Learn 1000 words in a new language in 2014

Languages campaigners encourage everyone to make the 1000 Words Challenge their New Year’s resolution

Pupils and their parents are being offered a new fun way to get into language learning in 2014. Vocab Express, the online learning application, has teamed up with dictionary publisher Oxford University Press to provide a free online platform to learn, revise and test progress in a range of languages. The offer forms part of the language campaign Speak to the Future which in September 2013 launched the 1000 Words Challenge, calling for everyone to learn 1000 words in another language.

The content for the site has been developed by lexicographers and language textbook authors at Oxford University Press and provides 1000 of the most common vocabulary items suitable for teenage and adult learners. Learners who achieve 1000 words – a first basic level of competence in a foreign language - will be issued with certificates and there will be prizes for schools that use the site to boost pupils’ motivation and achievement.

The new site will be launched on 22 January at the Bett Show in London and is aimed at secondary school pupils and at adults learning a foreign language or refreshing their existing language skills. It will provide extra practice and motivation for pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4, and offers a way for parents to get involved with their children’s language learning. It is available initially in French, Spanish and German, with other languages to follow.

Justin Sycamore, managing director of Vocab Express, who developed the idea, comments: “We are incredibly pleased to be involved in such a great language learning initiative. We immediately saw the benefit of the 1000 Words Challenge; the aspiration for everyone to learn 1000 words in another language, regardless of their linguistic skills is realistic, achievable and measureable. With the launch of this free site we want to encourage everyone to take up the challenge!”

Bernardette Holmes, Campaign Director for Speak to the Future says: “The launch of the 1000 Words Challenge last September has sparked a genuine demand for this type of language learning support and the ability to measure progress in small steps is clearly something learners find motivating. I am delighted that we have been able to work with experts at Oxford University Press to identify high frequency structures which will help learners consolidate and extend their language skills. We hope that schools and homes across the country will take up this challenge so that language learning in the UK increases greatly.”

Vineeta Gupta, head of Children’s Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, adds: “Oxford Dictionaries are trusted around the world as the definitive source on language and the first point of reference. It is our hope that by offering our support to this worthy campaign for languages, we can help children to become the best communicators in life and develop a lasting love for words and language.”

January 2014