Archive for November, 2012

The Longest Word in English

Have you ever wondered about the longest word in English? What could be your best guess? 50 letters? 100 letters? These guesses are all “very” optimistic. 🙂 The longest word in English has 189,819 letters! However, this has not been published anywhere, relax. 🙂 

Here is a little info about the longest words in English language. The source is Wikipedia. 🙂



You can see the longest word here:

If you want the hear the pronunciation of it, you’re welcome 🙂

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Frightening Foreign Language Faux Pas

You know in every language, when you change one or two letters, the words can turn into something completely different. If you are learning a second or third language, this happens a lot! 🙂 Here is a quite funny infographic about language mistakes. I like it a lot, hope you also do! 🙂



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100 Free Foreign Language Classes

Everytime, I decide to learn a language and I feel I can really learn it. However, after one or two attempts, I assure myselft that I cannot do it without a language course… You know, if you’re already working somewhere and you have tens of other things to do, going to a couse every weekend is kind of hard. First 2-3 weeks are good but then you just can’t manage all the work… So, I found a great collection of website that teach a language online… 

I will try them one by one, so if you also try, please leave a comment so that we just don’t lose any more time! 🙂

Here are the list for French, German & Spanish. You can click the link at the bottom to see other languages.



  1. BBC Languages French. Beginners and intermediate French students can find a wealth of lessons and activities here.
  2. The French Tutorial. Select the standard edition of this class to get free access to 13 chapters of lessons and over 200 audio files to help you learn French.
  3. Français Interactif!. This course from the University of Texas provides lessons, audio, video, vocabulary, and more based on a summer program in Lyon, France.
  4. French I. From MIT, this beginning French class focuses on vocabulary and grammar.
  5. French II. The second class of the French courses offered at MIT is here with even more French lesson fun.
  6. Introduction to French Culture. Be sure you already have a working knowledge of French before starting this course that covers French culture and society since the Revolution.
  7. French I and II. Carnegie Mellon offers French I and French II here. Each course takes approximately 15 weeks to complete and includes the basics to learn French speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing.
  8. French: Ouverture. Audio, video, and printed materials will help you learn French from this course that explores the French people on vacation.
  9. French: Le quatorze juillet. Following from the prior course, this one takes a look at the history and current celebration of Bastille Day.
  10. French: En ville. This intermediate French class will help you learn all you might need to know to navigate around a French town.
  11. French: Bien dans sa peau. Learn French while exploring what it means to keep your mind and body healthy in this intermediate class.


  1. Learn Spanish. Sign up for a free membership here to get a ton of great tools and activities to help your Spanish lessons take off.
  2. BBC Languages Spanish. Learn beginning Spanish, find out about cool Spanish language, test yourself, and complete crosswords in Spanish.
  3. Spanish Language and Culture with Barbara Kuczun Nelson. Get nine study modules plus plenty of other activities to help learn Spanish here.
  4. Spanish 1. If you are starting from the beginning with no knowledge of Spanish, then this is a great place to begin. This course from MIT is based on 26 half-hour video lessons.
  5. Spanish 2. Continue with the video-based lessons that will strengthen your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
  6. Spanish III. This intermediate-level class has students participating in a variety of different activities to enhance their Spanish language skills.
  7. Spanish 4. Examine social, political, and cultural issues of Spanish-speaking communities around the world while you continue to learn Spanish.
  8. Oral Communication in Spanish. This second-year intermediate course from MIT asks students to practice their Spanish through watching Spanish-language films, writing Spanish journal entries, and preparing for a simulated trial.
  9. Spanish Conversation and Composition. Continue with this third-year intermediate Spanish course that features three group projects as well as viewing of films and readings of plays and short stories.
  10. Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition: Perspectives on Technology and Culture. This course, taught in Spanish, explores the impact of technology on a variety of cultural and societal issues in Hispanic societies.
  11. Introduction to Contemporary Hispanic Literature. Study important works from 20th century Spanish and Latin American literature in this class that requires all reading and writing be done in Spanish.
  12. Twentieth and Twentyfirst-Century Spanish American Literature. Explore a variety of forms of literature and film from modern Spanish American sources in this class that is conducted in Spanish.


  1. BBC Languages German. This beginner’s course offers weekly tips, a phrase of the day, quizzes, stories, grammar help, and more.
  2. Deutsch Interaktiv. Whether you know a little German or none at all, this free course is just right for you.
  3. Learn German Online. This site offers 10 lessons for beginners and 24 lessons for students with more advanced German knowledge as well as other resources to help you learn German.
  4. German I. From MIT, this is the first in a series of courses that starts out with an introduction to German culture as well as the language.
  5. German II. Keep learning German in the second class that provides more vocabulary and grammar practice.
  6. German III. Speaking, reading, listening, and writing are emphasized in the third of this series from MIT.
  7. German IV. Students will continue their German language lessons by studying both literary texts and contemporary media texts.
  8. Germany Today: Intensive Study of German Language & Culture. This course from MIT is designed for students who plan to work or live in German and provides many opportunities to strengthen German language skills while learning about the culture.
  9. German: Lebensumstände. This intermediate-level German class explores the German family while emphasizing speaking, reading, and writing.
  10. German: Regionen, Traditionen und Geschichte. Explore German cultures, including their history and politics, while studying the German language in this advanced class.

For other languages, click here.

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Whistled Languages

1 hour ago, I was watching a documentary about one of the villages of Nothern Turkey: Kuşköy (the village of the birds). Then I’ve learned an amazing thing and I wanted share it with you asap! They use a whistled language! In this village, the source of income is agriculture. So when the man goes to the field, he whistles from a distant to ask for food or water. Similarly the woman answers from home in the same whistled language to tell the food would be there in 15 mins. I got really really amazed because I wasn’t aware that such a communication system exists. So, I googled it and see there are quite systematic whistled languages. The one that is used most common is the Silbo Gomera. It is the language of 22.000 habitants of Canary Island. Here is the description from UNESCO:

The whistled language of La Gomera Island in the Canaries, the Silbo Gomero, replicates the islanders’ habitual language (Castilian Spanish) with whistling. Handed down over centuries from master to pupil, it is the only whistled language in the world that is fully developed and practised by a large community (more than 22,000 inhabitants). The whistled language replaces each vowel or consonant with a whistling sound: two distinct whistles replace the five Spanish vowels, and there are four whistles for consonants. The whistles can be distinguished according to pitch and whether they are interrupted or continuous. With practice, whistlers can convey any message. Some local variations even point to their origin. Taught in schools since 1999, the Silbo Gomero is understood by almost all islanders and practised by the vast majority, particularly the elderly and the young. It is also used during festivities and ceremonies, including religious occasions. To prevent it from disappearing like the other whistled languages of the Canary Islands, it is important to do more for its transmission and promote the Silbo Gomero as intangible cultural heritage cherished by the inhabitants of La Gomera and the Canary Islands as a whole.

If you want to watch the official video about the Silbo Gomera:

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The 4 a.m. Mystery

Rives perfectly analyzes the place of 4 am in the songs and in literature! It is quite amazing that 4 am has a great impact on our lives and in written works… Have you ever noticed? 🙂


Logos with Literal Meanings

Have you recognized that the style of the fonts literally shows what they mean? They are quite creative and they just use some tricks to reflect the actual meanings of the words. My favorite is Vang Gogh, what is yours?

Good luck with that! 🙂


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National Geographic Brings Endangered Languages into the Digital Age

Did you know that NG has a project about endangered languages? I didn’t know until yesterday. NG collects data from even the languages that are spoken by as few as 600 people. With this project, they create an audio-visual dictionary, picturing the cultures in details. Here is a very informative article by , explaining the extinct of the languages and examining this extinction in scientific terms.

With nearly 80 percent of the world’s population speaking a mere 1 percent of its languages, National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project is trying to slow down the rate at which languages are disappearing. We’re more than used to hearing about species going extinct, but we don’t often look at languages with the same perspective. Threatened by cultural change, government repression, and more, the reality is, however, that every 14 days a language dies, and at that rate, 100 years from now, more than half of the 7,000 existing languages will have disappeared.

As part of the process, National Geographic has launched 8 new talking dictionaries containing more than 32,000 entries and 24,000 audio recordings. Not only do the dictionaries give insight into the languages spoken, they also shed light on the cultures formed around them, with photographs of cultural objects.

Some of the languages National Geographic is documenting have as few as 600 speakers. The 600 speakers of Matukar Panau, for example, live in 2 small villages in Papau New Guinea, and have never had their language documented, let alone even seen the Internet. Just over 3,000 words and audio files, along with 67 pictures, have now been added to the dictionary, and both computers and Internet have reached the remote village.


For the whole article, click here.

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Digital Books vs Traditional Books

I have many translator friends and they are quite passionate about traditional books. First of all, we love the smell of the books, no matter new or old. They all have their special scent. Besides, we love underlining the lines, taking notes on the margins or just using post-its on the sheets. We even love using book markers and we cannot help but buy when we see an interesting one. We love giving books or book markers as a gift to over beloved ones. We love the feeling to carry a book in our bags, whenever we have time, we know that there is always something to read. Traditional books have no problems of “low battery” or “eye strain”. They don’t get warm after some time. Above all, they don’t emit radiation! We feel safe and peaceful when we read a “book”. I don’t know if I’m exaggerating the feeling or not, there are millions of people out there who prefers e-books over traditional ones.

On the other hand, sometimes, I like the idea that I can buy any book any time online… It is quite useful especially while you’re writing  an article or you’re in the middle of a homework…


Here is the news of BBC about digital book sales. Do you agree? Can you give me more advantage or disadvantage of traditional books?

I will make an image-list out of your comments and contributions. 🙂 


A “huge increase” in the value of digital book sales in the UK has been announced by trade organisation the Publishers Association.

The value of digital fiction sales in the first half of 2012 was up 188% on the same period in 2011.

Physical book sales saw a drop in value, dipping 0.4% year on year.

Industry experts said that while the figures were healthy, other areas of the industry, such as bookshops, continued to struggle financially.

“Certainly the strong e-book growth has taken the tarnish off the otherwise tricky market,” said Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller.

“It is good news that the market is transitioning and making money from that, but it is moving to a trickier situation where there are fewer booksellers.”

The figures show impressive increases across the board in a year where e-book popularity – in particular the likes of Fifty Shades of Grey – hit the headlines for racking up massive sales.

Sales of digital children’s books were up 171%, while non-fiction titles increased by 128%.

“The huge increase in digital sales shows how rapidly readers and publishers are embracing e-book reading,” said Richard Mollet, the trade body’s chief executive.

Mr Jones, from The Bookseller, told the BBC that independent bookshops were struggling to keep up with their larger rivals such as Amazon.

Some other shops, such as Waterstones, are aiming to increase sales by entering into tie-up deals with popular e-book manufacturers.

The industry is unsure, Mr Jones said, over where exactly consumer interest will head next.

“What we don’t know yet is what will happen when more bookreaders get tablet devices,” he said.

“This will be the first Christmas where you get more cheap tablet devices from the likes of Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Kobo.

“There’s a good deal of uncertainty about what will happen on Boxing Day 2012 when a few million people open up their tablet and think ‘What am I going to buy on it?’.”

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