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, February 23, 2006

Practice a Foreign Language - Read Celebrity Gossip!

Sometimes getting oneself or others motivated to study a language can be tough. One way to break up the monotony is to indulge in reading celebrity gossip as seen in foreign countries. We already know the cast of characters and range of things that are written about them so understanding is easier. I'm never afraid of being confronted with some obsure philosophic term. Below are some "teasers" and links to articles on the travails of Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Christina Ricci. (For the record, I wish Cameron Diaz well. She sounds like a nice unpretentious person) And now, let the dishing of dirt begin.

Cameron Diaz in the news (Freshness dated - these links will change!)

France - L'actrice américaine, Cameron Diaz, est jalouse, très jalouse. Cela allait encore lorsque son mec, le chanteur Justin Timberlake, se contentait de chanter. Mais là, il est passé devant la caméra et joue avec d'autres actrices...

Uraguay -
Y no es Justin Timberlake
Un enorme pájaro casi le cuesta la vida a Cameron Díaz, luego de causar un accidente de auto

MTV (Italy)
TUTTO SU JUSTIN TIMBERLAKEJUSTIN IN CRISI - coppia Timberlake/Diaz assediata da una rivale: Christina Ricci

Do this a couple of times a week - easy there, don't get carried away - and you'll be amazed at the vocabulary you've acquired and how much you know about the lives of the rich and famous. Like I said, language study is tough.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

English is an Odd Language

Here's a cartoon from The awesome mind of Peter Blegvad. The Book of Leviathan is a collection of wonderful, sometimes gentle, philosophic cartoons featuring a baby named Leviathan and a cat. If I were emperor I would make it required reading for everyone who loves intelligent cartoons, faceless babies and cats. Buy this book or borrow it from a friend. (see the link below)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

English Language & Spanish Language Humor

OK folks. After the last post, which hundreds of readers felt was a bit dry and academic, the editorial staff at Parlo decided to inject a bit of levity into things with some recently acquired jokes. One is in English the other Spanish.

Question: What is a milli-helen?
Answer: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship.

Spanish (Thanks to Gabe Loggins for this contribution)
Pregunta: Que dice un gato en agua.
Contestación: Me ahogando.

Hasta pronto! That's all for now.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Brrreeeport - This word is not a real English Word

Well, folks I know there are not many of you wondering what we here at make of the brrreeeport phenomenon but we have, in fact, taken a position and it is this: "brrreeeport" is not a real word in English, Spanish, French, Italian or any of the other languages that we pay close attention to. We did a thoroughly scientific search on Google's Language Tool and it conclusively shows that "brrreeeport" is not a word in any language in any country. We think we have now devoted enough space to the growing "brrreeeport" controversy. And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Spanish, French and Italian Tongue Twisters

Calling all language teachers! Have a contest in your class for who can say these tongue twisters the fastest. (accuracy counts of course)

(Woodchuck / Would Chuck)

Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en un trigal. (Three sad tigers were swallowing wheat on a wheat field.)
¿Usted no nada nada? No, no traje traje. (You dont swim at all? No, I didn't bring a (swim) suit.)
El vino vino, pero el vino no vino vino. El vino vino vinagre. (The wine came, but the wine didn't come (as) wine. The wine came (as) vinegar.)

And here are a couple that my mother gave me (THANKS mom!)

Como como? Como como como! (How do I eat? I eat as I eat!)
Compadre, comprame un coco. Compadre, no compro coco. Por que como poco coco como, poco coco compro.
Compadre, buy me a coconut. Compadre, I don't buy coconuts. Because, I eat few coconuts, I buy few coconuts.

Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse. (A hunter who knows how to hunt knows how to hunt without his hunting dog.)
Santé n'est pas sans t, mais maladie est sans t. (Health isn't (written) without t, illness is (written) without t.)
Dans la gendarmerie, quand un gendarme rit, tous les gendarmes rient dans la gendarmerie. (In the gendarmerie (police station) when a policeman laughs all the policemen laugh in the gendarmerie.)

Se mi cerchi non ci sono! Semicerchi non ""c"" sono. (If you look for me, I'm not here! Halfcircles are not ""C""s.)
Quanti rami di rovere roderebbe un roditore se un roditore potesse rodere rami di rovere? (How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?)
Il papá pesa al pepe a Pisa. A Pisa pesa il pepe al papá. (The father weighs the pepper in Pisa. In Pisa, the pepper is weighed by the father.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Listen to native language speakers

Just a short post today to point you all to a very nifty (yeh, I used the word nifty - so shoot me) site I found today. - phonetic pronunciation site for 9 different languages. Fonetiks enables language learners to study native speaker pronunciation without leaving their homes, merely by mousing over the text on their computer screens. Excellent reference if you are looking to pronounce specific letter combinations. It's not deep or interesting content in the normal sense but you get immediate answers to what used to be difficult questions on pronunciation. Here are the categories you can choose from: