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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Blogging in Foreign
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).
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
Coping with the mentioned circumstance, my new Chinese
Mandarin blog is now hosted by Pixnet.
Watch Listen Online
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
9. Mandarin Chinese
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
Zvaniņš Skan (Jingle Bells)
Starp Divām Saulēm [Prāta Vētra] uke
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:
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Learn Mandarin: New
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.
Learn in a Foreign
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).
Moreover, it is easier to find Chinese Mandarin books in the local
bookshops of where I am living.
No Language Called
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
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
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?
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.
Alex Rawlings, Oxford
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.
Spanish, English, and
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.
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
experience since I was a kid, I have never known about 美語 or
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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
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.
How not to forget
languages you have
learned by Steve
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
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.
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).
Первый Балтийский Музыкальный
This Rīga-based Russian language channel is known as Pirmais
Baltijas mūzikas kanāls (First Baltic Music Channel) in Latvia.
A media property that is owned by Sweden's Modern Times Group,
which has media properties throughout Scandinavia and Eastern
Began operation in October 2001, and acquired by Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp. in May 2007.
The service provides not only news headlines, but also commentary
An arguably the most diverse television site in Latvia. Based in Rīga
and organized by a computer software firm Tilde Ltd.
A Valmiera-based regional broadcaster that went on the air in 1992.
Why should we really be
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
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,
The Russian Language helps to approach the mysterious
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
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
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.
Friday, September 7, 2012
PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일)
PSY-Gangnam Style (georgian version )
MONGOLIAN GANGNAM STYLE
GANGNAM STYLE PARODY
(강남스타일) - KL STYLE
ORANG SABAH STYLE (OPPA
GANGNAM STYLE PARODY)
The Beauty of Chinese
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.
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.
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
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
Forever a student: My
multilingual recording in
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
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.
Dutch - Ik spreek
Monday, November 12, 2012
Indonesian Words From Dutch
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:
Know It Further - the
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.
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
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
A Greek Who Speaks 32
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
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.
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.
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
Languages for job
Easiest foreign language
(for English speaker)
Saturday, December 8, 2012
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
Speak to Me in Many
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?
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Jana said that many grammar books do not have enough
After all, the discussion continued with random questions from the
viewers. The first one is about what the panelists have learnt
from each other.
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
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
David Mansaray Steve Kaufmann Benny Lewis
Susanna Zarysky Luca Lampariello Richard Simcott
Robert Bigler Jana Fadness Moses McMormick
Live Polyglot Language Learning
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.