Posts Tagged ‘language learners’

Find Out the Similarities Between Languages

There are thousands of languages and dialects around the world. If you encounter a language that you’ve never heard before, you feel like an alien is speaking to you. 🙂

But it doesn’t work like that for people who are interested in foreign languages. Instead of listening to an alien speech, we try to understand some certain patterns, we give attention to syllable stresses, we try to find some lexical similarities between our own language and this “alien speech”. 🙂

So, I discovered an interesting website showing the similarities between languages. It does not go in detail and it only shows the percetages of the similarities in certain categories, but I’m sure you’ll want to check it up. 🙂

 

First, you select the language that you want to compare to other languages:

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Than you can see the similarities a certain language shares with others.

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Cactuses (Difficulty) indicate the relative difficulty of learning this language if you already speak Italian. The fewer cactuses/cacti, the easier.

Here is the website: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/similarities/index.html

Enjoy! 🙂

 

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For Typos and Basic Grammar Mistakes

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Here is a perfect tool for those who cannot stand typos and basic grammar mistakes. Although most of such mistakes is done just due to the lack of attention, typos and such simple grammar mistakes decrease the credibility of the text– at least in my opinion. 

You can use and recommend the spellchecker of Grammarly Lite for anyone who writes texts on computer. Actually it is quite useful for all of us. Well, what does this spellchecker do?

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It also works in coordination with your favorite web sites such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, Facebook, Twitter, Google docs, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest.

If you want to download this tool, first you should make sure that you use Chrome as your browser. Then by clicking the link below, you can download the tool.

http://bit.ly/Xn3NmF

It is also quite useful for translation agencies. As AIM Consulting, we recommend you this tool. 

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Google Wants to Protect 3,000 Endangered Languages

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 19.21.07Recently, I saw a Youtube video about a project titled “Endangered Languages Project” powered by Google. Google created a platform for the members or learners of endangered languages. When you sign up, you can share information on this platform. Let’s hear it from Google 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn2QbwcjmOI

The Endangered Languages Project, is an online resource to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat.

About endangered languages:

Experts estimate that only 50% of the languages that are alive today will be spoken by the year 2100.

The disappearance of a language means the loss of valuable scientific and cultural information, comparable to the loss of a species.

Tools for collaboration between the world communities, scholars, organizations and concerned individuals can make a difference

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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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More Natural Pronunciations for Online Language Learning

Finally, I found a website with natural sounding pronunciations for online language learners. I have introduced many websites before; however, the pronunciations all have a kind of mechanical sound. This one, although including only basic words, is more realistic if you want to try new languages in your spare time! I just tried Arabic and I already learned the numbers! 🙂

 

There are 11 language options. When you move your pointer over “French”, for example, you can see a brief info about the language and the flags of the countries where French is spoken.

 

When you select a languages, you see different types of conversations.

 

Let’s say you click on “My Home”. You see the whole plan of a home and you can click on any subject and hear the pronunciation.

 

You can also visit each room and click on anything! You can cook meal and see what’s in the fridge…

This is quite funny and exciting because you eventually learn some words and hear the exact pronunciations…

 

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Tips From A Guy Who Speaks 50 Languages!

50 languages! I guess my brain would be like a vegetable soup. 🙂 So far, I have attempted to learn 5 different languages (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German)  and I could only continue with 2 of them. Even I just know 3 languages, English, Turkish and French, I sometimes mistaken French words with English ones… For example, the other day I wrote “biere” instead of “beer” in a translation! 🙂 It was so embrassing though. As translators, it is our dream to know as many languages as possible, isn’t it?

However, there are some genius people who can speak more than 10 languages. I’m sure they get confused from time to time but it should be great to know that you can communicate millions of people! What a confidence! I came across an interesting article about learning languages. There are some tips from a guy who “knows” 50 languages:

One of the most famous language learners alive today is Alexander Arguelles, a linguist who has learned over 50 languages (some of them dead, admittedly) and has developed a couple of techniques that he shares with people online. You can learn all about his techniques on his website — he makes instructional videos available for free — and a lot of people swear by them.

Here’s his famous “shadowing technique,” where students listen to the language with simultaneously speaking it out loud and reading along with it in a book. Arguelles describes it like this:

The videos I have made about Shadowing demonstrate and discuss the proper form for using my technique of shadowing or listening to and simultaneously echoing a recording of foreign language audio that accompanies a manual of bilingual texts . . . In order to shadow most effectively, it is important to observe three points:
1. Walk outdoors as swiftly as possible.
2. Maintain perfectly upright posture.
3. Articulate thoroughly in a loud, clear voice.

He also recommends his “scriptorium technique,” where students write the language while simultaneously speaking it out loud. He writes:

In order to do this properly, you should:

1. Read a sentence aloud.
2. Say each word aloud again as you write it.
3. Read the sentence aloud as you have written it.

The whole purpose of this exercise is to force yourself to slow down and pay attention to detail. This is the stage at which you should check all unknowns in grammars or dictionaries.

 

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Basic Conversations in 22 Languages

I published many web sites about online language learning. However, this one attracted my attention more because it also displays the dialogues with simple and funny cartoons. You can select the language pairs and there are 22 different languages. Moreover there is audio option. You should give it a try! 🙂

 

There are hundreds of sentences that may be useful in your travels. 🙂

 

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Common Grammar Mistakes in Translation

There are certain words or phrases that most of the people use wrong. Spelling is also another issue considering such mistakes. For example, I always misspell “grammar” as “grammer”. I can only edit this mistake after proofreading. I do not know why, I am also confused when it comes to import and export 🙂 Whenever I work as an interpreter, I write these two words on post-its and put them somewhere close to me. I came across a good article explainingthe common grammar mistakes in translations. It is a column by JON GINGERICH, I want to thank him for this wonderful post. If you have more grammar mistakes in mind, please feel free to add 🙂

Who and Whom

This one opens a big can of worms. “Who” is a subjective — or nominative — pronoun, along with “he,” “she,” “it,” “we,” and “they.” It’s used when the pronoun acts as the subject of a clause. “Whom” is an objective pronoun, along with “him,” “her,” “it”, “us,” and “them.”

Which and That

This is one of the most common mistakes out there, and understandably so. “That” is a restrictive pronoun. It’s vital to the noun to which it’s referring.  e.g., I don’t trust fruits and vegetables that aren’t organic. Here, I’m referring to all non-organic fruits or vegetables. In other words, I only trust fruits and vegetables that are organic. “Which” introduces a relative clause. It allows qualifiers that may not be essential. e.g., I recommend you eat only organic fruits and vegetables, which are available in area grocery stores.

Lay and Lie

This is the crown jewel of all grammatical errors. “Lay” is a transitive verb. It requires a direct subject and one or more objects. Its present tense is “lay” (e.g., I lay the pencil on the table) and its past tense is “laid” (e.g.,Yesterday I laid the pencil on the table). “Lie” is an intransitive verb. It needs no object. Its present tense is “lie” (e.g., The Andes mountains lie between Chile and Argentina) and its past tense is “lay” (e.g., The man lay waiting for an ambulance). The most common mistake occurs when the writer uses the past tense of the transitive “lay” (e.g., I laid on the bed) when he/she actually means the intransitive past tense of “lie” (e.g., I lay on the bed).

Moot

Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion.

Continual and Continuous

They’re similar, but there’s a difference. “Continual” means something that’s always occurring, with obvious lapses in time. “Continuous” means something continues without any stops or gaps in between.

Envy and Jealousy

The word “envy” implies a longing for someone else’s good fortunes. “Jealousy” is far more nefarious.

Nor

“Nor” expresses a negative condition. It literally means “and not.” You’re obligated to use the “nor” form if your sentence expresses a negative and follows it with another negative condition.

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty.

Whether and If

Many writers seem to assume that “whether” is interchangeable with “if.” It isn’t. “Whether” expresses a condition where there are two or more alternatives. “If” expresses a condition where there are no alternatives.

Fewer and Less

“Less” is reserved for hypothetical quantities. “Few” and “fewer” are for things you can quantify.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract lengths you can’t always measure.

Since and Because

“Since” refers to time. “Because” refers to causation.

Disinterested and Uninterested

Contrary to popular usage, these words aren’t synonymous. A “disinterested” person is someone who’s impartial. For example, a hedge fund manager might take interest in a headline regarding the performance of a popular stock, even if he’s never invested in it. He’s “disinterested,” i.e., he doesn’t seek to gain financially from the transaction he’s witnessed. Judges and referees are supposed to be “disinterested.” If the sentence you’re using implies someone who couldn’t care less, chances are you’ll want to use “uninterested.”

Anxious

Unless you’re frightened of them, you shouldn’t say you’re “anxious to see your friends.

Different Than and Different From

This is a tough one. Words like “rather” and “faster” are comparative adjectives, and are used to show comparison with the preposition “than,” (e.g., greater than, less than, faster than, rather than). The adjective “different” is used to draw distinction. So, when “different” is followed by a  preposition, it should be “from,” similar to “separate from,” “distinct from,” or “away from.” e.g., My living situation in New York was different from home. There are rare cases where “different than” is appropriate, if “than” operates as a conjunction. e.g.,Development is different in New York than in Los Angeles. When in doubt, use “different from.”

Bring and Take

In order to employ proper usage of “bring” or “take,” the writer must know whether the object is being moved toward or away from the subject. If it is toward, use “bring.” If it is away, use “take.”

Impactful

It isn’t a word. “Impact” can be used as a noun (e.g., The impact of the crash was severe) or a transitive verb (e.g., The crash impacted my ability to walk or hold a job). “Impactful” is a made-up buzzword, colligated by the modern marketing industry in their endless attempts to decode the innumerable nuances of human behavior into a string of mindless metrics. Seriously, stop saying this.

Affect and Effect

Here’s a trick to help you remember: “Affect” is almost always a verb (e.g., Facebook affects people’s attention spans), and “effect” is almost always a noun (e.g., Facebook’s effects can also be positive).

Irony and Coincidence

“Irony” is the incongruity in a series of events between the expected results and the actual results. “Coincidence” is a series of events that appear planned when they’re actually accidental.

Nauseous

Undoubtedly the most common mistake I encounter. Contrary to almost ubiquitous misuse, to be “nauseous” doesn’t mean you’ve been sickened: it actually means you possess the ability to produce nausea in others. e.g., That week-old hot dog is nauseous. When you find yourself disgusted or made ill by a nauseating agent, you are actually “nauseated.” e.g., I was nauseated after falling into that dumpster behind the Planned Parenthood. Stop embarrassing yourself.

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Orange: The Fruit or The Color?

This is a never ending discussion. It is actually similar to the relation between egg and chicken 🙂 But, today we will put an end to it with this article! 🙂

Anyway, let’s be serious 🙂 Last week, we had a discussion about the names of colors. For example orange. Did our ancestors name the fruit after the color, or the color after the fruit? At first, my friends claimed that the fruit was named after the color; however, I disagreed. I gave the violet example to prove it. In my opinion, the color violet was named after the flower. When people saw similar colors to violet itself, they just named this color as violet. When it comes to orange, the situation is the same. I also found an article supoorting my discussion. It is a very funny one so I strongly recommend you to visit the website itself. I want to thank DAVEN HISKEY for this funny article.:

Today I found out the color orange was named after the fruit, not the other way around.   Before then, the English speaking world referred to the orange color as geoluhread, which literally translates to “yellow-red”.

The word orange itself was introduced to English through the Spanish word “naranja”, which came from the Sanskrit word nāraṅga, which literally means “orange tree”.  The English dropped the leading “n” and eventually we got the word “orange”.

In the early 16th century, the word orange gradually started being used to not only refer to the fruit, but also what we now know of as the color orange.

Bonus Factoids:

  • There is an orange tree in Europe called “Constable” that is estimated to be almost 500 years old.
  • Lightning kills more orange trees annually than any disease.
  • Temple Oranges and Murcott Honey Oranges are actually hybrid oranges, being crossed with tangerines.
  • Over 25 billion oranges are grown in the United States every year.  That’s enough oranges for every American to eat about 83 oranges a year.
  • Christopher Columbus brought the first orange seeds to the New World on his second voyage in 1493.  On this same voyage, he also brought seeds for lemons and citrons.
  • Navel oranges are named for their belly-button-like formations on the opposite side from the stem.  As a general rule, the bigger the navel in the orange, the sweeter it will be.
  • There is no single English word that rhymes with orange.  There are however half rhymes such as “hing”, “syringe”, “sporange”, etc.  There are also proper nouns that come very close to being a perfect rhyme with it, such as “Blorenge”, which is a mountain in Wales, and “Gorringe”, which is the last name of the US Naval Commander who discovered and named Gorringe Ridge in 1875.

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Product Names of IKEA

To me, they mean nothing; however, it is not the case for Thai people! IKEA opened its first store in Bangkok and it resulted in a linguistic problem 🙂 In Swedish, I guess all the product names have a certain meaning but in other languages, these words might mean very very bad things! We have many examples for this issue. You should remember the Ford Nova case, which is quite popular in marketing classes 🙂 You know the French or Spanish (I Dont quite remember) pronunciation of “Nova” means “No Go” or something like that. So when you give this name to a car, it is not good at all 🙂 The car “should go”. In IKEA case, there is a similar situation which requires further linguistic and marketing research. Let’s see what UPI.com says about this:

“BANGKOK, June 9 (UPI) — A language squad spent four years vetting IKEA product names before the Swedish furniture giant opened its new Bangkok store last year.

Natthita Opaspipat, a member of the team, told The Wall Street Journal IKEA’s Swedish names “bring a unique character to the brand.” But she said misunderstandings are easy when they are heard by Thai speakers.

“We’ve got to be careful,” Natthita said. “Some of them can be, well, a little rude.”

The Redalen bed, for example, named after a town in Norway, sounds like a Thai term for sexual intercourse. Part of the name of the Jattebra plant pot also sounds like a term for the sex act, a term not used in polite society.

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, began using children’s names and place names in the Scandinavian countries for his products in the 1950s because he himself was dyslexic. While the company’s sources of names have expanded along with its product line, it is still Scandinavian.

Natthita said the team has tried to keep as close to the original as possible, sometimes only changing a single letter. Team members have to consider both how a word sounds and what it will look like when spelled out in Thai’s cursive alphabet.”

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