How much Japanese can you learn with Duolingo?

The Duolingo Japanese was finally launched for Android Users and Japanese is in my “Languages to learn list”, so I decided to start learning it, but as you can notice for the scarcity of posts, despite loving languages, I’m not having time to study them right now.

So, what I’m going to do is use Duolingo, ONLY Duolingo to study Japanese. At the end of my experience I intend to do a video showing how much I’ve learned.

My experience will last until I finish my Duolingo Japanese tree.

Another thing to note is that I have started to study Japanese before, but never seriously. So, I do know some very basic phrases like “My name is…” or “Good morning”. In total, I know about 100 words in Japanese and I’ve learned Hiragana and Katakana, but forgot most of it. Therefore, I considered myself a novice in the Japanese language.

So I’m starting today.

Wish me luck!

Freundschaftsbezeigungen: 20 Words from Europe That Will Make You Doubt Your Linguistic Skills

Today, we have a guest post written by Martha Simons!

One of the defining aspects of a continent is it languages. Even when visiting the different countries in a continent, among the many things you could be interested in is the unique language spoken there. In fact, you will be tempted to learn a few words just to identify with the locals or have something to take back home. Europe is no different from other continents since the languages here have pleasant surprises for you.

Some European languages are known to have oddly long words, for instance, German. However, in other instances, an European language speaker will find a correct word for something or situation and render the rest of the world, including English speakers, speechless for the lack of a suitable translation to match that. Even a polyglot will have a hard time if faced with such a situation. Here is a look at some of these words from Europe that will make you doubt your linguistic skills.

Words that are strangely long

 

Long words can be complex. They increase your chances of missing a letter or two when writing or biting your tongue severally when pronouncing. What’s more, some of these words are hard to translate fully to other languages. Here is a look at some examples;

1. Freundschaftsbezeigungen

This is not only long, but also “clumsy” as Mark Twain would put it, referring to its arrangement. Freund means “friend” and the correct translation of the word Freundschaftsbezeigungen is “demonstrations of friendship.”

2. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

It’s no doubt, German is known for its long words. Surprisingly, they are not rare or special words in this language as you are likely to come across them regularly in a conversation or when reading printed materials such as newspapers. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung is one of these words and it stands for liability insurance for the motor vehicle.

3. Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlung

This is another of the dauntingly long terms in German. In most languages, this term is composed of at least four words. It is used to denote “meetings of the legislature.” Won’t it be just easier to break it into “general states representatives meetings”, then find a German term for each word to form a sentence? Probably, but that’s German for you!

You will not find these long words in German only. European languages have quite a number of them. Here are other examples: Continue reading

There is still time! How to learn German up to level B1 in 2017

As many people liked my post about learning French in 2017. I decided to do a German version. German is for most people more difficult than French, so I cannot guarantee that you’ll reach level B2 by the end of the year if you use these resources, but it is certainly possible to reach the  B1 level, and the best of all is that most of the materials recommended here is free of charge!

 

Knowing the language

As I recommended in the article on the French language, it is best to start slowly. Therefore, one of the best resources is Duolingo, which covers both writing and listening comprehension from the beginning. Another great and free option is the Deutsche Welle course called “Audiotrainer“. The course consists of small audios with words and phrases in German and English that must be repeated.
Another basic and fast course to get to know German is the Mission Europe course.

Choosing your first course

Once you know the basics of the language, you should choose a more complete course.
I recommend starting with two Deutsche Welle courses. My favorite is the Deutsch – Warum Nicht? course. The course is a bit old (early 90’s), however it is very good, interesting and well organized. The advantage of this course is that the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know more about them and their stories.

The second course I recommend is the interactive course “Harry”. As the structure is multimedia, it is a great course to do in front of the computer. Just like the “Deutsch – Warum nicht?” course, the characters are always the same and you are get curious to know what happens to them.

Another course I always recommend is the Assimil, although I find the French version better, the German version is also very good and the course follows the same structure as the French course. The first texts are short and simple; the audios are slow and repeated twice. After the first week, the texts become longer and the audios have a more natural rhythm. After the 50th lesson, we begin to practice reverse translation and the lessons take about an hour to complete, while in the first cycle they take only 30 minutes.

It’s time to talk!

Once you get a basic notion of the language, you should start practicing it. The best tool for this in the market is the Italki website, which has thousands of teachers available online. You can get individual lessons or buy a package. Other option is to participate in language exchanges in your city, using sites like Meetup.com and Couchsurfing to find foreigners or apps like HelloTalk.

FSI: to train phonetics and for those who like to suffer

Although I recommend the French FSI course, I do not recommend the German one, because besides being old, is not as well structured as the French version. Therefore, I do not recommend the Basic Course (FSI German Basic Course). However, the introduction course (FSI German Programmed Introduction Course) is easier and structured, very good for learning the German phonology. The course can be found here.

For the grammar lovers

As always, for grammar lovers, I recommend my favorite book series “Practice Makes Perfect“. As I said before, I love this series because they have specific courses, such as the course of pronouns and prepositions, the basic or complete grammar, verb tenses; in addition to vocabulary and conversation courses.

Another good German grammar book, but to more advanced students is the Klipp Und Klar: Ubungsgrammatik course, available for levels A1/B1 and B2/C1.

Culture

And, as always, I recommend that you be in constant contact with the culture of country, watching movies, listening to podcasts and radio or reading books, magazines or newspapers.

Good luck and start right now your studies !!!

How to reach the B2 level in French in 2017

At the beginning of the year, one of the most common resolutions people make is to learn a language. But, how to achieve a good level in the language in just one year?

Even though it seems a short period of time, a year is enough to learn a language and to communicate in the country where the language is spoken.

So if you want to learn French this year, here are my tips so that, at the end of the year, you spend the holidays in Paris speaking French.

Start with the basics

To know a new language can be scary, so the best way to get started is through an amusing and easy course. Duolingo is the most successful app in the area of ​​language learning and there is a reason for that. It’s free, easy to use, fun and has constant updates to keep you engaged. Continue reading

Interview with the President of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association

IMG_20140727_080532 - esperantoRicardo Rodrigues Coutinho was born on May 15, 1980, in Caracas and lives in the Valleys del Tuy. He studied at the School of History of the Central University of Venezuela. He began his studies in the international language Esperanto at the end of 2000 in the Venezuelan Esperanto Association. He was a member of minutes of the Cultural Esperanto Foundation (Fundaesperanto). He also worked as a member of library, secretary and he is the current president of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association. He coordinates the publication Venezuela Stelo , an official organ of the Association.  You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and about the teaching role of the Venezuelan Esperanto Association.

The Venezuelan Esperanto Association is the only nonprofit organization in the country, which brings together Esperanto speakers and promoters of the Esperanto language. I have studied the language, since I was 16, I played a role as disseminator, as well as a teacher of the Association.

The range of courses and workshops have varied greatly over the years, since the work is voluntary and the country situation severely limits the possibilities of offering an intensive service. Despite this, we have: introductory workshops, courses by WhatsApp and You Tube. We also have very important achievements, which include; translations of Doña Barbara, Agriculture of the Torrid Zone, Pequeñas obras del Libertador, poems by Eloy Blanco, Otero Silva, among others.

Learning Esperanto is very fast, among other things because it is very regular and flexible, even though the study of any language is a hobby of high level of commitment. Esperanto is known to be an excellent tool to assimilate other languages, since it allows identifying the basic elements of a language, being an exercise to understand every language in the learning process. Continue reading

The best articles on July 2016 about languages

For me, the month of July brought the best news in the world of language learning. To watch TV series or movies in original version can help in the listening understanding. I already explained how I learned English watching TV and how I use films and series to learn a new language and finally a small research shows evidence that it is possible to use television to help language learning!

NEWS OF JULY 2016

Not a myth: to watch series or films in original version helps language learning – ThinkBig

[Article in Spanish] – The best news of July for me! According to the research from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, to watch a series in original version with English subtitles or without subtitles helped students from intermediate level to understand the language better. Continue reading

Confessions of a Polyglot: demotivation

I don’t know about the other polyglots, but I can’t keep myself motivated all the time while learning a language.

In June, I had a big problem to keep me motivated to study German. Like everyone else, when I start to learn a language I get very excited, I search for thousands of information about the language, materials and methods.

Learning a language is to know a new world. Despite the difficult task ahead of us, every little step is a big step forward. By learning a word, you have improved 100% in your language. Every word learned is a victory. The feeling of understanding for the first time a word in a sentence and after a sentence in context is indescribable. However, the better you get, the lower the returns.

Suddenly, to understand a phrase is normal, to read an article is no longer difficult. You are not fluent, but manages to get by in the language. The language is no longer a novelty for you. Your curiosity fades, you become fascinated with some other language, focused on some other task, goal or challenge of your life and gradually abandon the language. The result? Days, weeks or even months without studying the language.

pexels-photo-66143 rollercoaster

Continue reading

The best articles on June 2016 about languages

Read scientific, funny and interesting articles about languages that were published on the web in the last month.

NEWS OF JUNE 2016

Language of Terror vs. Loving Language – Loving Language

A simple but interesting article showing how the Somali community in Minneapolis is portrayed by the media and the perception of the author on this same community. A great text showing how one approach and intent result in a different experience. The reporter only sought the affirmation of his own point of view, but the author sought to know the people, their culture and language. Continue reading

Studying abroad: German in Hamburg

Today, I will talk about my experience in Germany, the last place where  I studied a language. If you want to know more about my other experiences, look at the posts about how I studied Spanish and French abroad.

In August 2015, I started to learn German and I still am studying, albeit at a slower pace. To improve quickly and use as a motivation, I decided that I would go to Germany in January 2016. Continue reading

Studying abroad: French in Lyon

I started studying French in the late 2011/early 2012 (I don’t remember very well). In the beginning, I have not had much idea of ​​how to study alone. I did a little search on the internet and decided to try to use the FSI course.

Despite the difficulties, I was able to follow the course with no problem until the fourth chapter, but the course began to get hard and I gave up. Then, I spend several months without studying. This did not happen just once, but several times over the years and with other methods. In 2014, I started taking French more seriously; it was then that I managed to finish several courses, such as Assimil, FSI French and Duolingo.

However, I took a break from my French studies to dedicate myself to the DELE (Spanish Diploma as Foreign Language), and after succeeding, I decided it was time to dedicate myself 100% to French. It was then, in late 2014, early 2015 that I started to look for a place to study in France.

Choosing the city

The French consulate has a website where you can search for places to study in France, from language courses to post-doctorate. While seeking a school, the first thing I did was to exclude Paris for being a very expensive city. I also avoided very small towns in France. Continue reading