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Best way to learn languages in interactive way?

What's the best way to learn languages (particularly French and German) through software or online which a) does NOT rely on long lectures, b) teaches sufficient grammar and vocabulary to read moderately complex books, and c) is interactive (if possible with a clear measure of progress) and d) self-paced?
posted by shivohum on Jul 10, 2014 - 13 answers

How close to unlocking the Global Conversationalist achievement am I?

Help me find this half-remembered website: You tell the site what languages you speak, and it tells you what percentage of the planet's population you can communicate with. I remember it having a map that broke it down by country or continent, but I could be conflating it with another website.
posted by lizzicide on Jun 22, 2014 - 0 answers

Vocabulearn MP3s: Do I need to buy additional copies?

I purchased some Vocabulearn Mandarin Chinese MP3s. Unfortunately they didn't come with a transcript. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 12, 2014 - 1 answer

Online language classes, Bay Area

CCSF offers online beginning Italian, but that's all I'm seeing. I am looking for beginner language classes in any language that is not English or French offered online through a California community college. Can you suggest any? [more inside]
posted by blnkfrnk on Apr 15, 2014 - 3 answers

Should our website be in both European and Brazilian Portuguese?

I help manage a website for an international audience; we strive to be inclusive. We offer several different language versions; our translations are done by volunteers. Generally we add languages based on whether we have volunteers to translate. We have been offering European Portuguese for a while. Now a new volunteer has shown up, asking to be invited to the project; s/he is offering to volunteer for a translation to Brazilian Portuguese, which we currently do not offer. [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 answers

What does this sign say?

I have a photo from a recent immigration rally with a young woman holding a sign in a non-English language. What does the sign say? And what language is it? [more inside]
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal on Feb 25, 2014 - 4 answers

online communities in Spanish and French

Are there any online communities conducted in Spanish or French that are kind of like Metafilter? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Oct 28, 2013 - 1 answer

Ideas in helping SO learn your language?

He speaks English, my family speaks Spanish.. how can I help him learn to speak to my family? [more inside]
posted by xicana63 on Aug 6, 2013 - 10 answers

Not-too-easy/Not-too-hard German books

Question for German speakers: I would like some reading material to improve my German. I've studied it for a while and have passively absorbed many words, but usually in the context of vocabulary lists and such. I don't want anything really easy however. [more inside]
posted by polywomp on Jul 17, 2013 - 21 answers

What other languages have easy to learn written forms?

What are some languages that are easy to learn to read/write without actually knowing the language? Obviously to an English speaker French and Spanish would be easy to read and write because we mostly use the same alphabet, so I'd like to stay away from languages that use that system. [more inside]
posted by simplethings on May 28, 2013 - 29 answers

What's the best way to learn a language quickly?

It's difficult to get a job in my field without knowing Spanish, and the grad programs I'll be applying to next year strongly prefer bilingual English/Spanish applicants. I'm searching for a job and I'd like to become conversationally proficient as quickly as possible. What methods have worked for you? A community college class? A private class? A private tutor? A particularly awesome website? I was once fluent in both French (which I spent years studying in highschool and then got practice working for a French company, who also provided a private tutor) and Portuguese (learned via an intensive university class, but lost once the class ended and I didn't keep using it). I pick up languages fairly easily, but I need a lot of practice time and a little bit of structure. I'm confident in my ability to learn the specialized jargon of my field once I'm comfortable speaking the language on an everyday basis. I'm looking at an intensive Summer class at the local community college, but I'd like other options as well.
posted by rhiannonstone on May 27, 2013 - 22 answers

De-rusting language: what should I use to brush up on classical Greek?

Once upon a time, I was a moderately fluent student of classical (Attic) Greek. That was 15+ years ago, and I'd like to get back to that point again. (With some specific goals in mind.) What tools can help me do that? I have been a fan of the awesome Perseus Project almost since they launched, and I've still got my trusty print edition of Liddell and Scott (and two sets of grammar books) but I'm not sure which other books or geeky tools might help me do what I want. (Details within) [more inside]
posted by modernhypatia on May 19, 2013 - 8 answers

How can I relearn Spanish?

I studied Spanish in high school and college, and I even spent a semester abroad in Spain. At that point, I was very proficient at reading, writing, and speaking it. Sadly, in the 8 years since graduation, I feel as though I have forgotten everything. I am looking to get into a field where knowing Spanish would be very helpful, and I am trying to figure out the best way to both relearn what I knew (and possible go beyond that). Obviously for speaking, I will need to get out there and practice, but before that, should I just pick up my old textbooks and get going? Or, is there a better way?
posted by aka_anon on May 15, 2013 - 14 answers

How to discuss a possible learning disability with a student?

I teach college students. One otherwise capable student I have taught this year has struggled in particular ways that suggest s/he might have a learning disability or similar. The school's office for student disability service can provide testing &c if the student contacts them. What is the best way to discuss this with the student and recommend they seek assistance? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 29, 2013 - 13 answers

How to find creative fonts in other languages? Greek and Hebrew?

Are there FontSquirrel and DaFont equivalents for the Greek and Hebrew language? I'm looking for some creative Greek fonts in particular, so, where do I find the Greek equivalent of "Bleeding Cowboys" for example? [more inside]
posted by peripatew on Apr 9, 2013 - 5 answers

What is the best programming language for the job?

For a personal project I'm working on, what would be the best programming language if I wanted the user to be able to input some text and image choices and have them receive the information back in an eBook? I've used PHP before to store and retrieve that information, but I'm not sure it could handle the conversion to an ebook. [more inside]
posted by Dynex on Apr 9, 2013 - 6 answers

US politicians' multilingual chops

Can you give me specific instances of US political candidates or elected officials publically speaking in a language other than English? [more inside]
posted by threeants on Mar 27, 2013 - 31 answers

*Arabic speakers*: Brokenhearted girl needs your translation ability

Here is the photo with the Arabic message: LINK What does this say in English? I think the girl might represent me. She looks brokenhearted, too. Thank you so much for your help!
posted by thatgirl1985 on Mar 8, 2013 - 3 answers

Help me begin my study of German on a firm footing.

I would like to know, when one is studying German, what do you have to learn with nouns? With verbs? I think with nouns you must learn the gender and the plural form, but that's it. Should you also learn declension? With verbs, what must one memorize in addition to the root word? [more inside]
posted by gnossie on Feb 16, 2013 - 8 answers

Hanzi: How to increase patience?

Hello, I am currently studying Chinese. I'd be interested in any advice people could give me with regard to making my Hanzi practice more productive. [more inside]
posted by Musashi Daryl on Jan 19, 2013 - 11 answers

"Knit 2 pult loopy K2tog" I beg you pardon?

Ok, so a friend is knitting a dog puppet out of an English language book. They are not so fluent in English, I am not fluent in knitting. They are hang up on the following instruction: "Row 21 (eyebrow row): K2tog at the same time making loopy st 1cr, loopy st 2cr, k2sc, loopy st 3cr, k1sc, pult." Can anyone offer any way to explain this? I think I can wrestle it into German. Thanks!
posted by From Bklyn on Jan 4, 2013 - 8 answers

Children and foreign languages/cultures - inform me!

If a child is immersed in a particular language on a medium-term basis (say, a year of preschool, or maybe two or three), and becomes fluent in it, but then the exposure is taken away, how much does this language stick? Can the child still understand the basics of the language a decade later? Or does it make the language easier to relearn later in life? ALSO: What does early exposure to a foreign culture do for a child, if anything? Is cultural uprooting and rerooting of this nature disorienting and/or destructive for a child? [more inside]
posted by UniversityNomad on Dec 11, 2012 - 31 answers

Grammatical gender consistency across languages

Are grammatical genders, as a rule, consistent across the Indo-European languages which use them? [more inside]
posted by obloquy on Dec 4, 2012 - 30 answers

Egyptian Arabic Translation into English, please.

Egyptian Arabic Translation needed, please. [more inside]
posted by thatgirl1985 on Oct 2, 2012 - 3 answers

What is the equivalent of "John Doe" in other languages?

What is the equivalent of "John Doe" in other languages? [more inside]
posted by daniel striped tiger on Sep 14, 2012 - 36 answers

Foreign Grunge

Grunge and Rock outside the USA [more inside]
posted by Query on Sep 8, 2012 - 3 answers

Egyptian Arabic Translation into English please

Eyptian Arabic Translation Needed: انا دلوقت فى القطر لما اروح هكتبه وابعتهولك What does this mean in English? I tried Google translator and Bing, but it came back gobbledygook. Thank you!
posted by thatgirl1985 on Aug 15, 2012 - 8 answers

Firefox spell check -- How to default to English (United States)?

Why is the spell checker in Firefox defaulting to Dutch, and how can I make it stop? [more inside]
posted by dhens on Aug 6, 2012 - 4 answers

Declension mode

How can I brush up my language skills, given I seem to have a difficulty with rote learning? [more inside]
posted by mippy on Aug 3, 2012 - 21 answers

What is this mystery language?

What language is this in, and what does it say? [more inside]
posted by Devoidoid on Aug 2, 2012 - 12 answers

How to get multilingual speakers to stick to a language I understand?

How can I set up interviews with multilingual speakers and colleagues so that the default language they use is most likely to be English? Is there anything I can say or do to make this happen? Alternatively, how do I deal with the frustration of not understanding what is going on, when everyone is speaking a language I don't speak? [more inside]
posted by lollusc on Jul 12, 2012 - 19 answers

one 二 three 四 five 六 seven 八 nine 十...

Why is it so hard to quickly count from 1 to 100 alternating between 2 different languages on each digit? Any cognitive scientists want to explain this? [more inside]
posted by querty on Jun 25, 2012 - 13 answers

Recommended Books on why langauges are so different.

What are some recommended books for the general reader on why languages are so different. How come languages such as Thai, Mandarin, Hebrew or the Indo-European langauges have such hugely different alphabets, let alone such vast differences in pronunciation? Given that human societies share many common characteristics, how come we ended up speaking so differently from each other. As I say, I'd prefer books aimed at the general reader, rather than, say, linguistics specialists.
posted by vac2003 on Apr 22, 2012 - 8 answers

spanish songs that use vos

For a project I'm doing, I'm looking for songs in Spanish that demonstrate voseo (the use of the informal second-person singular pronoun vos). This way of speaking isn't technically "standard" Spanish, so I don't exactly know how to search for songs that show this usage. [more inside]
posted by huxham on Apr 15, 2012 - 15 answers

Klingons do not say "Hello." The closest equivalent translates basically as, "What do you want?"

Looking for a database or collection of links to imaginary languages (preferably with translation capability or lists of common phrases.) [more inside]
posted by Scattercat on Apr 13, 2012 - 4 answers

Examples of novels where the reader is expected to know more than one language.

Examples of novels where the reader is expected to know more than one language. [more inside]
posted by AlexanderPetros on Mar 23, 2012 - 37 answers

A tutti piace l'odore dei gatti. Ragni.

I'm starting to learn Italian. Can you give me any tips and/or resources that helped you learn Italian? Preferably online/free; examples inside. Also, please give me fun Italian pop! [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Mar 12, 2012 - 13 answers

Expressive words?

Linguistic question: is there such a thing as "expressive" words? [more inside]
posted by rainy on Mar 10, 2012 - 20 answers


Is it possible to learn college-level phonetics and phonology on one's own? Bonus: online? [more inside]
posted by jweed on Mar 8, 2012 - 7 answers

Chinese, please.

Can you read Chinese? Help! [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Mar 4, 2012 - 7 answers

Quiero aprender español. Es un buen sitio web para eso?

Have you used to help you learn a language? What did you think of it? Do you have any other recommendations for paid language learning sites that cost no more than $15 per month? (I am learning Spanish.) [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Feb 9, 2012 - 8 answers

Best free software and websites for learning languages?

What are the best free websites and software for adults to use when trying to learn foreign languages? [more inside]
posted by mortaddams on Jan 12, 2012 - 17 answers

Help me be a better giver

Love Language Filter: I want to become better at expressing affection to people in nonverbal ways, but I find it difficult. [more inside]
posted by xenophile on Jan 4, 2012 - 13 answers

Computer le jar?

I'm looking for a Latin phrase that sounds something like "computer le jar." My boyfriend's brother passed away this year and this was a saying the brother had that, according to the family, meant something like "seize the day" (this may be completely wrong though) but it wasn't "carpe diem." [more inside]
posted by madred on Dec 11, 2011 - 18 answers

another confused college kid

Help me figure out possible career choices if I want to move away from software development to making use of foreign language skills? [more inside]
posted by movicont on Oct 19, 2011 - 10 answers

Fun, free Hebrew fonts?

Where can I find some fun, free Hebrew fonts? [more inside]
posted by yersinia on Sep 5, 2011 - 2 answers

Ich würde gerne besser Deutsch sprechen.

Best free/low-cost podcasts and audiobooks for becoming fluent in German? [more inside]
posted by guessthis on Aug 29, 2011 - 9 answers

What language should I study?

I'm looking for a new language to study. Inspired by this post about how language alters perception and lists such as this of "most untranslatable words", I'm hoping to find one that puts me in a mindset astonishingly different from English's. [more inside]
posted by estlin on Aug 21, 2011 - 32 answers

t-r-e-s, non t-r-è-s! how you write zee accent?

When native speakers of languages with accent marks write, is it usual to write out a word or sentence and then put in the accents or does one put the accent in when writing the actual letter. [more inside]
posted by xetere on Aug 21, 2011 - 18 answers

Me Talk Pretty (Japanese) Someday

Can you give me strategy and tactics for maximizing my spoken Japanese interactions, towards the goal of language ability, while in Japan? Those of you who have reached exceptional/native-level fluency speaking, can you give me some tips, and share your experiences of the things that helped the most along the way, in terms of speaking ability? [more inside]
posted by dubitable on Jul 15, 2011 - 12 answers

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