Monday, February 17, 2014


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.


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".

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mandarin Chinese Progress January 2013

I have been following the input based learning system for Mandarin Chinese, and it is going along smoothly. All this time, not once have I picked up a single pen or piece of paper. Everything I have been learning in Chinese has been one hundred percent audio lessons.

Yesterday I listened to Chinese on the bus, the subway, and walking. When I started getting bored, I switched over to Spanish vocabulary. On my way home, I went back to Mandarin. Living Language lessons are different in that they go over sentences, nuts and bolts, then the sentences again with English translation. I have been slowly moving up in my Chinese abilities. I am understanding basic sentences, basic greetings, and able to recognize Chinese words in new sentences.

As I listen over and over to the tones of the language, they are slowly growing on me. I read that Chinese tones are one of the more difficult things for anglophones to acquire. I do not know how I have acquired them yet because I am still in the listening phase.

So the progress is going along slowly, but consistently. I am wondering when I should start practicing the writing system?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What alphabet is this?

Let the game begin with this image. It contains several alphabets, most of them ancient. You are looking at their numerical system only. (1-10, 1-200 etc.) This is a test to see if you can identify which ancient language it is by only their numbers. 

Leave your answers in the comment section. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Skype Me Maybe

Many of my friends got together and made a great YouTube video, Skype Me Maybe. Benny did a fantastic job!.I really love how us language learners share our passion for something, connect, and enjoy what we do. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dawdling along in Mandarin Playlists

Hello Amigos,

The Winter Holidays are here, and I wish I was shopping on fifty-seventh street in New York City.

I have been spending a lot more time indoors, and less time walking with the kids whilst listening to Chinese on my Ipod. This evening I thought it would be a good time to make a quick playlist for myself. I can watch the playlist on my television screen and on my notebook. It is a simple playlist of videos from my favorite linguist, Glossika.

I decided to embed the playlist below so that if you are also learning basic Chinese you can enjoy the videos as well.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Six Ways to Chat with a Native Speaker

If you live in any metropolitan area, chances are you will be lucky enough to meet native speakers of your target language. Take advantage of this opportunity. I tend to be shy when I am speaking another language. It can be difficult breaking through that barrier, but trust me it will be worth the effort.

Start with the right attitude. If you have the right attitude the experience will be pleasurable. Native speakers tend to be happy that you are trying to speak their language. They can be very encouraging.

1. Be flexible about their correction of your pronunciation or grammar. I stopped worrying about making mistakes a long time ago. Enjoy yourself, and be grateful for their corrections. Smile and show that you are happy they corrected you.

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