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Nee's Language Blog Yearbook 2012


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This edition comprises articles written by Nee's Language Blog's owner in 2012.

This edition comprises articles written by Nee's Language Blog's owner in 2012.

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  • 1. Year Book 2012
  • 2. Page1 Table of Contents 1. My Learning Material..................................................... 3 2. Proficiency ................................................................... 4 3. Tim: The Young Polyglot ............................................... 5 4. Omniglot...................................................................... 6 5. Blogging in Foreign Language ........................................ 7 6. Watch Listen Online (WLO)............................................ 9 7. Singing Latvian Songs ................................................. 12 8. Latvian Language ....................................................... 13 9. My Language Background............................................ 15 10. Learn Mandarin: New Method ...................................... 17 11. Learn in a Foreign Language........................................ 19 12. No Language Called Chinese........................................ 21 13. 用中文來 estudiar español ........................................... 22 14. My Failed Chinese Test................................................ 23 15. Alex Rawlings, Oxford University Student, Speaks 11 Languages ................................................................. 24 16. Spanish, English, and Indonesian ................................. 25 17. The Power of Español.................................................. 26 18. American Language .................................................... 27 19. Summer Chinese......................................................... 29 20. Recent Updates .......................................................... 30 21. Multitasking Language................................................. 31 22. 24H Songs ................................................................. 33 23. How not to forget languages you have learned by Steve Kaufmann .................................................................. 34 24. Latvian Television Online ............................................. 35 25. Why should we really be learning Russian? ................... 37 26. SC TOP ...................................................................... 38 27. Oppa Gangnam Multilingual Style................................. 40 28. The Beauty of Chinese Character ................................. 42 29. Translating Articles ..................................................... 44
  • 3. Page2 30. Forever a student: My multilingual recording in 11 languages .................................................................. 45 31. Dutch - Ik spreek Nederlands....................................... 46 32. Know It Further - the Netherlands................................ 47 33. 10+ Multilingual Celebrities.......................................... 48 34. A Greek Who Speaks 32 Languages.............................. 49 35. Get Some Inspirations!................................................ 51 36. Language Battlefield ................................................... 53 37. Speak to Me in Many Languages .................................. 54 38. Multilingual Taiwanese Bus Driver ................................ 55 39. Polyglot Discussion ..................................................... 56 40. Wordle Word Cloud..................................................... 61
  • 4. Page3 My Learning Material Thursday, March 15, 2012 I have used many materials for language learning and I found out that I like Teach Yourself material more than others do. I like the way it is arranged from chapter to chapter. Learners will start by reading the general knowledge about the language, such as how popular it is. The alphabets, examples, conversation dialogs are well arranged. Learners can learn the vocabulary little by little from conversation dialogues and the corresponding grammar. Therefore, the focus in this learning material is the conversation. The learner can apply directly the conversation in real life situation. The conversations illustrate several real life situations, such as checking bus schedules, ordering food in a restaurant, etc.
  • 5. Page4 Proficiency Friday, March 16, 2012 From my experience learning several languages, I have realized that I understand better in listening/ reading more than speaking/ writing in the beginning. I would categorize listening and reading into "Input", and speaking and writing into "Output" When I learn a language, I will learn mostly from the conversation. Then, I will break the grammar and vocabularies down from the conversation. I will be able to learn and understand them easily and quickly with this method. I can also know how I can use the phrases because I learn it from the conversation. Grammar After acquiring the vocabularies, I will need grammar to construct the sentence for the Output (speaking and writing). However, the problem is that grammar has always been the most difficult in language learning. There will be never so-called easy grammar for language except Esperanto. Grammar comprises rules and it is boring for me to start learning from grammar. Our Brain is Smart! When I listen to a native speaker speaking in my target language, I feel that it is easier to understand the meaning of the conversation rather than to construct the sentence. It is because our brain is smart! Our brain can surprisingly catch the meaning by guessing even though it does not catch word by word. I aim to understand by listening and reading every time I learn a language, then I will continue to learn sentence construction.
  • 6. Page5 Tim: The Young Polyglot Monday, March 19, 2012 I came across news about a young polyglot, a 16 years old multilingual speaker two days ago on Facebook. He is amazing, inspiring, and whatever you name it. It is just so cool! I checked on his YouTube, PolyglotPal, and found out that he speaks 11 languages! If you think speaking 3 languages is awesome, Tim with his 11 languages is absolutely more than awesome! I wonder how he can manage to learn all of those languages. His methods of learning are obviously something that I need to learn. He started his language video while he was 15 and he is 16 now. He has acquired so much in just 1 year. That is incredible!
  • 7. Page6 Omniglot Friday, March 23, 2012 This website seems to be a good reference about language learning. I found it while I was searching for Latvian grammar. There are many information in the website, such as a writing system, phrases, language learning strategy, references, etc. I shall spend several days checking on the contents. I hope that I can get what I want from here. I have purchased a phrase book by lonely planet about Baltic languages — Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian. I have been searching for the best way to learn Latvian grammar since it is terribly hard for me. Grammar is not interesting to learn, but the constructed sentences will not be good without grammar.
  • 8. Page7 Blogging in Foreign Language Tuesday, April 3, 2012 I used to wonder why many of my friends write blogs in foreign languages. English was my choice of content language when I wrote blog in high school. I did that because I am interested in writing in a foreign language. Several advantages that I can achieve by composing writings in this way are improving the habit to exercise writing skill, and having the chance to put my English in practice. English has been widely used in education, society, and almost anywhere. Several people have even created their own English styles because of the influence of their local languages. Blogging can be a way of language learning. You can achieve an increasing level of language fluency by exercising your writing habit. It is because writing allows you to construct sentences, the same case occurs when you are speaking the language. There are numerous translation tools and language references on the Internet that may help you in writing. I have created three blogs for three different languages - Indonesian, English and Chinese Mandarin. Besides, I also have blogs for Korean and Latvian language as part of my language learning. However, I have paused it for a while because of motivational constraint. It is still quite difficult at this moment to write in Latvian and Korean. My Chinese Mandarin blog is hosted by Wretch (無名小站).
  • 9. Page8 Updated October 13, 2013 Yahoo acquired Wretch, a Taiwanese blogging platform in July 2007, but it has announced to close down the site on December 26, 2013. New registration for Wretch's service was suspended since September 2nd. Following that, users may still be able to browse Wretch but will no longer able to add content from October 30 onwards. All services on the site will be shut down permanently on December 26. Coping with the mentioned circumstance, my new Chinese Mandarin blog is now hosted by Pixnet.
  • 10. Page9 Watch Listen Online (WLO) Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Internet has changed our life so much, even on watching and listening. Here are several WLO websites that I have got through my friendships. Million thanks to my friends that have contributed these websites. 1. Arabic 2. Dutch 3. French 4. German 5. Hebrew 6. Indonesian
  • 11. Page10 7. Korean 8. Latvian 9. Mandarin Chinese 10.Mongolian 11.Persian 12.Polish 13.Romanian 14.Russian
  • 12. Page11 15.Spanish 16.Tagalog 17.Vietnamese
  • 13. Singing Latvian Songs Friday, April 6, 2012 I sometimes think that singing in a foreign language is easier than speaking in the foreign language. I don't know why but that is what I feel. What about you? Here are videos of me singing in Latvian language, a language that I have been learning for a year. I have never thought that singing in Latvian will be so much easier than constructing the sentence. Prāta Vētra (Brainstorm) - Mana Dziesma (cover) Zvaniņš Skan (Jingle Bells) Starp Divām Saulēm [Prāta Vētra] uke ver.
  • 14. Page13 Latvian Language Friday, April 6, 2012 Latvian is quite an interesting and challenging language to learn. The pronunciation is simple, what you see is how you read. However, I should say that the grammar is quite difficult for me. There are two genders: masculine and feminine. Then, there are different words for masculine singular and masculine plural, and feminine singular and feminine plural. Therefore, there are four forms for a word! You can find several websites that I have got from Latvian friends for learning Latvian as follow: 53/mid_493 tm
  • 15. Page14
  • 16. Page15 My Language Background Monday, April 9, 2012 Many friends asked me about how many languages that I know. I was born in Medan, Indonesia. Luckily, Indonesia is a diverse country and so does Medan. You can find the diversity of Medan in almost anything, such as ethnicity, culture, language, culinary. Native Languages Born as a Chinese-Indonesian of Fujian (Hokkien) ancestry, I speak Fujianese (Hokkien). This language is widely used among Chinese- Indonesian in Medan. However, there is also Chinese-Indonesian like Cantonese, Hakka, etc. Therefore, they may have their languages too! I am lucky to have a Cantonese grandmother too. I still remember that I used to learn Cantonese from her everytime I visited her on Sunday. Besides, I also learnt by myself. I would say that my Cantonese is basic or OK for travelling purpose. As an Indonesian, I speak Indonesian too. Indonesian is the official language in Indonesia and used in education, TV programs, formal/ informal activities, news, and so forth. My life is actually surrounded by languages. An interesting occasion for me is in Chinese wedding, Indonesian and Mandarin are both used but sometimes English is used too! Because of the diversity in Indonesia, I am familiar with several Indonesian dialects too, such as Batak language, and Javanese. My familiarity of these languages is just up to recognizing them, not understanding them. There are actually hundreds of Indonesian dialects. Many of them even cannot be found in Medan! Indonesian language and Fujianese (Hokkian) are similar to Malay and Taiwanese, respectively. Therefore, I understand quite well Malay and Taiwanese.
  • 17. Page16 Foreign Languages English is taught at school as the first foreign language, so many people know English. Then, Mandarin is also taught, as the second foreign language at school. Therefore, I learnt English and Mandarin at school. Apart from that, I took 1 year German as the extracurricular. I figured out that there are many Korean students in the university I am attending. This gives me a good opportunity to learn Korean. Then, I go for it! I have been learning Korean since my second semester (that was in 2009.) Recently, I have made language learning as one of my hobbies. I have been learning several languages since this becomes a hobby, such as Latvian, Russian, and Spanish. I do not aim high for the result. The point is just relaxed and enjoy.
  • 18. Page17 Learn Mandarin: New Method Wednesday, April 11, 2012 I have been quite busy preparing for my Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) exam, a Mandarin certification exam held twice annually. There are five levels and I started from the third level. I passed the third and fourth level in the same year, which I did not believe that I could make it. It left me with the highest level, the fifth level. I have taken twice pre-test on this level and I scored quite badly, 47 and 44. Honestly, this level is really challenging. The minimum passing grade is 62. The formal test will be on early May, so it is one month later. If you go to the website of Steering Committee for the Test Of Proficiency-Huayu (SC-TOP), you can find "Free Download" below the "Mock Test" menu. This is a great advantage for test takers to have a tryout exam. Practicing from the material has helped me a lot in preparing the exam. However, I have done all of the learning material from the website. Apart from doing the free material from the website, I also handwrite any Mandarin article from book, magazine, newspaper, etc. I underline the words that I do not know and assign it a number. Thus, I write the meaning of words that I assigned number. I do not try to memorize any of the words. I just want to be familiar with them so I will remember them naturally.
  • 19. Page18
  • 20. Page19 Learn in a Foreign Language Thursday, April 19, 2012 Have you ever thought about learning a foreign language in another language? This is what I have been doing so far. I learn many languages in English, which is a foreign language for me. If I were asked about the difficulty, well, I have not encountered any difficulty in learning languages in English. Perhaps, English has become my almost-native language. I use it anytime, anywhere. Because of the frequent use of English, I feel quite strange when I switch that to Indonesian. I feel strange too when I use my father's computer, which is in Indonesian language interface. My other foreign language is Mandarin Chinese. I have never measured my level of this language but I think it is upper intermediate. I can handle daily conversation in restaurant, supermarket, bank, post office, train station, almost anywhere I go. However, I am still having difficulty to read newspapers and to understand TV news. Am I Ready To Learn In Chinese? In order to get rid of that difficulty, I am applying a new method of learning it, which is to handwrite Chinese Mandarin article. I feel that this way has given me a rapid improvement in the language. When I am handwriting the article, I always see the same words occur repeatedly, and it naturally goes into my mind. A friend asked about where I usually get the article. I got some free outdated Chinese Mandarin books and magazines from the university library. I can purchase some newspaper, books, or magazines if I want to, but I prefer it free from the Internet. Maybe I can learn a foreign language in Chinese Mandarin in the future. Once I am comfortable with reading Chinese Mandarin, then I certainly shall learn languages in Chinese Mandarin too. In addition, it will cost me less when buying books because Chinese Mandarin books are cheaper than imported books (in English).
  • 21. Page20 Moreover, it is easier to find Chinese Mandarin books in the local bookshops of where I am living.
  • 22. Page21 No Language Called Chinese Wednesday, April 25, 2012 You may have encountered many situations where people refer "Chinese" as Mandarin. This is somehow confusing. Based on a small research that I have done, Mandarin is not actually a name of a language. It refers to one of seven Chinese dialects, the Beijing dialect, which becomes the official language in China. It is generally called "Mandarin Chinese" or "Mandarin". It is called Putonghua 普 通話 in China, Guoyu 國語 in Taiwan and Huayu 華語 in Singapore. You can find a performance by Russell Peter about "Chinese" below. Russell Peters: Chinese Languages
  • 23. Page22 用中文來 estudiar español Wednesday, May 9, 2012 Recently I have been challenging myself to study Spanish in Mandarin! After failing the last Chinese (Mandarin) proficiency exam (I will write more about it in another post), something has triggered my enthusiasm to do more with Mandarin. Back to the Spanish, you can see the book that I am using for Spanish in the picture. I choose easy material at the beginning. This book contains daily conversations, such as greetings, transportation, restaurant, etc. I still can understand much without looking at the Mandarin translation so far. Therefore, everything is quite good for now. Let me think. I have been studying Spanish independently since the beginning of this year, so it has been 4 months! Apart from using books, such as Teach Yourself and For Dummies, I also learn by watching Spanish language drama. The once very popular and I am still watching is Betty La Fea from Colombia. Most of you must know about this drama. It was popular several years ago when I was in primary school. For me, Spanish is an easy language to learn compared to some European languages that I have learnt. Spanish is similar to Indonesian in some parts of the grammar and vocabularies. It also has some vocabulary similarities with English. Thus, in order to remember some rules in Spanish, I can refer to those in Indonesian or English. Muy interesante, ¿no?
  • 24. Page23 My Failed Chinese Test Thursday, May 10, 2012 I have prepared so much for this test as soon as I finished the previous test on November last year. This is the last level of Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL). Therefore, it is indeed not easy. It is called Level 5 or equivalent with C1 in Common European Framework Reference for Languages (CEFR). I passed Level 4 on previous test on November last year, which means my level is B2. Here is the comparison table. If you do not know what TOCFL is, here is the English website and you can challenge yourself with the free test sample.
  • 25. Page24 Alex Rawlings, Oxford University Student, Speaks 11 Languages Saturday, May 12, 2012 I was surprised when I read the news about this polyglot. It was amazing. His name is Alex Rawlings from London. He is 20 years old and he speaks 11 languages — English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian. I cannot imagine myself speaking 11 languages, still far away from that. I wonder how he can do that. "When I was younger I always wanted to speak different languages," Rawlings said in the BBC video. "We often visited my mum's family in Greece. My dad worked in Japan for four years. I was always frustrated I couldn't talk to other kids in those countries because of the language." "My favorite language is Greek because I've spoken it since childhood. It has sentimental value for me and I have a strong emotional connection with Greece," he said.
  • 26. Page25 Spanish, English, and Indonesian Tuesday, May 22, 2012 I have been learning Spanish for approximately half a year. It is going well so far. I can understand basic daily conversation phrases. However, the grammar, such as tenses, is giving me tension. I began to be attracted to Spanish when I found out that there are many similar words between Indonesian and Spanish. Moreover, there are many Spanish-speaking students here in the university. Most of them come from Central and South America. It is quite interesting when I can understand what they are talking about. In learning Spanish, I have noticed some similarities among Spanish, English, and Indonesian words. Thus, I can refer to English or Indonesian to help me remembering the Spanish words, which is an advantage for me. From the grammar part as an example, Spanish’s Noun followed by Adjective is the same with that in Indonesian but the opposite of that in English, which is Adjective followed by Noun. In this case, it is easier to remember by referring to the Indonesian style. Another example is in English, ending -ty words are ending - dad/ -ad in Spanish, such as "university" = "universidad", "liberty" = "libertad", "activity" = "actividad"; ending -ly words are ending - mente, such as "directly" = "directamente", "personally" = "personalmente", "rationally" = "racionalmente". I like to watch Telenovela as part of my Spanish learning. Watching movie is one of the best ways to learn languages. Apart from entertaining, learners can also observe how the phrase is used in a certain situation, and how the facial emotion attaches to it, as well as intonation and word stressing.
  • 27. Page26 The Power of Español Wednesday, May 30, 2012 According to my Lonely Planet Latin American Spanish phrase book & dictionary, 300 million speak Latin American Spanish as their first language and 100 million speak Latin American Spanish as their second language. Can you imagine how many countries there are in Latin America? In addition, speakers from Spain (origin of the Spanish language) in Europe, Belize in Central America, and Equatorial Guinea in Africa has enriched the number of Spanish speakers in the world. Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Mexico has the most Spanish native speakers of any country. I have learnt that knowing Spanish language could allow me to understand information or enjoy entertainment from many Spanish- speaking countries. This is beneficial. I have found several songs of singers coming from various Spanish-speaking countries, such as Spain, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, and many more. Apart from that, the choices of movie and telenovela are also various.
  • 28. Page27 American Language Tuesday, June 19, 2012 I have been learning English for a long time. If I am not wrong, it was since before I went to kindergarten. It has been an important foreign language ever because it is still an international language until today. Although English is not widely spoken in Indonesia, a large amount of English words can be found on products, games, or advertisements. Besides, many Indonesian know English, and the similarities between English and Indonesian language even help much in the learning process. There is no specific kind of English, no matter American English or British English, which I have learnt at school. In fact, I learnt both. I learnt to distinguish which one belongs to British English and which one is belonged to American English. English teachers are mainly from USA, UK, or Australia. I also learnt Mandarin at the same time. However, much encountered with English has made me interested in English more than Mandarin. Probably this is one reason why my Mandarin skill did not improve well before I came to Taiwan. I always keep in mind that in Mandarin, English is called 英文 (ying1wen2) or 英語 (ying1yu3). Different English? Everything goes well until the day I came to Taiwan and I began to realize something odd. Teaching English in Taiwan seems to have a big market. That can be seen from many advertisements on the road and TV. In addition, there are many foreigners living in Taiwan especially Taipei and work full-time or part-time as an English teacher. I have noticed that English is also called 美語 (mei3yu3) with 美 is derived from 美國 (mei3guo2) or America plus 語 (yu3) which means “language”. So, English language (英文/ 英語) is surprisingly also called American language (美語) in Taiwan. This fact is really surprising for me because through my learning Mandarin
  • 29. Page28 experience since I was a kid, I have never known about 美語 or "American language".
  • 30. Page29 Summer Chinese Thursday, July 5, 2012 Finally, summer break is here. How do you usually spend your summer break? Do you travel? Do you work? Whatever it is, I suggest you to spend on something meaningful. As for me, I enroll myself in a Summer Chinese program offered by National Taiwan Normal University 國立台灣師範大學. I am going to hit it hard this time. Therefore, I am busy everyday from Monday to Friday with Chinese class. In my opinion, this language center is quite popular among foreign students. Many of my friends spent at least 1 year studying Chinese there. This is one of the reasons for me to apply for a summer language program there. Registration starts with checking necessary documents, payment, and testing/ interview. I think the testing / interview is very important. Through this process, study level is adjusted with future student's levels in order to match the student's interest and capability. After that, there are orientation and tour around classes and offices. The book that I am using for the class is shown in the picture. The highest level of this book is Level 5, so I am just one-step away from it. There are other materials and books with various levels, such as a news article. Read the book information at Eslite bookstore website.
  • 31. Page30 Recent Updates Monday, July 16, 2012 It has been two weeks since I posted my last article. I have been so busy these days with language learning and with programming language learning, or simply human language and computer language as I prefer. Language is indeed a communication tool not only used by human but also to the human - computer relationship. A computer language is similar to human language. It has the similar language pattern but is interpreted in a different way. I have been enriching myself by learning ASP.NET and C#, PHP, SQL, and some other server-side scripting as well as client-side scripting. Well, that is for computer language. Practice, practice, practice Everyday I go to Summer Chinese class in Taipei city, which is app. 30-45 minutes by train away from Taoyuan city. Then, I will take subway to travel around and walk to campus. Therefore, I have a lot of time inside the train and subway and while walking. I realized that during this period, I could do quite many things, such as learning a language. Then, I started to make good use of it by listening to Pimsleur Russian and Spanish or reading books about language learning. As the time goes by, I can feel how improve my language learning is. Besides, I also have some Spanish articles that I got from BBC Mundo that I always practice with. I translate them into English by underlining those words I do not know and I always have dictionaries in my iPod to check. I should say that after half year of Spanish learning, I could understand most of the Spanish words in the articles and it is very satisfying!
  • 32. Page31 Multitasking Language Sunday, July 22, 2012 I have just realized something recently in the middle of my shower. Yes, shower! Unbelievably, I got a lot of inspirations and ideas during the shower. That is quite funny! Anyway, I have just realized that I am using several languages simultaneously everyday! Let me break them down. Multilingual Activities My computer platform language is English. Therefore, whenever I use my computer, it means I also use English. I always have my Facebook online whenever I am on the Internet. I set my Facebook language into Spanish. Most of the time, I chat through Facebook with Taiwanese friend, and of course we chat in Mandarin Chinese. Being far away from home does not mean that I cannot follow on my home-country news update. I always read an Indonesian online newspaper every morning. Furthermore, the time difference between my place and home is only 1 hour. It gives my family easiness whenever they want to call me on Skype, and we use Fujianese (Hokkian) within the family. Besides, I love listening to songs through YouTube. I have got several other foreign language songs in my playlist that I listen everyday randomly. Imagine it! How many languages that I have been using? English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, Fujianese (Hokkian), and many more (although I understand a little bit of the songs in my YouTube playlist) Biggest Problem I realized that one biggest problem in learning a language is whether the target language will be used in the future. This is one main reason why people think that learning a language is useless. However, thanks to the Internet, no matter where you are, you can get any languages as long as you are connected to the Internet. Several activities like reading the newspaper, watch online TV, or
  • 33. Page32 listening songs in target languages will be quite fun! Therefore, it is not necessary to go to a country in order to learn the language, although going to the country does help much in learning the language through immersion with the locals. However, the fact is, not everybody can go to another country, or even to live for several years experiencing the language and culture. Solution One of many easy solutions is to get online friends. There are several websites where you can get language partners, for example Mixxer, Livemocha, and iTalki. You always need to remember not to share any important data, such as credit card number, or any other personal data on the Internet. Another solution is to join international groups, such as a language school, multinational company, international festival, or anywhere you can find native speakers of your target language and be friend with them! You can show them around your place, your culture, and at the same time practicing your target language. Do you think that is a good idea? I shall call it "Mutual Symbiosis."
  • 34. Page33 24H Songs Tuesday, July 24, 2012 I have good news for everyone. A friend just gave me a wonderful website few days ago. On this website, you can listen to songs in several languages, such as Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, etc. for 24-hour non-stop. I have been using it recently. It is called 廣播電台.com. It is a good website for people like me who love listening to songs almost every day no matter what I am doing. I even will leave the song played in the background when I am in the bathroom. Features You can see the song player in the image. Click inside red box to play and pause, blue circle to go to next song (songs are played randomly), and green circle to change channel, such as Mandarin song, English song, Japanese song, Korean song, Cantonese song, etc. All menus are in Mandarin. I see that there are several links on the website, but I do not know what they are. I do not think that it is quite important for me because this 24H song player has helped me much to kill boredom. Hope you will have fun with it.
  • 35. Page34 How not to forget languages you have learned by Steve Kaufmann Wednesday, August 1, 2012 Here is another good video from Steve that I found. It is about how not to forget the language you have learned or even your native language. This serious matter is happening to me. I was on phone few days ago with a high school teacher. He surprisingly told me that my accent has changed. I personally do not realize about my accent. Living far away from home has made me speaking in foreign languages everyday. However, it does not mean that I am forgetting my language. How not to forget languages you have learned As what Steve has mentioned, getting massive input of the language helps to maintain the level. I always read, watch, and listen to songs, movie, TV shows, news, etc. The key is to keep using the language. You can also find materials that match your interest. For instance, I always choose news articles about technology or sport. I will not only get the latest information about them but also practice the language at the same time. Steve also mentioned that those who expect too much would end up frustrated. Language learning needs to be done without any stress. Memorizing is 100% not recommended. It gives pressure to the brain, which will make you forget what you have memorized after a few days. Instead, you need to find a learning method that is suitable to you because everybody learns differently.
  • 36. Page35 Latvian Television Online Thursday, August 9, 2012 In this rapidly growing technology era, you can do many activities through the Internet, including watching TV. Latvian people may now view a variety of TV channels online from a few commercial channels from Rīga to regional broadcasters, such as Latgales Televīzija. Apart from that, Russian broadcasters have also found their way into Latvian market. Customers with cable or satellite connection may also enjoy various TV channels from Western Europe and beyond. Several Latvian online TV broadcasters are listed as follows: Latvijas Neatkarīgā Televīzija (LNT) The largest broadcaster in Latvia that runs not only television, but also film and radio. Latvijas Televīzija (LTV) This Zaķusala-based broadcaster was founded in 1954. It offers two channels, LTV1 and LTV7. Latvijas Ziņu Kanāls (LZK) A 24-hour news service run by Latvijas Neatkarīgā televīzija (LNT).
  • 37. Page36 Первый Балтийский Музыкальный Канал This Rīga-based Russian language channel is known as Pirmais Baltijas mūzikas kanāls (First Baltic Music Channel) in Latvia. TV3 A media property that is owned by Sweden's Modern Times Group, which has media properties throughout Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. TV5 Began operation in October 2001, and acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in May 2007. TV24 The service provides not only news headlines, but also commentary and analysis. TV.LV An arguably the most diverse television site in Latvia. Based in Rīga and organized by a computer software firm Tilde Ltd. Vidzemes Televīzija A Valmiera-based regional broadcaster that went on the air in 1992.
  • 38. Why should we really be learning Russian? Friday, August 10, 2012 Why should we really be learning Russian?  The Russian Language is a resource of the international communication between nations of the Russian Federation and the CIS (Community of Independent States – former Soviet Republics)  Russian is one of the six official and working languages of the UN (United Nations)  Russia’s new openness has lead within the last ten years to the consolidation of economic, political and cultural ties of Russia with Europe, USA and Asia. Russia is integrating into the world economy fast  Russian writers and poets create many of the world-known literature masterpieces: Griboyedov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Yesenin, Akhmatova, etc  The Russian Language helps to approach the mysterious Russian soul
  • 39. Page38 SC TOP Monday, August 27, 2012 Here it is, another Chinese proficiency exam opportunity. This one is only pilot test and it is free. I definitely will attend this exam. Need to study harder and smarter to beat this fifth level. I have been struggling with fifth level since last year. By the way, fifth level is the last level in the exam. Therefore, it is obviously not easy. However, I need to pass it as long as I still have the chance to take the exam. Talking about Chinese language, I have read a lot in Internet discussion that it is one of difficult languages for English speaker and, I add, for speakers whose languages use Latin alphabets (I am one of this!), or others like Cyrillic, etc. I just found out that even dictionary cannot be helpful in learning Chinese because there are simply more ways to say a particular thing than in English. This is the most complaints made by my friends in Chinese learning center. An English word can have several corresponding Chinese words that are used in different situations. Another characteristic of Chinese language is no space is used in written text. This one is quite troublesome because everytime I check on dictionary about a character, I do not know if it serves as an individual word or a combination of characters in a word. The very easy example that I can give is 加油 (jia1you2 = good luck). 加(jia1 = to add), 油(you2 = oil). People who understand Chinese language will immediately know that this is a word of combination from 2 characters. Nevertheless, it also means, "to add oil/ fuel/ gasoline/ any kind of oil". I have a friend that has difficulty in studying Chinese simply because of his undisciplined behavior. Learning a language requires much discipline effort from the learner. I do not like being controlled
  • 40. Page39 by books or classes. That is why I learn by myself freely in any way and with any materials. If I feel like watching movie in the target language, I will find it. If I feel like using the language, I will use it. However, I train myself to get input as much as possible from watching/ reading and listening. I like to start using the language by writing than speaking because it gives me a while to check on dictionary. My advice is if you cannot get anybody around you to write to, get online friends, they are available 24/7.
  • 41. Page40 Oppa Gangnam Multilingual Style Friday, September 7, 2012 Korean PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V Georgian PSY-Gangnam Style (georgian version ) Mongolian MONGOLIAN GANGNAM STYLE Malay/ English GANGNAM STYLE PARODY (강남스타일) - KL STYLE
  • 43. Page42 The Beauty of Chinese Character Tuesday, September 25, 2012 People who have studied Chinese must realize that Chinese character is not just a character, but it is also an art. Every stroke in the character forms a beautiful combination of a meaning. It is said that Chinese character evolves from time to time based on the actual object. Although I cannot say that it is 100% true, but there are books about Chinese pictogram. For example, you can see below how "sun" and "moon" was written in the past and the evolution of it until nowadays. Characters 日 and 月, on far right, are the characters used today.
  • 44. Page43 Besides, I found an image of unique Chinese character, which I put below. Those are actual characters used. It is easy to remember since they are unique, having triplets characters inside one character. For example, 犇 ben1 (top left) means "to rush". It contains three 牛 niu3 means "cow". From this meaning, I can imagine people in the past riding cow to work in a rush hour. This statement may not be true, but it helps me to remember the word.
  • 45. Page44 Translating Articles Saturday, October 20, 2012 This may seem to be a complex and time-consuming work to do. However, judging from the improvement that I can get, I am quite satisfied with this method. I usually search for news article that match my interest on the Internet. Then, I will paste them into word processing software, such as Ms. Word, print it out, and I can start translating. By doing this, I expect to encounter the same word repeatedly. The more I encounter the word, the easier I will remember it. Don't you think that it is easy? However, you may need to invest a bit of effort and time to do the translation regularly. Two obstacles in understanding the articles are lacking of grammar and vocabulary knowledge. So, it is highly recommended to keep on improving this knowledge. Different languages certainly have different structure although some could be similar. One of the examples is about Latvian language. Latvian language has "ne-" in front of a verb to negate it. For instance, nesaprotu ((I) do not understand). You can see here that "I" is not necessary written in the sentence. Besides, "don't understand" is written as one word "nesaprotu". Note that the ending of "saprotu" which is "u" changes based on the subject. This kind of form does not exist in English. Overall, you do not need to worry about grammar because you can always go back to check it whenever you want. There are abundant of grammar references available on the Internet, books, or apps. What do I aim from translating? I would say learning more vocabulary. I am actually letting my brain accustomed to the foreign vocabulary. The vocabulary may not only be found in daily conversation, but also in some fields, like medical, economics, politics, etc
  • 46. Page45 Forever a student: My multilingual recording in 11 languages Friday, November 2, 2012 I found an interesting article about language. Vladimir, a native of Slovak, who is living in Taiwan, shares his experience in 11 languages in different level of fluency. Forever a student: My multilingual recording in 11 languages: Hello everyone. After a lot of consideration, I have decided to give it a shot and record myself trying to speak in the languages that I have learned. I was a bit afraid to do so, because while in general and in my experience people find polyglottery interesting, to some it might seem that people who do similar recordings or videos are show offs and attention seekers, which really wasn't my intention. I only wanted to join the community of people who have done so before and babble along in the languages that I speak for anyone who'd be interested in listening to my specific language combinations. I was hesitating for a long time and only until there were dozens of people out there with similar blogs, recordings or videos, I decided to give it a shot myself. This way I didn't feel like I was standing out too much and felt like just one of many.
  • 47. Page46 Dutch - Ik spreek Nederlands Monday, November 12, 2012 Indonesian Words From Dutch Language Another language challenge: Dutch. I have never thought before about learning Dutch until I encountered the opportunity. One of my classmates is Dutch and he works in the university as Dutch language tutor, which means the tutoring class is free for students. Then, I thought, "Why not grasp the chance?" I have gone through 1 week of the class and I have learnt that my basic knowledge in German, which I acquired in high school, has helped me in learning Dutch. At a glance, Dutch and German share many vocabularies and grammatical structures similarities. However, Dutch also shares similarities with Indonesian vocabularies due to the long historical relationship between Indonesia and the Netherlands. Several Indonesian loan words from Dutch language are as follow:
  • 48. Page47 Know It Further - the Netherlands Monday, November 26, 2012 Knowing about the language is interesting, yet it is not enough. The culture and local customs have also offered other interesting facts. Come and check what I have found about the Netherlands. You can see here many interesting facts about the Netherlands. For instance, cyclists have the complete right of the way, and there is 9.1% more bicycles than the people.
  • 49. Page48 10+ Multilingual Celebrities Wednesday, November 28, 2012 What a nice day today! I am still enjoying teaching language. Have I mentioned that I am an Indonesian, Mandarin and English language tutor? Learning and teaching languages have always been my passion. I am always keen on learning foreign languages, and communicating with people in foreign languages, or simply listening to foreign languages through TV and radio. As I was checking for the latest information on Facebook, I found an interesting post from a page that I am following. It is about celebrities that speak several languages. In addition, I also found a YouTube video, which shows even more multilingual celebrities. Here are the ten multilingual celebrities that speak languages besides English: 1. Natalie Portman (Hebrew) 2. Bradley Cooper (French) 3. Charlize Theron (Afrikaans) 4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (French) 5. Sandra Bullock (German) 6. Colin Firth (Italian) 7. Gwyneth Paltrow (Spanish) 8. Viggo Mortensen (Danish) 9. Kim Cattrall (German) 10. Casey Affleck (Spanish) Bilingual Celebrities 2012
  • 50. Page49 A Greek Who Speaks 32 Languages Wednesday, December 5, 2012 If you think that speaking two or three languages is awesome, you will not believe the person I am going to show. Ioannis Ikonomou, a polyglot (a person who knows several languages) comes from Greece, is a translator in the European Commission (EC) in Brussels. He began his language journey by learning English as a foreign language at the age of six. Then, it was continuing to German, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, and the list goes on. He currently speaks 32 languages! Among them is Chinese Mandarin. Thus, he has spent several months working in Beijing, China as the only in- house translator that EC trusts to translate classified Chinese documents. Ikonomou said, "You just have to immerse yourself in the language and the culture. It’s easier now with the internet and satellite television." For instance, when he was learning Polish, he cooked Polish pierogies, read Polish newspapers, and watched Polish television. Besides, he always travels every chance he gets. He has visited Scandinavia, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and the former Soviet Union, as well as China, Pakistan, Latin America, Europe, Canada and the United States.
  • 51. Page50 Ioannis Ikonomou was born in Irakleio, Crete, in 1964. He studied linguistics at the University of Thessaloniki before pursuing an MA in Middle Eastern languages and cultures at Columbia University in the United States. He continued with a PhD in Indo-European linguistics at Harvard University. He has been employed as a translator at the European Commission in Brussels since 2002.
  • 52. Page51 Get Some Inspirations! Thursday, December 6, 2012  Which is the easiest language?  How many speakers of the language?  How important is the language?  Which is the most popular language?  And the list goes on... Have you ever had those questions in your mind whenever you face the decision to learn a language? I bet you have. Well, one consideration of the easiness of a language depends much on the language that the learners have known. A Korean friend told me that it is easier to learn Chinese Mandarin than English. If we look deeply in the structure and vocabulary of Korean language, it has many more similarities with Chinese Mandarin than that in English. Moreover, Korean used Chinese characters along with the Korean characters in the past. I found an interesting article listing top 10 languages to study including facts about each of them. I would like to point out two categories here. Languages for job 1. German 2. French 3. Spanish 4. Mandarin 5. Polish Easiest foreign language (for English speaker) 1. Afrikaans 2. French 3. Spanish 4. Dutch 5. Norwegian
  • 53. Page52 6. Arabic 7. Cantonese 8. Russian 9. Japanese 10. Portuguese 6. Portuguese 7. Swedish 8. Italian 9. Esperanto 10. Frisian
  • 54. Page53 Language Battlefield Saturday, December 8, 2012 我很喜歡中文 man patīk latviešu ik vind de Nederlandse erg leuk me gusta mucho Español Я люблю русский язык "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language that goes to his heart." ~Nelson Mandela
  • 55. Page54 Speak to Me in Many Languages Monday, December 10, 2012 It is an ugly truth to say that students can get bored in class, moreover, when it is Monday morning. I was sitting at the back doodling, until I got an idea, "I am going to write my name and a sentence in several languages." Thus, I searched online for foreign language sentences and I found that Omniglot has them. I limit the number of languages to those that I am familiar with, such as Russian, Korean, Chinese Mandarin, English, Spanish, Cantonese, Indonesian, and Latvian. What do you think about it?
  • 56. Page55 Multilingual Taiwanese Bus Driver Thursday, December 13, 2012 This funny video comes from Taichung (台中) city in Central Taiwan. In the video, the driver speaks mostly two languages, Chinese Mandarin and Taiwanese, which I believe to be his native languages. However, you can also listen to him saying names of places in foreign languages, such as German, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese. He also greets passengers in several languages, such as Japanese, Cantonese, and Thai. Apart from his language ability, he is also good at telling joke. For instance, he said 台中"缺"血中心 (Taichung "lacking" blood center) instead of 台中捐血中心 (Taichung blood donation center) He is also very familiar with the location of buildings and bus stops along the bus route. This genius driver can even suggest passengers how to go to a place by taking which bus. Besides, he also gives advice to student passengers, such as "study hard", and "respect your parents". [搞笑] 台湾一夜爆红的巴士司机!太热情 幽默了啦!
  • 57. Page56 Polyglot Discussion Thursday, December 20, 2012 I encountered a video that may boost your motivation in language learning. This one-hour video is awesome. I believe not only me, but also those who are interested in languages may learn a lot from it. The video was broadcasted live on Saturday, December 15th 2012 at 8 PM GMT. Eight polyglots from around the world met together to share their language learning strategies and their language learning experiences. David Mansaray from London was the initiator and he started the discussion with the question "How your personality shapes your way of learning a language?"  Susanna Zarysky from San Francisco mentioned that she tends to look for patterns within the language.  Jana Fadness from Washington prefers to try a wide variety of different interests to escape boredom.  Luca Lampariello from Italy likes to read books and talk to people as much as possible.  Robert Bigler from Austria came up with silent period. Agreeing with Luca, Robert also reads a lot and jumps into discussions or even arguments.
  • 58. Page57  Richard Simcott from Macedonia said that he likes to play with accents and retrieve foreign words from songs.  Steve Kaufmann from Canada has a different opinion. He enjoys learning language and he is motivated by the culture, history, and/ or politics.  The last panelist, Benny Lewis, considered himself as a traveler. Therefore, he sees language as a tool and he is fond of speaking rather than reading. The following question is about how to keep the language learning interest alive.  Robert agreed with Benny about constantly using the language.  Luca persuaded learners to make mistakes and retrieve feedback in order to improve.  Benny encouraged making mistakes. He even mentioned that he makes around 100 mistakes per day, which made the other panelists burst into laughter. The discussion was then continued with the question of which technique that works for others but not for the panelists.  Jana mentioned that she prefers to learn vocabularies through context rather than using flashcards.  Robert continued with a shadowing technique that does not work for him because of the overlapping voices.  Richard said that learning grammar is the obstacle for him.  Agreeing Robert, Luca also mentioned that shadowing technique does not work for him. Apart from that, he also mentioned about a list of words as another technique that does not work for him.  Susanna has a different opinion. She recalled her school time learning language with grammar books, which do not work anymore for her now. Instead, she likes to play with language
  • 59. Page58 apps. However, she said that it is interesting but she absorbs not much and feels bored. David continued with the next question about the advice that the panelists can give to learners who are fed up with learning the language.  Luca said that the beginning is always difficult. However, the more progress it has, the easier it will be.  Steve suggested that learners get involved in a real situation, such as talking with people and watching podcasts. Thus, he added about focusing on the enjoyment. Due to time limitation, David continued to the next question. It is about which difficulties that are encountered and/ or how to overcome them.  Susanna started with talking about the subjunctive, which she took the comparison of it in Spanish and French.  Steve talked about cases, especially of that in German and Slavic language.  Robert mentioned about Chinese Character or Kanji and tones. However, he tends to see them as a compound sound, where he can imitate the way it is spoken.  Richard has a quite interesting opinion. He said that the issue is not the language but the culture. For instance, saying something acceptable in one place may be unacceptable in another.  Jana said that many grammar books do not have enough explanation. After all, the discussion continued with random questions from the viewers. The first one is about what the panelists have learnt from each other.
  • 60. Page59  Benny immediately referred to Moses McMormick's language learning of approaching people.  Susanna talked about an interview of Richard. She said that Richard mentioned about not feeling guilty for not accomplishing anything in language learning.  Steve praised this polyglot community that it is encouraging not only for the viewers but also for the panelists.  Robert mentioned about Benny's opinion that anybody can learn any language. The next question was "What is your favorite language and why?"  Immediately, Benny responded that sign language for being the most expressive language. In addition, it can say more than spoken language.  Steve has a different opinion. He said that his favorite language is the one that he is totally immersed in.  According to Jana, she mentioned about Japanese because it is her first foreign language and the language that she knows best apart from English. Due to time limitation, the discussion finally came to the end. Just before it was closed, Benny added that everybody is welcome to ask each of the panelists questions via YouTube, blog, or any social media sites. Polyglots' channels David Mansaray Steve Kaufmann Benny Lewis
  • 61. Page60 Susanna Zarysky Luca Lampariello Richard Simcott Robert Bigler Jana Fadness Moses McMormick Live Polyglot Language Learning Discussion
  • 62. Page61 Wordle Word Cloud Tuesday, December 25, 2012 Have you heard about "word cloud"? Have you seen any visual representation for text data that shows tag label in different font sizes and forms like "cloud"? I have just found an interesting website called Wordle. It is very easy to use it. Click on "Create" in the menu bar, and then you can see whether you want to paste a bunch of text or paste URL of any website. Finally, leave the rest for the program and you may want to modify font type, color, or even play around with the "Randomize" button. You can find the example that I have made. It comprises of the top 100 languages and the corresponding countries based on the statistics in 1996. Six years have not changed much of it. Chinese, Spanish, and English are still top 3 most spoken languages.