italki 2016 New Year Language Challenge Public Pledge videos !

January 15th, 2016 | Posted by Kevin Z in Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on italki 2016 New Year Language Challenge Public Pledge videos !)

Don’t forget to sign up for yourself, this time is FREE! Get the New Year of to a great start! Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by making a public commitment, are likely to reach your goals because others are watching.  Use peer-pressure to your advantage! Help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave words of encouragement on their notebook entries!

Roman  from Russia is learning ASL(American Sign Language)

Roman is a member of Mobile App development team in italki. He has already completed previous italki Language Challenges and this time he’s going to discover the mysteries of ASL (American Sign Language)! The rest of our team enjoyed his public pledge video, so give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

Tay is learning Italian!

She’s been learning Italian for a year already and has set goals to master pronouns and carry on a conversation with a native speaker.  We have no doubt she will see lots of improvement in time for her to lead a tour to Italy!

 

Laeticia is learning Korean!

We have no doubt she’ll soon be ordering food like a champion and chatting all day on KakaoTalk with her friends in Korea!  Good luck!

Kai from Singapore is learning Korean!

 

Mamen  from Spain is learning Italian!

Mamen is a professional Spanish teacher on italki and she’s participating our New Year’s Language Challenge learning Italian!

 

Indran from Missouri, USA is learning Arabic!

He already has a lot of confidence while speaking!  Best of luck to Indran as he continues to improve his Arabic.

 

 

Alyssa is learning Slovene!

AND FRENCH!!!

Alyssa has studied French before but is worried she will forget her it if she doesn’t use it.  What a great opportunity to refresh skills she learned in the past!  Use it, so you don’t lose it!

 

Omar from Mexico City is learning Latin!

Omar already speaks fluent Spanish and English.  Now he has the dream to travel to Vatican City to attend and understand a mass with the Pope…given entirely in Latin!  Good luck, Omar!  Carpe Diem!

Hannah a.k.a. Océanne is learning Icelandic and Finnish

Hannah’s friends have been telling her about italki for a long time and she’s ready to join us.   Good luck learning Icelandic!  We look forward to seeing your progress!

 

Eileen is learning Portuguese!

Her goal is to speak fearlessly when talking to her tutor.  We have no doubt she will be chatting like a pro after our challenge!

 

Michaela from New Zealand is studying Hebrew and Arabic!

Good luck Michaela!  Your hard work is going to pay off!

Vera is working to improve her English!

Good job, Vera.  Your English is already very good, and it will continue to improve with this challenge.

Kevin is learning Urdu!

Wow, it already sounds great Kevin.  Keep up the good work!

 

Learning a Language: It Takes a Village

December 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in Motivation | tips - (Comments Off on Learning a Language: It Takes a Village)

We live in an age of “being connected”. The number of smartphone users connected to the internet is expected to reach 6.1 Billion in the next 5 years. By this point in time, around 70% of the world’s population will have access to the internet (and the vast majority of human knowledge) in their pocket.

This constant connection is incredibly useful. From buying groceries, looking up a quick fact, getting directions, or speaking to someone on the other side of the world, this connectedness is convenient.

The convenience of online solutions to life’s problems necessarily touch language learning as well. Learning a language on your own can be a rewarding hobby, and there are plenty of tools to help you along. From learning vocabulary on Memrise to watching video lessons on Youtube, to using Anki flashcards and reading blogs about language education, the internet is a great place to find resources. Even italki has advice for how to move your language learning forward by yourself.

Unfortunately, there is often a temptation to limit one’s education to just these solitary activities. It is understandable why: we like activities in which we can easily see our progress. Memorizing a hundred words using flashcards is a rewarding activity. It creates the experience of progress. The experience of memorization gives us immediate feedback, and because of this it is easy to get caught-up in the exercises, and forget that language is inherently a social activity. In fact, there are theories of language development that explain the evolution of language as a way to expand our social groups. (This theory also thinks of language as a form of grooming, as seen ape societies.)

Though it is possible, and often makes sense to practice individual language skills alone (for example, building up vocabulary), it is through integration of these individual skills that we get the practice which will help us approach fluency.

Moreover, the rewards of learning are not the numbers of memorized words or the efficiency with which you construct sentences. The fundamental reward of speaking a foreign language is gaining perspective, understanding someone from a different culture and world, and being understood by them. Experiencing the social rewards of the work you are doing by learning a foreign language will encourage you to keep going. That magical moment of understanding and being understood makes the process of studying and practicing worthwhile.

As we enter the holiday season, a time many countries and societies celebrate togetherness, family, and connection to their communities, we hope you take the opportunity to practice your language skills, and share your excitement about learning languages with those close to you, perhaps even by speaking to them in their own languages! Don’t get lost in solo practice, but reward yourself and connect with others by sharing the wonder and excitement of language learning.

 

 

 

 

italki October 2015 Language Challenge BEFORE and AFTER videos !

November 17th, 2015 | Posted by Nicolò Talignani in feature | Language Challenge | Learning English | members | Motivation - (Comments Off on italki October 2015 Language Challenge BEFORE and AFTER videos !)

Check out Videos of Students Who Completed the October 2015 Language Challenge!

So, first of all we would like to thank everyone of you who have joined the October 2015 Language Challenge. Whatever your reasons of learning languages, we hope that by doing this challenge you will have a consistent language learning habit throughout 2015!

Here are some of the best videos that we received for this challenge:

Alex Barnes from United Kingdom completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning German!

In July Alex already did italki language challenge in Chinese and this time he would like to do it in German. He studied Chinese and German at University in England but last year he was in China, so he has forgotten a lot of German. Alex has no particular goals but he wants to improve his pronunciation and accent and to be a bit more fluent when he talks. He has finished his October Language Challenge.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Alex Gureev from Russia completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning English!

He decided for this Language Challenge to improve his English skills.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Blair from the United States completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Dutch!

Blair wants to improve his target language that is Dutch.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Israel from China completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Swedish!

Israel decided to learn Swedish because he is leaving in Sweden right now! He has finished his italki October Language Challenge!

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Helga from Russia completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Italian!

Helga was going to learn Italian. She speaks Italian quiet well but she was so struggle with propositions, articles and talking about the past.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Jesper from Denmark completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Japanese!

Jesper has just completed the italki October Language Challenge where he was studying Japanese!

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Pierre Bredel from Brazil completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning English!

Pierre is learning English. This was his fifth italki Language Challenge.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Zeeshan from the United States completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Spanish!

Zeeshan is learning Spanish. This time he was going to a continue practice in his Spanish because he wanted to achieve a really high level. His goal is to able to sustain high level conversations and more advanced topics such as global warming or alternative energies.

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Ric from the United States completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Spanish!

The main goal for Ric was to be able to speak Spanish faster!

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

Jonathan from the United States completed October 2015 Language Challenge learning Spanish and Italian!

Jonathan is learning Spanish and Italian. He wanted to improve his Spanish also because his family speak Spanish. Moreover Jonathan wanted to improve his Italian because he travels frequently for work in Italy!

Here is the public video pledge that he made before the challenge:

And here is the video after challenge:

 

We really do hope that after the challenge you will not stop learning languages. We hope that this challenge gives you that extra push to keep learning languages throughout the year!

 

2015 October italki Challenge Winners – Send us your After Video and earn an extra 50 ITC!

November 9th, 2015 | Posted by Iker in announcement | feature | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on 2015 October italki Challenge Winners – Send us your After Video and earn an extra 50 ITC!)

We finished the 2015 October italki Language Challenge! 6 hours of italki lessons in October!

Even though this was only 6 hours, completing the Challenge was definitely hard!  A few of us at italki took the Challenge and here are our results!

Marketa learning Chinese Completed!
Roman learning Japanese Completed!

We just did some calculations and found out that a whopping 94% of Challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge for the October Challenge actually completed the Challenge!

In italki tradition, we’re awarding 50ITC as bonus for an after video.  Below is Marketa’s AFTER Video for Chinese!

Marketa’s AFTER Video for Chinese

Join us by making your very own AFTER video!

If you won the Challenge, here’s your chance to show off your Challenge achievements in a video. Not only that, but we’ll be rewarding you with an additional 50 ITC! 

Here are some ideas of what you can include in your video:

Show off your improvement in the language you were learning

  • Introduce yourself and tell us what language(s) you were learning for the Challenge
  • Tell us about your italki teacher(s). What did you like about them?
  • What did you learn about learning a new language after completing the Challenge?
  • Do you have any advice for people who are thinking of taking the Challenge in the future?

Label the video: “(italki username) completed the italki Language Challenge October 2015!”

Write a Notebook Entry “I completed the italki Language Challenge October 2015″ and paste the YouTube/Youku URL.

Send the link to your notebook entry to support(at)italki.com and we will send you a 50 ITC voucher straight away!

And we leave you with some last words from Marketa:

“October has come to an end and so has the italki Language Challenge. It is the first event of this kind that I have ever attempted, but I already know it will not be the last one. The Challenge helped me realise that having set a clear goal and telling both my friends and colleagues about it made Chinese learning more fun, and helped me speed up my progress. I simply could not fail with this many people supporting me and asking about my improvement!

I cannot tell how much my spoken Chinese has actually improved, but the feedback I received was positive and inspiring. The main reason I signed up for the challenge was to become a more confident speaker and that, I believe, worked out well.”

Congrats to everyone and see you at the next Challenge!

 

NYC Polyglot Conference 2015 – A Few Thoughts on #PCNYC15

November 5th, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in event | italki Team | Motivation - (Comments Off on NYC Polyglot Conference 2015 – A Few Thoughts on #PCNYC15)

 

“What’s in a name?” – William Shakespeare.

On October 10th and 11th the largest polyglot conference yet took place in New York City. The event saw the coming together of 400+ polyglots, and some of the most influential speakers in the field of foreign language education and linguistics. The speaker line-up was star-studded, with talks delivered by John McWorter, Loraine Obler, Barry Farber, and other celebrity scholars, linguists, and polyglots. The talks covered diverse topics from finding work through your passion for language to historical linguistics.

When discussing this event with others, the question that inevitably arises is, “What, or who, is a polyglot?”

So many languages, so little time

A traditional definition of a polyglot is a “person who speaks, writes, or reads multiple languages”. This definition does not quite capture what those attending the Polyglot Conference seem to mean when referring to “the polyglot community”. In becoming a community, the word itself gains a special, distinct meaning.

There are many reasons why one may speak several languages, including upbringing, education, extended family or friends. We collect languages and bits of languages in environments where multiple languages are present. Growing up in multiple countries will very likely to result in someone who at least “speaks a little bit of X, Y, and Z”. Depending on the particular situation and circumstance, a person can grow up perfectly quadrilingual without much conscious effort or significant notice of the linguistic feat.

Attempts to define “polyglot” begs the answer to yet another question: what does it mean to ”speak” a language?

The range of “speaking”, so often designated as “fluency” can be hard to pin down. Designation through a system of proficiency levels (A1 – C2) can also break down. There are, technically, no Esperanto speakers at a C2 level (as the test for the C2 level does not exist), though there are, of course, plenty of fluent and native speakers of Esperanto.

In addition, language is not a perfectly testable skill, and varies with domain specificity. A native fluent speaker of English, for example, would still have trouble comprehending a lecture on human anatomy. Speaking “doctor” and speaking “English” are different skills. Though both are contained within the umbrella designation of “English”, listening to an intense, specialized conversation between doctors can be as incomprehensible to an average English speaker, as listening to a conversation in Farsi or Afrikaans.

The city of New York is teeming with languages. The language landscape of the city is at a rolling boil. Pockets of language communities are everywhere, and though most people speak English, having a 2nd or a 3rd language is entirely unsurprising. If anything, single-language speakers may be in the minority here. The old joke goes “a person speaking 3 languages is trilingual, two – bilingual, and one – and American. New York defies this stereotype.

There is, however, a difference between the polyglot population of New York (or any other place in the world) and the sort of polyglots that willingly cross states, countries, and oceans in order to attend the conference.The people that came together to spend a weekend celebrating language are actively seeking out exposure, continuously learning and exposing themselves to the fear and vulnerability of making mistakes, being uncomfortable, and saying the wrong thing. While many of those in attendance can be quite shy this tolerance for vulnerability is inspiring.

This attitude, this purposeful vulnerability, is something that seems to tie the community together. Seeking out a new environment, a new perspective, a new door of perception through which to connect with others: that is a polyglot. In this sense, a polyglot is someone who actively seeks perspective and connection through the eyes of a speaker of a different language.

What the Polyglot Conference atmosphere has achieved a sense of community, of curiosity, and of support for learning. italki is extremely proud of sponsoring and participating this event, and hope that the speakers and participants, as well as italki students and teachers, will carry this open-minded, can-do attitude into the world.

Our favorite summary of the experience comes from Siskia Lagomarsino, also known as “The Polyglotist”:

“From what I saw this week, the “polyglot community” has grown beyond the definition of a polyglot being a person who speaks more than two languages: it is now a denomination for anybody who loves languages in general, without foolish distinctions based on ability, work or number of languages. “

We are excited to be part of this community, and truly look forward to meeting again in Thessaloniki 2016.