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Everything posted by fcuco

  1. Take a look at your day and you will find that you do a lot of activities that don't require your full attention where you could be doing something else at the same time, specially if you want to catch up with audio material, for example, doing laundry, washing the dishes, commuting, working out... all activities that would allow you to be hearing audio lessons at the same time. The key is to find stuff that you could do at the same time, for example, use the time it takes for your clothes to dry to practice writing sentences, use your time at the gym to listen to music in the language that you are studying and try to figure out the lyrics. You could be watching video lessons while using the treadmill, for example.
  2. The world already has that, it is English, for better or worse, it used to be French not too long ago, and Greek and Latin before that (although those were not worldwide languages but mostly the "lingua franca" of most of Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia). As soon as you start to lear about other languages you discover that different tongues have expressions that you lack in your native language, and that you posses ways to express yourself that other languages lack, in my opinion no language is complete and rich enough to serve as the general language for all mankind, a language is just more than a tool for communication, it is a way in which a culture approaches and understands the whole world, I am ok with having different paradigms all over the world.
  3. The site is very scarce in information, so it is hard to tell what it is about before it asks you to sing in for a free trial, you should beef up the front page a little more just to let people know what your whole thing is about, you could leave the call to action button right where it is, but try to describe your product more. You are collecting information, like emails and full names, so I would advice you to add a privacy policy to your site, there are plenty of sites were you can generate one for free depending on the type of information that you will eventually collect, if it includes, I presume, credit card information then make sure that you add one ASAP.
  4. This could work, but I think you have an Usability problem there. It was kind of complicated to filter all posts to just display the ones that I was interested in (German), I saw that you have labels at the bottom but you have both "German" and "Learn German", as an user I am confused... Are those 2 equivalent? If I choose "Learn German" I am going to miss some posts? I know this is related to the platform (you re using Blogger and that's ok) but perhaps you could think about structuring your content a little better, for example if somebody arrives at your page directly via http://www.waialo.com/ we are greeted with a post about Italian, so you may think "ok this is an Italian learning blog", then the next post is about German, that's confusing.
  5. I love that expression, "danke für die Blumen", the literal translation is "thank you for the flowers" but it is more something like "thank you for the compliments" . What I love about it is that it is more used with a bit of irony, like when someone gives you a back handed compliment or tells you something bad about you. I love the irony twists because german idioms are usually very rigid.
  6. I don't know, because being "fluent" is not a discrete state, I would say that it is more of a continuum, slowly but surely you develop your skills. Something the fluency of your language has to do with the subject matter, for example, maybe you are comfortable enough approaching an Hotel front desk and renting a room without issues but once you try to speak about a certain topic where you lack much of the vocabulary then you realize that you are struggling to find the correct terms and words.
  7. This is a very cool concept, if only a level editor could be developed, I imagine a lot of people coming up with amazing puzzle like levels using the different blocks, or very fast paced ones using a combination of those red floors with the yellow ones. I loved the music too.
  8. I am guessing that what you guys are calling "British English" is the received pronunciation, in terms of accents the UK has a rich mixture of very different accents and some of them are quite frankly, pretty ugly. I still prefer the "classic" British accent (or what we now know as a British accent) but I prefer the american spelling of the language, probably because I was more exposed to that and I can't stand words like centre, it is center!
  9. Some of the languages that you mentioned are not exactly dying and have plenty of active and fluent speakers, like Latin (at least the ecclesiastical one), if people were to stop using them at least we have extensive documentation of vocabulary, written words and grammar rules to reconstruct the language, and even hours and hours of audio samples to reconstruct the pronunciation (the modern one that is). Really endangered languages have only a couple of living speakers and barely any written works. Luckily some people are working to preserve those languages, if you are interested you could search for Verdena Parker, to see an example. Can you imagine being the only person in the world that can speak a language? Nobody understands you... That's lonely.
  10. For what is worth, in some European countries the north - south divide is pretty stark, not only in terms of accents, but in culture and even going as far as the way people actually look, I can think of Italy as an example of this, there is a really palpable animosity between people from the North of Italy and people from the South, so much so that you can usually tell them apart, people from the north then to look more Germanic while people from the South are more mediterranean with all the bad (and mostly false) stereotypes associated to this look.
  11. Just be careful, some more "urban" genres actually use slang and some broken English. It is also very important to be familiar with the slang, some idioms and expressions that people use, that's how people talk in real life after all, but you have to be very careful and recognize the difference because when you are learning a language you should learn the proper grammar and form first, speak correctly, then familiarize yourself with slangs. This applies to other forms of entertainment and for all languages.
  12. What's with the weird region thing? I assume it has to do with Nintendo and not you, since I am guessing you would prefer a wider release. Where can I find some game footage? It is possible to download a demo? Do you use the stylus? The accelerometers?
  13. What works for you? Some people are very visual, some people are very into auditory sensations, some people learn better when music is involved. For instance I learn better while I am listening to something while doing some mindless activity like walking or working out. My suggestion to you is to try audio lessons in Spanish, I am sure that there are podcasts and such, find one of those, downloaded them into an iPod or any portable music device and listen to the lesson while doing something else, cooking, doing the dishes, while driving, and so on. This are chores that you have to do anyway so you may as well do something more productive with the time that it takes to do them.
  14. I like Italian love songs, specially old ones from the 70s and 80s. Italian is a beautiful language even when people are simply speaking, it is very musical, so it goes pretty well with a voice singing it. I often translate the lyrics out of curiosity not as an exercise to learn or practice the language, just because that I know that I am going to find the actual translated lyrics to be nice and poetic. Side note, one of the main reasons that got me into learning languages was the fact that I used to listen to music in other languages and it occurred to me that I had to at least understand or know the themes and ideas of the songs that I was listening... maybe I was supporting and artist that was singing stuff that went against my believes or values, that's a stretch but you get my point.
  15. Even if you took it seriously for my case, the class size was simply too big, you had a mixture of people with all kinds of skills levels and proficiency with the language, so the class had to move at the pace of the slower students, there was no way to adjust the learning plan to your individual needs or skills so you either felt bored or left behind, there was not enough time for you to practice your conversation skills and the teacher had to grade 30 or more students so there was no time for a more individualized training. The only part of the world where learning a language in High School appears to have any impact is on countries or Nordic Europe where everybody appears to pop out of school speaking perfect English, everywhere else everybody has to take a language course in High School and the entire population leaves school without a trace of any knowledge regarding the language that they "studied" for years.
  16. If not for getting the actual job, simply being fluent in another language looks good on any resume, even if the secondary language has nothing to do and offers nothing to your profession or job the fact that you took the time to learn a new language says a lot about yourself, namely, that you are disciplined and can acquire new skills. Learning a different language can even allow you to secure a better job right there in your home country, specially for larger multi national corporations that usually pay better Imagine applying for a job at your local site for a Japanese company and being able to speak Japanese, this will put your resume at the top of the pile right away by the simple fact that you could communicate with their main site at Japan more easily. Learning a second language is one of the best investments that you can make in terms of your worth as an employee and career wise.
  17. This looks like total immersion working for this woman regardless of the fact that she was talking to children, this may very well also had worked out with adults, but I guess that she felt less self conscious around kids as she felt that they were not judging her harshly and was not afraid of speaking with a few weird grammatical mistakes when the kids themselves are also perfecting their own language skills.` Believe it or not, most kids are cool and probably took the whole thing as a game and enjoyed teaching her new words and expressions.
  18. I do it all the time, and also the talking out loud part, not simply talking inside my head. This worked for me a lot as I had pretty good reading comprehension and writing skills but failed when it came to talking. I do it while alone in my car commuting to places, it is the perfect location as you are really alone and nobody is going to suddenly enter and disturb you. There is a concept called "cognitive ease" that states that the more that you do something the more natural and easy it feels, I guess it applies to speaking the language that you are learning as well, by the time that you actually have to talk to another person you have hours and hours of talking to yourself under the belt, expressing yourself using this new language. Do it, I highly recommend it.
  19. This is actually a tragedy, please watch this video to understand why, when a language dies we not only lose the language itself but a paradigm, a way to watch and understand the world that the culture that developed the language had.
  20. I see that you are learning French, there are a couple of test to determine your language proficiency. You could try the TFI from the people at ETS (The same ones from the TOEFL), but don't pay for the exam, what you should do instead is to search online for mock and preparation tests that usually give you a score once you complete them, at least for the reading and listening comprehension parts, there is no way for one of this tests to assets the level of your speaking and writing skills as a real human is required for this.
  21. Here is a very basic one from NHK, it is online, it is mostly audio based but also has plenty of material to support the lesson (each lesson is about 10 minutes long). It is very, well, Japanese with plenty of cute animals and pictures. I doubt anybody could learn Japanese with this but it is a very interesting introduction and I guess you should try it out before starting formal Japanese lessons to see how it goes. http://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/english/ I started it but stopped, now I want to start again and do it mostly for fun.
  22. I listen to this very cheesy radio from Nuremberg, I usually listen to the late night programming (because of the time zone difference) and it is usually love songs (mostly in English though), horoscopes, and some sort of classified apps with people looking for a partner, yeah, I know, it is very cheesy but also very funny and the language is simpler than something like the news from the DW, that vocabulary is way more complex. They also do news. Here is the link: http://www.charivari986.de/
  23. Not to mention that the only way to really learn a language is to also understand the underlying culture that speak said language, and I am not only talking about idioms, that you have to learn, but about the appropriate social context and usages for every word that you learn. Take Japanese for example, you can't say that you speak Japanese if you simply know all the different words that they use for "hello" and "good bye", each greeting is completely different in terms of the nuanced message that you wish to give it and the person that you are talking to. Take other languages like Spanish or German that use an informal and formal treatment, it is not simply another form of verb conjugations that you need to learn, but you also need to understand when it is appropriate or not to use each treatment and with whom. And don't get me started on terms and words that simply lack a meaningful translation in your mother language.
  24. I understand your confusion. The first rule is quite simple: if you see an r, it is the "soft" sound, if you see an "rr" it is the "strong" sound, unless the word starts with an r, in those cases you use the strong sound, if the word ends with the r, you use the "soft" sound. Raro <-- would be similar to rraro, The thing is, since you always do the strong sound when the R is first you can lose the double r at the beginning. Recordar <-- RRecordar the only one that should confuse you is the middle one, let's tackle those: When the r is in the middle of the sentence it all boils down to what letters surround it: Between 2 vowels you always use "rr" and do the "srong" sound: arriba, perro After B, C, D, F, G, P and T, you use the "soft" sound: Brillo, prueba, trueno. After L, N and S you write a single r but you do the strong sound: Alrededor --> Would be pronunced Alrrededor For everything else, you do the soft sound, so for example: Reaparecer --> First is strong since it is the first letter, the middle one is soft since it is between two vowels and the final one is soft since it is ending the word. Recordar --> First is strong, the middle one is soft since it is not located after a L, N or S
  25. You could also grab any DVD movies that you have around your house and see if they have a Spanish audio track and watch the movie like that. Most DVDs sold in the USA usually come with a Spanish track and you probably have a lot of movies like that lying around and chances are that you know the plot and have seen the movie in English so this will help you understand the words. It is better to watch natives speak directly though, so simply go to YouTube and search for Spanish content, you will probably find a lot of old Telenovelas and YouTubers doing sketches and whatnot. The problem with vlogin is that it is usually a person talking directly to the camera with no context like the one you get for watching a sitcom and seeing the people and the situations that they are in, so that's a little more complicated
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