This blog post reposted with permission. Originally appeared here on Kokothepolyglot’s blog site.
I Finished The Italki October Language Challenge Early!
-15 October, 2014 By Koko Polyglot

Well this is an unexpected but pleasant surprise! Not only am I happy to announce that I’ve already completed the italki October Language Challenge early but I also got in one extra lesson as well. How cool is that? I guess the third time really was the charm. Since I have a lot going on this month, I had to book as many sessions in a short amount of time. Which meant there were times I had 3 lessons in one day! That was intense but I have to say my spoken Japanese has made quite a bit of improvement.

Book All Your Sessions Ahead Of Time

girl-408066_1280This is probably one of the best tips LindsayDoesLanguages recommends and this time it worked out really well for me! I made sure that I booked all if not most prior to the sessions themselves. Especially since I joined the language later than I did the last two. But unlike the last two, I was able to make sure every lesson was booked accordingly. Which meant taking up to three sessions in one day while tutoring students as well! By booking in advance you can work your schedule around the sessions instead of trying to fit them in when you can.

I think my biggest mistake in the previous challenges was that I did not book enough sessions in advance. Had I done that I would have been able to take all sessions and even have time to reschedule ones that conflicted with the tutor’s schedule.

Use A Variety Of Tutors

This might be better advice for some languages rather than others. Especially if there aren’t many tutors for your target language. Luckily, Japanese is popular enough that I was able to use a wide variety of tutors to work with. Each Community Tutor and Professional Teacher have their unique method of teaching that you could benefit from the variety while finding out which tutors are best for you. Find tutors who cater to your specific needs and go from there. I recommend the following tutors for Japanese: Annie, Haru, Gosxi, Koichi, momonoki01, Tomaliko, Yuki, Tatsu, Masa, and Teacher 華子 (Hanako).

If you’re looking for reading practice during your session I would recommend Noriko just for that.

多分人気な言語の方が便利アドバイスでしょう。特に希有な言語のチューターが少ないです。日本語は大人気な言語ですから、チューターが多いです。各レッスンはいつも違いますので、色々なチューターのレッスンを取ってみた方がいいです。あなた達の一番チューターを見つけましょう。おすすめチューターはAnnieさん、Haruさん、Gosxiさん、康一さん、桃の木01さん、Tomalikoさん、Yukiさん, Tatsuさん、Masaさん、と華子です

読書の練習したいなら、Norikoさんは僕のおすすめです。

Focus On What You Want To Accomplish

Setting goals for what you would like to achieve in your target language is important. My main goal for Japanese was to express myself more fluidly when I spoke. I felt like I was about to complete that goal because it was my primary focus. While I did get reading in, I didn’t get a chance to read the Nightmare Before Christmas in Japanese yet. So maybe I’ll get a chance to read at least the first two chapters before the end of the month. I’ll will keep you updated on how that goes and what unique words I’ve learned along the way.

I always try to do something to keep me motivated during these challenges and doing a multitude of things can help you improve both input (reading and listening) as well as output (speaking and writing).

What Next?

I’m going to be focusing on Japanese for quite some time but moving on to my next language adventure. I will keep you updated when it is needed to be revealed. In the meantime, I will be attempting to read the Nightmare Before Christmas completely in Japanese. My goal for that was to read at least two chapters. This will be my make priority for Japanese next week. I will also be doing my SRS repetitions on Memrise and LingQ as well as watch interesting content in Japanese.

How are you doing in the italki October Language Challenge? Have you completed the challenge already? Still have a ways to go? Almost done? I would love to hear about your progress!

皆さんの進行はどうですか?もう勝ちましたか?まだ続きませんか?まあまあですか?是非、コメントして下さいね。また来週ね。

HOW TO LEARN ANY LANGUAGE ANYWHERE

September 25th, 2014 | Posted by Jim in Motivation | tips - (0 Comments)

We discovered this post on Backpacking Brunette, it’s a great blog written by Alex who is living her post-college life exploring new cities, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people.  In this particular blog post, she shares how she has been learning Spanish and how she uses italki to help her reach her language learning goals.  When we read it, we wanted to share this with the entire italki community as it’s full of great tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of italki.  Reposted with permission from Alex.  Original post here.

IMG_0181One of the reasons I decided to au pair in Spain is because I’ve always had an interest in learning Spanish.

I completed four years of Spanish classes in high school, but unfortunately, I did not continue my language studies in college. I could kick myself for that now. In preparation of living in a village where the majority of people do not speak any English, I brushed up on my Spanish with the help of a website called italki.

You can learn absolutely anything nowadays without even leaving the comfort of your home thanks to the internet. It’s amazing. My boyfriend, Taylor, discovered the wonders of italki when he was searching for native speakers to practice his Spanish with (unlike me, he actually stuck with it in college). He also used the site to learn some Italian before we went to Europe! (more…)

This is a guest blog post from our friends at Lingua.ly.  We love this app as it turns your mobile phone into a language learning experience. Download the Lingua.ly Android App.  Reposted with permission.  Here is the original blog link.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Listening in a Second or Foreign Language

 

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Listening is harder than reading– a sentiment shared by language learners around the world. In fact, one of the greatest fears of the language student is using a phrase correctly and being unable to handle the onslaught of native speaker speech received as a response. So, why is it that spoken language seems so difficult to process in comparison to the written word and what can a learner do to improve comprehension? Read on to find out!

1. Listening happens in real-time
Unlike with reading, listening forces you to process language as it is delivered. That means you don’t have an opportunity to pause the activity to look up a word in the dictionary. But it’s important not to panic, as this conscious monitoring of the listening process can cause you to miss the rest of what is being said as well. Learn to relax your brain and keep your mind open until the listening text comes to a natural pause.

2. Listening doesn’t mean you hear every word
Listening is something we do naturally and many people don’t realise that even in our native tongues we don’t necessarily register every word someone says. Instead we pick up on keywords which give us the information we need to make inferences about who, when, where and most importantly what we are listening to. So listen for the big picture words and let your brain fill in the rest. (more…)

Introducing italki Articles!

April 4th, 2014 | Posted by Jim in announcement | teachers | tips - (0 Comments)

articlesWe’re happy to announce our newest feature –  italki Articles!  

italki Articles are cultural and language learning tips which have been exclusively written by italki teachers and language learning enthusiasts for the italki language learning community.

We’ve got thousands of italki teachers on italki teaching all the world’s languages.

Many of our teachers have some great language learning tips and advice that they’ve accumulated over years of teaching their language.

Many of our teachers are also great writers.

italki articles allows these teachers to share their experiences with language learning and culture with the entire italki community. (more…)

Our friend and supporter, Benny the Irish Polyglot, has recently taken up learning Japanese. Here’s a fun little video that he put together which also features our italki Japanese teacher Yuri. (more…)