About two weeks ago I came up with a random idea to run ‘mini’ challenges here on The Mezzofanti Guild, where we’ll occasionally set topics and themes, and then keen language learners (myself included) can record a quick video speaking about it in their target language, upload it to Youtube and share it with the world.
Initially I announced that I’d be running it on Facebook but for privacy reasons I gave the Cardinal’s Cafe (the fancy-shmancy name for the forum here) a makeover and added a section for people to upload videos and discuss them there instead.
I had two goals in mind for running these challenges:
- Get you using your target language in a way that you probably have never done before (using new terminology to talk about very specific topics).
- Provide a place where native speakers and experienced learners can see your videos and offer helpful feedback on your choice of words, pronunciation and so on.
I particularly had the stuck-at-home learner in mind for this because it’s not always possible for most people to travel and interact a lot with native speakers (most of us have normal jobs or university after all!).
The First Topic – Describing Personalities
The first topic we went with was Describing Personalities. Instead of the basic “I like football and ice-cream” type stuff that you learn at an Elementary level, this topic requires you to think more about your character, e.g. Introverted or extroverted, sociable, friendly, etc.
Even for higher level students, this can be very difficult if you haven’t had a chance to use these words before.
I put together two very short videos of myself and uploaded them – one in my new language, Irish Gaeilge and the other one in an advanced language, Egyptian Arabic. I struggled a lot with the Irish one but learned a heck of a lot making the video, and for the Egyptian Arabic one I deliberately used a word that I’ve heard ocassionally but never really had a chance to use in this context until I made the video.
More importantly, 3 awesome people so far have taken the time to make and upload their attempts – one in Portuguese, one in German and another in Turkish (thanks to Aaron from The Everyday Language Learner for contributing).
Here they are:
Muito bem! Não para de praticar, viu? Parabéns.
woo! learn that portuguese!
You go girl!
That was awesome David!
Güzel olmuş vurgularınız falan çok güzel Ayrıca öbür videolarınız da çok eğitici.
An-job! Coinnigh suas é!
Only minor mispronounciations. That’s really good. Keep it up.
Maith thú fhéin.
If you want to contribute a video or join in the discussion you can click on the Cardinal’s Cafe link above and go to Registration. Fill out the required fields and then check your email. It takes less than a minute to get a username and password (you can update your details and create a Gravatar if you want to as well).
To embed a YouTube video, all you have to do is click the little YouTube button and paste the URL to the video in between the tags. It’s very easy to do.
For subtitles (so everyone can understand what you’re saying!) you can easily use free video editing software to do it.
Windows: Movie Maker.
If you’re not too sure about how to use these apps to add subtitles, you can add them in YouTube when you upload the video. Go here to see how to do it.
Make sure you keep checking back at The Mezzofanti Guild (either by RSS or by entering your email in the Join The Guild box up top) as I’ll be posting a new, more challenging topic soon.
The current topic is still open too!
This was written by Donovan Nagel.
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