I was just surfing around trying to find a free bilingual Italian-English dictionary when I came across the Alternative Dictionaires, a site that has literally loads and loads of slang, vulgarisms, insults and profanities from many world languages, from Acadian to Zulu. Below you will find a list of all the languages that currently have entries at the Alternative Dictionary.
This is actually quite useful information, as people very often express themselves using these types of terms and expressions. And it's always better to understand when someone is insulting you, right?!
The Alternative dictionaries are a collection of various forms of "bad language" from many languages. At the moment, there are 2743 entries in 162 dictionaries. This is a collaborative project with contributions from a lot of people. The pages are developed and edited by Hans-Christian Holm.
Acadian Afrikaans Albanian Alemannic Algerian Arabic Alsatian American English Amharic Apache Arabic Armenian Assamese Asturian Australian English Austrian Azerbaijani Baluchi Basque Bavarian Belarusian Bengali Brazilian Portuguese Breton British English Bulgarian Burmese Cajun Cantonese Catalan Cherokee Chinese Classical Greek Corsican Cree Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Egyptian Arabic English Esperanto Estonian Faroese Finnish Flemmish French Frisian Fulfulde Galician Georgian German Greek Guarani Gujarati Gulf Arabic Haitian Creole French Hakka Hausa Hawaiian Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Igbo Indonesian Iraqi Arabic Irish Gaelic Italian Japanese Javanese Kannada Kashmiri Kazakh Khmer Kirghiz Korean Kurdish Lao Latin Latvian Levantine Arabic Lithuanian Lower Sorbian Luxemburgian Macedonian Malay Malayalam Maltese Maori Marathi Mexican Spanish Min Mongolian Moroccan Arabic Navajo Nepali Norwegian Occitan Ojibwa Oriya Panjabi Pashto Persian Plattdeutsch Polish Portuguese Quebecois Quechua Rheto-Romance Romanian Russian Sami Sardinian Scots Scots Gaelic Serbian Serbo-croat Sindhi Sinhala Sioux Slovak Slovenian Somali Sotho Spanish Sunda Sutu Swabian Swahili Swedish Swiss German Tagalog Tajiki Tamil Tatar Telugu TEST Thai Tibetan Tigrinya Tsonga Tswana Tunisian Arabic Turkish Turkmen Uighur Ukrainian Upper Sorbian Urdu Uzbek Venda Venetian Vietnamese Welsh Wolof Wu Xhosa Yapese Yi Yiddish Yoruba Zulu
I just read a great article on some of the most difficult and challenging aspects of learning Mandarin Chinese. The article is written in a sort of humorous and chatty tone, and brings up some of the most frustrating things Chinese learners face when they really get down to the nitty gritty details of learning.
Not all foreign languages are equally difficult for any learner. It depends on which language you're coming from. A French person can usually learn Italian faster than an American, and an average American could probably master German a lot faster than an average Japanese, and so on. So part of what I'm contending is that Chinese is hard compared to ... well, compared to almost any other language you might care to tackle. What I mean is that Chinese is not only hard for us (English speakers), but it's also hard in absolute terms. Which means that Chinese is also hard for them, for Chinese people.
I sort of randomly stumbled across a few good link pages for learning Japanese online for free. I thought I would put them together in a blog entry until I can write proper articles on them.
Here they are:Read More
A friend told me about VideoJug recently. It's a site where you can see instructional videos on practical and not-so-practical topics. Naturally the first thing I thought was to visit their site and see what free resources there are for language learners.
Currently, most of the videos have to do with learning Spanish. There is also information about memorizing foreign vocabulary and they even have Arthur Bornstein as their Expert on Memory Training.Read More
Here is a quick link to my del.icio.us bookmarks tagged with learn+chinese+free.
This is a great place to keep up on that latest I've been researching for Mandarin. Whenever I find something, I'll always tag it right away using the Firefox extension for del.icio.us
Most of these will eventually reach Freestyle Language, but it takes longer for them to get there.Read More
A post on one of my favorite blogs brought to my attention the fact that 2008 has been declared "The International Year of Languages" by the United Nations. Cool.
Part of the UN's goal for declaring an international year of language involves "eliminating the disparity between the use of English and the use of the five other official languages." The other 5 official languages of the UN are Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.
Not surprisingly the resolution was introduced by France's representative, who maintained that it "would ensure a 'global' approach to multilingualism and would promote a reasonable vision of multilingualism at the United Nations." Support for the resolution came from representatives of Tunisia, Andorra, Russian Federation, Romania and Senegal, who "stressed that multilingualism in the United Nations served to enrich the work of the Organization."
I am looking forward to finding out what the UN will actually do in 2008 to achieve their goals. I am of course biased, but I'd recommend putting together some high-quality, multimedia language-learning resources and distributing them online for free under one Public Domain license or another. That would be something tangible that would serve for years to come. I'd build cultural awareness into the curriculum by basing lessons around cultural aspects of the countries where the languages are spoken. I'd also include factoids, geographical info, culinary goodies, musical and historical bits and other such enriching information.
Following is the beginning of the notes from the 96th Meeting of the 61st General Assembly:
The General Assembly this afternoon, recognizing that genuine multilingualism promotes unity in diversity and international understanding, proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Languages.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly, also recognizing that the United Nations pursues multilingualism as a means of promoting, protecting and preserving diversity of languages and cultures globally, emphasized the paramount importance of the equality of the Organization’s six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
In that regard, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to ensure that all language services were given equal treatment and were provided with equally favourable working conditions and resources. The Secretary-General was also requested to complete the task of publishing all important older United Nations documents on the Organization’s website in all six official languages, on a priority basis.
Further, the Assembly emphasized the importance of making appropriate use of all the official languages in all the activities of the Department of Public Information, with the aim of eliminating the disparity between the use of English and the use of the five other official languages.
Surfing about this morning and came across a helpful list of free online language courses on About.com. The first page covers Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Japanese. Page 2 of the list continues with Korean, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
I was very happy to note that lots of the resources on this list are not yet on Free Language! You better believe they will be soon...Read More
While surfing about today I can across a small but very useful list of resources for learning foreign language online for free.
Of special note (and these will be added to the Free Language main page soon) are MIT OpenCourseWare for Foreign Language and Literature and Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Intiative (French).Read More
Got an email the other day from the person that runs the Save Tanii Website. Tanii is an endangered minority ethnic language of the Apatani people of the Ziro plateau in the Lower Subsansiri district in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Here is an excerpt from the Save Tanii website:
During the last 50 years, tremendous change in culture, custom and tradition has taken place on Ziro plateau. Today the last serious point of modernization is that the young Tanii (Apatani) generation is not anymore able to understand its own tradition, nor the terms or words quoted in our heritage language. Let us save Tanii culture, let us teach and learn Tanii language.
It is, indeed, a sad thing to lose a language. I wish the best to this project and hope that it succeeds in bringing some attention to the language and culture of the Apatani people.Read More
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).
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:
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.
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).
UPDATED: May 14th, 2011
This file seems to no longer be available... ChinesePod is a long-standing podcast with thousands of episodes for learning Mandarin free.
nciku is an amazing Chinese dictionary with audio and character strokes.
UPDATED June 23, 2008
People have emailed me to say that the torrent is down. However, the nature of torrents is that they don't go down easy once they're out there! (http://www.stealthisfilm.com)Read More
I wanted to throw up a quick link to the free language software download section of Byki.
Byki.com gives away free software for learning 42 languages. This is a gold mine for folks interested in learning the basics of many languages - on no budget!
They also offer a commercial upgrade for $49 USD, reasonable, and you get lots of extras with the upgrade.Read More
Word2Word.com has loads of resources for learning tons of languages. The only reason there isn't a proper write-up of the site yet on Free Language is that there is so much there that we really need to publish many articles to encompass the full spectrum offered!
So this is just a blog entry to bring attention to the overall site, which will be followed by proper articles outlining each of the languages and their resource sections on the site.
I recommend jumping to the section on Free Online Language Courses.
This site is dedicated to breaking down of language barriers and assisting the users who have the desire to learn a language, a need to communicate between languages, and for those who work with languages as a profession. Language students should only be using online resources in accordance with the rules and regulations set down by their schools, teachers and parents.