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Linguistic Lovin’

27 Aug

After yesterday’s fiddling with the computer, it turns out that it was in fact, my own fault for the disappearing like button and nothing to do with WP.   As far as silver linings go though, my technological ineptness was a good thing, as it meant I found myself mooching all over the internet in an effort to better myself and add interesting things to my CV.  By that process, I came across the language site Duolingo.

duolingoOf course the word free was the big seller and taking a minute to sign up, I found a community of people that encourage learning whilst helping each other to understand those (at first) incomprehensible rules of new languages.   There are a number of courses from the obvious staples of Spanish, German etc, to others which will provide a new and interesting challenge such including Swedish, Hungarian and Danish.

Being a realist, I don’t expect to learn a language solely with this site, it gives out the basics to intermediate level which according to the Common European framework of Reference and Language means that I will eventually:

…understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Duolingo also had no ads, how does it make its money you ask?  We, the language users can test our new found skills by translating stuff that companies pay Duolingo to translate, this crowd sourcing model is a decent trade off as it allows for the user to challenge themsleves with something substantial.  Looking at it critically and reading the forums,  there does seem to be a fairly small base of words in each language and as ever there is some contention to the use of language, but that happens in everyday life so can be excused.  It’s simple and is a good basis for starting with and learning simple communication  functions which will no doubt get more complex I progress.

It is a fun introduction to different way of speaking and thinking with which I hope to eventually be able to converse fluently with some of you in your native languages, especially the Americans.  I’ve started with French as I did that at school and Spanish because I can but will have a working knowledge of all the languages as time goes on.

If any of you guys fancy joining me, then sign up and search for me under either my email or StetotheJ and we can learn how to say my big toe is made of cheese in multiple languages together.

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41 Comments

Posted by on 27/08/2014 in Languages

 

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41 responses to “Linguistic Lovin’

  1. Morgan

    27/08/2014 at 15:06

    Very cool 😉 I shall peruse, perchance to prognosticate in Polish…though more than likely Welsh 🙂

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    • Ste J

      27/08/2014 at 15:08

      Yhey don’t have Welsh yet, but Polish is on there and Irish as well, if that would do for you.

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  2. leesha0304

    27/08/2014 at 15:14

    Oh fun, I love learning languages. But which language to pick?? Perhaps français?

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    • Ste J

      27/08/2014 at 15:17

      I had the same problem, all those masculine and feminine word do my head in sometimes though…What I have done of French so far has been fun although I did learn it in school even if I have forgotten most of it.

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  3. shadowoperator

    27/08/2014 at 15:40

    You may think you’re funny when you say your big toe is made of cheese, but as you may or may not be aware from perusing directions and info on devices and products purchased abroad, the road to translating text for material goods is fraught with peril. I don’t know if you remember the good ol’ days, when the “New Yorker” magazine used to publish bits and pieces of mistranslated or badly translated garbage from ads at the bottom of their pages as fillers, but they were absolutely hilarious. One of the areas of the globe which the English language has the most trouble being translated into, apparently, is Asia. With a possibly ethnocentric tendency, which should be deplored, of course, they supplied the nevertheless funny things that are put in English on packages from Asia. The tidbits were always entitled “The Mysterious East.” I sometimes would just flip through the magazine looking for things from magazines and products that went under the “mistranslation” label. Pretty funny. Good luck, though, I hope you do well (and I promise not to laugh if you tell someone that the lightbulb is made from plastic mice).

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    • Ste J

      27/08/2014 at 15:52

      I shall have to give that a well known search engine search to catch up with what I have missed, it is amusing the mistakes that happen. John Toshack a Welsh football manager went to manage in Turkey where his name sounds uncannily like the Turkish word for testicle so at his press conference he had a plate of sheep’s testicles which was rather amusing. I will probably intentionally throw in some amusing phrases just to put a smile on somebody’s face because I am all about the giving.

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      • shadowoperator

        27/08/2014 at 16:59

        I think I may have told you this before, but there used to be a website on the internet, sadly no more, called “Translation Party.” It would take anything you typed in, verse of poetry, saying, plain sentence, and translate it into Japanese and then back and forth again several times between English and Japanese using what I guess I would call standard language algorithms. At the end would appear a hilariously funny sentence that had nothing to do with anything, even though this was supposed to be the state of the translation at “equilibrium,” whatever that meant. I had fun with that site too. Why aren’t mistakes funny to people anymore? I love nothing better in comic drama, for example, than a scene where people are talking at misunderstood cross-purposes.

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        • Ste J

          28/08/2014 at 13:42

          That site would make the internet a better place, I wish I would have had the pleasure of it. cross purposes are a classic comedy device and should be heralded as such…Terry Pratchett wrote (in his Discworld series) about a foreign man who ran a restaurant and on the menu deliberately misspelled words and did backwards letter S’s and so forth because whilst people were laughing at the mistakes they wouldn’t be noticing the scandolous prices. I wish really life misunderstandings were comical…

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  4. Sherri

    27/08/2014 at 16:21

    A silver lining it is…this is so interesting and I’m going to send the link to Aspie D who wants to learn German and, dare I say it, Russian. The only thing I now how to say in Russian is Vodka. As for German, well I did know how to say ‘Excuse me, where is the zoo?’ once upon a time. I shall be looking forward to what you can teach us…and no cheesy big toes I hope 😉

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:30

      Russian and German are on there and if your daughter would like to befriend me she is welcome too, as I am right nice me. Vodka is perhaps the only Russian word we need apart from whatever furry hat is…not that I am into national stereotypes, he says removing his bowler hat and unfurling the copy of the times he has in his hands with the umbrella.

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      • Sherri

        28/08/2014 at 15:27

        Haha…you do make me laugh Ste! I will forever think of you now as the quintessential Englishman…as if I didn’t already think that before, you understand… 🙂

        I will definitely tell my daughter about it and you being right nice and all…oh, and I told her about your JK post and she thought it was hilarious and also agrees with all you say about it. Except you wouldn’t believe it…guess what she and her step-dad were watching last night? Yep, Ghost Hunters!!!!! I was blogging…of course 😉

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        • Ste J

          29/08/2014 at 17:46

          It is an honour to be thought of as quintessential, especially as it is a big word and I always enjoy those.

          JK is one of a kind and best left to other people methinks, although I am mightily surprised that Ghost Hunters was on the TV but for light relief I will let all involved off. I will let you off though because you were blogging!

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Sherri

            01/09/2014 at 23:26

            Haha! I’m glad about that. And you should be honoured… 🙂

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  5. Al

    27/08/2014 at 17:29

    I think I shall stay with the languages I am already fluent in – English, German, French, Lies, Spanish, Greek and Afrikaans.

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:32

      That is quite a list, lies is a popular one and American is also along with the universal language of mime which I regularly indulge in behind closed doors.

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      • Al

        28/08/2014 at 15:34

        Haha I of course the lies takes care of all the rest 😀 I know some German, some French, and courtesy of when my kids were little, how to say backpack in Spanish. Damn that Dora the Explorer

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        • Ste J

          29/08/2014 at 17:25

          Dora has helped so many people learn about backpacks lol. Although I shall claim ignorance on that one…

          Liked by 1 person

           
  6. Love, Life and Whatever

    27/08/2014 at 18:04

    Hey this post was literally or say linguistic different ( differences)….I would love to as language enriches your experience and transcends you to a different world….but I admit I am falling short of time drastically even for writing posts…..nuances of being a mom to a boy…..totally totally enjoyed reading this though

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:50

      Well the beauty of this site is that each part is really short so you could do a short time every day and slowly gain knowledge of your chosen language. Life and blogging does take up an immense amount of time but perhaps one day you will get to learn a language, it would be surreal to chat to you in a different language one day.

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  7. gargoylebruce

    27/08/2014 at 22:45

    Challenge yourself. Learn Welsh.

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  8. Maranda H.

    28/08/2014 at 04:32

    Still waiting to get an email from you! I’m very disappointed Welsh isn’t an option here. 😦 (Did you try looking for Cymraeg instead of the word Welsh?) I’m currently reading *Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery*, and it has quite a bit of help here and there since the author had learned it and moved to Llangollen to put it into practice. I’m sure you’d enjoy all the Cwrw da (ale) to be had.

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:19

      Apologies, it is half finished in my drafts, I will get it to you post haste. It’s a shame that Welsh isn’t there as it seems popular with you Americans, perhaps it will come up there if enough people show an interest. I am sure i would enjoy such a tipple and indeed the book which I will look up, I am always appreciative of a heads up for books.

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  9. Lyn

    28/08/2014 at 06:23

    I’ve always wanted to learn a second language, however, the left lobe of my brain is made of cheese… or is it the right lobe? Go for it Ste!

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:22

      The left lobe of my brain is made of cheese, sounds like something you would end up saying were you attempting to find your way to the beach in some crazy language lol. I love a challenge and the Rubik’s Cube gets a bit much once three and a half sides, I’m sure learning a language will be a lot easier…

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  10. Josefine Grimm - Blenk

    28/08/2014 at 10:31

    I use this website every day! Love it!!!! I pass it on to everyone I meet. So valuable!

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  11. Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    28/08/2014 at 13:03

    Good luck and have fun. 🙂 I used to speak, French, German, Spanish, as well as English. Now I have enough trouble with English. LOL.

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    • Ste J

      28/08/2014 at 13:35

      I sometimes get bewildered by various American terms but I like to think you haven’t lost your other languages, the site would be a good reminder so you can once again impress others with your skillz.

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  12. Christina ~

    29/08/2014 at 01:37

    Happy to have you back with WP functioning properly for you! This site does sound intriguing, and I am very much looking forward to checking it out. I do so love to learn…more than what I already know…which are, at best, a few phrases in a handful of languages whose only purpose would serve in getting me into trouble ha.

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    • Ste J

      29/08/2014 at 17:38

      I like that we share a passion for learning and I like even better that there are free resources that give us the opportunity to do so. I am sure you do know a few phrases lol, I bet your English ones are extremely interesting as well. You should try them out with me sometime…hehe.

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  13. RoSy

    30/08/2014 at 18:00

    Cool. I think I will try this. I’m gonna’ shoot for German.
    Mein name ist RoSy 🙂

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    • Ste J

      31/08/2014 at 09:50

      Excellent, great to see you on there RoSy, although it does hold us accountable now we have gone for it, still I like a challenge. I hope to converse with you one day in German, that would be mad!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  14. LuAnn

    01/09/2014 at 15:39

    Thanks SteJ. I will hurry off to this site to check it out. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      02/09/2014 at 18:38

      Excellent, language is great and makes me happier than ice on a hot day.

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  15. anna amundsen

    10/09/2014 at 19:38

    I have a long history of learning languages online.. I remember I had much fun with Livemocha; which now is not what it used to be.. And, I had several people telling me about LingQ. I checked Swedish and the mode of learning is not what one usually gets (introductions, family, colors etc. first).. Quite interesting.. I will check Duolingo, as well.

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    • Ste J

      10/09/2014 at 20:30

      In that case I will find some time to check out LingQ as well. It would be great to slip fluently into many languages and answer bloggers in their own first language…it would open up more blogs as well. It’s all a bit of an exciting thought.

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