LingQ writing challenge

The LingQ system is very good at getting people to listen and read more, and learn new vocabulary. What is not, in my opinion, emphasised enough is the need to write regularly in your target language. Writing gives you the chance to reinforce your understanding of grammar, to try out new vocabulary, to check your spellings, and to test out different means of self-expression.

The LingQ statistics on your profile page give you a recommended number of words to write each week. Depending on your target language and your level, your weekly word target may be anything from a few tens to a few hundreds of words. Note this is words written, not necessarily words corrected. You can get a rough idea if what you have written makes sense by using Google translate to translate it back into your native language: if it more or less translates back to what you meant to write, then you probably said more or less what you meant to say.

You have therefore several options to meet your writing targets: write for yourself only, write for a LingQ tutor (who will painstakingly comment on your work and help you improve your skills), or write for anyone who feels like it to read your words and maybe give you their feedback.

So how do you write regularly when you have no need to write anything in particular? I propose a LingQ challenge: for people who don’t already write regularly in their target language to start a target-language blog, and give us your blog’s URL in this thread so we can drop by and give your our comments. At the end of this year, we’ll see who has met their targets and those people can be publicly smug.

Am I write in thinking that there is somewhere in LingQ-space where we can write our blogs? If so where, and how do we set up our accounts?

I already have an English-only blog and I don’t want to confuse matters by posting in Russian to it.

I fully support this initiative. We are looking at ways to increase our member’s output activities. Let us think about what you have proposed here, Helen, and let’s hear from others too.

Great stuff Helen.

I’d love to join in this challenge! I’ll create a blog in a minute and post the link here soon.

We are looking at ways to encourage learners to write their impressions of lessons immediately after completing a lesson, when some of the new vocabulary is right there in front of them. I wonder if we should focus on that or on the blog or on both. Different strokes for different folks.

Here you go. I’m still working on it and it is taking a while because my console is in Russian. I am still working out quite a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

p.s I hope no one minds but most of my writing is going to be corrected on Lang 8. I would use LingQ but I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment.

You know I really like this blog thing, I think when I get done with school for the summer I will start this. i am also going to make a youtube channel for speaking in my target language and talking about things that relate to my target language. I could have the blog and channel coincide and I think that would be cool

I really like the idea of this and am setting a minimum of 2 corrected pieces a week. I’ll definitely use the vocab list as well, just as Steve suggests.

use the lingq vocab list? is it still helpful if you write something but are using your vocab list, I was wondering this for my writting, or should one do it without using a list of words.

It’s fine to use a list of word, in my opinion. Why not? I find I can remember a list of words quicker if I try to write using those words. Of course though, I will only be using the list in a lesson, as it is shorter. There is no need in my using a 100+ page word list to write short paragraphs.

Note I make no stipulations about HOW you write in your target language, whether you use a virtual keyboard or the authentic layout, whether you enlist the services of Google Translate, or your paper flashcard set. You can try automatic writing if you like. Just get yourself into the habit of writing regularly, mistakes and all. Beautiful prose will come later.

I’ve been doing this for a while, but only recently made updates to the layout etc.

Helen - Are you proposing any specific objectives for this challenge, or just the creation of a blog and regular contributions to it?

Sure, I’ll do it. But let me procrastinate a bit first.

By the way, for anyone that decides to do it for English, I’ll correct it for you in the comments so you don’t have to go to Lang 8 if you want. I like doing that.

@peter, how are you liking the blogspot. I have been suggested wordpress but I still want to make sure I choose a decent blogging system. can i get some input?

I like it so far, though I haven’t got much experience with different blog sites.

I find that it is hard to keep up writing a blog on random stuff, and even harder in a language you are learning. I tried that and it did not last long.

I think in order for it to last, one must have a passion on writing. You will also need constant feedback from readers, so you know somebody is ready your stuff.

One way to maximize the number of readers would be to consolidating posts into a single blog, perhaps one blog per language. All learners of that language will post on the same blog.

@skyblueteapot, edwin and all - An interesting thread and interesting ideas! As Steve says, we were thinking how best to encourage more writing on the site and, in fact, we were also discussing last week whether there was some way to integrate blogs into the site rather than having them hosted externally as they are now.

The idea of a competition is a very interesting one. It is possible that we could build a very simple blogging platform on LingQ to let you do this and to make it easy to see everyone’s blog and comment etc…

Just another idea to add to the mix following up on edwin’s ideas… what if we had a way to “post and submit for correction” on the site which posted your post on the LingQCentral Blog in your target language. Of course, we would have to make it so that it isn’t posted until it’s been corrected. Perhaps it also gets posted on your Profile page. Then comments can be made on the blog with the ability to easily submit comments for correction as well.

These are all just some thoughts but all feedback is welcome. It would be nice to do something neat here around writing and blogging in your target language on LingQ.

@peter: the objectives I have in mind are simply to get people, who don’t write regularly in their target language, and perhaps (like myself) feel some inhibitions about writing, to get accustomed to writing easily, naturally, spontaneously. In the past I have had a lot of penfriends for this purpose: a penfriend doesn’t really mind what you write, just that you write regularly.

A blog may not be the perfect medium for doing this, but it does have the advantage of keeping your writing all in one place so it’s easy to keep a count of words, and to direct other people to your work to comment on it.

Also for people who want only light correction from a LingQ tutor, you can book up a one-on-one conversation and ask a tutor to spend the time reading your blog and making general comments (perhaps on the blog) on your writing.

It ought to be easily achievable for anyone from intermediate 2 up, and an exciting (?) challenge for a beginner 2 - intermediate 1.

@ Mark: I dislike competitions! I love writing, though. Could we take part in the blogging without being in the running?

I have been blogging in all sorts of languages on my posterous acount. It’s plain and simple to operate. I’m sure someone a little more technically savvy can rig up something quite exciting.

Just a thought: the LingQCentral Blog idea seems to go counter to a decision you took some months ago to restrict the range of topics published there.

Posterous seems an obvious place for the technically challenged LingQer (like me) to set up a quick blog. In fact, it seems that I already have a blog there, which I haven’t used yet: I shall start posting there in Russian. Watch this (or rather that) space!

What if we had a “Post to Blogs” page on LingQ where you could write up your post and then have it corrected and then sent to your blog of choice. There could be an option to have it go to LingQCentral in your target language, your own Posterous blog or any other blog which supports posting by email (many do). It could look something like this We could also add your posts to your profile on LingQ. Just some preliminary ideas…