Must Know Advice From Successful Challengers
We are now 30 days in, 90-Day Challengers! I hope those of you who registered at the beginning of 2016 are well on your way to reaching your goals in your target language. What are those goals? Personally, I hope to be able to take part in basic exchanges with my husband’s family in French. I would also like to be able to watch movies in French, but that will take a lot more study. I’ll get there eventually!
We’ve been watching the statistics boards for each challenge and want to feature challengers with different target languages each month. This time we talk to challengers in the Russian, Spanish and Italian challenges about their motivation, how they study and advice they have for fellow language learners.
RTDE91 a.k.a. Rhodri began his Spanish learning journey while studying for his master’s degree in Nottingham, UK. The majority of the friends he made there were international students and spoke languages other than English. This motivated him to learn a new language, and since most of the people he played football with were from South America, he decided on Spanish.
As a native Welsh speaker, Rhodri is comfortable with verb conjugation, though he sometimes struggles with word order. What does he do to combat the challenges he faces? Consistency is key:
“I keep finding new parts of the language that are a tricky, but I find that if I do a little bit each day and see the same problem about 5-6 times, it becomes less and less difficult without too much effort.”
Right now Rhodri is reading Las Aventuras De Sherlock Holmes (the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) – which is freely available in the UK as the copyright ended in 2000 – and watching El Patrón Del Mal (Escobar, The Patron of Evil) with subtitles. His goal is to eventually watch the series with the subtitles turned off and understand most of the dialogue.
The advice Rhodri has for other learners of Spanish is to be persistent and to embrace guessing from time to time. For example, if you read a phrase and only understand ‘cat’, ‘milk’ and ‘drink’, just assume that ‘the cat drank the milk’ and come back to it later to figure out why certain prepositions were used or why the verb conjugation was different to what you expected.
angiemc is riding high on the Russian challenge board this month. Angie has been studying Russian for about a year and is motivated by her Russian ancestry and her desire to travel to Russia and read Dostoevsky in his native language.
“My reading is at an Intermediate level. I know that I’m a little further behind when it comes to listening and speaking, but I’m pleased with how far I’ve come in the last year.”
Listening to Evgueny’s cultural, modern life, and political podcasts here on LingQ have helped Angie to improve. She also enjoys uploading her own content, mostly entertainment news from sites like hello.ru and cosmo.ru. “When I’m reading about a movie, actor or other subject that I’m already familiar with, it’s a lot easier to learn new vocabulary words.” she explains.
Angie’s goal for the 90-Day Challenge is to be able to get through Ilf and Petrov’s The Golden Calf (Золотой телёнок). She finds the writing styles of these authors helpful for seeing keywords in a variety of case endings. Another thing that encourages Angie to practice her Russian listening is that she can do it while exercising. She made a conscious effort to integrate walking for an hour into her daily routine after reading a LingQ blog post about the benefits of combining the two activities.
Apart from integrating walking into your language learning sessions, Angie has other great advice for her fellow language learners. When she was new at LingQ, Angie was focussed on an accurate word count. But now she looks at the system as a tool to help her learn common phrases and place names. She doesn’t use the scale of 1 to 5 like a test of proficiency, but more a way of reviewing words she has come across.
JordiG began learning Italian a few months ago as he wanted to challenge himself to learn a new language from scratch. Italian is close to his native languages – Catalan and Spanish – and Jordi enjoys the work of Dante, so he thought he would give it a try.
Jordi finds the time to study on LingQ while commuting to work. That way he can study for 45 minutes in the morning and 45 in the evening. He also reviews his LingQs during “dead time”, like waiting in line, or while he’s taking a stroll in his town near Barcelona.
“From time to time I listen to some lessons while I’m having a walk. It’s an effortless and enjoyable activity. I can notice a little progress every day and that’s very rewarding. I’ve tried to build a daily routine of study and to have fun in the process.”
What is Jordi’s goal in completing the challenge? He hopes to move out of the beginner material and sink his teeth into the interesting content that is waiting for him in the intermediate courses. The biggest obstacle he faces is learning and assimilating words until they are not words that merely “sound Italian”.
Good luck with the rest of your challenges you three, and good luck to all the other challengers out there. Completing a 90-Day Challenge is no easy feat, but putting in at least an hour a day will yield excellent results and bring you closer to your language learning goals.