Language Learning Challenge: 1000 Words in 3 Months.
As a language trainer, I am very much aware that I ask a lot of my students, particularly those who are beginning to learn a language from scratch. I ask them to practise every day and make sure they reserve the time for themselves without interruption from others.
I don’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself and so it’s time to prove it:
I am going to learn 1000 words of Spanish in three months.
Not having studied this language before, I will be starting at absolute zero and will have to deal with a lot of new information quickly, whilst learning how to pronounce new sounds and having to deal with words which may be similar in other languages. The idea is to go through a very fast period of learning, concentrating on only a single part of a language, as preparation for basic conversation later on.
The start day is the 1st of July and I will be finished with my 1000 words at the end of September, so there will be plenty of new words to keep me busy throughout the summer. I’ll be working from a list of objects (things like food, clothing, pieces of furniture, animals, kitchen utensils, etc) and will learn each word as a singular item, along with its gender, with perfect pronunciation. No sentences, or abstract words (such as: “the”, “his”, “have”, “this”, etc) or anything else. Those words will come later. In short, 1000 easy to recognise objects found in everyday conversation.
This is only the first phase of my adventure of learning the Spanish language, with plenty more challenges to come over the next year. My long-term goal is to be fluent. Some say Spanish is easy, but I will still be pushed to my limit with about an hour of intense study per day.
The Challenge – Can you do it?
Why not join me on this quest? On the 1st of July, I will release a two-page list of 1000 words (in English, see the preview above) and would like to invite everyone to learn 1000 words – in any language, at the same time as I learn my Spanish words.
This list will be available on my webpage jeromeluepkes.com, sent out as a newsletter like this one and also individual emails upon request. The challenge ends on the 30th of September.
Mastering 1000 words means dealing with at least 10 – 12 words per day at an even pace to get through everything by the deadline. I will be using a wide variety of apps, dictionaries and online resources to find my learning material (Spanish translations, words, pictures and sounds), a variety of memory tools, including Anki, Babbel, Duolingo, etc., as well as anything else I can get my hands on to get the job done.
Everything is allowed, the goal is to know each of the words (in singular, not plural) with its gender and with perfect pronunciation. No sentences or grammar or any conversation, just plain old 1000 objects which can be represented as pictures.
How does this affect you?
I already have a few interested people who may want to directly challenge me. This means we would have the potential of doing head-to-head challenges at the end of the three months. Also, my idea is that we pit different languages against each other as well, and that’s where all my German students would come in: to challenge me in the same set of words, only German vs. Spanish. I will provide the list of 1000 German words!
Need some motivation? Ready for the challenge?
If you want to challenge me in this endeavour to help yourself to a dose of motivation, then great. However, be careful what you wish for: this is not going to be easy!
At the end of the three months, we can do several different things, depending on who has joined the challenge and has done 1000 words – we can have a live showdown either here in Berlin, or at a convenient time via Skype. I have a few friends who will help with judging the showdowns (typically 20 random objects as pictures).
So, if you’d like to challenge me, please let me know and start learning straight away. There is still a month before my part of the challenge begins, so I’m giving everyone an extra month. Have fun!