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My Language Learning Journey – Kiandro Scavella

Hello! My name is Kiandro Scavella and I am a 21-year-old language enthusiast with the goal of becoming a polyglot. Part of this goal entails me discovering more about travel, culture, and languages respectively. I own a website dedicated to this cause and it took me a while, but I managed to coin-up the term Worldly Words as the domain. I find it all so fascinating when cultures are able to exchange information, and at the forefront of it all is language as a means of communication.

It All Started In High School

There I was drifting away in the back of my Spanish class. I must’ve been in 11 or 12th grade at the time. Back then language had never really stood out to me, in fact, I hated it.  I had to know more about why I hated it and if my hatred was being misguided. It turns out that it was … big time. One regular day in Ms.Sanchez’s class I told her that I was studying Japanese instead of Spanish. She didn’t take too kindly to this piece of news. I was almost put out of class for practicing hiragana during a Spanish exam (rightfully so if I may add). The point remains that once I started focusing my efforts on a culture that I was interested in my perspective began to change towards languages.

After graduating from high school, my level of Spanish was “Okay” but it was nothing to brag about. As for Japanese, I put the language in my back pocket, barely having managed to read and write hiragana and katakana. Well, that and the fact that nobody took me seriously when I told them that I was going to learn Japanese and fly to Japan one day. But, here I am as of (September 23rd, 2018) on a plane to Japan to start my graduate program, typing this on a word doc reminiscing on that fact. Anyway, let me tell you guys about college before I get too deep into my feelings.

My College Years

In college, my first major was numerical computation. I was godawful at math, so I don’t know how I managed even to conceive that idea of a major. I soon realized that that specific major wasn’t for me and like every other silly first-year college student I switched majors…several times. Art, music, natural science and then finally Asian Studies. The decision came to me as a last minute effort to register for classes on time during my sophomore year. I remembered my high school years and the personal promises I had made to show everybody up who doubted me. That’s a huge part of language learning, by the way, commitment. Once you say something, you have to mean it, and you have to follow through. By majoring in Asian Studies, this was my opportunity to show them all just how serious I was when I proclaimed my Japanese language learning journey.

The Start Of Language Learning

Always remember this one thing, there will be times when language learning will seem impossible. But, this is nothing to worry about and it’s completely natural to struggle in some areas. For instance, even after four years of studies I still have some room to improve on certain things when it comes to Japanese. There will be times when you question your initial motivation, but as you go along things will clear up. And once you have a balance between input and output everything will work out in the long run. The important thing is that keep your motivation and your purpose. So if sounds don’t make sense to you can you can’t quite read anything just yet, remember this “IT WILL ONLY GET BETTER!”

The Stages Of Grief In Language Learning

There is a term known as the stages of grief, and usually, it can be used to describe the feeling going through harsh times. However, for any language learner, the same applies. When it came to Japanese, there were five specific moments of grief that were experienced.

  1. Confusion – This is the first stage, and it involves being continuously confused, nonstop, 24/7 around the clock. In my college language classes, the sound of Japanese sounded like static fuzz, in other words, it wasn’t comprehensible everything sounded like nothing.
  2. Doubt– “Is this language right for me?” We’ve all had that question in the back of our minds. I think I first started experiencing this symptom when I was in my junior year of college and couldn’t read any Kanji
  3. Misery – At this point, you just become infuriated with the language for no credible reason at all. The very sight of Japanese characters bothered me when I returned from my study abroad program in 2016. Maybe it was because of the constant exposure and the inner-me just felt like he needed a break.
  4. Peace – The good news is after misery it doesn’t get much worse. Being at peace with a language means that it no longer troubles you. At this stage, I just minded my own business watching Netflix series in Japanese and listening to the j-pop and singing along.
  5. Acceptance– You’ve realized that this is the language for you. At this point, the language has blended itself into your personality to the point that separation from it would mean a loss of identity. I cannot picture myself without a background in Japanese culture and language. Sure we had our rough moments, but in the end, we became friends, and I’m grateful for that.
  6. Love/Motivations/Pride/Reward – You begin to reap the rewards of your hard work, and it feels absolutely amazing. From now on there will be no drawbacks, only good things will come from your relationship with your target language. You’ll also have all the bragging rights in the world, but don’t get too crazy!

 

 

What I Learned From Studying Japanese

Aim for the stars: If you’re learning a foreign language or thinking of it, I’d say aim for the stars. And I know that sounds corny, but there is no better way to put it. You can’t half-ass any language you take up, it’s either go hard or go home.

Avoid Shortcuts When Learning The Alphabet: If a language has an alphabet that is noticeably different from your own, learn the true form of it. For instance, Japanese has romaji, but you won’t ever see romaji in everyday Japanese – rather hiragana, katakana and kanji. In short, don’t cheat yourself.  

Keep Your Input and Output Balanced: Having the perfect amount of input and output will ensure that your language skills are always progressing.  speak as often as possible.

Learn the Grammar: I’m not a huge fan of grammar, but if you know where I’m going with this article, then you should know what I’m about to say. You NEED it. Learn to balance your study schedule between intense and soft sessions, give your brain a rest when it feels like mush.

L-Lingo Explainer Video

We have put a new video on our website that explains how L-Lingo works and why it makes learning easier and faster.

Have a look at it yourself and let us know how you like it!

Way to Go Burmese Program partners with L-Lingo

If you are in Yangon, Myanmar and want to have a great introduction into the Burmese Language, check out the Way to Go Burmese Learning Program from Language Maison. This program is specially designed for beginners who want to focus on Burmese speaking skills, and prefer self-learning but have little time for study or would just like to have a new experience! Part of the program is an introduction into L-Lingo and all participants get a free 90 days subscription to our online version.

Quiz Countdown Timer

It is scientifically proven that you enhance your learning by actively trying to recall words and sentences from memory. We have therefore implemented a countdown timer that delays the answers of a quiz question and thus gives you time to recall the word from memory.

By default we have set it with a 10 second time. In case you recall the word earlier you can just click or tab on the count down timer and the answers will appear immediately.

You can change the delay time or switch off the delay completely. You can also set it to “manual” which will remove the countdown and thus you need to always tap for the answers to appear. To make these changes, go to your account settings (click on your user icon in the menu bar on the top right).

New Looks / Content Maintenance

New Looks!

Today we have published a new version of our web application. You will immediately notice the new images we are using. We are now having a large image for each lesson so that you get a better impression on what we teach in that lesson.

We have also added smaller images on our retention section, indicating if there are words due for review.

Since the timely repetition of new words is crucial for your language learning success, the Retention Section will now be on top of the Lessons Section if there are words due for review.

Content Maintenance

With well over 100,000 words and phrases spread over 20 different languages, we know some errors do occur and so we have a special system to investigate and address them. Previously we need to manually enter your report but we have now integrated that system into our app.

So in case you find an error (like a spelling mistake or a wrong translation), just hit the “Report Error” Button in the Menu of the Review and Quizzes and let us know what you think is wrong.

We are periodically reviewing all submitted reports to ensure that our products are error-free.

As usual please drop us a line if you have any questions or something not working as expected.

 

 

 

Certificates of Completion

A few weeks ago we have introduced the L-Lingo Certificates that you get when you complete all 105 lessons with a score of >90% correct. We have now awarded a few and people have asked how these certificates look like. So here is a preview:

How does the certificate help you?

It is a great motivator to complete the course and to really learn the language. We all know how hard it is to stay motivated to study every day and the expectation to get a nice certificate at the end of the course can really bring you over the finish line.

Show the certificate to your loved ones to get recognition for your hard work and you can also add it to applications for Jobs or give it to your employer -especially if you work in an environment where knowing foreign languages is important.

How to get the Certificate?

Once you completed all lessons with >90% correct, send us a short message with your full name and we will then send you the certificate within a few days.

Learning Reminders

With our focus to ensure that our students learn languages effectively we are focusing a lot on keeping you motivated to learn consistently.

We are now offering daily email reminders. If you enable this free feature you will receive a daily email reminder indicating how many words you have due for review with a direct link into the application.

By default this feature is not enabled but you can either enable it with the switch on top of the dashboard:

Or if you have dismissed this box, you can also enable it in the settings. For this click on the new user icon on the top right and then settings. Here you can enable and disable all mailings you might get from us:

 

Combined Dashboard

We have just published an update to our web version of L-Lingo. The main purpose of this update is to make your learning more effective.

Retention of L-Lingo Words and Sentences

In each L-Lingo lesson you learn six new words. Some of these words are repeated in later lessons but there was no systematic repetition in place. Until now!

With today’s update, each time you complete a new lessons, the six new words of this lesson will automatically become part of our spaced repetition system. So the words will be repeated at increasing intervals depending on how well you know them. This will help you tremendously in remembering these words and increase your Retention to a great extend. This is why we call this section now “Retention”.

Combined Dashboard

Previously we had the Lessons and Cards section separated which we have now combined in one dashboard. With the new ability of L-Lingo to learn systematically the words and sentences from the lesson, it will be much easier for you to access it from a single dashboard.

Your Language Success -our New Mission!

Learning a language is hard work and it’s very difficult to stay motivated and have fun studying. Unfortunately most people do not complete their language learning program and give up too early. We at L-Lingo decided that this issue needs to be in the focus of our company and we want to measure our success depending on how many people successfully learn with L-Lingo and successfully become fluent speakers of the language they learn. In the coming weeks and months, we will add new features with the aim to keep you motivated learning the language.

What we have in mind:

  • Progress reports & certificates
  • Badges & awards
  • Notifications & reminders
  • Success stories of fellow students

In today’s update we have added a lesson meter, showing you how far you are through the L-Lingo Course. We are also offering now an L-Lingo Certificate for people who have completed all lessons. Just send us a message once you completed all lessons, after verification we will send you an L-Lingo Certificate of Completion -Free of Charge!

Please let us know what ideas you have to keep your motivation for studying!

 

 

 

 

Major Update of our Web Version

We have listened to you and worked hard to make your learning even better!

So let’s summarize all the new things:

 

Layout & Navigation

In the quizzes we have moved some of the quiz options into a small drop-down menu. This allows you to focus better on the words you are learning and you are less distracted by the menu bar.

Old Version:

New Version:

Improved mobile pages. If you use L-Lingo on mobile you will find it has now improved layout for different screen sizes and a new menu with easier access to more options.

Quiz Names

You will now see the names of the quizzes when you move the mouse over the quiz icons. So it is easier for you than remembering what the icons mean:

Add App to your Homescreen

If you use L-Lingo regularly on your mobile phone you can now add it as a direct launch icon to your homescreen. To do this, you must use Google Chrome as browser. Once you have opened the web-app and are logged in, go to the Chrome menu and click on  “Add to home screen” and then ‘add’.

After this you can launch L-Lingo directly from your start screen on your mobile phone, just like a normal app.

There have been tons of other small improvements being implemented. Please let us know your thoughts or if something is not working as expected!

It’s Launched!

17 languages, each with more than 5000 words, as 2-way quiz-cards, and that’s just the new add-on vocabulary builder!

We know that learning a new language can be a tough challenge, and that’s why L-Lingo is more than a software or language product; it’s our passion.

For a long time we’ve had to say that to become truly fluent in a foreign language you can, or should, use L-Lingo to enhance and improve upon any other tools and methods you may already be using.

Today that has changed, a lot.

L-Lingo Online is now capable of taking you from ANY level, all the way to fluent, in ONE product.

YES you should still use other tools too, YES learning to speak a new language fluently is still a challenge – and YES, you CAN do it! And now you can do it all in one place, online and it’s right here, right now.

Just click the L-Lingo logo at the top of the screen, and see how we’ve made it easier than it’s ever been before.

Let’s go?