Friday, October 21, 2011

Things like this make me happy

The Rosetta Project
"the first prototype being a three inch in diameter nickel disk inscribed with 14,000 pages of information. Unlike a computer disk, however, the Rosetta disk is etched with images, not code, so any person can read it with the right magnification." "Since developing the prototype, the Project has gone on to etch sets of parallel documents in over 2,500 human languages with the belief that by recording all languages, they have provided a key to deciphering any language in the future..."
One less worry for me :´)


Something that doesn't necessarily make me happy, but explains what I have been working with:
Lang-8, LingQ and LWT
I'm not all happy about the fact that you need a computer and mostly also internet to use these tools. Might be useful, might be good, but... well. Let's see.


Things that make me angry: when people abuse your kindness and willingness to help. Twelve months in Estonian sounds like something nasty in English, and there's a lot of people who like to make Estonians, especially pretty girls, say it on video...
It's just as wrong as when a native language speaker tells you something means something that it doesn't mean. There is a story of a poor Swedish boy who wanted to say to Finnish girls on the ferry to Finland that he loves them. He asked a friend "how do you say 'I love you' in Finnish?", and this "friend" said "minä olen hirvi". The boy learned this and spent the night telling pretty girls "I am a moose", until some kind soul told him he'd been tricked.


Tips to learning vocabulary from an American guy studying 6 languages, and learning them too. >:->

No, I will not join the wars... Life is too short for lashing out on other bloggers out there, and that's really childish. I mean... I love Benny. I would say he has ADHD. I'm married to a guy like that. I find them charming, delightful, lovely, inspiring in their enthusiasm, like fireflies... and then there are guys like Steve, who really should be old enough to know that people do things differently, learn things differently, and in different pace. What suits Benny doesn't suit Steve, and vice versa. I mean, I like Steve's blog too, and he gives nice advice as well, even though he pushes LingQ a bit too much to my taste, but on the other hand, it's his baby AND supporter, so he would do that. Not that there's anything much wrong with LingQ either. I like the language badges :-D I might do something like that to show off the size of my flashcard pile in each of the 52 languages at the end of the week :-D The main thing is that you take what YOU want, believe what YOU think is credible, use what YOU can, and leave the rest. If Benny is a megalomaniac liar and full of himself, so be it. As if there weren't people like that in the world. His advice is useful anyway, and as an author I happen to believe most novels are lies and the better the liar the better the story. I don't really give a dime about the verity of Benny's claims and it's really not relevant either. He's having a blog on HIS journey to language, on which HE shares what HE has found useful to HIM. He isn't claiming everyone should do like he does, like so many other people.
Then there are the supporters, who believe someone's negative opinion is an invitiation to bashing people. I was thinking about the negative reviews of Barry Farber's "How to learn any language". There too we had these... er... idiots, who started expressing their opinions on BARRY and his ASSUMED opinions and attitudes, and other things like that that had nothing to do with the book. People were claiming he doesn't know the languages he knows, he hasn't written the book, he's inventing the stories, and he too is a megalomaniac liar full of himself. The thing is that I like that book a lot too. I liked Barry's stories about his experiences, I think his advice is sound and I learned a couple of tricks from him too. I mean, just because you disagree on how difficult Japanese conversation is doesn't make the whole book worthless. The experience of how easy it is to learn things, even languages, is 100% subjective. What is easy to me might not be easy to you. Writing English is a pain in the butt, but a lot of people do that with no bigger problems. Like me. I don't think it's difficult to write English now. I'm sure I make a lot of mistakes etc. but - here I am, expressing myself in English, my second language, and you understand what I'm saying here.
So, I'm sorry, Randy, for getting irritated by your war on flashcards. :-D It was really stupid of me :-)


I want vanity badges too! 


I have been looking at "the best language blogs" top 100 language lovers and top 25 language learning blogs... and I'm very disappointed. Why? There are so few really interesting language blogs around.


Also, Hong Kong Polytechnic Psychologists have realized what I said someplace earlier... that polyglots might have "multiple personalities".  Of course not, but languages change you and your way of thinking and behaving. (Which, BTW, is not in any way a new idea. Ever heard of Whorfianism?)

The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds but a diversity of views of the world.
- Wilhelm von Humboldt (1820)
(Of course some idiots decided to spoil this too, because they were/are arrogant, ignorant, egocentric, imperialistic, supremacist chauvinists, and say that English is the most evolved language of the world and thus the Anglo-American culture is the best culture of the world and everyone should be speaking English and become as superior as they are. blah blah blah. I really don't get how some people can't hear the word "different" without starting to think "better, worse".)

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