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!

 

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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.

 

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When I was asked to join the italki October 2015 Language Challenge, I was a little hesitant. Not that I did not want to participate, but I felt a little intimidated – as an introverted person the idea of shooting a video pledge simply scared me.

However, the more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the whole concept of sharing my progress and inspiring other people to take the challenge with me.

How am I doing?

First of all, let me tell you that on its own, 6 hours is not that much time to make huge progress, especially when I work and also have several essays to write for university back in the Czech Republic at the same time.

Right now it is almost the end of week 1 of the challenge and so far I have only finished 2 sessions out of 6. I decided to stick to having sessions with only one teacher throughout the challenge as I seriously need to work on my sentence structure and I feel I would lose too much time explaining what my weak points in Chinese are before each and every session.

Anna, my Chinese teacher, tailored the sessions to suit my needs. During the first half an hour we usually go through a written dialogue from a textbook, reading it out loud, explaining grammar points, new words and structures. The second half an hour is focused on speaking. I summarize the dialogue using given vocabulary, answer various questions about it and then we just have   a random chat about ourselves, our plans or other current topics like Chinese holidays or food. I particularly like this part of our class because not only do I learn about the Chinese language, but Anna also explains a lot about the Chinese culture which is very helpful in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the Chinese mentality and lifestyle.

Finding the right strategy

Revising what I have learned during my italki sessions is a crucial part of learning. Honestly, at first I had not been doing very well. I was lucky enough to realize this at the very beginning though. From then I started adding all of my new vocabulary into Anki, a spaced repetition flashcard program that I highly recommend.

Also, using new structures in sentences and rewriting them over and over again turned out to be helpful. Above all, I found that the most important aspect of the revision process is reading out loud! I cannot stress enough how immensely it helps me. As for me, speaking is essentially the hardest thing to master when it comes to learning a new language.

Having adopted this strategy, I believe my progress will be more evident and I will eventually reach my goal of being able to hold a 5-minute conversation about myself with one of my Chinese colleagues.

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See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

 

Amy from the United States, is learning Cantonese

Amy is a Chinese Professional Teacher and this time she is going to learn Cantonese. Her goal is to be able to express herself fully. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Blair from the United States, is learning Dutch

Blair wants to improve his target language that is Dutch. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Zeeshan from the United States, is learning Spanish

Zeeshan is learning Spanish. This time he is going to a continue practice in his Spanish because he wants 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. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Diego from Chile, is learning Russian

He has already completed the June challenge and this is his second time taking the Language Challenge on italki. The previous challenge was in Czech, now he chooses Russian. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Sang from United Kingdom, is learning Korean

Sang is taking part of italki October Challenge. He has chosen Korean because he likes the culture, dramas and food. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Scott from the United States, is learning Spanish

Scott is going to continue learning Spanish. He hopes to work a little bit more on verb tenses. He wants to expand his vocabulary and just learn some of culture things. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookDigg thisTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on StumbleUpon

See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

 

Helga from Russia, is learning Italian

Helga is going to learn Italian. She speaks Italian quiet well but she is so struggle with propositions, articles and talking about the past. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Kheryee from Malaysia, is learning French

Kheryee is learning French. Her goal at the end of the challenge would be to carry out two minutes of conversation in French with a stranger. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Jonathan from the United States, is learning Spanish and Italian

Jonathan is learning Spanish and Italian. He wants to improve his Spanish also because his family speak Spanish. Moreover Jonathan wants to improve his Italian because he travels frequently for work in Italy. Cheer him on by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Frank from the United States, is learning Spanish

Frank is learning Spanish. He wants to improve his listening and speaking. His goal is to have a conversation with a native speaker for five or ten minutes. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jesee from the United States, is learning Spanish

Jesee is going to learn Spanish. His goal is just to become more natural to speak Spanish. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Mr Coffee from France, is learning Spanish

Mr Coffee is going to learn Spanish. He lives in Argentina and he would like to improve his grammar.  Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Clarissa from Australia, is learning Icelandic

Clarissa is going to learn Icelandic. Her goal is to be able to hold a basic conversation in Icelandic for five minutes at the end of the two weeks challenge period. She has never learned Icelandic before and so she is starting completely from scratch. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ian from the United States, is learning Spanish, Cebuano and American Sign Language

Ian is learning Cebuano, one of many languages of the Philippines, because it is the native language of some of his family members. He is also brushing up on Spanish and he has started learning American Sign Language. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jairet from the United States, is learning Portuguese

Jairet is going to learn Portuguese. His goal for the challenge is to improve his ability to speak about the past. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Maureen from United Kingdom, is learning Catalan

Maureen is Scottish and she is going to learn Portuguese. She wants to do the italki Challenge to improve her Catalan and now normally she has three lessons each week. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

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