He made public posts about his progress to hold himself accountable for his weekly goals. He agreed to write a guest post for us, from one successful Challenger to all the italki Language Challengers!
When Brendan started, he was a total beginner. After 6 weeks, in the final step of the Esperanto Challenge, he uploaded this 4-minute video of himself speaking Esperanto!
Learning a language is not an easy task, even if it’s supposed to be an easy one like Esperanto.
Starting in May, I participated in the Six Week Language Learning Challenge, and there was a special challenge with prizes to learn Esperanto. Since I had just begun my studies in Esperanto, and one of the organizers OK’d me to be able to do it, I thought it’d be great.
Over the course of the challenge, I put in 40 hours (more or less) of hard work. I started with a beginner’s Esperanto course. I found out about Esperanto through reddit which led me to the ureddit course Esperanto 101. It had finished a couple months before I got there, so I contacted the teacher and she offered to correct quizzes and offer extra help. I went through her six lessons (ranging from thirty minutes to an hour) and it really gave me a solid foundation for the language.
That, and a separate, unrelated course through Anki, also called Esperanto 101, were my main sources for learning the language. Anki is a flash card site (or app, as I used it) that uses a spaced repetition system to help you better learn the material. The deck I used had about 1000 cards with essential words. Besides Anki and the ureddit Esperanto 101 course, I used lang-8 for practicing grammar and the book Teach Yourself Esperanto.
Teach Yourself Esperanto is a book course for learning Esperanto and though I only made it five or six chapters in, it was definitely the best tool for learning the language in my opinion. The content was thorough and the exercises were challenging. Those were my resources but my goals are what really pushed me along.
At the start of each week I’d set high standards for myself. I usually figured I wouldn’t reach all my goals, but what was most important for me was setting how many hours I would study and reaching that goal if nothing else. Also, every single day I would complete a certain amount of Anki flash cards.
I was not so great about reaching my other goals, but what really held me back was that I didn’t have my goals somewhere I could easily look at them each day. That is really important. I started the challenge really strong then got a bit lazy. Don’t ever allow yourself to get lazy because there’s always enough time in the day to get a lot done. At the end of this challenge, I feel very confident and believe I made tremendous progress.
I can understand plenty of Esperanto, and I think if I continue to work at it the rest of this summer, I could be very far along in the language. Good luck if you’re learning Esperanto (I have really enjoyed learning it!) or any other language! I promise it’s worth it.