Results of Indonesian Challenge (+ video)

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The 6 weeks are over and I have given my talk at the first round of the Indonesian Speaking Competition. The topic I chose was "How to learn languages" (big surprise), which I chose for several reasons: I'm very comfortable with this topic, I knew it would be very interesting for the audience (especially coming from someone who just learned Indonesian quickly) and it's possible to talk about this with a very basic vocabulary.

I started by studying the first 6 lessons of "Colloquial Indonesian" and learning some basic vocabulary. On May 12th I wrote a first text on texts for Lang-8 and later a few more (while still studying those 6 lessons). I found this really helpful, because on lang-8 I could practice writing about language-learning, ensuring that I have the necessary vocabulary for this topic and a good understanding of how to use these words. I also took 3 lessons with a private teacher - unfortunately not more because he had to travel and I had to travel and we had trouble finding dates that worked for both of us. On May 27th, I wrote a speech of 450 words that I wanted to use for the competition. Then I revised it together with a teacher, ensuring that I was communicating my ideas well to Indonesians (e. g. I had to drop the idea of making a friendly "bet" because betting has negative connotations in Indonesia) and that I had a sample of correct Indonesian to study. Of course I didn't present the speech as such at the competition on June 7 - I suck at memorizing and we were not supposed to read our speeches, though one long-term student of Indonesian did. Instead, to make it a learning experience, I abstracted the speech the same way I'd abstract a German or English speech, e. g. keeping "goal -> write & reread for motivation" (in Indonesian) and then practiced doing the speech from these notes, usually inadvertently finding new ways of arriving at the same message rather than parroting anything. Since I was traveling between May 30th and June 3rd and also had to work on my French MA thesis and prepare for the Esperanto C1 exam at the same time, I wound up not being able to put in as many hours as I had hoped, only about 40 between April 21st and the competition. My delivery of the speech was also not as fluent as I had hoped, though I'm mostly blaming nervousness for that; I barely hesitated at all the last time I practiced the speech under the shower at home, without notes even.

Anyway, I am happy with the way it turned out and I definitely reached my goal of giving a 5-10 minute speech in Indonesian at this competition and do so in a way that is interesting for my audience.

Chuck filmed my performance. If you don't speak Indonesian, you can switch on English subtitles by using the CC button. Watch the video here if it doesn't embed correctly for you.

The people at the competition were quite impressed and wouldn't believe I had only started studying Indonesian on April 21st. The prize obviously went to a girl who had studied Indonesian for several years who did a comedy routine in Indonesian, but one of the organizers invited me to come back next year, saying I could probably win then!