One thing I love about this blog is that when people see me struggle as a beginner learner, it reminds them that I'm not in this to present myself as a “guru” or language ninja, but that it's all about trying to get people to be OK with struggling themselves. If an experienced language learner still has to go through frustration, and be a hesitating beginner, then maybe it's OK for you to go through the same frustration.
As such, I've been noticing a bunch of comments on my recent videos and blog posts since starting Japanese, saying that people have inspired to dive into their own three month challenge which you can check in the Fluent in 3 months forums Language Mission area.
We have 13 year old Luca who is learning Italian, sharing regular updates on his progress, the last one of which was written entirely in Italian! I look forward to his Youtube update.
Then there's “Spicemonki” who shared his own full Skype chat in his own mission update, inspired by my urge to make the conversation entirely in the target language made lots of “lovely mistakes”.
Also, Paul who wants to have a conversation in Irish by Christmas even though he never learned it in school, another fluent Russian in 3 months project, and many many more! You can see that the community joins in and encourages all those with language projects to keep at it, and answer any questions they may have.
Sign up to the forum, start a post sharing your journey. and you can share your journey with many others and get their support and encouragement!
Share your journey with the world: Have a specific goal and specific timeline!
As I said in the intro video to my Japanese project, “Fluent in 3 months” is not something I'm trying to universally get everyone to do, but I see it as one example of a [Target] in [short time period], that the world needs more of.
We need specificity both in what we are aiming for and when we want it by. This is infinitely better than vague “learn Spanish” or similar goals or resolutions.
So what is your goal? Have a basic conversation in Russian in 2 months? Pass a very hard test in 6 months? Be a functional tourist in 2 weeks? Fluent in 3 months? Fluent in 6 months? Basic conversational in 6 weeks?
Or maybe you already have some basic level and want to push it up? Or you have a comfortable level and are ready to fix some very specific problem you have? You don't have to be starting from scratch to have a successful project to make a serious difference to your language level.
Pick a target that is really pushing yourself, and for once I'm going to say that maybe you should stick with 3 months! Not only can you join ME in my journey, and share it with the Fi3M community in the forums and comments, but there are many other communities also with similar goals!
The Add1 Challenge
Along the lines of everything I've said above, Brian from the Add1 Challenge independently started his own campaign to encourage language learning, by uploading the following video just a week ago:
You may remember Brian from his German challenge, where he gave himself 3 months to be able to converse with his father in law and shared his journey as a guest post here.
He had particular rules in his challenge that are different to mine, such as coming up with a punishment if you aren't successful, and in his energetic (and “awesome”) introduction to the project he has successfully managed to already get 38 men and 17 women (including a pair of 10 year old twins) to join him in this challenge. 38% of these people have never published a Youtube video before, so it's really great to see a new movement getting off the ground so successfully and so quickly!
People shouldn't fear Youtube. It's incredibly easy to upload a video in a language you have just started to learn.
You can see the intro video to their own Add1 challenge by Richard Simcott, Moses McCormick, and others like Svetlana Gracheva and many many more. Brian requests that you answer some specific questions in your intro video to set the stage, and then you message him and can join in on the challenge.
It turns out that a lot of people in this challenge are doing Japanese! Brian and Alex are among them and they've already spoken Japanese in their videos (quite a bit better than me too, although they have a bit of a head start), so I won't learning this language alone! Rather than a competition, I think this is a great opportunity to join others struggling and finally reaching a level they can be proud of.
And the thing about the Add1 challenge is that everyone is doing it for three months. Many people have the same start and end day as I do in my Japanese project, and some are a few days after. Now is as good a time as any to start on your intensive language project! Even if you can only put one hour a day into it.
I think what Brian is doing is great, and I hope many more people join in! Even if you don't consider your challenge an Add1 challenge, or are not one to upload Youtube videos, please do come up with your own challenge anyway and share it with us here. Start a language log in the forums, or share a link to your blog if you use it to document your 3 month journeys in the comments below, and let's all do this together!
I really look forward to doing my three month challenge not so alone this time, and joining dozens if not hundreds of people who are struggling, working hard, and yet progressing at the same time as me in their own languages! Join me, Brian and many others, and let's say that we've achieved something great in our target language by late December! 🙂
Join us with your own 3 month or Add1 challenge, and no matter what you are doing, let us know all about it, and share any videos you've made in the comments below!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.