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.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vote Well, Vote Often - November's Language Courses

It's that time of the month people. Let us know what language course you'd like to use, free of charge at and quicker than you can say, "Hanging chad" we'll post the free courses for the month. Absentee ballots will not be accepted. Post your vote via comment here or write to support (at symbol) at parlo dot com.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Beautiful Poem + A Plug For A Fellow Language Site

This a bit off topic but, hey, that's why I'm in charge of this blog. (Clearly my desire for editorial autonomy outweighs my desire to get rich). I stumbled upon this poem by Rumi, the 13th Century poet and mystic, in the New City subway system courtesy of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Poetry in Motion program.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn't make any sense.

You can buy this and other poems from in theThe Essential Rumi or you might try this collection that I have and really like:

Plug For Our Friends at Yabla

Yabla has got it together. Though not exactly an instructional site it sure is a great way to study languages. You have a variety of videos to watch (this link happens to go to their Spanish language pages) in which you toggle on or off the captions along with the translation captions. See a particular word you want translated? Just click on that word and a definition appears in the box to the right. Speakers going a bit too fast for you to pick out the words? Click "Slow" and the audio slows down but keeps the pitch sounding normal. A "Listening Game" rounds out the set of features here. Way cool, no? I urge you to give Yabla a try. The combination of this and a course will get you really rockin' towards fluency in no time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spanish1, Level 1 - Audio dialogue


For your enjoyment and edification - don't worry that won't make you an edifice - but we hope you like being called Ed... - we present the audio dialogue from the Spanish 1 course at

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To listen to the dialogue below look "Spanish Dialogue" in the list of Podcasts.

Hola, es el 520-3645. Deja un mensaje y te llamo.
Hi, this is 520-3645. Please leave a message and I'll call you back.
¡Hola, Marisa! Soy Beatriz. Voy para el aeropuerto. El avión llega a Granada a las 5:00 de la tarde. No vengas al aeropuerto. Voy directamente al hotel y después a ver a Guillermo. ¡Estoy loca por él! Bueno, te llamo mañana. ¡Hasta pronto!
Hi Marisa. It's Beatriz. I'm on my way to the Airport. The plane arrives in Granada at 5:00 pm. Don't come to the airport. I'm going straight to the hotel and then to see Guillermo. I'm crazy about him! Well anyway, I'll call you tomorrow. See you soon!
Hola, soy Beatriz. Por favor, deja un mensaje después de a señal.
Hi, this is Beatriz. Please leave your message after the
Beatriz, ¿dónde estás? Llámame. Es urgente. Guillermo es una mala persona. Es un mentiroso. Tiene una historia muy cuestionable. Beatriz, no vengas a España, por favor. Ten mucho cuidado. Espero tu llamada. Hasta pronto.
Beatriz, where are you? Call me. It's urgent. Guillermo is a bad person. He's a liar. He has a very questionable past. Beatriz, don't come to Spain, please! Be careful. I'm eagerly awaiting your call. See you soon.

If you thought that was good, sign up for the entire Spanish 1 course.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Listen & Pronounce the French Alphabet


This is a good site for those of you who are beginning or returning to the study of French, Spanish and other langugages. A simple set of clickable letters lets you hear the correct way to pronounce the letters of the alphabet. Worth the price of admission.

If the above link doesn't work correctly for you copy and paste this link into your browser.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Free Language Courses October 06

This month are please let to you use the level 1 conversational English (Interactive English 1) and the level 1 French course (Interactive French 1). To log in use:

English 1
Email: (made up - it doesn't go anywhere)
Password: parlo (all lower case)

French 1
Email: (made up - it doesn't go anywhere)
Password: parlo (all lower case)

Please do not change the passwords for these courses because it will cause others to be locked out of using them until we can change them back - which we will do.


And now we offer a few words to the wise in French and Spanish - with translations...

* On ne peut faire d'une buse un épervier.
o Idiomatic translation: You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
o Literal meaning: You can't turn a buzzard / a dolt into a sparrowhawk.

* Plaie d'argent n'est pas mortelle.
o Idiomatic translation: Money isn't everything.
o Literal meaning: A money worry isn't a mortal wound.

* Qui veut noyer son chien l'accuse de rage.
o Idiomatic translation: Give a dog a bad name and hang him.
o Literal meaning: He who wants to drown his dog says it has rabies.

* Más vale pedir perdón, que pedir permiso.
o Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

* El que no anda no tropieza.
o He who doesn't walk, doesn't stumble.

* Habla siempre que debas, y calla siempre que puedas
o Speak when you must; hush whenever you can.