly what you’re going through. How it feels to make mistakes. What sort of effort it takes to learn a new language. And who will treat your time fairly.

    Finding people like this is possible on language exchange platforms. They are fellow learners and they understand just what you’re going through. My personal favorite language exchange platform is iTalki

    Connect with a Language BFF

    Instead of a language exchange partner, you can connect with a study buddy or language BFF. This is someone you are studying the same language as, and together, you can compare notes, practice, and share your questions. If you’re not sure where to find a study buddy, as a part of an upcoming event (read below), we’ll help you find one!

    The tips in this article are just a snapshot of the benefits of taking a small step outside your comfort zone and the places to do it if you’re shy. 

    Where to Go From Here

    I’m sharing much more in my session at the very first Women in Language Camp on Saturday, November 3rd. It’s going to be an exciting event.

    The whole event is focused on the topic of community and connection, something we noticed got great feedback from the first Women in Language event back in March 2018. So we thought, why not dedicate a whole mini event to that exact topic?

    On the day, you’ll hear from me as well as my other two co-hosts of Women in Language, Kerstin Cable of Fluent Language and Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages.

    Kerstin will be sharing her session Not the Only Linguist in the Village: How to Create Your IRL Language Squad and Lindsay will be leading her session Switch on the Community: How to Practice Your Language with People Everywhere.

    As well as the three main sessions, there’ll be the chance to ask questions and connect with other attendees in the final Campfire session and the Women in Language Facebook Group, which we’ve reopened for this event!

    Finally, if you purchase your ticket before October 30th, you’ll get paired with a Language BFF for the day. This person will be someone who studies the same language as you and who you can compare notes with as a part of the event.

    You’ll be able to secure your ticket to the main event in March too – but only during Women in Language Camp. A little heads up there.

    And the final thing I have to tell you is that the recordings of Women in Language Camp won’t be available to purchase after the event. Although if you get your ticket, you will get access to all the recordings. So even if you know you can’t make the live sessions but you still want in on the action, be sure to get your ticket now while you can.

    Ready for Camp? Get your ticket now.

    October 22, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 560

  • GERMAN UNCOVERED REVIEW: TAKE YOUR GERMAN TO THE NEXT LEVEL

    German and I had fallen out of love. 

    At least, that’s what I told myself after graduating university. It helped me feel better about the fact I was giving it up. Doing so gave me more time with the languages that I loved–namely, Chinese and Croatian.

    I was sure that German and I were never, ever, ever getting back together. But then, something came up with my music work, and suddenly I needed to reconnect with the language I had lost. 

    I turned to my good friend, Kerstin Cable, for help. And as it turns out, the timing couldn’t have been any better. She had just finished putting together German Uncovered with Olly Richards of I Will Teach You a Language, and that meant that I had the perfect course to help me get started.

    What is German Uncovered?

    German Uncovered is a course that uses stories to help you learn the German language. There are 20 modules that each include a story, and audio recording, a cognates video lesson, a vocabulary video lesson, a grammar video lesson, a pronunciation lesson, a speaking exercise, and a quiz to test your knowledge.

    Each of the video lessons is about 20 minutes in length, so there is a lot of material to work through. It’s presented in a way that is easy to work through, and you pick up German grammar more naturally than you would by memorizing a bunch of grammar rules.

    When you first start German Uncovered, you’re given a set of instructions on how to best use the material in the course:

    “1. Start by listening to the audiobook recording of the chapter: It’s a good idea to do this before you read the text or the translation. Focus on listening and see how much you can pick up. (You can also download this audio file at the bottom of the lesson in case you want to listen again offline).

    2. Read the text in German: After listening to the chapter, read through the text in German. It’s a good idea to do this a couple of times and listen along to the audio as you do so. Try and see how much you can figure out from the German before looking at the English translation.

    3. Watch the Cognates video lesson: Watch the cognates lesson to uncover the German of the story and understand large chunks of it easily.

    4. Check Your Comprehension: Once you’ve completed the steps above, complete the short comprehension quiz. This is a quiz which will check how much you’ve understood. Don’t worry if this is difficult. This is the very first lesson. In time, you’ll find that you can work out more and more of the story.

    5. Download the English translation: Finally, download and read through the English translation. See how much you understood and notice any words or phrases that are similar in German and English.6. Complete the other lessons and worksheets for this chapter: Work through the video lessons and worksheets for this chapter.”

    If you complete the course as instructed, it promises that you’ll attain “(B1 on the CEFR), and be a confident German speaker.”

    My Experience Using German Uncovered

    It’s been more than ten years since I last touched the German language, and I was worried about just how much I may have lost. I quit because the grammar got me down and I couldn’t push past it or find a better way to approach the language. What I had been taught to do in school was too ingrained and I couldn’t break free from grammar drills. Then I enrolled in German Uncovered.

    I just finished the introduction videos and felt so motivated to dive in and get started. The course wasn’t anything like my experience at university where I was drowning in German grammar.

    After completing just one module in the course, I was able to revive much of my lost German (and perhaps more!). I booked my first lesson with a tutor and flew through all the material, keeping the lesson almost entirely in German!

    I made mistakes, yes, but I was already making huge strides with the language.

    To demonstrate, here’s where I was at with German before I completed the first module in German Uncovered:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgErhdFkAa8

    And here’s where I was at shortly after the fourth module:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4QqRfFv60s

    Each of the lessons is taught by Kerstin, a native German speaker. This means that you get lots of insight into the language, it’s culture, and you learn the language it’s really used day-to-day.

    German Uncovered: The Good

    Kerstin is an excellent and outgoing course instructor. She keeps your attention through the lessons. Her love of the German language really shows, and it’s contagious. She does a great job keeping you motivated to continue through the modules.

    And as you continue through the modules, completing the work as suggested, you see real progress with your German. Because the course focuses on teaching you cognates and shows you how to make the most of the similarities between German and English, you progress quickly.

    German Uncovered is very logically organized and as you work through each lesson, you’re taught just the right amount of new material, building on what you learned in the previous lessons. 

    German Uncovered: What Could Be Better

    There were some issues with the audio on some of the videos, but nothing that was too distracting. For example, the volume of the pronunciation videos was lower than the other video lessons and on a couple of the videos, the audio had delay.

    Seeing an example of the speaking lessons would also be extremely helpful. The instructions for these sections are written so that you can hand your tutor or practice partner the worksheet, but seeing how this would work in practice would definitely help students feel more confident taking this step.

    In Conclusion

    Would I recommend German Uncovered? Absolutely. It helped me rebuild a foundation in German and gain confidence using the language. It offers students a way to build their listening skills, reading skills, and vocabulary and gives them everything they need to take things further with an instructor.

    If you’re still not sure if German Uncovered is right for you, you can try out the course and get a feel for Kerstin’s teaching style through German Stories, a free mini course. If you’re ready to dive in and start learning with German Uncovered, you can sign up here.

    April 2, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 797

  • 7 WAYS TO FIRE UP YOUR LANGUAGE LEARNING AT WOMEN IN LANGUAGE

    Next week is the second ever Women in Language event. It’s an online conference hosted by Lindsay Williams of Lindsay Does Languages, Kerstin Cable of FluentLanguage.co.uk and yours truly. At the event, we have more than 30 incredible speakers, two panel discussions, lightning talks, live chat, and the chance to win more than $3,000 in prizes through our raffle.

    Attending an event like Women in Language is a wonderful experience–you get to listen to inspiring talks, get to know other learners around the world who share your passions, and have the opportunity to get your language learning questions answered by experts.

    But in addition to these events being fun social events and a chance to learn, they’re also a great chance to fire up your language learning and give your motivation a boost. Here are seven ways you can do just that at this year’s Women in Language:

    1. Attend a talk that you’d normally skip

    At events, there are always a few talks that may, on paper, seem like they’re not the best fit for you. Normally, I’d fully recommend skipping talks that don’t seem like they’d interest you and use that time to catch up on other tasks or chat with other attendees. But just because a talk doesn’t sound like something you’d go to doesn’t mean that you should skip it.

    For example, if someone’s giving a talk on raising bilingual children but you’re years off from having kids, there are still things you could takeaway:

    • Ideas for activities you can do when learning with someone else
    • Easy, entry-level resources that you may not have heard of
    • Time management tips

    As another example, someone may be giving a talk on a language you don’t intend to learn. Why should you attend?

    • You learn more about our world’s linguistic diversity
    • You may learn techniques that are used to approach that particular language that can be applied to yours
    • You may discover a love for a new language (even if you choose not to study it later)
    • You learn about resources that may also be available in your language

    This Women in Language event, I challenge you to attend at least one talk you’d normally skip. You never know what you may learn!

    2. Get to know some of the members of our amazing language community

    Language learning can be lonely. You spend a lot of time with your head buried in resources doing this whole thing on your own. Language events a great opportunity to meet with like-minded individuals who get you and share your love of languages. And who knows, you may find a study buddy or exchange partner at an event. At the very least, you’ll certainly make new friends.

    3. Ask questions

    At events, it’s easy to sit in the background and just observe. There’s already a lot to take in. But if you don’t ask questions, you’re missing out on a valuable chance to have any doubts or concerns you may have answered.

    You may have questions that can’t be answered by a certain speaker, but even if you ask them, there’s a good chance that someone else participating in the chat will be able to help you out. Take advantage of the fact you’ll be hanging out with learners and experts at different stages in the game than you.

    4. Apply to give a lightning talk

    Lightning talks are short 5-10 minutes talks (depending on how many applicants we have) where you can share something cool you’ve learned about your language, teaching languages, learning languages, or anything else language related.

    If you’re looking for a little extra challenge, I highly recommend applying to give a lightning talk. You have until next Wednesday (the day before the event to do so) if you’re an attendee!

    5. Participate in the Women in Language Facebook group

    Leading up to, during, and following the event, attendees are invited to participate in the Women in Language Facebook group. It’s a supportive community where you can share takeaways from the talks you attend, get to know the other attendees, share your successes and struggles in your language, and more.

    If you’re struggling with motivation, the community is a great place to get the support you need to pick things back up.

    6. Get excited about the raffle!

    When you purchase a ticket to the Women in Language event, you are immediately entered into the raffle. There are no extra steps required.

    This year we have more than $3,000 worth of prizes that will be fairly split up amongst three raffle winners. These prizes include language learning tools and resources from Drops, Fluent in 3 Months, I Will Teach You a Language, LingQ, Lindsay Does Languages, Fluentlanguage.co.uk, Eurolinguiste, and more.

    Getting new language swag is a great way to boost your motivation and by buying a ticket, you’re automatically entered to win.

    7. Support another language learner

    This year we decided to do something new. In addition to giving 10% of all profits to Wikitongues to support their work with languages around the world (last year we donated to Kiva), we’re also helping fund scholarship tickets to attendees who may not be able to afford a ticket to the Women in Language event.

    After buying your ticket, you have the option to help fund another learner’s ticket by making a donation (of any amount). Any money leftover in this pool once all the scholarship tickets are redeemed will also be donated to Wikitongues.

    So there you have it. Just seven of the ways you can fire up your language learning at the Women in Language event–there are plenty more!

    If you haven’t yet got your ticket, you can sign up here.

    And if you have questions about the event, feel free to share them in the comments below. I look forward to seeing you there!

    February 25, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 180

  • Language Learning Reading Challenge 2019

    I am excited to share the fourth annual Language Learning Reading Challenge with you.

    Starting January 2019, we’ll tackle one book per month covering a topic related to language and share our experiences as a group. Please feel free to join us. You can participate by commenting on the posts here at Eurolinguiste or by joining the group on Facebook.

    As part of the challenge, we will be read books that cover everything from culture, language learning, general learning techniques, history, and more. Plus, we’ll be reading both in our native languages and target languages.

    If you’re at a more advanced level in your target language, feel free to read any or all of the books (not just the ones indicated as target language only) in the language that you’re learning. If you’re still just getting started, that’s okay, too! You can read along in your native language, discovering more about the cultures and histories tied to the language(s) that you’re learning, opting for lower level or graded readers for books in your target language.

    Please note that you don’t have to pick just one language for this challenge. If you’re learning multiple languages, feel free to mix and match. The challenge is pretty flexible. I’ve planned it this way so you can get the most learning possible out of it over this next year.

    The Materials that make up the 2019 Language Reading Challenge

    1 January // A tutorial, recipe, or lesson in your target language (if you’re up for a bigger challenge, read an entire book on the subject)
    2. February // A book on learning strategies (any learning strategy, not just language related, but it can be about language learning if you prefer)
    3. March // A book written in your target language (this can be a translation from your native language or a book originally written in your target language)
    4. April // Read something humor-related in your language to get a sense of comedy and what’s funny in your language 
    5. May // Read an introduction to your language – if you’re an advanced learner, find an article or chapter in your coursebook that explains something that you’re struggling with in particular
    6. June // History of the region, culture, or language that you are studying
    7. July // Read something about a language you’re not learning (it can be an article, an introduction to the language, or an entire book)
    8. August // A book written by a language blogger (you can find books by bloggers such as Steve Kaufmann, Anthony MetivierKerstin Cable, Benny Lewis, Barbara Oakley, yours truly, and more)
    9. September // A book about a language, a family of languages, a writing system, or something related to linguistics
    10. October // Read a Wikipedia article in your target language
    11. November // A book written in your target language (originally, not a translation)
    12. December // Read a book about your native language

    A Few Notes Regarding the Challenge:

    The challenge doesn’t have to focus on one language, if you are studying multiple languages (or have an interest in languages you’re not studying), feel free to go for books in or about those languages.

    You are absolutely welcome to read books of any level. Graded readers, children’s books, academic books or any other genre are acceptable for the challenges that require you to read in your target language(s).

    You do not need to participate every month to be a part of this challenge. You can choose the months that align with your interests.

    If you do not complete the book you take up in any one month of the challenge, that’s okay! You can still join in the conversation and share some of what you’ve learnt from the sections of the book you were able to get through.

    Language Reading Challenge Linkup Rules:

    1. Share your post discussing the book that you’ve read this month. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted. You can share in the comments or use the link below to join us on Facebook.

    2. Follow the host: Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

    3. OPTIONAL: Join us on Facebook.

    January 1, 2019 • Language Resources • Views: 1017

  • Black Friday Deals for Language Learners 2018

    You’ve worked hard this last year at your language studies, and what better way to celebrate your progress than by rewarding yourself with an early holiday gift? 

    By investing in your studies, you’re also preparing yourself for the new year with new resources so that you have a place to start when all of the craziness of the holiday season is through. Or, you can always get a little something for your language learning friend!

    As a part of Black Friday, I’m really excited to offer an incredible selection of discounts on my courses this year. 

    Language Learning Accelerator

    With four jobs, a toddler, a blog, and eight languages under my belt, I’ve had a lot of experience developing time management and energy management skills. I created this course to share them with you. If you ever feel too busy to learn a language, or too tired, Language Learning Accelerator has all the tools you need to work through it and finally find the time to learn your language.

    Get 50% off Language Learning Accelerator $48.50 (normally $97)

    The Courage to Speak

    In partnership with Fluent in 3 Months, I put together a course to help you build the confidence to start speaking your language and connecting with others. Each module includes a video lesson, a worksheet, and exercises that put you on the path towards becoming a confident speaker of your target language. As a part of the course, you’re also given access to Say Goodbye to Shy.

    Get 34% off The Courage to Speak 

    Get By In Croatian

    I recently launched a Croatian language course and you can get all of the bonus materials for the first season for 50% off. There will be 20 total lessons and for each you have a video lesson, the audio, bonus audio, and a PDF worksheet. 

    Get 50% off Get By In Croatian $43.50 (normally $87)

    Language Study Club with Lindsay Dow

    Lindsay and I recently launched a new monthly subscription hub and study club under the radar. It’s a fun new platform where Lindsay and I alternate each month, providing tons of tips, video lessons, and actionable advice around different themes. To start, Lindsay tackled motivation in the first month and I covered building your personal script in the second. You’ll have access to all of the archive months in with your purchase of a membership.

    Get $9 off each month of Language Study Club

    I’ve also partnered up with Fluent in 3 Months to offer you some amazing deals this year as a part of their Black Friday promotion. 

    Of course, they have an incredible package put together. In it, you can get:

    • Benny’s Bootcamp Live // A 3-month language hacking program with live video webinars every week.
    • Fi3M Premium // This is their cornerstone product and a long-term learning portal. It’s a great place to start planning your routine for the new year. Plus, they recently brought it over to Teachable, so it has a much nicer user experience. 
    • Conversation Countdown // Their 7-week email course that helps you prepare for your first conversation in your new language.
    • Why X is Easy // 6 eBooks that break down the tough language stuff (like word gender and conjugations) for German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French and English.

    The value of all of this is over $899 but Fi3M is offering it to you at just $197.

    They’re also offering an incredible discount on several other courses. You can learn more about them here.

    As a quick recap, here are all of the links:

    Other Great Deals Across the Web

    Drops // You can get 50% a Premium subscription to Drops, my favorite vocabulary learning app. The offer expires on Monday. This offer is only available through their web payment and isn’t offered within the app itself. Get 50% a Premium Drops Subscription.

    The Ultimate Guide to German for Beginners // Get 50% off this excellent German course from Fluentlanguage.co.uk. The course bundle includes: The German Pronunciation and Accent Masterclass, Easy German Grammar for Beginners, and Hyper-Efficient German. $54.50 (usually $109)

    Pimsleur // Get 50% off at Pimsleur by using the code “BESTDEAL”. Pimsleur is my favourite audio course. It’s a bit on the pricey side, so this is a great offer. Get 50% off Pimsleur.

    Innovative Language // Innovative language is one of the most popular podcast series around. They’re offering 51% off their Basic, Premium AND Premium Plus subscriptions. Get 51% off: ChineseClass101, EnglishClass101FrenchPod101, GermanPod101, ItalianPod101, JapanesePod101, KoreanClass101, RussianPod101 and SpanishPod101.

    Don’t wait! Many of these deals will only be available until the end of Cyber Monday, Nov 26th, 2018.

    November 24, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 373

  • Language Learning in 5-Minute Drops

    How one start-up is aiming to revolutionize language learning by combining augmented reality with gamification in 5-minute Drops.

    In a time when, on average, nearly everyone is too busy to invest time into intensive side projects, is there a place for language learning? Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky, of Plan B Labs, believe, without question, that there is, and they’ve developed the app to prove it.

    Rather than tasking learners with hour-long study sessions, or daily point goals, this app challenges you to learn as much as you can in a limited time.

    The Birth of a Language Hero

    It was in his final year at university and after one particularly sleepless night that Daniel Farkas had a realization that would set him upon the path to developing one of the most popular language applications. “It just struck me: nobody taught me how to learn.” This epiphany led to Farkas developing a passion for meta-learning, or as defined by theorist Donald B. Maudsley, “the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized.” But it wouldn’t be for several more years, after a brief career as a salesman for a luxury bike company, and a collaboration with two trivia app designing friends until he would be able to completely make the leap into a career that would allow him to fully explore his enthusiasm for meta-learning, channeling his hard-earned knowledge into an app designed for specifically for language learners.

    At the time, other language apps were becoming wildly popular, but despite their success, Daniel still felt that there was still a key element missing from the available options. “None of the big names were combing cutting-edge technology with the findings of behavioral psychology – things like habit forging, gamification, the psychology of play -, neuroscience, and direct visual association.” In his opinion, most language applications try to do too many things. They offer excessive language choices in an effort to appeal to a wider audience, and in doing so, correctness and quality suffer. In other cases, they attempt to cover too much of the language’s grammar, only scratching the surface when it comes to vocabulary – arguably the most important tool for anyone looking to really dive into a language.

    And so, in 2012, Farkas and Szulyovszky set to developing a focused alternative concentrated on the “meat” of language learning – vocabulary acquisition and the building of a rock-solid language learning habit. Kicking off with just three languages and limited features, Drops has rapidly grown in both its offerings and its subscriber base. It is now the powerhouse application behind many language enthusiasts’ consistent study habits. Recognized as one of the Top 5 Language Learning apps by Bloomberg, Drops has also been featured as one of the best educational apps in more than one hundred countries. Today, it is used by millions of learners.

    Before There Was Drops – Mnemonic Gaming and Language Learning

    Drops’ use of mnemonic association and gaming psychology to teach languages is not by accident. It all started when, back in 2012 the two Drops founders, Daniel Farkas and Mark Szulyovszky, were introduced at a party. Daniel had been working on a book about applying meta-learning techniques to learning vocabulary (meta-learning is basically using cognitive shortcuts to learning anything), and Mark–a longtime gamer–had developed a visual pattern recognition game called Thinkinvisible. Similar to the Rorschach test or the concept of Rubin’s Vase, ThinkInvisible images can be viewed in multiple ways, but in particular, they rely on the cognitive trick negative space to define the image. The lack of full contouring forces an “aha” recognition moment, which is at the root of mnemonics.

    Daniel and Mark instantly agreed that a similar mnemonic approach could be used to learn vocabulary. They set about designing and building an app they would later call LearnInvisible. Somewhere along the way, they decided this idea was more than just folly and they applied to the GameFounders–the Estonian gaming accelerator. They were accepted into GameFounders very first cohort of start-ups, received around $15K and were off to the races. They initially incorporated as PlanB Labs and soon after they launched LearnInvisible to some early fanfare, but suddenly soon realized that while people said they loved the app, they used it once or twice and then never came back.

    In a post-mortem of LearnInvisble’s failure, Daniel suggested that maybe they had strayed too far from Mark’s gaming background. They had built a great app, but it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t sticky. It wasn’t a game. So they pivoted and redesigned the entire app from scratch with a laser focus on retention. In January of 2015, they launched Drops and never looked back.

    While the Drops and Scripts apps appear simple (intentionally), their deep intersection of mnemonics and gaming comes from Daniel and Mark’s unique backgrounds, as well as the painful failure that resulted from neglecting that background the first time around. I, for one, am glad they got it right.

    Rising Above the Rest

    What makes Drops a stand out language tool? Some might tell you that it’s the simple, yet elegant design and a user-friendly interface. Others are convinced that it’s the interactivity. And then, there are those that fancy the well-thought-out vocabulary lists. For the learners for whom Drops has become a part of their daily regiment, it’s all of the above. And then some.

    Drops is a powerful resource for learners because it isn’t time intensive. By restricting users’ study sessions to five minutes, Drops guarantees that even the most occupied user can work a little learning into their routine. Of course, for more serious learners, or what Drops likes to call the ‘genius’ or ‘polyglot’, there’s the option to unlock more time and more languages, respectively, for a sensible fee.

    Currently, the app provides around 100 unique vocabulary lists each containing around twenty words for nearly thirty languages including Korean, French, Hebrew, and Chinese. And while they aim to tackle a large selection of languages, they ensure the quality of their product by hiring native speakers, professional translators, and established polyglots to double and triple check the lesson content.

    There’s a lot of thought and care that goes into creating the wordlists and you’ll find plenty of vocabulary that isn’t readily available on other platforms. Whether you’re interested in discussing business-related topics, the birth of a new baby and an introduction to your family, figuring out what you’ll need to know to get around town on an upcoming vacation, or just learn the basics, you’re covered.

    The app experience is an exciting whirlwind of swiping, matching, and competing with a timer to get through as much new material as possible. The minimalist illustrations and color changes provide a backdrop that keeps your attention on the task at hand. It’s addicting insofar as it is educational, and although it feels like you’re merely playing a game, you’re building a useful life skill.

    Drops’ functionality is, in part, based on Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csikszentmihályi’s studies of ‘flow’, that feeling you get when you’re so immersed in an activity that you lose track of time. It’s something you experience when you go out dancing, bury yourself in an excellent book, or get into the rhythm with a task at work. The execution of this element in Drops is flawless. As you compete against the timer, blazing through as much material as possible, you become hyper-focused. The message you receive when the time is up is the only indicator that you’re due to return to reality.

    The platform combines a series of exercises so that you’re doing far more than flipping over a flashcard to learn more vocabulary. You do everything from matching to fill in the blank, true or false to a Boggle-like word search as a part of its spaced-repetition based system. It seems like the only thing you don’t do is type. The variety of exercises is an effective way to give the new words you’re learning more than one context – a way to improve retention. With the swipe-based functionality, you can work through the material seamlessly and as you progress, the difficulty of the exercises progresses with you.

    A premium account also offers the opportunity to focus on tough words in its Tough Word Dojo once you study your first fifty words. Using the data collected on how many times you’ve answered questions incorrectly during the normal exercise section, the Dojo rounds up the words that you’ve struggled with most and offers you the opportunity to focus on them. This focus allows you to concentrate on your weaknesses and review a mix of vocabulary (this feature doesn’t focus on a specific theme).

    The vocabulary in Drops is very much noun-focused, but a few relevant verbs are included as a part of each lesson. You don’t learn how to conjugate them or get the chance to give them context, but it’s still a valuable resource. Particularly because it does what it does extremely well.

    For users with a free account, you’re given five minutes of study time every ten hours. It may not seem like much, but for those struggling to make language learning a part of their routine, it’s an excellent start. You get to spend that daily study with a crucial element of language learning success – vocabulary – and you get to have fun while doing it. The result? Developing a love for languages, a desire to learn more in other places and an opportunity to take things further. It’s all about building a strong foundation.

    Beautiful Interface

    Drops uses minimalist design features and detailed illustrations as a part of their functionality to help the learner eliminate the need to use their native language as much as possible. This means that rather than asking you to translate, you’re shown an image and asked to connect it directly to the language that you’re learning. This feature is one of the big characteristics that sets Drops apart from the other leading language learning apps which still, in large part, rely on translation. Using the app gives you five minutes of total immersion, though if needed, pressing and holding your finger over a word or image will give you the translation.

    Boost in Motivation

    When creating a language study habit is as easy as ‘playing‘ with vocabulary for five minutes, twice a day, feeling motivated to learn is a natural outcome. According to one user, “It’s so simple. Instead of playing Candy Crush or Tweeting during my breaks during the day, I play Drops. It’s easy, fun, and my vocabulary is expanding rapidly.” When you enjoy something, you’re more motivated to continue doing it. And Drops undoubtedly makes language learning enjoyable for many learners.

    Visual Progress Tracking

    As you progress through the vocabulary sets, you can track your advancement with a small progress bar that appears beneath the title of each vocabulary section. It’s motivating to see the bar creep towards the 100% mark and to watch all of the bars add up as you work through the various word lists.

    Audio from Native Speakers

    One of the biggest complaints when it comes to language learning apps are that they use poor quality audio or computer-generated voices. Paying voice actors who are native speakers of the language can be pricey – especially when you’re developing an app that offers a large number of languages. When it came to this feature, however, Drops spared no expense. Each of the courses includes high-quality audio recordings of every word read by a native speaker.

    Laddering

    For those who speak more than one language, Drops offers the ability to practice language laddering. Laddering is where you study one language through another. So, for instance, if you’re an intermediate French speaker and beginning German learner, you can learn German through French. This means that, rather than seeing the translations in English, you’ll see them in French (if you opt to turn them on).

    Flexible Settings

    For learners looking for a more personalized flashcard experience, Drops has several settings that enable you to tailor the app’s functionalities to your level and preferences. Learning Japanese but you still don’t have the writing system figured out? No problem, you can take it a step at a time starting out with the romanization turned on while using Hiragana only, then transition to no romanization and then Kana + Kanji whenever you’re ready. If you’re learning Chinese, you can modify the writing system so that it uses either simplified or traditional characters. You can also turn English translations on or off.

    Additionally, you can change the following features to get the best experience using Drops:

    • Select your learning style. The options are business, romantic, traveler or enthusiast. Changing this setting arranges the words lists so that they appear in an order most relevant to your goals. In this section, you can also select your gender so that the vocabulary you learn is tailored to you (in different languages word choice and word forms change according to gender). Most resources are targeted towards male learners, so it’s nice to see an app that tailors vocabulary to a wider audience.
    • Premium subscribers can change the session length. While free users are limited to five-minute study sessions, premium users are able to set their study sessions to five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, or unlimited.
    • You can turn the audio on or off. Want to enjoy the dings and fanfare effects without the pronunciation? Or perhaps you just want to test your ability to read in a new writing system without hearing the word first. With Drops, you can turn the pronunciation on or off.
    • You can also turn the sound effects on or off. Perhaps the celebratory noises produced by the app are more distracting than motivating for you. If this is the case, you can mute them while still getting to hear the pronunciation.
    • You can set the phone to vibrate when you get answers right or wrong. It’s extra confirmation that you’re making connections as you study new words – especially since everything is swipe-based. But if you prefer not to use this feature, it too can be deactivated.
    • Choose your skill level. If you already know some of the language, you can choose to start at the ‘intermediate’ level. When doing this, Drops drops you into the more advanced vocabulary and automatically turns off some of the aids like ‘show English’ and ‘Romanization’. For languages like Japanese, this means it defaults to Kana + Kanji rather than Hiragana. If this seems a little too advanced for you, you can also use the default settings for a beginning learner.

    Room to Grow

    Even with its gorgeous interface and useful word lists, Drops has room for improvement. To start, there isn’t a way to monitor your consistency as a premium user. A short time back, Drops featured a table that showed your daily progress. It included how many words you learned, how many days in a row you had studied, and it was a great way to stay both accountable and motivated. The app still includes several statistics, but because one of its biggest selling points is that it helps you build a language learning habit, having some way to track that habit is important. More varied and detailed statistics on your learning would definitely add to the experience of using the app.

    For those interested in multiple languages, it’s not always clear which dashboard you’re in. Are you in the French vocabulary list or Hebrew? Without going into your settings or actually starting a lesson, you have no idea which language you’re logged into. And once you open a vocabulary list, the timer commences counting down and you start to lose precious time. With Drops, what you do during those five minutes really counts. There’s no room for error.

    Second, for the time being, you’re not given the option to create or import your own personalized word lists. While having vocabulary selected for you is a nice way to take a major task off your plate, this is a desirable feature for many language learners. When it comes to picking up a new language, learning “you-specific” vocabulary is important. In order to get the most out of your language studies, you want to spend time with the words and grammar you’re most likely to use. And the best way to ensure you do this is by curating your word lists. A feature that Drops does not yet include.

    Finally, you aren’t able to preview the words included in each vocabulary list and knowing how to mute words that aren’t relevant takes a little detective work. Again, having the power to decide which vocabulary you spend time learning is conducive to getting the most out of the hours you put in. With Drops, if you forget (or don’t realize that you need) to drop the word onto the ‘x’ when it is first introduced, it isn’t until you scroll through your learned word list that you can swipe right to “hide” or “unhide” words that you don’t really need or those you already know really well (so they don’t come up for review).

    These, of course, are features the developers are currently at work improving, along with a whole slew of recently and soon-to-be-released options. Teaching learners vocabulary on a beautifully designed and well-curated platform is only a part of what Drops offers.

    From here, they have plans to continue to make vocabulary learning even more immersive and fun through a combination of augmented reality and other features.

    Can Five Minutes of Language Study a Day Work?

    One of the biggest criticisms of Drops is that five minutes a day just isn’t enough. It’s a fair assessment. If you’re looking to go deep with a language, or to learn fairly quickly, Drops alone isn’t a complete solution. But it isn’t trying to be.

    Drops aims to do one important thing well – provide an interactive and enjoyable method for acquiring vocabulary. They are extremely successful at accomplishing this.

    There are people who would argue that you won’t get far with a vocabulary-only language learning app, but you can’t get far without a strong foundation either. Focusing on building a strong vocabulary gives you that foundation, something to build grammar rules and speaking or comprehension skills on, and a ton of confidence, too. In short, Drops is the perfect place to start when learning a language. It will not only set you up for greater successes in the future, but it will make learning a new language an enjoyable activity and thus, a habit.

    Making language learning routine aside, does the app actually help you learn the language? Short answer: yes.

    There are countless reasons why studying a language has the reputation of being boring or difficult. Traditional learning methods are often laborious and tedious, and other resources on the market promise ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ learning without delivering. Drops is an exception to the rule, offering an experience that supports quickly building a strong vocabulary in a new language in a way that is entertaining, engaging, and effective. Highly recommended.

    Drops is currently available for iOS mobile devices through the App Store as well as on Android through Google Play.

    An announcement… 

    After writing this review, I spent a lot of time trying out Drops and I loved it so much I decided to join the Drops family. I am excited to announce that I am now working with them as their Resident Polyglot. If you’d like to see how my learning with the app went, you can see how I used Drops to learn Hungarian.

    What about you?

    Have you tried Drops? What did you think? 

    I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

    September 20, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 1256

  • Need a Language Breakthrough? Discover the Power of Language Retreats

    So you’ve been flirting with Spanish.

    When people ask you how long this has been going on, you tell them it’s been about a year or two, your eyes glued to the floor.

    The truth is, you barely have enough courage to order at your favorite taco stand in Spanish!

    If there were a way to kickstart your language learning would you take it? How about if you were stuck in the intermediate plateau and have yet to make any conversational breakthroughs?

    Or maybe you’ve lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a while with the hopes that being forcibly immersed would lead to a transformation in your fluency.

    But it hasn’t.

    Let’s Rethink Immersion

    Immersion is often spoken of as the ideal way to learn a language.

    While this is true for a child who seems to learn in an effortless manner, attaining staggering results in just a few short months, for you, as an adult, this isn’t the case. Instead, it can be a brutal ride with many moments of embarrassment or feeling like a failure.

    This has nothing to do with age, but rather well, life — the responsibilities one assumes as an adult.

    Let’s be honest, moving to a new country is never easy.

    There’s so much to do! Getting the house set up, finding a new circle of friends, understanding this new foreign culture, the list goes on and on!

    At times you may feel quite vulnerable and the truth is that for some, your language may be the only comfort zone you have left.

    Even if you don’t move to another country, the same still holds true.

    The last thing you want to do when getting home from a day of work is putting in an hour to study a language you don’t even use at work!

    I know for myself by the time I finished work, spent time with my family and put my son to bed at 8:00 PM, language learning was out of the question.

    It may be considered lazy by some, but all I wanted to do was have a nice glass of wine and relax…

    This is where the power of language retreats comes in.

    Language Retreats Change Lives

    “A change of pace plus a change of place equals a change of perspective.” -Mark Batterson

    Meet Jerome.

    He was happily living in France and enjoying his job as a mergers/acquisitions attorney.

    Then the unexpected happened.

    He was told he would have to relocate to Shanghai and learn English within the next 6 months.

    His company hired him a language coach to come to the office every other day, but with the distractions of work and meetings that often ran longer than expected, his progress was not anywhere near what he needed.

    Jerome was given three weeks to visit the French countryside distraction-free and immerse himself in English.

    He spent the time wondering through chateaus, touring the vineyards and enjoying all of the wonderful food France has to offer.

    If you asked him before the retreat, he would have never thought what happened next would be possible. On the fourth morning, he came down to breakfast and admitted he had even dreamt in English that night!

    This was the distraction free space that he needed.

    Because he was relaxed and enjoying his time, he forgot that he was learning for work and because of this, made staggering progress.

    This is what a retreat offers you.

    A retreat immerses you in a language. And it does it in an amazing vacation-style setting with a small group of similar-minded people in a unique class prepared just for you.

    You may have been told that language learning needs to be fun because it maintains our concentration and thus propels our learning exponentially… And guess what>

    It’s true.

    Just think about it.

    How much faster would our learning be if kayaking, museum trips, and VIP treatment as we explore some of the areas best-kept secrets was all a part of the package?

    Because it can be!

    What Happens in a Language Retreat?

    The entire day is spent with your language coach. A person devoted to strengthening your command of the language and giving you the courage to speak in what will soon be an effortless manner.

    Each day includes classroom time with lessons perfect for your level and interests, mouth-watering meals and exciting activities which allow us to place emphasis on practical communication to help to develop fluency and confidence.

    Accent work, colloquial speech, cultural exchange, you got it!

    The best part is that all is done in a relaxed environment which not only helps you learn but also increases memory skills. The retreats are all customised to ensure you are learning things that are of interest to you.

    You may be thinking this will be costly, however, when you look at the results you get and what you would pay for a language coach on a weekly basis, you will soon see that not only are you getting a luxurious vacation for free, you may also be seeing some savings.

    Here’s what some past participants had to say “The language retreat was a life-changing experience and worth every cent.

    “...the week was full of laughter as well. I have years of experience in learning several languages with a number of different texts and resources, and I truly consider this retreat one of the best experiences I have ever had.

    The most astonishing point which gets the most amount of praise is the time that is no longer wasted.

    Rather than having time to forget things between lessons and not having the proper balance between theory and practical, you will see tremendous improvements throughout the week and a surprising burst of confidence.

    As said earlier, if you’re looking for something to kickstart your language learning or move you out of the stagnant language plateau, a language retreat is for you.

    Here’s a video interview with Fiel if you’d like to meet your coach beforehand.

    Ready to sign up?

    The next Spanish retreat is September 16 – 21, 2018 in San Diego, California with Fiel Sahir of the Between 3 Worlds podcast. For more information on upcoming retreats or to customize your own, contact Therese LaFleche or visit LaFleche Lingo.


    The above is a guest post from fellow language learner and musician Fiel Sahir, and host of the upcoming retreat. If you have any questions about the retreat, you can leave them for Fiel in the comments below!

    September 3, 2018 • Language Resources, Travel • Views: 392

  • FREE LANGUAGE FEEDBACK & PRACTICE WITH LINGORA

    When I first started learning languages on my own, I didn’t realize that the key to mastering them was speaking them. I tried learning on my own, but whenever I had an opportunity to use them, nothing came out. I’d get too nervous, tongue-tied, or flat out forget everything that I learned.

    Soon, I realized that the only way I’d get better at speaking would be by practicing that very skill. I needed to speak more.

    I started looking for ways to use my languages more often, but there were hardly any meet ups in my area (if any) and the cost of tutors could be prohibitive.

    I had one more option — language exchange partners.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    Meet Lingora

    Lingora is an online membership portal that offers language learners the chance to connect with language exchange partners around the world for free. You can chat with native speakers, upload audio for feedback, or even text for correction.

    Currently, it supports dozens of languages including Korean, Spanish, Chinese and Serbian.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    My Experience Using Lingora

    Lingora offers its members a variety of ways to get language practice. I wanted to make use of each of these, so I made sure to try out the voice recording feature as well as the text and chat features.

    Unfortunately, between when I posted my material and writing this review, I had yet to receive feedback. Because the site is fairly new, the membership is not yet that large and so finding active members (especially for Croatian) was tough. That said, when I do get feedback, I really like the criteria.

    For audio, you’re scored on accent, intonation, fluency, and pronunciation. You’re rated as either “adequate to good”, “good to excellent” or “needs work”. For written entries, you’re scored based on grammatical accuracy, punctuation, spelling, and style. For both, when members offer feedback, they also have a space to leave you more specific comments.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    The Pro’s of Using Lingora

    Everything is available to you in one convenient place. // The platform offers you a place to practice your writing, your speaking, to chat with native speakers or other learners, and even find a tutor. You don’t need any external equipment. Lingora even includes a built-in audio recorder that converts the audio files for you.

    It’s free. // With the exception of lessons with a professional tutor, Lingora is entirely free to use. For those learning a language on a budget, this is an incredible tool for getting valuable feedback.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    They offer prompts so that you have support if you’re not sure what to record or write. // One of the toughest things to do when you hit record or sit down to write in your new language is coming up with ideas. What should you write or talk about? Unless you have something specific in mind to practice, it’s hard to avoid rambling or to feel confident when you need to click the “submit” button. Thankfully, Lingora has already thought of this. Whether you’re using the writing or audio recording tool, you’re shown a list of prompts to help you get started (or to stretch outside your comfort zone). You can choose a theme, and then from that theme, any one of several prompts to help you get started.

    You can view chats between other members. // In addition to starting your own chats, you can also check out chats between other members. Initially, I was surprised when I first noticed this feature but I think it’s a positive thing for two reasons. First, it’s a way of moderating the discussions between members. When participants know other members will see your conversations, they’re less likely to engage in anything that isn’t above board. Second, it offers the Lingora community the chance to get reading practice and learn from the conversations taking place.

    You get weekly summaries of your feedback. // At the end of the week, Lingora sends you an email with summaries of the feedback you’ve received on whatever you submitted. It’s a great reminder to log back in and get more practice AND get an overhead view of how you did the previous week.

    Free Language Feedback & Practice with Lingora | Eurolinguiste

    Features I Feel Can Improve

    Lingora has a lot of potential, but there are a few things that could be improved. First, as far as I can tell, you can only search for exchange partners based on the language they’re learning, not on the language they speak natively. If you’re hoping to connect with a native speaker, this isn’t very helpful. The search features could definitely be improved with the addition of more filters and options.

    Second, the cost for lessons is a little higher than the average compared to other online tutoring sites. That said, they do have unique options – some of the tutors offer “on location” lessons.

    Finally, as I mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of members who speak languages like Croatian (and the members that are there don’t seem to be active). But this will surely change in time as its membership continues to grow.

    To Sum Up

    I really liked the motivation behind Lingora and I think it has a lot to offer learners. It’s still a small community, so at the moment, it’s not as active as it could be, but this is sure to change in time. If you’re looking for places to get speaking or writing practice in your language and to get feedback on how you’re doing, Lingora could be a great option.

    Learn more about Lingora.

    What about you?

    How do you get your speaking and writing practice? Have you tried Lingora? What did you think?

    I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

    August 21, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 226

  • Announcing the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge

    For the past few years, I’ve hosted the Language Learning Reading Challenge. It’s grown into a fun community of learners, but I wanted to take things further. 

    Reading is an incredible way to get comprehensible input, but it’s also an enjoyable way to work on your languages. 

    Through the Language Learning Reading Challenge, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of incredible language learners who also love reading. And while the monthly prompts are a great way to combine the two, I also thought the community could benefit from a more intensive version of the challenge.

    Hence the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge. 

    The 30 Day Language Reading Challenge

    So what’s the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge and how is it different from the normal challenge?

    The normal challenge is year long and each month has a theme. And while I encourage participants to read in their languages each month, it’s not required as long as the reading benefits your knowledge of the language (or it’s culture or even learning strategies) in some way.

    In the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge, only reading done in your target language counts. 

    During the 30 days, we’ll aim to rack up as much reading as we can. We’ll count pages (or words) read, keep track of new phrases and words we’re learning, what they mean, and share weekly summaries of what we’ve read – in our target languages! 

    It’s going to be a ton of fun. 

    If you’re interested in the 30 Day Language Reading Challenge, you can sign up here.

    Join the Challenge

    I hope to see you in the challenge. We’re starting September 1st, 2018. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: Will there be another challenge after the one in September?

    A: Most likely, but that will depend on participation in the September challenge.

    Q: What should I read?

    A: Whatever you like. Whether it’s coursebook dialogues or crime fiction, news articles or comic books, it doesn’t matter. The goal is to get you reading in your target language every day for an entire month.

    Q: Where will the challenge take place?

    A: The challenge prompts will be sent out via email, but the conversation will take place on Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, that’s not a problem. You’ll have access to all the documentation and can still share your progress with me via email.

    Q: How do I count how much I’ve read?

    A: If reading digitally (ebooks or with LingQ), these tools can help you do this. If you’re reading a physical book, count the number of pages you read per day. If a dialogue is most of a page, it counts as one page. If it’s half or less, it counts as half a page. Any English (or native language to you) explanations do not count towards your reading if you’re working with a textbook.

    Join the Challenge

    If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

    August 9, 2018 • Language Resources • Views: 326