Submitted by: polyglot
Sat, 08/18/2007 - 14:40

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

Of special note is the new section for learning Persian (Farsi). A Variety of Spanish Language Content Free Audio and Written English Lessons Online
Tá Falado Free Brazilian Portuguese Podcast for Spanish Speakers 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 Study French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, English with Verb Tools
Download Free FSI German Language Audio Courses Learn Spanish on Your Terms Podcast
UMN's Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition 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
The Iran Podcast BBC Persian News in Farsi
Wikipedia Language Portal
Free and Open Mandarin Chinese University Lectures from
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) Huge Database of Audio Samples for English Pronunciation Practice, Dictionary, Online Text Reader English Mate Podcast for Learning English Online with Real Teachers

Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 08/16/2007 - 15:57

Cool Gorilla Logo

I was sent a link recently about Cool Gorilla, a website that offers free downloads of mobile phone phrasebooks for French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Greek. These handy phrasebooks are quite useful for travelers.

Currently, these phrasebooks are available for Nokia and Sony Ericsson mobile phone models.

From Website

Each of the mobile phone phrasebooks has hundreds of sound files that can be accessed through these easy to use applications. Simply decide which language you want on your phone, follow the steps and you could have the translator of your choice within minutes.

Find out more and download these mobile phone phrasebooks.

Submitted by: opal myth
Mon, 08/13/2007 - 02:38

Internet Archive Mandarin Chinese University Lectures

Woah - just came across beaucoup knowledge in one place: The Chinese University Lectures Collection

You can view a tag cloud of the topics for which lecture exist, or simply browse through them.

These lectures could be great to intermediate to advanced Chinese learners who want interesting audio materials to work with.

From Resource

This library of open educational resources features 173 courses from 14 universities in China. The lectures and resources are presented in Mandarin, though a few include English. Subjects covered are business, Chinese culture, communications, computer Science, engineering, humanities, law, mathematics, and medicine. These university level materials are available for free download.

Participating universities include: City University of Hong Kong, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Northeast University, Peking University, Shandong Medical University, Shandong University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, South China University of Technology, Southeast University, Tong Ji Medical School of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Zhongshan University.

This collection was donated to the Internet Archive by Professor Li Xiaoping of Peking University.

Visit the Chinese University Lectures


View the License and Terms of Use

Submitted by: polyglot
Mon, 08/13/2007 - 01:45

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.

Submitted by: opal myth
Mon, 08/13/2007 - 01:33

Wikipedia Language Portal Logo

There is some really great info about languages over at the Wikipedia Language Portal. It is a great place to start looking into general information on any world language or linguistics and language itself. Furthermore, you can delve into specific detail about many topics in the vast wealth of collective knowledge available at Wikipedia.

From Resource

A language is a system of symbols, generally known as lexemes, and the rules by which they are manipulated. The word language is also used to refer to the whole phenomenon of language, i.e., the common properties of languages. Though language is commonly used for communication, it is not synonymous with it. The scientific study of language, its historical development, characteristics, and use in society is known as Linguistics.

Human language is a natural phenomenon, and language learning is instinctive in childhood. In their natural form, human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for the symbols in order to communicate with others through the senses. Though there are thousands of human languages, they all share a number of properties from which there are no known deviations.

Humans have also invented (or arguably in some cases discovered) many other languages, including constructed human languages such as Esperanto or Klingon, programming languages such as Python or Ruby, and various mathematical formalisms. These languages are not restricted to the properties shared by natural human languages.

One excellent thing to point out while mentioning Wikipedia is the fact that you can read about a large variety of topics in numerous languages. Just look on the left side for the "In Other Languages" menu, and you can click on any available language and jump over to the corresponding Wikipedia entry - page. portal or what have you. Note: This is not machine translation we are talking about here - it is the current entry for that same topic in other languages - some may be larger, some smaller and many may not exist at all.

Visit the Wikipedia Language Portal.

Submitted by: polyglot
Sat, 08/11/2007 - 23:34

I just added a section for learning the Persian language!

Head on over and have a look.

This makes a total of 16 languages on the site!

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 08/11/2007 - 16:50

Hanzi Smatter Logo

Came across a blog that documents the misuse of Chinese and Japanese characters in Western culture.

Most of the entries are images of tattoos that Westerners have gotten which portray Chinese or Japanese characters. The characters in these tattoos are somehow misused, and the result is often quite entertaining.

There is definitely something to be learned there!

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 08/11/2007 - 13:57

Started using a tool with Firefox this morning that I came across yesterday: the WordChamp Firefox Toolbar for instant translation of words while browsing any web page.

It is a really cool tool! You not only get to hover over any text word and get a translation into the language of your choice, often there is an audio recording of the word that you can listen to! Here's a screenshot of it in action - click to see a larger version:

WordChamp Firefox Toolbar

To get the extension, visit WordChamp and look on the left side almost on the bottom where it says: "WordChamp Language Toolbar for Firefox". Click that while browsing the site with Firefox and you'll install the extension and can start using it once you restart Firefox.

A proper article on WordChamp will be out soon on the front page.

Submitted by: polyglot
Fri, 08/10/2007 - 21:55

Yesterday I made an update to the site that was long overdue: I finally added links to translate the page using Google Language Tools for automatic machine translation.

You can see this banner in the site's footer:

Translate Free Language Using Google Language Tools

I used the Brazilian flag for Portuguese, the US flag for English, the Spanish flag for Spanish, the Chinese flag for Chinese and the German flag for German because... I just did. At some point, this site is going to be multi-lingual and localized itself, that's just a "little further" down the roadmap for the site!

There are also text links on the bottom right side of every page:

Translate Free Language Using Google Language Tools Text

As Google adds more languages, so will Free Language.

I chose Google because I couldn't find any totally free and cool ones that allowed browsing of the site with instantaneous translation. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. For now, this will do.

Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 08/10/2007 - 19:18

Animated Arabic Script

Recently I got a link to a really cool tool that animates the writing of Arabic script and gives you audio simultaneously.

Another nice aspect is that the animations show you the letters as they appear when written in all parts of the word (isolated, initial medial, final).

Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 08/09/2007 - 17:19

Newseum Logo

Just came across a really cool linguistic thing on the Newseum website: a section with images of today's front page articles from around the globe in multiple languages.

Nice one!

From Website

The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — will offer visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

The Newseum will be located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on America’s Main Street between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The exterior’s unique architectural features include a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment and an immense front wall of glass through which passers-by will be able to watch the museum fulfilling its mission of providing a forum where the media and the public can gain a better understanding of each other.

The Newseum will feature seven levels of galleries, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services. It will offer a unique environment that takes museumgoers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made.

"The visitor will come away with a better understanding of news and the important role it plays in all of our lives," said Newseum Executive Director and Senior Vice President Joe Urschel. "The new Newseum will be educational, inspirational and a whole lot of fun."

Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 08/09/2007 - 00:58

Just came across a nice gem: a center for advanced research into what is known as "language acquisition".

From Website

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) is one of the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI National Language Resource Centers, whose role is to improve the nation's capacity to teach and learn foreign languages effectively.

Research & Programs

CARLA is engaged in a number of interrelated research and program initiatives related to second language teaching, learning, and assessment.

Professional Development

CARLA supports the professional development of second language teachers through an annual summer institute program and a wide array of international conferences and regional seminars.


CARLA offers a number of resources to language teachers including a battery of second language proficiency assessments and a working paper series.

Of special note are the resources page, resources for teachers and the database of less-commonly taught languages instructional materials.

Submitted by: opal myth
Wed, 08/08/2007 - 13:53

Just came across a great list of language-learning resources on the Internet and wanted to share it here.

Links include those for ESL, general language learning stuff, language school and foreign language booksellers.

Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 08/03/2007 - 11:35


Yummy - just came across a great site that lists the top sites for eating acronym salad for all things related to English learning!

It's all there: ESL > EFL > TESOL > TEFL > TESL > TOEFL

Just add dressing...


Submitted by: opal myth
Thu, 08/02/2007 - 11:30

Hispanocast LogoI just came across two sites that are associated and that offer nicely organized directories of available Spanish and Portuguese language podcasts.

Keep in mind: these are podcasts in Spanish and Portuguese - not directed at learners of those languages! These are great for intermediate to advanced and beyond level learners of these two languages to access loads of (hopefully interesting) audio content (sometimes with transcriptions) in their target language.

Lusocast LogoI just sifted through the Portuguese podcasts and found some that are quite interesting, one is called O Seqüestro do Rolo Sagrado and consists of chapters of what appears to be a book by Robson Ramos. Also of note is a podcast featuring Brazilian Lounge Music.

There are loads of podcasts at these two sites to meet anyone's interests, so have a look!

Visit for Podcasts in Spanish
Visit for Podcasts in Portuguese

Submitted by: polyglot
Wed, 08/01/2007 - 21:12

For quick and easy access to all the resources currently featured on the site, I have created The Big List. You can link to it from the top left main menu bar.

This list has all the resources for which there are proper front page articles. Blog entries are not included here!

Hope you like the fast linkage...

The Big List

Submitted by: freestyle language
Wed, 08/01/2007 - 11:46

As I get more and more into learning languages and blog about it at Freestyle Language, I become more and more interested in tips, tricks and guides for learning foreign languages.

Recently, I have put together a short list of solid resources in this department and wanted to share them with folks here.

How to Learn Foreign Languages on
Guide to Learning Languages from
10 Tips for Language Learning Success on
Success Starts Here on BBC Languages
Language Learning Tips from

There are plenty of suggestions, ideas, theories, ways, manners, plans, visions and insights at the links above for anyone interested in better, more effective and longer-lasting language-learning flavor.

Submitted by: opal myth
Mon, 07/30/2007 - 20:33

Learn Logo

Just came across the quiver of free foreign language-learning books and wanted to share it here.

We'll do a proper write-up of sometime in the not too distant future...

Submitted by: opal myth
Sun, 07/29/2007 - 02:33

Omniglot Language-Inspired Artwork

I just came across "examples of artwork involving or inspired by writing systems and languages" on

Have a look!

Simon also invites anyone who creates language-inspired artwork to contact him.

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 07/28/2007 - 12:06

I wanted to throw up a link to a predefined search for "language" on

This search yields a bundle of articles pertaining to language, such as 8 Reasons To Learn A New Language and The Advantages of Learning a Foreign Language.

Submitted by: freestyle language
Thu, 07/26/2007 - 13:43

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.

Submitted by: opal myth
Tue, 07/24/2007 - 21:27

Got an email a while back from Anton, a guy who blogs about linguistics and the Japanese and Ukranian languages in specific. He's got a cool theme choice feature on his site, too.

We are hoping that he will, indeed, start using the BETA user account here!

Submitted by: polyglot
Sun, 07/22/2007 - 00:12

We are now up to 11 podcasts for learning English!

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

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 07/21/2007 - 21:35

I am interested in ways and methods to quickly acquire enough of a new language to effectively communicate the most things with the most speed.

People can lose interest in you when you take too long to expain what you are trying to say.

I was in Brazil recently when the idea struck me that verbs are what make things happen.

It's simple. Verbs do make things happen.

Submitted by: polyglot
Sat, 07/21/2007 - 20:53

I have just reconstructed the main navigation menu. Here is the old one:

And the new one:

The new menu is comprised mainly of verbs. This creates an action-oriented main menu.

Opal Myth has blogged about this.

Submitted by: opal myth
Sat, 07/21/2007 - 14:19

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.

Submitted by: opal myth
Fri, 07/20/2007 - 16:12

Just came across a website with a list of how to say "cat" in 60 different languages!

FYI: I just named my new cat "Popoki", after the Hawaiian word for cat. I call her Poki for short, but that's just too much information about my feline friend.

Submitted by: polyglot
Thu, 07/19/2007 - 11:43