Coming Together

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I have recently seen some rather nasty attacks launched by members of the language learning community against other members. In any large group, there are bound to be some friction between members. It’s only human. Not everyone is going to get along with everyone else. This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen hostilities, either. Some people who want to be seen as better will lash out to push others down, thinking that will help them. I’ve even seen one member telling others not to post on a Facebook group because their English, as a second or third language, was not … Read more…

Scriveremo, at last!

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A few years ago, I created “Scriveremo Publishing” essentially as a name to cover anything I might publish. It made it sound more professional – Parleremo had its own publishing company! So I put the name on a bunch of free PDFs I created and distributed. When I started Parrot Time in 2013, that was something else that could go under the Scriveremo banner. The same thing when the next year, I published “Finding Your Way to Languages”. Then last year, when I got really serious about publishing and produced a line of puzzle and activity books for learning vocabulary, … Read more…

What’s in a Brand Name?

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We use language to communicate ideas, but sometimes those ideas have to be rather complex in the form if a very short, usually fictional word, for the world of advertising. If you are selling something, be it a product, a service, or a website or blog, you want a name for it which attracts customers to buy or use it. That is a fairly obvious point. What isn’t so simple is achieving that. Deciding on a name really has a few things to consider, and they aren’t that easy to combine. First, you want the name to instantly convey to … Read more…

Why I Will Never Learn the IPA

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I love alphabets. They were the reasons I first became interested in languages. I saw writing in Cyrillic and Mayan and was astounded to think that not only did that writing mean something, but that people actually communicated with it. So I started picking up alphabets. I taught myself the Greek and Russian. Then I looked at other ways of representing the English alphabet and learned the military alphabet (a means of spoken spelling using words to clearly communicate the letters, like “ACD173” would be “Alpha Charlie Delta One Seven Three”) and the American Sign Language alphabet. I even attempted … Read more…

Community Spotlight: Kerstin Cable

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I want to spend a few minutes introducing you to someone I consider a true powerhouse in the language community, Kerstin Cable (formerly Kerstin Hammes). When I say “powerhouse”, I don’t mean that Kerstin is a hyperpolyglot, appearing on numerous media outlets giving talks. Indeed, you might be figuratively scratching your head, wondering who she is and why you haven’t heard of her before. Kerstin is one of those people you meet that is always pushing what she can do to help others in their language learning. I first discovered her when I found her blog “Fluent Language”, or simply … Read more…

Book Review – The A to Z of Learning German

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For those who are learning German (and even those who aren’t) and want some good ideas and links, then I strongly suggest Angelika Davey’s book The A to Z of Learning German, available on Amazon. I reviewed this book for the November / December 2015 issue Parrot Time. You can read the complete review here. … Read more…

Black Friday and Holiday Offers

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To kick off the holiday shopping season, we are offering some great deals on language products! First, you have probably heard of Benny Lewis, the Irish Polyglot, and his “Fluent in 3 Months“ program. He is having a discount of 51% off his Premium 2.0 program, starting Black Friday, November 27th, at 11:00am EST. For that time, it will be available for just $47. But this is only good for 3 days, and the at midnight on Cyber Monday, November 30th, it goes back to its normal $97 price. Click on the link below or the image on the right … Read more…

8 Language Tropes in the Media

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We all have to learn at least one language in our life, even it is just our native one. You would think, therefore, that maybe people who create television shows and films might have at least some concept of what goes into learning a language. Sadly, it appears that foreign language acquisition is a huge mystery to them, because they almost always get it wrong, in little ways as well as big. Some of these reasons are just to make a point or simplify the story telling, but some of them are just wrong no matter how you justify them. … Read more…

Will I Need Tickets?

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Most of the time, we associate learning a language with travelling to another country. Language courses themselves emphasize the travel aspect by teaching us the words and phrases we will need to ask directions, buy tickets, and pay for goods. Part of the reason for the slanted courses is that once, commercial language learning programs (as opposed to students learning them in schools) were for businessmen who had to pick up another language to expand their companies influence abroad. If you have looked at old courses, you will note that the basic readings revolve around people attending meetings with strangers. … Read more…

Language Embarrassments

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When we are practising a new language, probably the worst fear we have is of making a mistake that makes us feel foolish, or worse. But it will happen at some point, to all of us, in one form or another, and we do survive them. Eventually, we can even laugh at them ourselves. These mistakes can come in different forms, as well. Not all are just us simply mispronouncing a word. In Malachi Rempen’s comic “Itchy Feet“, one joke shows our hero asking a theatre attendant for his “sheep” that he left. He finds what he is looking for, … Read more…