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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where to buy French Books in the United States

365 histoires pour le soir Tome 2 (1 livre + 1 CD)


I've been having a hard time finding French books for my children. Recently, I found a website French Books Online, and placed an order. I bought 365 stories for bedtime. The stories are all one page in length, and not exactly what I was hoping for. I wanted something with more age appropriate text and better , the illustrations. 

Over all website offers a lot of great selections and I would recommend purchasing French books from this site. LINK








Friday, July 18, 2014

King County Library - World Language Storytime for babies and toddlers

Hello All,

If you live in the King County Area, you can bring your toddler to any of the free world language story times! I have been taking my son's to Spanish storytime, tomorrow we will be doing French at the Redmond library, and Chinese at either Bothell or Redmond.

Need more information?  LINK

Enjoy the following videos regarding how children learn foreign language.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bilingualism makes you more intelligent

Originally Published in the New York Times
SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

Choosing Your Child's L3



My husband and I have two son's, aged 2 and 3. We discussed on more than one occasion what third language (L3) our boys should learn.

Our boys have both Spanish and English because the spend time in Mexico and the United States. Their Mexican family do not speak to them in English, and they will be spending many summers in Mexico. Spanish fluency is an inevitability. My beautiful daughter, aged sixteen, speaks French and English fluently. (French was actually her first language)

Some experts would say we should start our children on their third language now, while others would suggest waiting until they master English and Spanish. I think we will wait a little before starting L3, just after we know our son's competently communicate with us in English and with the family in Spanish.

We want L3 instruction to start certainly in their elementary years, when learning will be very easy. I think that L3 instruction should begin by their fifth and eighth birthdays.

The big question is - What should the third language be? As parents, we get to make this decision for the boys. I do not think there is any 'bad' or 'wrong' L3, only languages that are more useful than others. I suggested L3 should be Chinese, my husband suggested Japanese.

Many blogs report that Chinese, Arabic and even Portuguese are more useful business language to learn. LINK  Having a working knowledge of Japanese is a must of one wants to work in Asia's cutting-edge gaming and robotics scene. Japan certainly has innovative electronics. But their population is shrinking, true they are more innovating than the Chinese, but I think Chinese will eventually trump the Japanese even in electronics. I think Japanese was the language to know in the 80's and 90s, but can we say what was true then will be true in 20 years from now?

If we really think about it, the usefulness of L3 (language three) will be defined by our son's chosen occupation. Will they work in real estate, medicine, manufacturing, or politics? According to Wikepedia, the most spoken European languages after English are German and French and South America, the most spoken language after Spanish is Portuguese. If we base our decision about L3 based on business in Europe, the answer is German (because the boys already speak English), and if we base our decision on South America, it should be Portuguese (because the boys already have Spanish.)

In all practicality: our best choices should come from the following list: Chinese, German, Portuguese.

One thing I have always said, is that a value of a language is defined more than just how much money it will bring, but how it improves your life.  We do not know how L3 will improve our sons lives, nor do we know what occupation they will enter. We do not know what world they will be living in. Working with these variables, I still think L3 should be Mandarin Chinese. But then again, I speak French, my daughter speaks French, so why shouldn't L3 be French?


DinoLingo
China Sprout
Language Schools and Playgroups


Lango

http://www.seattlelanguages.com/children.php






RESOURCES:
http://www.misspandachinese.com/
http://www.echineselearning.com/services/kids-chinese/kids-chinese.html
South King County Lango Summer Camp http://www.southkinglango.com/
Seattle Eastside Lango http://seattlelangoeastside.com/
Seattle Summer Camps Villa Venture http://thevilla.org/student-life/summer-class-openings/
Zoom Spanish Playschool http://zoomlanguage.com/general-info.html

 Campbell, R. and Sais, E. (1995), Accelerated metalinguistic (phonological) awareness in bilingual children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 13: 61–68. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-835X.1995.tb00664

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Duolingo - Where users translate Wikipedia into foreign languages

I learned about this foreign language website from a TED talk. When using duolingo, not only are you learning another language but you are also translating the web.

With duolingo, people are learning with real Wikipedia content. More surprisingly, translations they get are as accurate as professional language translations. They combine the translation of multiple users, and the site translates very fast.

Users translated phrase after phrase, eventually translating all of Wikipedia into other languages!

The cost? Nothing. You pay with your time. Unlike Rosetta Stone, this program is not discriminating against the poor.

Check out the Duolingo courses -->LINK

On another note, my husband and I decided that we want our son's to learn Japanese. They boys already speak English. Every summer they go to Mexico and will be fluent in Spanish. Their Mexican relatives do not speak to them in English.

Below is a link to my son's first Japanese lesson. We will work on this all week.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Navajo


Navajo Word Set English (Français) Navajo words One (Un) Łáá'íí Two (Deux) Naaki Three (Trois) Táá' Four (Quatre) Dįį'
Five (Cinq) Ashdla'
Man (Homme) Hastiin
Woman (Femme) Asdzání
Dog (Chien) Łééchąą'í
Sun (Soleil) Shá
Moon (Lune) Tł'éhonaa'éí
Water (Eau) Tó
White (Blanc) Łigaii
Yellow (Jaune) Łitsooí
Red (Rouge) Łichíí'
Black (Noir) Łizhiní
Eat (Manger) Yiyą
See (Voir) Yoo'į
Hear (Entendre) Yidiists'a'
Sing (Chanter) Hashtaał
Leave (Partir) Diiyá



Monday, November 11, 2013

Where have I been?

Dear Readers, 

Thanks for your continuing support. This blog reached more people than I thought possible. As many of you know, I have two little boys at home and cannot devote much time to blogging. For now, I am completely out of ideas for the polyglot blog. If I do get an idea, I will surely write about it. 

Last week I set up my Etsy Store  Bauble and Bain   I have been busy making new items to sell, chasing the boys around, taking care of the house and getting at least three workouts in at L.A. Fitness. 

Perhaps I should add some foreign language flashcards to my store? What do you think?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chinese Alphabet - How to use Chinese Keyboards

The most common Chinese keyboard are Hanyu pinyin-based, representing the pronunciation of characters using Latin letters. First, decide whether you are going to input your information phonetically or using root shapes (characters).

However, keyboards with labels for alternative structural input methods such as Wubi method can also be found, although those are usually very old products and are extremely rare to this day.

Lets start with the Wubi method. Note that the Wubi method tends to be found on older computers and is extremely rare these days. None the less, it is worth noting because it helps us understand the development of Chinese information inputting. 

What is a Unicode ? - Latin Extended A



If you have ever taken a language class, you will be required to submit written compositions in the target language. Homework can be difficult if you do not know how to type in certain letters or accents. If you are writing a French essay, it helps to have a French keyboard. We all cannot afford that luxury because, afford is the key word here, many language do not have keyboards. 

How To Use The Unicode Values in Microsoft Word?


This method works regardless of any of your language settings, but is the most cumbersome to type.
  1. Press and hold down the Alt key.
  2. Press the + (plus) key on the numeric keypad.
  3. Type the hexidecimal unicode value.
  4. Release the Alt key.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Live Mocha and Rosetta Stone are Merging! $8.5 Million Price Tag

I am not liking the idea of these two companies merging. I received this email from Live Mocha stating that they would "merge" with Rosetta Stone. Then, I found information about the acquisition on the from page of Yahoo News, in short, Rosetta Stone bought live Mocha for $8.5 Million dollars.

Live Mocha is  a social network, whereas Rosetta Stone is a cash cow. Do not get me wrong, I like Rosetta Stone. I sincerely do. However, live mocha is more personal, more granola, and is available to people for FREE.

If Live Mocha starts turning into a cash cow, it is time for people to look elsewhere. This acquisition leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Learning languages is so expensive and time consuming that most people cannot possibly do it. If Rosetta Stone made this purchase because they want to reach more of the global, online language learning community I am fine with that. Lets be real for a second - when it comes to business it is about the bottom line.

I have helped many students from around the globe learn English on live mocha. These are people who cannot possibly afford Rosetta stone prices.The Rosetta Stone demographics and the more granola Live Mocha demographics are different.

How does Rosetta Stone expect to recoup that $8.5 million investment? They will try to get it from Live Mocha users. If they try milking these people, particularly people from third world countries with bad internet connection - I will do what I can to encourage people to find another online language learning social network.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Somali Language


Somali (af Soomaali / اَف صَومالي˜)

Somali is a member of the East Cushtic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It has 10-16 million native speakers and perhaps half a million second language speakers mainly in Somali, where it is an official language, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. There are also significant numbers of Somali speakers in Europe, North America and Yemen.
Somalia have a significant presence in Seattle Washington. For language practice, or if you are interested in being up to date with news from Somalia, visit their website Som Tv. The are the second largest minority in Tukwila, Kent, and Rainer Valley areas. The language is a useful one to know in South Seattle.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

لشِعْر العَرَبي The Quran is a Book of Poetry

Sample of Arabic Poetry
Pre-Islamic men of the Arabian Peninsula dictated epic tales, heart-rending poetry, and eloquent prose. Oral poetry predates 6th century BC. Arabic poetry (Arabic: الشِعْر العَرَبي ) is the earliest form of Arabic literature. The ancient Arabs placed a great value on being able to tell an eloquent, palpitating tale with a delicate stanza.

The Quran, like all other forms of poetry at that time, was designed to inspire. Muhammad was a poet. Aided by what appeared to be temporal lobe epilepsy, he became one of the greatest poets during that time period. As he was mostly illiterate, he simply did what all the other poets of that time did - Muhammad narrated them, and recited them. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Writing Systems: Alphabet Abjad Logographic



World writing systems are classified by common distinguishing features. The useful name of the writing system is given first: alphabetic script, abjad script, or logographic script are the three writing systems discussed today.  Each writing system has distinguishing features.

ALPHABETIC : An alphabetic writing system uses letters, (basic sound units), to  represent sounds only without any reference to meaning.  Languages that fall under the alphabetic writing system have alphabets, which are the letters of a language, arranged in the order fixed by custom. The letters represent a phoneme. The alphabets are a system of characters or symbols representing sounds or things. String together letters (phonemes/sounds) and you make words. Words represent concepts and thoughts.

LOGOGRAPHIC: This writing system uses visual symbols to represent words, rather than phonemes to make up the word.

ABJAD: A writing system where symbols represent consonants, leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel. The Abjad writing system is very similar to syllabary (syllabary: sets of syllables have values), in which there is one glyph (symbol or letter) for each consonant or consonant sound unit. Some languages that use abjads are Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu. Abjad writing systems have alphabets where vowels are not indicated at all. The vowels are shown by diacritics (marks or symbols above each letter). All Abjad languages (except one) belong to the Semetic Language Family.

What is the difference between alphabetic and logographic writing system? A word such as cat, is represented by three letters C.A.T, each of these letters represents a sound. The sounds come together to make a word. The logographic writing system does not have a letter for every phoneme. When you think about my previous posts (Chinese alphabet, Japanese alphabet, Korean alphabet), technically speaking, these are not alphabets. Logographic writing systems have visual representations of words rather than phonemic representation of words. When you are looking at a Chinese word, keep in mind that you are looking at an image – you are not looking at sounds. When we learn English as children, one of the first things we are told in elementary school is that if we do not know a word, ‘sound it out.’ This is not the case in logographic writing systems, because the writing is pictures, not sounds. Therefore, in logographic writing, little children cannot ‘sound it out.’

What is the difference between abjad and logographic writing systems? Abjad languages are alphabetic. The markings represent sounds. This is different from logographic writing systems where the words are symbols and not a collection of sounds.

What is the difference between alphabetic writing and abjad writing? For one, alphabetic writing represents vowels in the form of letters. Each letter represents a sound. Abjad alphabets are consonants only. The vowels do not have their own letters, rather, the vowels are represented in markings above the letter. 

Learning Pinyin - 拼音

Listened to more Chinese lessons today. I am starting to understand more, but it is really going very slowly. Chinese is so different to any other language that I have known or studied. I am still taking teeny, tiny baby steps.

I did have a bump in the road. When I synced up my I-pod, all of my language content vanished. I am now going through the tedious process of getting all the content again, and re-installing it on my device again.

In the meantime, I decided to get my listen in with some basic YouTube videos. NinHaoChina produces many Chinese tutorial videos. Unfortunately  it appears they are not uploading any new Chinese language material. (understandable, languages change at a glacial pace) Embedded below is a video I watched this morning. The video is about Pinyin, a very basic system to learn the four Chinese tones.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When you fall off language learning?

Unfortunately it happens to the best of us. Sometimes we go into our new language full throttle, then just get burnt out. One of my favorite language lovers of all time is Moses. I thought his Question of the Week was something that we should answer, or at least analyse in this blog post.

I think one of the answers to this problem, is to remind ourselves why we started learning the language in the first place.

video


Saturday, March 9, 2013

quốc ngữ việt nam

Did you know that the Vietnamese alphabet is based on the Portuguese alphabet? It is true.


Chữ Quốc ngữ, còn được gọi tắt là Quốc ngữ, là hệ thống chữ viết chính thức hiện nay của tiếng Việt. Hệ thống này được xây dựng dựa trên chữ cái Latinh(cụ thể là trực tiếp từ chữ cái Bồ Đào Nha) thêm các chữ ghép và 9 dấu phụ — 4 dấu tạo ra các âm mới, và năm dấu còn lại dành cho thể hiện thanh điệu của từ. Hai loại dấu phụ có thể được viết cùng trên một chữ cái nguyên âm.

Bảng chữ cái

Bảng chữ cái tiếng Việt có 29 chữ cái, theo thứ tự:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Are some languages spoke faster than others?

A common complaint among students taking a foreign language, is that the professor speaks too fast.  It is almost a universal complaint. Many students feel like there is an avalanche of speech coming their way.

But - is the foreign speaker really speaking faster than normal?

No* - they are not speaking faster. This essay will explain the in's and out's as to why we think foreigners are speaking faster.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bambara: A Niger-Congo language


As many of you know, France and West African countries have decided to invade Mali and push out Islamic militants responsible for the coup d’ état. Now is a good enough time to discuss Bambara, one of the largest indigenous languages of Mali.

As Mali was once a French colony, the official language of Mali is French. However about eighty percent of the population, 13 million people, speak Bambara.

The Bambara language is the mother tongue of the Bambara ethnic group, numbering about 2,700,000 people, but serves also as a lingua franca in Mali (it is estimated that about 80% of the population speaks it as a first or second language).

Linguistic Classification
Bambara is a Niger-Congo language. It is closely related to the languages Jula and Marka. Bambara belongs to a group of closely-related languages called Manding, within the larger Mandé group.

Bomara is an SOV language. This means: subject, object, verb usually appear in that order. If English were SOV, then "Sam oranges ate" would be an ordinary sentence, as opposed to the actual Standard English "Sam ate oranges".

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