What a great first month for the Instagram Language Challenge! I’m so happy that so many of you got involved. I loved checking the hashtag feed each day to see what everyone has been learning. Over these past couple of days, I’ve been reviewing the words I’ve learnt in January and using them in bigger contexts to help me get to grips with the meaning and increase my vocabulary. But this is just the way I’ve been using the Instagram Language Challenge. I’ve been really inspired by how you have been making it work for you too. So I asked a few people I’d seen pop up regularly on the feed to share a few words about what they’ve got from the challenge.
Why did you decide to do the Instagram Language Challenge?
ALEX: I made a few language videos on Instagram before to mark my progress in several foreign languages and I saw what Lindsay was doing for Japanese and after a Skype call I had with her she suggested I do the Instagram Language Challenge and I thought why not? I love languages too! I wanted to do the Instagram Language Challenge because I felt like I needed to get more productive with the current four languages I’m learning, German, Russian, Hindi, and Indonesian, and I thought it would be a useful exercise to learn a word in each of those languages for the words I picked for the IGLC.
TANISE: At first, I thought it was a good idea, but then I realized it was a great one.
LAWRENSO: I took this challenge with the idea that I would be learning vocabulary proactively, meaning I would be learning a word and immediately applying it to something, versus thumbing through flash-cards in my down time and only retaining a portion of what I’d studied.
SHANNON: It looked like an interesting challenge and a fun way to boost my Mandarin vocabulary, so I was eager to try it out.
AUDREY: I decided to join the Instagram Language Challenge because 1) as a trained linguist (Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Master’s degree in Language Acquisition) and lover of all things Spanish, I love language and 2) I’m raising my daughter bilingually (English/Spanish). Since I only speak to her in my second language, Spanish, I have made a personal commitment to increase my OWN input, reading more and learning new words (if daughter is learning, so is mom!).
CHARLOTTE: Although I’ve had Instagram for a long time, I don’t really use it much – and before I saw Lindsay posting about this challenge I never really thought about using it for languages. So I decided to join in and I tried it; and really, it was kind of fun. I decided to do the challenge in Spanish because I was supposed to be focused on learning it and though I didn’t manage to post a picture every day, it was fun to try and relate new words to the prompts and the photos I was taking. I’ve only learnt a handful of new words, but it’s a handful more than I had in December!
How did you decide on which words to learn?
ALEX: I picked the list by copying down Lindsay’s list of words, however I used my own ideas for the topics related to the words on her list and got a little innovative and creative.
TANISE: The words came to my mind when I read the day, some words I already knew in French, but others I had no idea, so I started searching the translation, the right way to use the word.
LAWRENSO: Just before this challenge officially began I printed off a copy of all of the themes from one day to the next, so it kind of became part of my morning routine to glance over what the theme of the day was and just keep that in the back of my head. More often than not, I would be lost in thought or lost in the day when it would occur to me, “this fits today’s theme,” and I would look up the best word to describe the current situation. I don’t think I’d ever gone into the day with a word already in mind, but now in search of something to photograph that will match this predetermined word.
SHANNON: I decided on words based on whatever came to mind. If my first impulse was something I already knew, I tried to approach it from a new angle. For example, one of the challenges was “little useful word.” I decided to do husband because the word that first comes to mind for me is too formal for everyday use. I wanted to further instill the more colloquial way of saying husband and the challenge served as a great tool to help me do so.
AUDREY: Based on the assigned hashtag/word for the day of the month, I would ask myself, “okay, is there a corresponding word in English that you DON’T know in Spanish?” That would be my word for the day.
What are you doing to follow up what you’ve learnt?
ALEX: I will definitely do more IGLCs in the future and I’m going to make my own Instagram challenges with my own word lists (which I’ll write in my notebooks and probably create on Memrise and Anki) next time because it seems to help me get on top of retaining vocabulary better.
TANISE: It was a great exercise and I want to review all the words to see which I’ve already included on my vocabulary.
LAWRENSO: Throughout this challenge I have been making sentences with my new-found vocabulary words, just for the sake of using each word. My goal is to write a small script using all of these words and record a video of myself for speech practice. It might be a bit too ambitious, but I’m hoping for the best.
SHANNON: Lindsay asked me how I planned to follow up and retain the words I learnt this past month which is why I created this post. It serves as a way to create a document to use for reference in the future and to share the vocabulary list with you.
AUDREY: Although I didn’t participate in the Instagram challenge every day of the month of January, I appreciated participating in the challenge because it kept the idea of learning and acquiring new vocabulary at the forefront of my mind. An additional vocabulary-learning strategy that I have been using for a few months now is taping new words in Spanish to the insides of my kitchen cabinets (which is where I spend a lot of my time), so when I’m cooking and doing dishes, I’m constantly looking at, thinking about, and using new words.
CHARLOTTE: After the challenge, I’m going to collect the words together and make sentences with them as practice and hopefully there will be enough reinforcement there for me to have about learnt them.
Will you join in in February?
ALEX: I’m definitely considering joining in the February challenge to keep going!
TANISE: For sure, I’ll be joining the next one.
LAWRENSO: Without a doubt! In February I want to get my friends and family involved as well. Instead of simply saying, “Hey, sit still, I need to take a picture for this project I’m doing,” I will give a much better explanation and go beyond what I’ve done for the month of January.
SHANNON: Yes! Please join us in February – I look forward to learning a new language with you.
AUDREY: Yes, I’d love to join the Language Challenge in February! (And, March, April, etc…)
CHARLOTTE: Obviously, I can’t wait to take part in February too!
Inspired? Up for it? Let’s do this! Here are the prompts for February.
You don’t have to learn the word given in your target language. The idea is to use that as inspiration to think of a new word you don’t know in the language you’re learning. Using your own photos means you’re also ore likely to learn relevant vocabulary because chances are you’ll be taking photos of things in your life. Win win. All you have to do is take a photo each day and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #IGLC in the description so I can see what you’re getting up to. Because I’m nosey.
Shannon blogs over at Eurolinguiste and wrote a lovely blog summarising her first month doing the Instagram Language Challenge. Alex is currently starting his language coaching business here, Audrey blogs about bilingual parenting and related topics to bilingualism here; and you can find Tanise, Charlotte, and Lawrenso over on Instagram. Be sure to say hey!
Are you going to take part in the Instagram Language Challenge this month? Share your reasons why in the comments!