Shane came in 3rd in The Junior Language Challenge in 2014 and is now in year 7 studying German and Latin. Below he talks about the wonderful JLC experience and why any teacher/parent should register their kids.
If you’re a parent or teacher of children aged 10 and under in the UK, visit juniorlanguagechallenge.com to find out more about our annual competition, which is now open! Entry costs just £5, which is all donated to our fantastic charity, onebillion.
In 2014 I entered the JLC for the second time, having got to the final the previous year. This time I knew what to expect and was really keen to get going. The first language was Italian, which was probably the language I found the easiest (of the 6 over 2 years). Two pupils from my school, Denmead, got through to the semi-final and we were told that we would be learning Japanese. I knew one word of Japanese already, but this wasn’t going to give me any advantage! It proved to be a very interesting language to learn, but when it came to the quick fire round this was the most challenging.
At the semi-final it all seemed much quicker than the previous year. During the final round, I managed to resist the temptation to look up at the leaderboard before I had finished. My dad compared the leaderboard to the football league tables when a goal is scored, a couple of wrong answers can move you up or down several places very quickly. I think it is much more nerve racking for the teachers and parents than the children as they watch this. I was lucky and saw my name stay in the top three so knew I had qualified for the final.
The language for the final was Somali and although it was completely new to me I knew that the app and website were the only tools I needed to get me through. The combination of games, the increasing level of difficulty and the chance to hear the words pronounced correctly meant it worked for me. I actually enjoyed practising, learning and the idea of preparing for a competition.
When it came to the final, I probably had my best round to date and as I was answering the last couple of questions my eyes were drawn towards the big screen displaying the leaderboard. I saw I was in third place with a few points to spare so knew I had done it. I felt speechless for a few minutes after we stopped, I had hoped to improve on the year before but didn’t think I would manage to get the bronze medal! My top tip for anyone getting through to the final is to stay calm and distract yourself with some great music and a good book. Calm parents and teachers (like mine) help you relax, just enjoy the experience and do the best you can.
To be part of a national competition is great and to gain third place is something I will always be very proud of. During the competition Franco (part of the JLC team) was always really kind and understanding with the children who needed help with their equipment and his good humour made sure everyone attending felt relaxed. We were always made to feel proud of what we’d achieved.
If your school isn’t yet involved in the JLC then I suggest you ask your headteacher to sign you up. It raises money for a great cause, introduces a fun and easy way to start learning different languages (some you might never have heard of before) and gives you a chance to compete against school mates and then possibly children from other schools if you are lucky enough to get through to the next round.
Everyone was blown away the other day when Liam Dutton managed to effortlessly pronounce the longest ever Welsh place name on live TV: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Anything he can do…
I don’t know about you, but here at the EuroTalk office we enjoy a healthy challenge, and this looked like just the sort of thing to get our teeth into! For all those of you who’ve seen our video… Okay, maybe it didn’t go exactly according to plan, and didn’t sound entirely as fluent as Liam Dutton’s version, not to mention that our varying collections of vaguely Welsh-sounding syllables probably didn’t mean anything at all in Welsh, let alone bore a resemblance to the actual meaning of the word, which is (take a breath): ‘Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave’.
Still, practice makes perfect, and this was just our first time. If anyone would like to try to do it better than us (which is probably not too much to ask), why not enter out competition to win a FREE Premium Welsh uTalk app. We’ll be picking the winner based on the creativity of the video, and your attempt to pronounce the word. To enter, tweet us @EuroTalk, post it on our Facebook page or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 25th September.
So how should we have pronounced it?
To make it slightly easier, here’s a few pointers we used as to how to pronounce it:
1. It helps to break the word down into bite-sized chunks: Llan – fair – pwll – gwyn – gyll – go – ger – ych – wyrn – drob – wll – llan – ty – silio – go – go – goch
2. Some of the letters have different pronunciation in Welsh to how you would say them in English. For example:
- the ‘f’ in ‘fair’ is pronounced more like a ‘v’, to make ‘vire’
- the ‘y’ in ‘gwyn’ i pronounced more like an ‘i’, to make ‘gwin’
- the ‘w’ in ‘pwll’ is more of an ‘oo’, to make ‘pooll’ AND
- the ‘ll’ in ‘pwll’ is more of an aspirated l (keep the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth as you say ‘l’, then blow the air over the top and sides of your tongue)
- the ‘ch’ in ‘goch’ is the same as in the Scottish ‘loch’
Taking that all into account, you end up with something which to English speakers looks a bit more like this:
Chlan- vire- puchl- gwin- guchl- go- ger- uch- wirn- drob- uchl- chlan- ti- silio- go- go -goch
So now that you know it, why not have a go at recording it yourself?
How well do you know your world monuments? Let’s find out!
Here are 15 landmarks from around the world… can you identify them? We need either the country or the city for each, or for bonus points, the name of the monument. (Okay, maybe not actual bonus points – but we’ll be really impressed.)
If you’d like to play, email your answers to email@example.com – get them all right and we’ll send you one of our fabulous uTalk mugs!
To get a closer look, click on the image to make it bigger.
Good luck, and Happy Friday!
The survey and giveaway have now closed. Thank you to everyone who took part!
Language learners! We need your help. We want to know the different method(s) that you use whilst learning a language to accomplish your goals. This will enable us to improve and adapt to what you want.
The survey only takes approximately five minutes depending on how much you want to tell us (we are hoping lots). To say thank you for taking up your precious time, we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win an iPad mini, pre-installed with our app, uTalk, in the language of your choice. There are several different ways to enter, the more you do the greater your chance of winning the iPad mini.
Thanks for your time 🙂
And please share the link with friends and colleagues too – thank you!
The giveaway ends at midnight on June 17th 2015 (UK time), and is open worldwide to anyone aged 18 or older. The winner will be selected at random and notified by EuroTalk within 48 hours of the closing date.
Following the success of this month’s uTalk challenge, we’ve decided to have another one! But this time it’s open to everyone, and hopefully requires a bit less brain strain…
Introducing the EuroTalk February photo challenge!
How does the challenge work?
1. Each day, starting from 1st February, you’ll get a new theme, and you need to share a photo that reflects that theme on one or more of your social networks – more on that in a second. Try and interpret the theme in a fun, creative way, as we’ll be sharing our favourites over the course of the month, choosing a Photo of the Day each day and selecting an overall winner at the end of the month.
2. When you share your photo, tell us how to say whatever’s in your picture, in another language. It can be any language you like; you can even do a different one every day if you want to, as long as it’s not your own. And remember to tell us which language it is too!
3. Use hashtag #uTalkinpics to let everyone (including us!) know you’re taking part in the challenge.
My photo for #Holiday – sunset, or der Sonnenuntergang in German 🙂 #uTalkinpics
Where should I share my photos?
4. You can share your photos on whichever social network you like – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, anywhere… But to be considered for Photo of the Day and overall winner, you’ll need to use one of the following:
- Tweet us @EuroTalk
- Tag us on Instagram: @uTalk_learnalanguage
- Post on our Facebook page
- Email your photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t belong to any social networks
And remember to use hashtag #uTalkinpics
What if I miss a day?
5. If you miss a day, or don’t find out about the challenge until it’s already started, it’s no problem. You can catch up by posting more than one picture per day – or just skip that day altogether and carry on.
How can I win?
6. We’ll choose our Photo of the Day the following morning (or possibly on Monday for photos submitted over the weekend), to allow entries right up to the end of the day from every time zone. This will appear on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as in a weekly round-up here on the blog, so be ready to share your glory with the world!
7. At the end of the month, we’ll choose our overall winner to receive a cool prize. This will be someone who we feel has really got into it and had some fun. The winner will be chosen by the EuroTalk team and our decision is final 🙂
Spread the word!
8. Please share the challenge with friends, and let’s get the world talking lots of different languages…
Good luck, and have fun – we can’t wait to see your photos!