Let's get Britons talking: the 1000 Words Campaign
Let’s get Britons talking: the 1,000 Words Challenge
The UK has a reputation for a
general aversion to learning foreign
languages. Well, this might change,
thanks to a campaign, just recently
started, called the 1,000 Words
Challenge. This campaign aims at
raising awareness about how
languages is for the individual and
for the country as a whole.
Basically, the campaign requires
Britons to make the commitment
to learn 1,000 words of a language
other than English. A vocabulary of
1,000 words will allow the learners
to understand a language’s
structure and to have a basic
conversation within that language.
Nobody is expecting the British to become fluent in foreign languages overnight; this
campaign is about increasing the number of those who understand that their future will be
better if they know other languages and, therefore, want to take action.
You can find more about 1,000 Words Challenge here.
Why this campaign should have great results
Personally, I was thrilled when I heard about this campaign. Language skills are an important
asset for both personal and professional development for any individual, no matter in which
country they were born. English teenagers are ‘the worst in Europe’ at languages, according
to the 2013 European Survey on Language Competences. I also blogged about the low
numbers of A-levels in foreign languages in the UK and suggested a solution to this issue. I
think the 1,000 Words Challenge will be more efficient in dealing with this situation and
here is why: because it sets a smart objective.
Not just smart, but SMART:
Specific – learning 1,000 words of a different language is a clear and unambiguous
Measurable – we are dealing here with a number; is there anything that can be
more measurable than a number? People will be constantly aware of their individual
progress if they regularly count the number of total words learned.
Achievable – learning 1,000 words of a language is not an extreme goal; considering
that an adult knows more than 10,000 (maybe even more than 20,000) words in their native
language, 1,000 in another one seems quite doable.
Relevant – this could be the subject of an entire blog post. To name just one
supporting argument, it will enhance the UK’s economic prospects and help prepare the
British for the globalised workforce.
Time-oriented – people who commit to this Challenge will be able to set their own
time-frames for it; however, everyone will get the same piece of advice: little and often – 10
minutes a day is better than a hour a week.
‘The hard thing about learning a language is getting started. 1,000 words can easily lead to
5,000 or more, or indeed to 1,000 words in a different language. The benefits for the nation
if people are persuaded to take this step will be immense .’ Professor Nigel Vincent, VicePresident for Research and Higher Education at the British Academy.
The biggest journey begins with a first step. Make it. Here are some tips on how you can
face this challenge.