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The Web Way To Learn a Language

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the camgirl-charges-were-educational-hunny dept.

Education 165

theodp writes "Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris. The NY Times has a round-up of ways to learn a language over the Web. 'We offer modern-day pen pals facilitated with voice over I.P.,' said Tom Adams, CEO of RosettaStone, whose learning options include RosettaStudio, a place where a user can talk to a native speaker via video chat. TellMeMore offers a speech recognition component that analyzes pronunciation, graphs your speech, and suggests how to perfect it. Free-as-in-beer offerings include BBC Languages, where you'll find varying levels of instruction for 36 languages, with features including audio and video playback and translation. Things have certainly come a long way since the PLATO Foreign Languages Project of the '70s."

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Music, comedy and something else of interest (4, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30980986)

I have found that two of the best free ways to learn a foreign language online is to listen to music in that language as well as watching stand up comedy in it.

The music gives you something catchy to repeat and will allow you to memorize certain words, common phrases, etc. while the comedy will give you more of an insight into the culture (and culturally applicable words) since most comedians criticize or magnify people's behavior, discuss current topics and issues and usually use good vocabulary.

Youtube can generally take care of those two.

If you can also find websites that cover a topic you're interested and have a background in (e.g. programming or math) in that language, it won't be as harsh of a transition as you'll know about the topic before hand or you'd be very interested in it which allow you to translate your knowledge in that domain, gaining you more vocabulary/grammar.

This obviously doesn't work across the board and you may need a book or some formal training for the basics to be able to distinguish between slang and proper use of the language. But if you're already on your way (and with the abundance of free online dictionaries) it can be a huge push forward.

IRC or other online chatting systems can also help validate what you have learned and help you improve your conversation skills.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981178)

This soft http://perroquet.b219.org/index.html this way.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (4, Interesting)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981212)

Movies are even better. When you are a novice, subtitles help you know what to listen for, and for everyone the action on the screen can act as a cue to what is being said.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981358)

Movies are even better. When you are a novice, subtitles help you know what to listen for, and for everyone the action on the screen can act as a cue to what is being said.

Absolutely, movies with subtitles are great as they cover various things (including comedy) and will help you with certain aspects of the language.

However, finding free movies online (legally) with subtitles can be more of a challenge than finding the hottest new Vanessa Paradis song or catching the highlights from the French comedy festival for example.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981824)

Unfortunately, access varies by language tremendously. Netflix will give you all you need if you want Japanese, German or French.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982164)

Unless you're not from the US.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0, Offtopic)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981604)

Movies and television. I live in Germany and exclusively watch US TV because German TV is shit.

(And German IT sites for that matter).

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981654)

Movies and television. I live in Germany and exclusively watch US TV because German TV is shit.

So much for english speaking people who want to learn german.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (4, Funny)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982266)

German TV in Germany is great if you're from an English speaking country. It's all about how to open beer with your lighter, how strong a beer-table is, and shows like COPS, except where they give people a stern talking to for riding their bicycle with an open beer.

It must get very tedious if you're German, but if your English speaking, even the commercials are fascinating.

And I don't know why this stuff exists: NSFW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKiAL0UeId4 [youtube.com]

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981880)

Movies and television. I live in Germany and exclusively watch US TV because German TV is shit.

(And German IT sites for that matter).

Fick dich ins Knie du Arschloch,

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982484)

I live in Germany and exclusively watch US TV because German TV is shit.

True, German TV "entertainment" is bizarro world US TV. Letterman knockoffs, Judge Judy knockoffs etc. Any moderately successful US show has a crappy German clone, with or without license. An exception is CSI, the original franchise is crappy enough for us Germans so we have only dubbed that. We have also bizarro Fox News, by which I mean normal news.

(And German IT sites for that matter).

Sorry, but heise.de > slashdot, that's a scientific fact.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983540)

YIKES!!!

American TV is a step UP from German TV?!?!?!

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981748)

Not for Chinese. I mean how useful is knowing:

"You killed my brother. I kill you."
"Pretty good. But your fungfu is no match for mine."
"All your bases are belong to us. MUHAHAHAHAAHA!"

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982014)

TV shopping channels: you get people pointing at things, and saying the obvious about them. Plus, lots of numbers, spoken alongside the figures.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981360)

I find in music the pronunciation isn't always clear (Imagine trying to learn English listening to Bob Dylan).

My personal favourite is quiz shows, you learn how to ask questions and usually the speakers are quite clear. Otherwise, watching a film your familiar with that's been dubbed is also good.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (2, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981648)

Imagine trying to learn English listening to Bob Dylan

Thee ants are mah freinds, they're blowin' in the wind...

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983622)

Bob Dylan sings in English? I've never heard him sing in anything other than Simlish.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981380)

Can you give examples of English songs that someone should be listening to? If I turned on the radio, I don't think hearing Beyonce/Eminem/Green Day/Metallica/Jay-Z/BrittneySpears would help me learn english. I can't imagine trying to pick out Farsi with a singer who's using a voice synthesizer.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (2, Informative)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981498)

Can you give examples of English songs that someone should be listening to? If I turned on the radio, I don't think hearing Beyonce/Eminem/Green Day/Metallica/Jay-Z/BrittneySpears would help me learn english.

Sure. Norah Jones, Dido, Celine Dion (works for French too), Elton John, Duran Duran, Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on.

The goal would be to find a song that you like that's catchy enough for you to repeat it. It's not the be-all end-all method of learning a language, but it will help.

I can't imagine trying to pick out Farsi with a singer who's using a voice synthesizer.

Go back to the classics and listen to older generation songs that are clearer and aren't computerized. Again, the goal is to enjoy the process and pick up the pieces as you go from as many sources as possible.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982128)

Can you give examples of English songs that someone should be listening to? If I turned on the radio, I don't think hearing Beyonce/Eminem/Green Day/Metallica/Jay-Z/BrittneySpears would help me learn english. I can't imagine trying to pick out Farsi with a singer who's using a voice synthesizer.

Frank Sinatra? Barry White? Or perhaps someone more recent like Billy Ocean, Lionel Ritchie, Stevie Wonder, Heart

If all you know is cheap pop culture, then obviously everything will sound either as

  • "yo, yo, mama, you, shake dah shit, mah crew wanna pop littl' furry thang!", or
  • WAAAAAR, IT'S ALL FOOBARRRR, DIE11111!!! UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!

Shit, we don't even have to look for famous singers. Children songs are an excellent way to learn correct pronunciation (given that children songs tend to teach that.) If all you have is a hammer, everything is going to kinda like oh my god look like a nail cuz you know your like kinda have a hammer with a synthezizer cuz they are like the bomb lol.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (2, Funny)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982316)

> If all you have is a hammer, everything is going
> to kinda like oh my god look like a nail cuz

Actually, if all you have is Hammer, you're going to end up thinking Americans wear weird pants.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983468)

On that topic, don't try to learn Japanese by listening to Hatsune Miku.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981496)

What if your background is in miming. There are only so many ways to translate "Hey! I'm trapped in a glass box!"

Def Jam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981698)

[Stand-up] comedy will give you more of an insight into the culture (and culturally applicable words) since most comedians ... use good vocabulary.

I guess you've never seen Def Jam?

Re:Def Jam (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982214)

I guess you've never seen Def Jam?

I have. And because of it I know that the Harlem Globetrotters (which sounds like the Harlem globe chowders) is an entertainment basketball performance team and not a soup, the Harlem Shake is a dance and not a drink, etc.

It's not a good place to start, but it will definitely help you understand some African American culture.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981712)

Music has a big problem of words usualy not being very clear. Stand up comedy has IMHO, contrary to what you say, too narrow scope when it comes to culture...and the nature of the act quickly becomes monotonous.

Movies are a phenomenall way. There really is an unimaginable number of great ones in many languages one would want to learn; and enough of them for very long daily viewing that easily fits your current mood. Yes, it works...my EN skills, while not great, were aquired that way (foreign TV films not being dubbed at my place helped)

It has some hiccups though, Google Ads in Gmail still think my German is Swedish or Norwegian ;/ (no complaints from Germans though)

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

AmElder (1385909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981918)

Yes. I have a system that works for me that is similar. It uses freely available on-line resources and is cheaper than some of the on-line courses too.

  • Practice daily. Put aside half an hour before you go to bed and practice every single day.
  • Use several senses. Listen to web radio or podcasts and talk along with it. Many national radio systems broadcast simple news magazines for non-native speakers. Read the newspaper out loud to yourself or download out-of-copyright books from Gutenburg. Stay active while you're learning: clean dishes, do push-ups, etc.
  • Fit a bit of practice in odd moments of the day. On the commute, while cooking, or on the can.

And that's it. Cheap and easy. By doing this, at the end of a year I can hold carry on an abstract conversation with a native speaker. My grandfather did something similar and learned 10 languages without ever leaving his country.

Michel Tomas method also works well (1)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982086)

I recently started using the Michel Thomas method to learn french and can attest that it's an incredibly efficient way to learn the language -- as long as I spend a couple hours a day practicing or listening to french radio (BBC Afrique is great for this). Early on dedication is really important -- skip a few days and you lose a lot.

Re:Michel Tomas method also works well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983668)

Confirmed. While nothing replaces in-country immersed language training, I wish I'd spend 4 days prior doing Michael Thomas's first classes to learn about 2,000 near-English words. -tion -cion - sion usually have very similar meaning in Spanish and English. Going in with that knowledge would have helped me feel less "stuck" with my lack of vocabulary.

I spent a few weeks in Latin America learning Spanish 4 hrs a day and living with locals who didn't speak any English. I was physically exhausted by 8pm daily from the learning.

At the end of that 2 weeks, my best conversations were with 7 and 9 year old girls. Teens and older didn't have the patience.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982136)

the best free ways to learn a foreign language online is to listen to music in that language as well as watching stand up comedy in it.


What about people that want to learn German?

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982304)

What about people that want to learn German?

Search for "Komödie" and listen to 99 loft balloons.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982158)

I have found that two of the best free ways to learn a foreign language online is to listen to music in that language as well as watching stand up comedy in it.

But I am learning German, you insensitive clod!

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982646)

Here is a German joke for you, free as in beer:

Woran ist Dieter Krebs gestorben?
An Krebs.

Translation: What caused the death of Dieter Krebs?
Cancer.

You see, Krebs is the German word for cancer. It is funny because Dieter Krebs was a comedian who died of cancer. Greetings from Germany and good luck with your studies.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982752)

QED.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982196)

I have found that two of the best free ways to learn a foreign language online is to listen to music in that language as well as watching stand up comedy in it.

I think it was James Blish who had a character in one of his books learn Italian from grand opera. When he got to Rome he found that he couldn't buy a newspaper without giving the impression that he would throw himself into the Tiber if the vendor didn't have the right edition.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

Quintios (594318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982552)

Watching stand-up in a foreign language is a very advanced topic; definitely not something for someone who cannot speak relatively fluently. And without a native speaker, you're never going to understand the idioms and references that the particular culture is familiar with. "Are you of bad grape" has significance in Castillian Spanish, for example. For someone who cannot carry on a conversation at a bar in Spanish, they're never going to understand that.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (2, Insightful)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982780)

I have a real problem talking to foreigners on a social level because of my slang. I try hard to tone it down but fail every time, innit?

I can't help the slang, or the local way of speaking, you. (UK, west country with a hint of mockney, some west midlands thrown in for good measure, and some Geordie because of the railways workers who came to my town many years ago, like). I finish sentences with "innit you" or "ah boy" or "like" and people struggle - ju know what I'm sayin' like?

And then there's the accent that I try and hide. No "T" and no "R" sounds. Butter does not sound like butter when I say it. Bu'aa.

When the mockney creeps out, there are no "Th" sounds. They are hard "F" sounds. Fink them foreigners cope well, you?

So, all the people suggesting these sites where you have 1-to-1 sessions with foreigners, just make sure you don't find someone like me to teach you English. You'll end up sounding like a street wise farmer.

Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982916)

I have a real problem talking to foreigners on a social level because of my slang. I try hard to tone it down but fail every time, innit?

Don't tone it down. It's on the foreigner to understand you "be'aa", and it will help them in future encounters with people who might not be as understanding or it'll just help them be able to fit in better.

As long as you can repeat yourself for someone to catch up, it shouldn't be a problem. And foreigners should be able to tell which slang works appropriately depending on the region they're in as they develop language sophistication.

Time to start learning Chinese (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981042)

How do you say "the Party is always right" in Chinese?

Re:Time to start learning Chinese (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982450)

> How do you say "the Party is always right" in Chinese?

One shot with an AK-47. For extra persuasion to the back of the head.

Discovered for myself a few weeks ago... (2, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981068)

I found this for myself a few weeks ago, and have been slowly working on learning Scottish Gaelic.

It's a lot more fun than when I was forced to learn Spanish in high school.

Re:Discovered for myself a few weeks ago... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981168)

A lot more fun, perhaps, but a lot less useful. It is estimated that there are only about 50,000 speakers of Scottish Gaelic left.

I am Scottish myself and was obliged to learn Gaelic in a similar way that you were obliged to learn Spanish. I cannot stand it.

Re:Discovered for myself a few weeks ago... (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981810)

Your second language should be for utility, but after that it's up to you. Many languages have interesting cultures and if you want to connect with them you have to learn the language.

I sort of disagree... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982532)

Your second language should be for utility

Particularly if your first language is Spanish or English and you live anywhere in the Americas.

I think that once you learn a second language, for whatever reason, you're going to at least be comfortable with exposure to other languages. Once exposed to other languages, you tend to already know what's utilitarian.

Re:Discovered for myself a few weeks ago... (2, Interesting)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981240)

Working on learning Irish myself, spent over ten years learning it in school and never put any effort in, now I'm regretting it just months after I've finished :P.
Worst part about these languages is the difficulty of finding people to talk with in them IMO, it seems easier to find a fluent Spanish/French/German in Ireland than an Irish speaker.

Poor foreigners (1, Insightful)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981144)

...you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris.

and

...RosettaStudio, a place where a user can talk to a native speaker via video chat.

Poor foreigners with languages that people want to learn. They hope to teach people the delights of their own language rather than being forced to speak American (or even real English - that's what we speak in England ;) ) and end up having a webcam foreign languages session with some guy in his briefs!

Re:Poor foreigners (1)

SirLestat (452396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983150)

I'm a native French speaker and would be delighted to teach any hot looking girl in underwear on a video chat.

A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981148)

I have a friend that is writting a greek learning tutorial... in greek. It follow the philosophy that to learn X, you start using X.

Here is:
http://sites.google.com/site/mathainoellenika/home/1---kalimera-1 [google.com]

He just started, so is just the first steps...

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981192)

It's analogous to reading code for yourself. "What? You want COMMENTED code? Loser."

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (5, Funny)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981214)

I took a look at your friend's site, but didn't get too far with it. I'm afraid it's all Greek to me.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (2, Insightful)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981344)

I took a look at your friend's site, but didn't get too far with it. I'm afraid it's all Greek to me.

Promote that man! And seriously, you can't possibly consider that someone can learn a language by simply "reading" in that language. It requires some sort of introduction, at least a transliteration of the characters from the Greek to Latin alphabet. All in all, staring at encrypted data for years wont get you any closer to decrypting it without some idea of how.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981722)

I mostly agree. I suppose he will make a "Chapter 0" that will get fixed. Once you have "something", the next steps are doable.

Anyway learning X using X is how *everybody* learn his native language.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

bbqsrc (1441981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981946)

Generally, babies acquire language aurally, not through reading random scribble called text.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982542)

Anyway learning X using X is how *everybody* learn his native language.

See, that's the mistake that Rosetta Stone makes. People seem to forget all those years in that place called school that solidify one's knowledge of language. I mean, yes, if all one wants to do is speak with no real knowledge of grammar, be unable to spell most complex words, and break into gibberish once in awhile, then yes, all you need to do is learn X using X. If you want to actually learn a language, you are going to need, at the very least, a translation dictionary, and at the most(though preferred, because of actual feedback), an actual instruction course with supplemental materials.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981968)

That is totally unhelpful. He at least needs to define the alphabet. And really a lot more than that.

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983672)

From looking at the site very briefly, I think he does, but in Greek, which is rather unhelpful if you are trying to learn it. "To understand recursion you must first understand recursion", anyone?

Re:A very geek way to learn greek. (1)

Xinvoker (1660417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982494)

I am greek and i can tell you there are many mistakes in this dialogue, as well as unrealistic use of words (nobody thanks you because you greeted them).

lol @ this articel (2, Funny)

carlhaagen (1021273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981164)

i think we all kno how the web way to learn languege turns out from lookin at how the young netizen ppl write n speak today lol its a desaster

Hmmm... (4, Insightful)

hkdm (1721140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981222)

I've also found it useful to change every interface that I use into the language that I'm learning. For instance, I've changed my PS3, iPod, and various websites into my desired language. For Asian languages it helps a lot with reading, and I've already increased my reading speed as a result. I would say it's a good supplement to a standard language course.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981310)

I've also found it useful to change every interface that I use into the language that I'm learning.

Unless, of course, you're trying to learn something other than English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, or possibly Italian. Consumer electronics companies seem to think other languages don't exist [xna.com] .

Re:Hmmm... (1)

hkdm (1721140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981776)

That's certainly true, but two of the language I am learning are supported so it helps me and I'm sure if anyone else is learning those languages then they'll find it useful to some extent.

Re: I tried to teach all languages web2.0 way (1)

barwasp (1116567) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981862)

at but one was interested [tele3d.com] . The only discoverable interests was towards those major languages. Who knows maybe it's better that way, as eventually all can communicate with almost anyone using just a handful of languages.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982294)

My Nokia phone has much more language choices, like Swahili.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981826)

That works well until you can't remember what something says and can't remember how to get to the menu to switch it back to your native language! I've done it by accident before now (switched a device to Portuguese or something) and had to hunt down a manual to find the "put it back to English" option just by clicking and not reading.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

hkdm (1721140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983274)

I had that problem when I started switching things over but now that I'm used to it I can recognize certain terms. In a sense, it not only helps you learn the language that we speak in everyday terms, but also the internet and computer lingo of a particular culture.

Best Way: Getting a Girlfriend from that country (2)

viraltus (1102365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981258)

You learning speed sky-rockets! The only problem is that most of you vocabulary limits to make-up and fashion and things you don't have to do.

For My Own Purposes (2, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981332)

This is a great article for me. Thanks /.
I've been wanting to learn German language for reasons that will probably only seem important to me.
I talk to myself incessantly, yeah, I'm kinda mental. I want to do it in German to add to the confusion of others.
I really do get a strange feeling when Mexican folk switch from English to Espanol in my presence and would like to throw some German into the mix to let them see how it feels.
Lastly of course, I have a German \ Italian heritage and would someday like to travel to Germany and be understood. Italy too, but that is a different matter and some Italian could be easily deciphered by Mexicans. Right now German is on my mind, so first things first.

Re:For My Own Purposes (2, Funny)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981564)

I talk to myself incessantly, yeah, I'm kinda mental. I want to do it in German to add to the confusion of others.

Pass' auf, sonst endest du wie Nietzsche ;-)

Re:For My Own Purposes (1)

thefirelane (586885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982280)

Wahrscheinlich nicht, Nitzche hatte STDs. Er ist slashdoter und hat Sex nie

Odd Reference to Berners-Lee (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981408)

HTTP 1.0 has almost nothing to do with voice (or video) over the Internet.

Re:Odd Reference to Berners-Lee (1)

buravirgil (137856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981974)

And HTTP has almost nothing to do with a preponderance of version numbers...
Engelbart on the other hand...

Re:Odd Reference to Berners-Lee (1)

dmayle (200765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982264)

Well, as it turns out, it actually does... Take a look at the Ars Technica article on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) [arstechnica.com] and you'll see that SIP was modelled after HTTP [w3.org] . For those who don't know, SIP is the protocol most often used in making open video and voice calls over the internet (open as in non-proprietary. e.g. Skype doesn't use SIP, but interestingly enough, iChat does)

Of course, I think it's pretty obvious that it was HTTP and HTML (aka the world wide web) that brought about the huge explosion in communication and networking technology that makes voice and video over the internet possible. But I think you knew that and were just being pedantic...

Live Mocha (1)

rafamvc (785548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981418)

One of the best options for free is www.livemocha.com. They have a lot of languages and you can have peer review and everything!

Re:Live Mocha (1)

nkh (750837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981896)

Lang-8 [lang-8.com] is a good web site too, even though it's a bit slow. The downside is that it's text-only, no audio or video reviews.

Re:Live Mocha (1)

rafamvc (785548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982472)

Live mocha has live review and everything. It is great!

PLATO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981454)

Oh I don't know ... Fall of 1979, sitting in the darkened computer labs at U of I learning languages off the orange plasma displays ... that wasn't so bad. And the best part was you could always drop into a game of Empire when you needed a break. Try that with these newfangled web technologies ... those were good days, my friends ....

Touch Screen Monitor (2, Funny)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981462)

"Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris."

Um... I'm not sure how well this will work, I can't really stick my tongue in the monitor and since it's a touch screen I might accidentally tongue the close widget in the upper right corner of the screen. Not to mention the possible shock hazard, some how I feel like that kid that was dared to stick his tongue on the flag pole in winter.

Re:Touch Screen Monitor (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981714)

French, not French-Kissing.

Language podcasts are also pretty cool (1)

spike2131 (468840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981628)

I've been quite happy with Coffee Break French. [coffeebreakfrench.com] . That company has lots of other language podcasts as well.

The best way to learn a language ... (3, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981678)

From my experience (I speak 5 languages, only one of which is my mother-tongue), past the very beginning, the best way to learn a language is to go live in a place where people speak it.

Second best is to go there on long (at least 1 month) vacations and try to speak the language all the time (the natives usually appreciate the effort).

Third best is to expose yourself to that language is a day-to-day spoken form. For example, watch non-dubbed TV and/or listen to radio in that language. (For a while, most of my English vocabulary was learned from Satellite TV)

Fourth best is reading books/newspapers in that language.

Both of the last two can be done using the Internet (using things like YouTube clips in different languages, foreign TV channels online, foreign newspapers and such).

Being taught a language is only really worth it when bootstraping your learning, after that being taught a language is highly inneficient simply because, unless you're doing a high intensity course (i.e. several hours a day, everyday for several weeks), in between lessons you forget most of the words you learned in each lesson. This was my experience when learning Dutch while living in Holland - the 1h-lessons twice a week were only really effective for the first 2 or 3 months: beyond that you really need to learn the language by speaking it in your day-to-day. (that said, Dutch is considered a difficult language, toch!!? ).

The good news is that once you learn a language from a given family it's a lot easier to learn other languages of the same family due to the similarities in the grammar, words and even whole expressions. I can now understand some German because of knowing Dutch.

Re:The best way to learn a language ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983022)

Second best is to go there on long (at least 1 month) vacations and try to speak the language all the time (the natives usually appreciate the effort).

Your English is quite good, but I had an instant premonition that it wasn't your mother tongue when you said that, because the maddening thing is, if you speak English, if the natives have any inclinations in that regard, they'd much rather practice their English on you!

Of all the languages I've learned, however, I'd day German was one of the hardest, precisely because it's so close to English. Over the centuries a number of words have diverged at 45-degree angles, to the point where, for example "lassen" means essentially to command something to be done, but "let" means to permit it, "will" in German means you'd like something, "will" in English is an emphatic expression to that effect. Then there's the emphatic stuff that's practically idiomatic, like "eigentlich", and "doch", which, when Germans try to tackle in the other direction leads to expressions like "already I am going to the store, but no one is there".

In some ways, it's easier to learn words and constructs in a completely alien tongue wher you don't have experience to "help" you.

How to learn a language (5, Informative)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981680)

1) Go to http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php [fsi-language-courses.org] and get the free classes you want.

2) Study words using a free software like http://ichi2.net/anki/ [ichi2.net]

3) Try to live as much as possible in the language studied. Listen to music in that language, TV shows, movies, etc.

4) Make friends on a website like http://lang-8.com/ [lang-8.com] where the goal is learn new languages. If you want to learn French, French people will correct you and speak with you over Skype and you do the same by helping them learn English.

Have fun!

Re:How to learn a language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982386)

> Go to http://fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php [fsi-language-courses.org] and get the free classes you want.

I guess it depends on the language, but I just checked out their Chinese materials and would absolutely not recommend this - it's a bunch of cold-war era tapes and notes that teaches you to address people as "tongzhi" ("comrade"). That part's probably obvious enough to avoid, but there are other language changes that are more subtle. I guess you probably want to steer clear of their Russian and Vietnamese courses too.

Re:How to learn a language (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982944)

Well, lang-8 actually looks pretty interesting. Thanks for the link, I've needed a way to maintain my Hebrew.

Re:How to learn a language (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983502)

Hey, thanks! This is one of the single-most helpful posts I've read on the internet in a long while. Yay internet!

Lernu.net for esperanto (1)

KIAaze (1034596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30981822)

This site is pretty well done for learning a language (Esperanto in this case): http://en.lernu.net/ [lernu.net] For Japanese, there's this game: http://lrnj.com/ [lrnj.com] Haven't tried it, but I like the idea. :)

Re:Lernu.net for esperanto (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982152)

122 years later and Esperanto [wikipedia.org] still hasn't caught on, despite Harry Harrison's [wikipedia.org] best efforts. Interesting sites, though, and thanks for that.

Re:Lernu.net for esperanto (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983626)

The goal for Esperanto, if I'm not mistaken, was to be an easy-to-use and worldwide (secondary) language. I think the goal was for you to learn your native language for local/national use and then Esperanto for worldwide use.

However, it failed because:
1. english is easy enough to learn, even as a second language.
2. english is a real language used by people all over the world.
3. there's a lot of easily accessible medias in english (news, songs, movies, etc).
4. a lot of people learn english as their secondary language because of the first three points.

All of this makes Esperanto a non-starter and as much a waste of time, IMHO, as learning Klingon.

Bad article, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30981942)

Well the article sucks. Most of the iPhone things mentioned are next to useless, as is Rosetta stone as soon as you pass the first few levels.

Sadly, language learning is something you *have* to do in a class to do properly, since it involves human interaction by it's very nature. Also, non-college classes are of vastly varying quality, so better to take one at a community college instead of your local "entertainment" school.

On the other hand, learning new vocab can be done online easily, and smart.fm is one of the best sites I have ever seen for doing that, *and* it's free.

WTF? (2, Funny)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982064)

Who wants to learn French from a tutor over a webcam?! I want that French tutor in the same room with me, baby!

Cantar es Mejor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982078)

Busca las canciones que mas te gusten, traducelas con un diccionario
o busca alguien que te ayude y ponte a cantar y veras que rápidamente
aprendes, yo aprendí Ingles de esa forma, pero Ingles es fácil :)

Oblig. Richard Feynman quote (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982084)

When he went to Brazil and discovered that his Portuguese was not as good as he hoped, he was asked "have you found a sleeping dictionary yet?" (apologies to any Slashdot readers who conform to the stereotype.)

Old meets new... (4, Interesting)

dmayle (200765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982100)

7 Years ago, I moved to France to work, not speaking a word of French, and I'm now a fluent speaker. The internet was instrumental in my learning French, but maybe not in the way you might expect...

First, I used the net to search for and buy a program called Linkwords (I don't think it exists anymore, it was a crappy VB program). The software sucked, but the principle worked. It was a sort of flash card system that had you using vivid imagery as a mental aid. My vocab hit around 2000 words in the first couple of weeks. It was useless for learning to speak French, but the perfect lifesaver for reading signs, product packaging, etc.

Then, I used P2P programs to find MP3s of Pimsleur French. For those not in the know, Pimsleur was a Harvard professor in the 60s who developed a system for learning languagues that mimics the way children learn. It's all about stimulating the memory at programmed intervals and it is one of the best ways to learn to SPEAK a language. (While there is writing materiel supplements, they're relatively minimal). These are quite expensive (you can spend up to $1000 for the complete set) because they work. You need to have about 1 hour a day to devote to it, and it must be somewhere you quiet that you can listen, and speak. (You need to hear yourself speaking for it to work).

Next came my traditional phase, where I spent a lot of time reading BDs (the French equivalent of Manga. BD is Bande Dessinee (accents ommitted) which means comic strip. There's a very large adult BD culture in France). From there I progressed to Harry Potter (which is a surprisingly difficult read in French, lots of flowery speech, wordplay, etc.).

After this, my French was halting, but I constantly tried, and was always asking the meaning of words from my colleagues.

Then I started watching more French TV. At the time, the number of shows that were subtitled was depressingly dismal as compare to the US (though it has gotten a bit better). Again, computers and the net to the rescue, because I was able to download DVDs (the whole multi-language, multi-subtitle feature is a godsend for language learning). What you might not realize is that a lot of understanding a foreign language is based on context. If you know it, it's much easier to guess what is being said. In a conversation, if you miss something, you can ask the other person to repeat. Watching TV or movies requires you to pay closer attention. You can rewind, but you can never get the speaker to express the same thing using other words, so you really have to understand whats being said.

Finally, thanks to the internet, I was able to find about speed dating events in my area where I met my wife. My wife speaks English (she's an English teacher) but her family doesn't, so that got me into social situations that required me to practice speaking.

Now, I had the benefit of immersion, but I think it's important to realize that the internet is not a magic bullet for learning a foreign language, no matter what companies that sell internet based language services say. That being said, however, if the internet makes learning materiels more readily available, as well as practice opportunities, I'm all for it..

Immersion (1)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982172)

Is still the best way to learn any language. Watching media, listening to music, talking with people, reading and writing the language... doing anything that increases your daily exposure to the language. Naturally going to that country is your best bet, live with a host family, and do your best to forget your mother tongue for a year. A Chinese friend of mine speaks perfectly fluent German, simply from living there for a year with a family, despite not evening knowing "Guten tag" upon arrival (she didn't even have much background in English to help with Germanic language grammar).

As someone else mentioned, music*, books, movies, comedy.... and just meet people from that country/region. A computer will only be effective if you use it for absurdly long amounts of time. You can never learn a language effectively for an hour a day- live the language, breathe it, and most importantly, USE it. At first you'll be learning to say "How do I say, 'I'm late' in X?" and later be wondering how to make complex philosophical arguments in said language. It's a process of natural acquisition, at any age.

*Music not recommended for Chinese or other tonal languages. You get the sounds, but not the tones.

what? (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982220)

"Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris."

this is disgusting. i'm not sure what "learn french" is slang for, but i have a clue since its done in your underwear "in omaha": obviously some variation on shibari japanese rope bondage. how puerile. and i don't think slashdot needs to be the place for yet more attention for that whore paris hilton, no matter that there is a tutor in her, or whatever is in her, has anything or anyone not been in her?

and i don't know who this Tim Berners-Lee fellow is but he's obviously some sort of pornography-addicted pervert. yet more proof the internet has been warped form the noble intentions of whoever started the internet. probably some nice science fellow working trying to better mankind with some sort of high minded science research, not this Tim Berners-Lee degenerate mentioned here

how can we stop this madness?

Skype Video (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982286)

FTFA:

you can now sit in your underwear in Omaha and learn French from a tutor in Paris

With the advent of Skype's video support, I'm pretty sure that the "in your underwear" part is not appreciated by said Parisian tutor.

World of Warcraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982768)

I play WoW in French and it has done wonders for both my formal reading (Quests), informal reading (chats - gotta learn stuff like LOL in french [mdr = mort de rire], etc, etc). and informal writing (chat stuff).

I have leared some very rare vocabulary which comes in useful from time to time. But it's a great confidence builder.

My wife is a ESL teacher and doing her thesis now... i'm convinced this way of learning language is the future. Not necessarily WoW, but something very much like it where you PLAY to learn.

Other than that, the best way is to move to the country and get a girlfriend/boyfriend... 100% guaranteed to become very proficient very quickly.

The Most Impressive Way to Learn a Language (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982808)

  • Go to the library or bookstore and get several books written in the language you want to learn.
  • Also get several books in some other language you do not know.
  • Study all those books, noting patterns in the languages, and trying to figure out as much as you can.
  • When you finally get stuck, take out the manual for your television or microwave over or some other device. Pick a device whose manual has multiple languages, including these from items 1 and 2.
  • This manual is your Rosetta Stone. Use it like scholars used the real Rosetta Stone.

Re:The Most Impressive Way to Learn a Language (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983760)

I tried for hours, but I just can't get my microwave manual to run PowerPC apps.

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