english

Ni Hao Kai Lan Logo

Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, an animated series to help children learn Mandarin Chinese, will begin airing on February 7th, 2008 on Nick Jr.

This is just another sign of the times: the world around, people are waking up to the importance of Mandarin Chinese in tomorrow's world. I will be documenting this phenomenon and other such interesting goodies on Mandarin Chinese Info.

From Website

Ni Hao, Kai-lan is a play-along, think-along series that weaves together Chinese language and culture, preschool-relatable stories, and interactivity, with Kai-lan as your intimate friend and playmate!

"Ni hao!" That means "hi" in Chinese--and that's how Kai-lan greets you every day! Kai-lan Chow is an exuberant Chinese-American preschooler, almost 6, who wants you to come play with her and her best friends.

Kai-lan's world is infused with Chinese culture and is brimming with magical sights and sounds, and everywhere you turn there's something amazing and beautiful to see. Along the way, she and her bilingual buddies speak in English and Chinese, but they always need kids' help to find creative solutions to the daily dilemmas that come their way!

Find out more about the show on Nick Jr.

FooSchool.com Logo

Just got an email from a guy over at FooSchool.com who brought my attention to a site in development that will offer free videos for learning English and French (and presumably more eventually).

Currently, only the videos for learning the French language are available, with English coming soon.

The French videos I have checked out are organized by Parisian Arrondissement , which is pretty cool.

I would suggest checking them out and subscribing to their video lessons feeds for both languages so you can know right away when new content is added to the site:

FooSchool.com Learn English Video Lesson Feed
FooSchool.com Learn French Video Lesson Feed

The site still needs some development as the Contact and About pages are currently not up, but this is a true "first look" at the site in progress. If they keep up the quality and pace of content publishing, they'll certainly end up being an excellend multi-media language-learning resource.

Check out FooSchool.com

From Website

About FooSchool

FooSchool was launched in November 2007 with the aim of providing multi-media language lessons in a range of subjects -- for free!

We launched with a very basic design and 40 high-quality French video lessons, each of three minutes duration.

We intend to improve the design and add to the number of lessons in the near future.
FooSchool is Free?! What's the Catch?

There's no catch. FooSchool is free for three reasons:

1. We passionately believe in free education for everyone. We believe that the right to learn is a fundamental human right -- regardless of age, gender or location on the planet.

For an adult living in a developed country, learning a language may help keep the brain healthy. For someone in a developing country, it may help avoid poverty.

2. With the IT/internet revolution, the technology costs of creating and distributing multimedia lessons are no longer exorbitant. Thus, we don't have technology costs to pass on to you.

3. Our main costs are in devising and producing the lessons, as well as maintaining the website. So, while the lessons on this website will always be free, we intend to eventually make a profit through ancillary revenues (e.g. advertising).

I wanted to add four resources to the list of websites to post about here on that main part of the site:

UsingEnglish.com
English-to-go.com
World-English.org
LearnEnglish.de

Here are a few resources I have come across lately in my web meanderings that I believe would be valuable additions to the site:

Schweiz Magazin
Voices in Español Podcast
The Japlish Podcast
Yemen Links Arabic Resources

Obviously the last two can be expanded to include all the languages offered on this site. They are just predefined searches that can help folks find what they are looking for faster, something we are working to make possible.

Just came across an article on Wikibooks about how difficult it is for native English speaker to learn specific languages.

Pretty interesting, thought the article has a ways to go to be fully developed.

From Article

This world is just full of hundreds of thousands of languages. Wikibooks also hosts many different language learning books, but on a smaller scale, of course.

Becoming fluent in a language is no walk in the park, even if you do already display an aptitude for languages. This Wikibook will act as a very useful guide showing how difficult learning any particular language you have set your eyes on is.

Many people wonder how long it will take them to become proficient in a certain language. This question, of course, is impossible to answer because a lot depends on a person's language learning ability, motivation, learning environment, intensity of instruction, and prior experience in learning foreign languages. Last, but not least, it depends on the level of proficiency the person wishes to attain.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3) and Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3). The list is limited to languages taught at the Foreign Service Institute, minus languages which don't have their own Wikibook.

It must be kept in mind that students at FSI are almost 40 years old, are native speakers of English and have a good aptitude for formal language study, plus knowledge of several other foreign languages. They study in small classes of no more than 6. Their schedule calls for 25 hours of class per week with 3-4 hours per day of directed self-study.

Below are the latest front page updates (since the last ones).

Of special note is the new section for learning Persian (Farsi).

SpanishRomance.com: A Variety of Spanish Language Content
English1010.com Free Audio and Written English Lessons Online
Tá Falado Free Brazilian Portuguese Podcast for Spanish Speakers
BetteratEnglish.com Better at English ESL/EFL Podcast for Real People
Loads of Podcasts in Spanish and Portuguese Languages
Top ESL/EFL/TESOL/TEFL/TESL and TOEFL Salad Websites
Verbs-Online.com Study French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, English with Verb Tools
Download Free FSI German Language Audio Courses
SpanishSense.com Learn Spanish on Your Terms Podcast
UMN's Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
Newseum.com Free Front Page News from over 50 Countries in Loads of Languages
Learning Arabic Language from Didactiques Langues Publications
Learn Afrikaans Wikibook in English
WordChamp Language Toolbar for Firefox
Persian Grammar Book for Farsi Study on Google Books
Farsi/Persian Language Lessons, Reading and Dialogues for Study Materials
Free Learn Persian Flashcards in Sets from Flashcard Exchange
Free and Easy Persian/Farsi Lessons from EasyPersian.com
The Iran Podcast
BBCPersian.com BBC Persian News in Farsi
Wikipedia Language Portal
Free and Open Mandarin Chinese University Lectures from Archive.org
Free Mobile Phone Phrasebooks for French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek and Portuguese
Fancy French: Learn to Speak, Read and Write French Online in Total Immersion with Free Podcast Downloads
Learn about the English Language at Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia
Rosetta Stone Learn UK British English Language Software Level 1 (Commercial)
itcansay.com Huge Database of Audio Samples for English Pronunciation Practice, Dictionary, Online Text Reader
Englishmate.com.cn English Mate Podcast for Learning English Online with Real Teachers

I saw in the stats that Heise Open published an article in German in which Free Language is mentioned. My unqualified translation based on a machine translation of the sentence that mentions Free Language is:

In what is probably the most extensive list of language resources, one manages to find some CC-licensed goodies, for example the excellent idea of a vocab trainer for Chinese Hanzi characters - for mobile phones.

Cool! We are certainly doing everything to move towards such a status.

Read the article in German.
Read the article in English using Google Translation.

Freestyle Language Logo

I have just begun a website called Freestyle Language. Though it sounds like Free Language, the site is a personal blog and podcast about my experiences learning several new languages, maintaining proficiency in the languages that I do speak and offering some content for folks learning American English.

From Blog

I am a linguist and a lover of languages. My native language is English. I speak fluent French, Portuguese and Spanish. I am fairly proficient with Italian and can eek by in German and Mandarin Chinese.

On this blog, I share my experiences learning languages both on the web and off. On the web, I generally use Free Language to find solid resources. Off the web, I spend any free time working on improving some language or another.

Currently, I am interested in starting studies in Arabic and Russian, as well as continuing to improve my Mandarin Chinese, German and Italian skills. I will blog about all of these languages here - and more.

I will also start a podcast (yes, another one) for people interested in learning the English language. I will offer transcriptions of what I say - nothing fancy.

All original content on this website is protected, empowered and freely-distributable thanks to the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL). You may recognize this license from Wikipedia.

I am going to supplement that site with some posts here regarding the most interesting things I come across.

For now, you are welcome to have a look at Freestyle Language and see if it interests you.

More to come in the near future.

We are now up to 11 podcasts for learning English!

There are so many more, and we'll keep posting them here.

Just came across a blog post considering six widespread world languages to learn.

From Blog Post

There is debate about which languages to learn, these six would be a good start of the 6812 or so languages out there to be annoyed you cannot understand.

I really need to stop reading the Wikipedia.org online Encyclopedia as it is amazing how little I know about the plant earth. Yesterday, I was all excited browsing around on the Francophone page and thinking about Anglophone and Anglosphere and all sorts of fun maps and things, when I ran across what the United Nations considers the Six Official Languages

Read more at HoboTraveler.com

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