I finally am trying to get back to my rhythm with language learning and while I’m trying to keep up languages like Russian and French, I wanted to jump back to Japanese and Italian. Bit more about Japanese later, I will start with my Italian journey. I started doing the Language Hacking course by Benny Lewis last September (I wrote about it about a month ago). But I did that first chapter and got distracted. Lately I bought the Japanese Uncovered course from Olly Richard’s I Will Teach You a Language. It was on sale, because it just came out. In addition, after the purchase there was an offer to buy another Uncovered course with a significantly reduced price. So I jumped on Italian Uncovered.
So, my plan is to use this new course and the Language Hacking course to study Italian. I think this approach is perfect, because the Italian Uncovered is somewhat more passive course than the Language Hacking. The Uncovered course does include speaking practice, but right now I have a very unexpected schedule with sudden changes, so I don’t really want to do iTalki lessons and I don’t really have anyone to talk Italian with.
To make my study more efficient I started to finally really use LingQ. I will get more into that below.
So far I’ve done the first chapter of the Italian Uncovered course. I’m quite liking the approach, it actually reminds me of school a lot. Except we didn’t have a story, but chapters about different topics. One thing I would like is a vocabulary for the chapter, sort of a chapter dictionary. I would prefer to translate the chapter on my own and only use the full translation if I really can’t figure something out. But then again, I guess I can do that on my own. I’m actually using LingQ for that.
The chapters have a structure to follow: First you should listen and read the chapter in Italian. After that there is a cognate lesson. This is not super useful for me, but I understand why it’s there. Why I’m not finding it useful is, that I speak French and Spanish to a degree and to me Italian seems super easy. However, if Italian is your first foreign language or if you haven’t learned romance languages before, I totally see the point of this part of the chapter.
After that, there is vocabulary and grammar lessons with exercises. These I found extremely useful, although the first chapter doesn’t yet bring me a lot of new things, as I already started with the Language Hacking course. Repeating is always good though. And we also have pronunciation lesson and speaking practice. The pronunciation lesson is good, but Finnish is pronounced fairly similarly to Italian, so I’m not finding the pronunciation a huge issue for me. Speaking practices I’m skipping at the moment, I’m checking that I can say the things that are asked, though. For me, speaking will come later when I have time to book an iTalki class. Until then I keep making my Language Hacking mission videos.
The chapter is wrapped up with a quick quiz and a progress report that is basically asking if you need help and if there are things you find missing in the course and what do you enjoy. I like that this feedback is included in the course, I’m hoping more people participate that way. I mentioned my wish for a vocabulary, we’ll see if that will happen. But that’s a minor issue, so I’m pretty happy with the course so far. I guess I need to finish the course to really see how useful it is for me.
So… I’ve had a few attempts with LingQ before but I haven’t really used it. I think my issue was that I didn’t really find interesting content easily for me. However, now I decided to try it again and especially use it with my courses. The Italian Uncovered has quite long texts for beginner’s course and as I mentioned the vocabulary was missing. Here’s where LingQ comes in.
I copy pasted my chapter text to LingQ (Import text gives you the option to write the text as well) and I read it in LingQ which then built me a chapter vocabulary. Of course, since this is a copyrighted course that costs money, one needs to be careful to do this only in private mode. But I’m actually finding this a useful tool to go through my text.
Now, I bought the premium version of LingQ. I think the free version can be useful if you really can’t spare the money, but you can’t make a lot of LingQs (only 20) and you can only import 5 lessons. Now, this could still be useful if you don’t actually create LingQs but note them on paper or in another system. Just realize that when you hit the limit, you only get upgrade option and the website becomes unusable (if this has happened, delete your account and make a new one and don’t make too many LingQs!)
But since I mainly want to use my own lessons, for me the free version doesn’t work. Here’s what I did for my Italian Uncovered (the text is blacked out, only showing the title, because after all this is not free content):
My view of importing my Chapter 1 into LingQ. This is a private course and only visible to me.I saved the picture from the course and used it as a course picture and I even attached the audio file, so I can listen to it through LingQ. I feel this complements my learning really well!
In addition I added my Language Hacking texts that were corrected by native speakers as a course as well. I took just the audio, you can separate the audio from the video on a website. There are several, I used YtMp3, which makes mp3s or mp4s depending on your preference. This makes me also listen to my own pronunciation and notice things I could do better. If you’re not confident of your own pronunciation, you can always ask an iTalki teacher or someone in Rhinospike to record an audio for you. I actually read a text from wikipedia to someone in RhinoSpike in Finnish! It’s a website that expects contributions though, so to get someone to do this, you might need to fill out some requests first.
I’m surprised that after several tries I’ve finally found a way to use LingQ. I always knew it should be perfect for me, since my ideas about language learning match fairly well with Steve Kaufmann, who is the founder of the site. I think I just made the mistake of trying to find the content on the site itself. I will be returning to my experience with LingQ in the coming weeks, but I think it’s getting a very favorable review 🙂