Rökkvi Vésteinsson is an Icelandic comedian who brings good news for the non-native residents who, despite being well-intentioned and eager to learn, find it challenging to get to grips with the beast that is Icelandic language. Rökkvi calls our attention to LingQ, a language learning platform that has recently added Icelandic to their programs. Rökkvi had been collaborating with LingQ by translating and reading material for them. He says about the platform: “It’s a very effective platform for learning to read and understand spoken language. It offers automatic translations of words and phrases as you read, as well as many more features”
Rökkvi explains why he felt strongly about this project: “Icelandic is hard enough of a language to begin with, so having more access to learning resources is critical”
He goes on to explain what he believes is part of the problem: “Icelanders can often get impatient when they listen to limited Icelandic, and switch to English pretty fast.” He says he often finds his fellow Icelanders complain that you cannot go to a store in Iceland and receive service in Icelandic. To this he says: “I’d rather try to offer solutions than complaints”
Rökkvi asked LingQ what they needed to get their Icelandic program up and running, and after they told him he needed to translate 60 mini-stories for their course, he dove right into action.
He believes that LingQ is a better option to other learning programs or methods, because it is more ‘hands-on’. In his words, there is “too much learning about the language instead of learning the language [itself].” The idea is that you will be thrown into readings which are entertaining and engaging, and that you will learn many words fast. “If you gain a good vocabulary by massive input, you’ll start getting a vague idea of some of the grammar through absorption and then you can go back later and look at some grammar rules and go–ah, yes, that makes sense, I’ve kind of noticed that,” he says.
Icelandic on LingQ is still in its beta stage, but Rökkvi reassures us: “Beta languages in LingQ actually have all the major functionality of the ‘fully supported’ languages. Being a beta language just means LingQ doesn’t have enough material in the language at all levels yet to say it’s fully supported.”
He also would like to encourage Icelanders to help in finding or creating Icelandic material to put on LingQ, so it can move past the Bbta stage. It all has to be either public domain material or put on LingQ with the author’s permission.
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