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Win prizes and develop language learning skills with a fun new program.

Introducing LinguaPalooza: a fun new way to keep up with your language learning outside the classroom while winning prizes. The Center for Language Studies hosts this voluntary challenge and invites any student with intermediate language skills to join. Students participate in the four-week program spread across the semester, winning prizes and gaining valuable language skills along the way. Each week of practice involves daily activities such as listening to the radio in the target language (TL), watching a FamilySearch tutorial in the TL, or listening to a new song in the TL. The week ends with a bigger project that uses the TL in a real-world setting, such as holding a mock interview in the TL, volunteering as a study buddy in the TL, or joining an online community in the TL. Students track their progress each week by reporting in a Qualtrics survey which activities they did and writing a reflection on what they learned.

LinguaPalooza provides an opportunity for students to practice self-regulatory learning that can continue far beyond their experience with the program itself. Graduate student Lauren Bezzant (Second Language Teaching ’24) developed the program with intentionally low stakes, making it an optional contest with no negative consequences of finishing late, so students can learn in a comfortable setting according to their availability. The winter 2023 edition of LinguaPalooza features German, Spanish, Danish, French, Italian, Thai, Finnish, Portuguese, and Tagalog, although the program can be altered to accommodate any language requested.

Bezzant created LinguaPalooza as part of her dissertation. She wanted a program that would help students who’ve learned a language maintain and continue developing that skill by using it. She describes the project as similar to habit tracking. On Monday, participants plan out their language study and projects for that week. Each week provides a different focus and numerous project options so students can focus on what applies most to them. On Tuesday, participants practice warm-up activities in the TL. Wednesday consists of language learning exercises. Participants complete their projects on Thursday and take Friday to reflect on what they learned.

Everything is written or spoken in the TL except for the reflection. At the end of the week, students can stop by the Linguistics Department office to pick up their prize, which changes each week and could be anything from a sticker to a Jamba Juice voucher. Everyone who completes the entire program is then entered to win a $500 cash prize.

LingaPalooza premiered this semester. While the current edition of LinguaPalooza is only available for students with intermediate language skills, Bezzant plans to create a LinguaPaloozaLite edition for beginner language learners that may begin testing in the fall. That way more students can enjoy practicing their language skills in a way that incorporates language with everyday life.

LinugaPalooza offers a space to practice and maintain language abilities while seeing how these abilities can continue to be used throughout a student’s life. To learn more about LinguaPalooza, check out the official website:

LinguaPalooza was developed from Bezzant’s research into self-regulated language learning. Check out this article on how she developed and shared her research at a University of Chicago conference: