italki Learns (about) Esperanto

August 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in event | feature | Motivation | teachers | tips - (Comments Off on italki Learns (about) Esperanto)

Saluton! This week italki is trying out a new language. We decided to focus on esperanto – the constructed language created in 1887. 

Why esperanto, rather than any other conlang?

Well, first of all, we’ve recently sponsored a language meet-up in Germany, based entirely around esperanto: International Youth Congress (IJK). We saw around 300 young people get together in Wiesbaden to practice esperanto, listen to lectures, and get their 100ITC voucher. 

Besides simply showing support to the esperantists of the world, we are involved in the event and are involved in the esperanto community because esperanto learners need support. The fate of the lone esperantist can be difficult.

There are many reasons to learn this language:

… but, it still seems that esperanto is seen as an odd hobby. There are very few native speakers, and this language, though built on a beautiful dream, has not found as much traction as it’s creator probably hoped.

It is, however, a very useful language to learn. We are actively looking for esperanto teachers, and are doing everything we can to support the community. The most important issue that the lone esperantist has is the lack of speakers with whom to practice day-to-day. Though IJK, polyglot gatherings, and other events help to build community, many esperantists get to meet and practice the language in person.

That’s great, but once the language enthusiasts disperse, there is often difficulty in practicing the language in a natural environment. Sure, there is media out there to support esperanto learning.

We feel that practice, one-on-one, is the best way to learn or keep up a language, so we have decided to put some effort behind building the esperanto community online, on italki.

In the spirit of support for the esperanto community, we have decided to take a few esperanto lessons with our teachers.

italki, meet esperanto!

First, esperanto tutor Teddy presented a “Chinese version” for Chinese speakers in the office, and later that week, we gathered again for the “English version” delivered by esperanto teacher Tim.

Teddy Nee, who runs Nee’s Language Blog and the author of two italki Articles on esperanto, described the basics of esperanto grammar, including descriptions of the different parts of speech, plurals, and use of the accusative. 

Tim Morley (mentioned above for his TEDX talk) gave us a fascinating description of worldwide esperanto community events and organizations such as the World Congress, IJK, and Pasporta Servo.

Members of six cultures and speakers of so many languages, tried to get the basics of this cool language while in our office. Sometimes we just like to take a step back and look at how awesome the future is. 

We’re very thankful and glad that we have such cool teachers, and are really proud to support the esperanto community.

italki June 2015 Language Challenge BEFORE and AFTER videos !

July 21st, 2015 | Posted by Romain in feature | Language Challenge | Learning English | Learning Japanese | members | Motivation - (Comments Off on italki June 2015 Language Challenge BEFORE and AFTER videos !)

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

So, first of all we would like to thank everyone of you who have joined the June 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 from England completed June 2015 Language Challenge learning Mandarin Chinese!

Alex is actually living in Beijing and want to improve his general language skills. His family came in July and he wanted to be able to handle every possible situations!

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Jonathan from France successfully completed the Challenge!

He choose to learn Spanish with three different teachers from all over the world to familiarize himself with accents and pronunciation, a great idea !

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Pierre from Brasil completed the Language Challenge! His fourth Language Challenge!

He decided to improve his English for this language challenge.

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

And here is the video after challenge, we can see the progress:

Jimmy Mello from Brazil took the Language Challenge and complete it!

Jimmy Mello has been a member of italki for two years, and is really involved in learning languages! He’s a Professional Teacher but also an avid language learner!  He decided to learn Polish for this Language Challenge with… his own method: the Mello Method!

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

Before the challenge he never spoke Polish before and made some great progress! See for yourself:

Yang from China successfully completed the challenge and learned Swedish!

He had a great teacher and is waiting from the new Language Challenge!

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

Yang made some great progress in his Swedish:

Charlotte from Sweden/Germany learned French during this Language Challenge!

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

“La langue de Molière” is difficult but here are her progress after one month of learning:

Zeeshan from United States completed the Language Challenge!

He learned Spanish and Japanese due to a personal interest of the culture. Zeeshan feels he made real progress during the challenge and we congratulate him.

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Scott from United States decided to learn Spanish during this Language Challenge!

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Hank also from United States learned German during this Language Challenge!

He pledged and swore that he would take 12 hours of lessons in June… and he succeeded!

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Helga from Russia successfully completed the Language Challenge!

She went on holiday to Italy so she decided to improve her speaking skills.

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Bianca from United States completed the Language Challenge to learn Spanish!

She’s going to be a Reading tutor in Spanish, so she needs to improve her pronunciation.

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

And here is the video after challenge:

Vitor from Portugal really likes learning new languages!

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

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!



Challenge recap!

The June 2015 Language Challenge has ended and it was an amazing success!

55% of challengers completed the challenge!

We did an analysis of this Challenge and it was similar to our previous Challenges (2015 New Year’s Challenge Wrap-Up2014 October Challenge2014 World Cup Challenge2014 New Year’s Challenge). For this challenge:

The challenge was to complete 12 hours of language lessons in the month of June (June 1st to June 30th) to win a reward of 300ITC!

We had challengers from all over the world; 80 countries were represented!

Top 5 countries participating :

1. United States of America
2. United Kingdom
3. Russian Federation
4. Australia
5. Brazil

And we even had some language learners from the below these countries (wow!):

– Syrian Arab Republic
– Puerto Rico
– Turkmenistan
– Zimbabwe
– Trinidad & Tobago
– Angola
– Libya
– Venezuela

52 different languages were learned during the challenge.

The 5 most popular languages that our challengers were learning were:

1. Spanish
2. English
3. Chinese

4. French
5. Japanese

We also had a much greater representation from our less common languages like:

– Latvian
– Belorussian
– Persian
– Telugu
– Cebuano
– Tamil

Other interesting tidbits:

91% of challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge completed the Challenge! Wow – that pretty much means if you make a Public Video Pledge, you’ll complete the Challenge.
– One hardcore challenger complete 77.5 hours of lessons! That’s more than and hour and a half of lessons each day.
– One of our challengers (Sylin from France who actually speaks more than 30 languages!) learned 15 languages during the challenge!
10% of the challengers were also teachers.
3% just missed the challenge by one hour or less! Ouch.

Also a big congrats to some of our italki staff who finished the challenge like this guy below… (again they all get to keep their jobs!)


 We finished the 2015 June Language Challenge! 12 hours of italki lessons in June! (well some of us did)

italkersEven though this was only 12 hours, completing the Challenge was definitely hard!  A few of us at italki took the Challenge and here are our results!

Tracy learning Esperanto (in Chinese) Completed!
Ivan learning Chinese Completed!
Javi learning Chinese Completed!
Andrey learning Chinese Did not Complete the Challenge!

Andrey wanted to clarify that “My Chinese Teacher went on vacation halfway through the Challenge and I really didn’t want to get another one.  If I did, I’m sure I would have completed the Challenge!”

Excuses aside, it’s hard and that’s why it’s called a Challenge!  We just did some calculations and found out that a whopping 91% of Challengers who submitted a Public Video Pledge for the June Challenge actually completed the Challenge!

In italki tradition, we’re awarding 50ITC as bonus for an after video.  Below is Tracy’s AFTER Video for Esperanto.  She started with zero Esperanto ability!

Tracy’s AFTER Video for Esperanto

Join us by making your very own AFTER video!

If you won the Challenge and previously sent into to us your Before video, 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 2015 italki June Language Challenge!”

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

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

And we leave you with some last words from Tracy:

“So, even though I took the language challenge to learn Esperanto, I actually ended up learning a lot about time management and good study habits.  
Specifically, I sometimes have trouble scheduling things in advance because I worry about what other things might happen that I’ll need to adjust to, but once I actually booked the classes and got them on my calendar, it was actually sort of a relief to know for sure what my schedule would be like.  Even if you’re really busy, just book the classes in advance. Yes, I gave some things up to finish my classes, but it’s all about priorities.

I also learned some things about watching which study habits were easy or difficult for me to maintain.  It’s important to practice every day, but I would recommend choosing a “passive” thing to practice every day – for example writing out sentences or reading something.  Not because passive practice is better than active practice, but because you’re probably more likely to actually do it!

And I never would have WANTED to finish it without my awesome italki teachers.  It’s a great feeling to WANT to review your material so you can have another great conversation soon!”

Congrats to everyone and see you at the next Challenge!


The 2015 June Language Challenge has Ended!

July 1st, 2015 | Posted by Jim in announcement | Language Challenge | Motivation - (Comments Off on The 2015 June Language Challenge has Ended!)

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2015 June Language Challenge! It’s over now and we’re busy calculating the winners and losers. Final announcements will be made on July 7th as any sessions taken on June 30th need 7 days to auto-confirm if you haven’t confirmed sessions manually. We’ll also be depositing the 300ITC reward for completing the Challenge on July 7th as well!

5 of our italki staff also participated in the Challenge and they are busy compiling a great after video about how they felt balancing work, life and language learning to finish the challenge. Each of them wrote updates about their experiences taking the Challenge and if you haven’t read them, direct links are below:

Ivan’s Update
Tracy’s Update
Javi’s Update
Andrey’s Update

Note: William is missing because he’s back home visiting family and friends in Indonesia!