Free thoughts on language learning

Discussions on learning Spanish, English and other language issues. Occasionally, we may stray from language learning topics if there is something that catches my interest.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Fortuitous encounter with a Spanish poem and translation

Riding the subways in New York City I saw a poem posted that I thought you all might enjoy. The author, who I am not familiar with, is Alicia Partnoy (b. 1955) and this poem is from her collection, "Venganza de la Manzana" (Revenge of the Apple).

Yo te hablo de poesia (accent on the "i")
y vos me preguntas (accent on the "a")
a que hora comemos
Lo peor es que
Yo tambien tengo hambre

I am talking to you about poetry
and you say
When do we eat.
The worst of it is
I am hungry too.

Pretty succinct, no? Put them on the balance scale - art, life, art life - which weighs more at the moment?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

English Language Acronyby-isms

Everyone likes to feel special. And what better way
is there to feel special than to have your own
language that only "your people", whoever they might
be, have as their own. For many, acronyms make up
an important part of their special language.
Acronyms are words formed by combining the initial
letters or parts of a series of words. They are a form
of shorthand whose meaning is known only to the
initiates. The military loves and depends on
acronyms so much that if forced to say all the words
they represent might not have time to wage war.
(Hmm... we might be on to something here...) Lets
have a look at some of the military's acronyms.

Military

* IED - Improvised Explosive Device -
Unfortunately, this is often seen in the news and
refers to a bomb made from improvised
components such as unexploded munitions. They often use a cell phone as a
remote triggering device.

* IED - Improvised Explosive Device -
Unfortunately, this is often seen in the news and
refers to a bomb made from improvised
components such as unexploded munitions. They often use a cell phone as a
remote triggering device.

* IND - Improvised Nuclear Device - See above
definition but add a bigger bang.

* LAMPS - Ligh Airborne Multipurpose System -
(Helicopter) Why they don't just say "helicopter" is a
mystery. Answers would be welcome

* LEAP - Light Exo Atmoshperic Projectile - This is
an anti-missle missle

* LOMEZ - Low Altitude Engagement Zone - Low to
mid altitude zone where a surface to air missle would
be used.

* NADEFCOL - North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) Defense College. This acronym in an
acronym is like the Russian dolls that nest one inside
the other.

* POTUS - President of the United States.

Other Acronyms have a
political or social slant.


* DINK - Dual Income No Kids - These are the folks
with more disposable income.

* NIMBY - Not In My Backyard - People opposed to
some undesirable land use.

* NOTE - Not Over There Either - A NIMBY who will not accept an
alternative site.

* GOOMBY - Get Out Of My Backyard - An angrier NIMBY.

* NOPE - Not On Planet Earth - A NIMBY totally opposed to the proposed
land use.

* CREEP - Committee to Re-Elect the President
(this was in reference to Richard Nixon)

* DAP - Parents Against dyslexia (this is my
favorite)


For those of you, like myself, who clearly have too
much time on their hands you can find out more
about acronyms for the following sites:


* http://acronymfinder.com

* http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/doddict/acronym_i
ndex.html

Monday, December 05, 2005

Free Online Language Dictionaries and Resources

Below are some links to free resources that we think you'll find very useful in your language and cultural studies. Please remember to sign up for a course at Parlo.com for a structured way to keep improving your language skills. Use Corporate Code: TEACH1 for 15% off our regular prices.
  • http://www.yourdictionary.com/index.shtml This is a very rich and comprehensive resource, both for what is available on the site directly and the collection of links to other language learning web sites. Features include: Dictionaries, Courses, Glossaries, and 'Nyms & Such. (ie. syno / anto and the other "nyms")
  • http://www.google.com/language_tools - All major and minor (I suppose that depends on your perspective, of course) languages. *Note: you can set your google homepage interface for just about any language, including Elmer Fudd, Pig Latin and Klingon. No kidding, check it out.
  • http://www.ultralingua.net/ Translation dictionaries between English and French, Spanish, Italian, Portuese and German. Look up conjugations of verbs, grammatical terms and examples, and other useful tools.
  • http://www.lexicool.com/ More languages than is practical to list.
  • http://www.diccionarios.com/index.phtml? redirect=true English/Spanish, English/French, Español - Francés, Español - Alemán, Castellano - Catalán, Français - Espagnol, Deutsch - Spanisch, Català - Castellà.
  • http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/ This site has links to 403 newspaper front pages from 45 countries presented alphabetically. You may also view your choices in a map view. This is a great way to practice reading foreign languages as well as getting a different perspective on world events.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Welcome to Parlo.com's Blog

Hey Language Lovers! The world of language learning is changing at an unbelievable pace with the advent of email, instant message, voice chat, internet access and, of course, televison. The Virtual Immersion that was pioneered by Parlo.com over five years ago is an accepted reality for many in the developed world. One question is, how can we use these resources in a structured way to make language learning easier and more fun? At Parlo we continue to try to answer this question as well as add our resources to help make this occur. More to come very soon.