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fact-checking as conversation

[T]his is what we were dealing with: We were located in two places, and between us there were three laptops and one stenography machine. We were working in two languages (English and American Sign Language, or ASL) and across three communication channels (voice, sign, and text). They were sitting at a rectangular table, all on the same side: first Hilaria, then Kate, then Lynn, then Rabin´. That made five of us, four of whom brought constraints to the situation, ranging from the permanent to the temporary: Lynn is deaf, Hilaria is a non-native speaker of English, Rabin´ is supposed to be silent and invisible, and I couldn’t see, because I had no video on my Skype.
A factchecking session for "young sign languages" turns into an exploration on communication across barriers and needs of accessibility, language, and technology.
posted by divabat on Aug 6, 2014 - 6 comments

No mention of Sindarin, though

Why we find some languages more beautiful than others.
posted by Chrysostom on Mar 10, 2014 - 96 comments

Early Indo-European Online

Learn how to read Sanskrit, Hittite, Avestan, Old Persian, Classical Greek, Latin, Koine Greek, Gothic, Classical Armenian, Tocharian, Old Irish, Old English, Old Norse, Old Church Slavonic, Old French, Old Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Albanian in ten lessons apiece.
posted by Iridic on Jan 27, 2014 - 26 comments

Words of the Day

Please enjoy this smattering of Word of the Day sites and pages: OED (RSS), Wordsmith (RSS), Wordnik, The Free Dictionary (RSS), Merriam-Webster (RSS), WordThink (RSS), Urban Dictionary (RSS), Macmillan (RSS), NY Times Learning Network Blog (RSS), Scrabble, Wordsmyth (RSS), Easy Speak (Toastmasters), Wiktionary, Wiktionary "Foreign", OLDO (RSS: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, all in OLDO), Arabic (RSS), Japanese (RSS), Nahuatl, ASL, History, Geology, Theology (RSS), and Sesame Street (not daily, unfortunately).
posted by cog_nate on Dec 13, 2013 - 11 comments

How many languages will survive in a digital world?

Digital language death: Of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken today, some 2,500 are generally considered endangered. Here we argue that this consensus figure vastly underestimates the danger of digital language death, in that less than 5% of all languages can still ascend to the digital realm. We present evidence of a massive die-off caused by the digital divide. — See also: [more inside]
posted by beagle on Oct 28, 2013 - 14 comments

jIyIntaHvIS not qajegh

Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," performed in Klingon.
posted by brownpau on Oct 16, 2013 - 21 comments

Whoops...The correct answer was Double Dutch

How many languages can you recognise?
posted by fix on Sep 4, 2013 - 46 comments

Maps of Tweets: locals v. tourists, languages, and mobile devices

Digital mapping startup MapBox teams up with social data warehouse Gnip to create some stunning visualizations of every geotagged tweet since September 2011. [more inside]
posted by Nelson on Jun 19, 2013 - 7 comments

Speak "friend" and enter.

Explaining the languages of Middle-Earth. Ever wonder how Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings writers developed lines of dialogue for the elves or dwarves when they weren't quoting directly from Tolkien? They asked David Salo, a linguist who specializes in Sindarin and the other languages of Middle Earth. [more inside]
posted by MsMolly on Feb 20, 2013 - 37 comments

Elahi, Elahi, lema shabaqtani?

Saving a Dying Language
posted by empath on Feb 3, 2013 - 34 comments

Everything has an end, only the sausage has two. And what would a monkey know of the taste of ginger anyway?

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad?
...and other foodie figures of speech. A few more to nibble on. Or jump to 27:25 of this week's World in Words to hear butchered renditions of the podcast crew's favorites (iTunes link)
posted by iamkimiam on Dec 2, 2012 - 17 comments

Typical Pentagon boondoggle

The Global Language Online Support System (or GLOSS), produced by the Defense Language Institute in sunny Monterey, CA, offers over six thousand free lessons in 38 languages from Albanian to Uzbek, with particular emphasis on Chinese, Persian, Russian, Korean, and various types of Arabic. The lessons include both reading and listening components and are refreshingly based on real local materials (news articles, radio segments, etc.) rather than generic templates. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Oct 11, 2012 - 23 comments

Cats Who Code

Khan Academy unveils its new interactive Computer Science learning platform. More coder resources: Free Tech Books, WiBit.net, Google Code University, the W3C's Web Standards Curriculum, a Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS, and codepen.io, a social sandbox for web design.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Aug 14, 2012 - 26 comments

10 years of language hat

languagehat looks back on ten years of Languagehat: I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X.
posted by nangar on Jul 31, 2012 - 28 comments

Indigenous Tweets, Indigenous Blogs

Indigenous Tweets: Catalogue of Twitter users writing in minority or endangered languages. From that list, it is an easy couple of links to the inevitable Friday Night Lights recaps written in Breton. (Subsite: Indigenous Blogs.)
posted by joeclark on May 22, 2012 - 9 comments

Tower of Babelfish - A Language Learning Method

Tower of Babelfish - A Language Learning Method [via mefi projects]
posted by aniola on Apr 19, 2012 - 12 comments

Science. Fun. Community.

Water your brain so you can grow stuff in there.
posted by iamkimiam on Mar 16, 2012 - 45 comments

Few Examples of Lisp Code Typography

Few Examples of Lisp Code Typography. From 1953 to 2012. (Via Lambda the Ultimate.)
posted by skynxnex on Mar 11, 2012 - 39 comments

Rosetta Code

"Rosetta Code is a programming chrestomathy site." Each page describes a programming concept or task, then lists how it's implemented in dozens of programming languages. Useful for learning a new programming language, especially if you're already familiar with how to do it in another language.
posted by Deathalicious on Feb 16, 2012 - 13 comments

EUScreen, I screen, We all screen

Discover Europe's television heritage. EUscreen offers free online access to videos, stills, texts and audio from European broadcasters and audiovisual archives. Explore selected content from early 1900s until today. [more inside]
posted by Lezzles on Feb 7, 2012 - 3 comments

And if sturgeon is of the second freshness, that means it is simply rotten.

Every once in a while you just want to know an obscure word in a foreign language just to show off to your friends, so today's word is вымя, which means udder. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Jan 13, 2012 - 26 comments

Tantalizing hints of the world beyond the virtual

Languages of the World (Wide Web) — Google researchers graph cross-language links on the web, and "see a surprisingly clear map of Europe and Asia"
posted by blasdelf on Jul 8, 2011 - 24 comments

(define this 'awesome)

Probably one of the 5 best amateur animated music videos about Lisp you'll see today. [more inside]
posted by DU on Oct 29, 2010 - 27 comments

Hindi Urdu Flagship Program

The Hindi Urdu Flagship Program at the University of Texas, Austin has a number of freely available online resources on Hindi and Urdu, including vocabulary exercises for beginners, video interviews with native speakers discussing various aspects of their language, a Hindi-language podcast on various topics and the ways one can discuss them in Hindi, and several downloadable books in PDF format. [more inside]
posted by skoosh on May 31, 2010 - 18 comments

Na'vi

Paul Frommer explains the Na'vi language he created for Avatar
posted by Dumsnill on Dec 19, 2009 - 51 comments

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.

The Gecko Wears A Tiara [via mefi projects] Sumarian proverbs. Compare those with the 1600BCE Ashubanipal proverbs and Proverbs From the Ancient Egyptian Temples and indeed, modern Iraq and Arabic more generally. Enjoy, culture geeks. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Nov 6, 2009 - 32 comments

Keeping it real

Linguists and Missionaries often find themselves in similar situations. The Jesus Film Project. [more inside]
posted by fcummins on Jul 24, 2009 - 17 comments

Omniglot's Tower of Babel Has Grown!

The site Omniglot has grown somewhat since its previous mention on the blue. Creator Simon Ager has added glossaries of useful phrases, tips on learning a foreign language, assorted "useful phrases" from other sources he's found amusing (an Esperanto book he quotes shows you how to say "there is a frog in my bidet", for instance) and even more writing systems. Plus -- a page telling you how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" in 79 different languages.
posted by EmpressCallipygos on May 23, 2009 - 14 comments

Thank you. Good night

"Thank you" in 465 languages Also, Hello! in 800 languages, I love you in 89, How much does that cost? in 93, I don't speak [this language] in 58 and Go fuck yourself in 20.
posted by psmealey on Jan 18, 2009 - 53 comments

UCLA's Phonetics Lab Archive

"For over half a century, the UCLA Phonetics Laboratory has collected recordings of hundreds of languages from around the world, providing source materials for phonetic and phonological research, of value to scholars, speakers of the languages, and language learners alike. The materials on this site comprise audio recordings illustrating phonetic structures from over 200 languages with phonetic transcriptions, plus scans of original field notes where relevant." (Description from website.) Many more recordings -- indexed by language, sound, and geographic location -- are available here.
posted by cog_nate on Dec 9, 2008 - 12 comments

One Minute Languages

At One Minute Languages you can learn greetings, talking about names, counting, and more in Catalan, Danish, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Luxembourgish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.
posted by sveskemus on Nov 11, 2008 - 25 comments

Wordchamp: hover over a foreign-language word and get its definition

Wordchamp lets you view foreign-language web pages with definitions in your language as mouseovers (registration-only). [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 5, 2008 - 10 comments

So, where are you from?

Amy Walker does a little tour of 21 accents in 2 1/2 minutes. From the UK and Ireland to Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, France, Australia, New Zealand, and around North America. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 1, 2008 - 145 comments

language learning online

Mango is a new beta service offering free online language lessons. 11 languages available (each with 100 lessons). For English speakers there are lessons in French, German, Italian, Greek, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese and Pig Latin. For Polish and Spanish speakers, lessons in English.
posted by nickyskye on Nov 7, 2007 - 35 comments

We ettle tae come up wi writin that's easy tae read an can be soondit bi readers in thair ain dialect.

We've discussed Simple English Wikipedia, and descriptions of other languages in English, but have you tried reading wikipedia in Scots? You asked if Scots is a language? How about any of the other 253 languages of Wikipedia?
posted by jacalata on Sep 5, 2007 - 43 comments

Continuing (your) education all over the Internet

Qoolsqool is "a free and open educational resource for educators, students, and self-learners around the world."
posted by anjamu on Sep 29, 2006 - 9 comments

Esta thread est en Europanto.

Que would happen if, wenn Du open your Metafilter, finde eine message in esta lingua? No est Englando, no est Germano, no est Espano, no est keine known lingua - aber Du understande! Wat happen zo! Habe your computero eine virus catched? Habe Du sudden BSE gedeveloped? No, Du esse lezendo la neue europese lingua: de Europanto!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 5, 2006 - 130 comments

Language courses, courtesy of the United States government (and some devoted language learners)

FSI Language Courses
posted by anjamu on Aug 17, 2006 - 36 comments

The Wikipedia of dictionaries

Wikiwords is a collaborative project to create a dictionary of all terms in all languages.
posted by anjamu on Aug 11, 2006 - 18 comments

A Special-Purpose Language

The New York Times profiles Special English, a 1500-word language used by the Voice of America "to spread American news and cultural information to people outside the United States who have no knowledge of English or whose knowledge is limited." The article notes that the language has the potential to play a valuable role in the bilingual education of recent immigrants to the U.S.
posted by NYCinephile on Aug 5, 2006 - 24 comments

Backs to the future?

New analysis of the language and gesture of South America's indigenous Aymara people indicates they have a concept of time opposite to all the world's studied cultures -- the past is ahead of them and the future behind. The morphologically-rich language, of which you can hear samples here, may also prove useful to computer scientists due to its unique ternary logic system.
posted by youarenothere on Jun 12, 2006 - 42 comments

Discovering Chylum

Discovering Chylum: Swarthmore Professor David Harrison traveled to Siberia to learn about Chulym, a previously undiscovered local language that reflects its population's culture of hunting, animastic belief system, and bear worship. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 on May 21, 2006 - 17 comments

Edmund Wilson and American culture

"When I read his work, I forgive him all his sins". Edmund Wilson disliked being called a critic. He thought of himself as a journalist, and nearly all his work was done for commercial magazines, principally Vanity Fair, in the nineteen-twenties; The New Republic, in the nineteen-twenties and thirties; The New Yorker, beginning in the nineteen-forties; and The New York Review of Books, in the nineteen-sixties. He was exceptionally well read: he had had a first-class education in English, French, and Italian literature, and he kept adding languages all his life. He learned to read German, Russian, and Hebrew; when he died, in 1972, he was working on Hungarian.
Edmund Wilson and American culture. (more inside)
posted by matteo on Aug 25, 2005 - 12 comments

The Little Prince in a 100 Languages

If listening to sound of different languages is something you may be interested in, visit the multimedia language project website hosted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. It features the sound files of a small blurb from Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince read outloud in a 100 different languages. The blurbs are also textually transcribed. [See more inside]
posted by gregb1007 on May 17, 2005 - 22 comments

Maishuno!

Simlish as 21st-century Grammelot? I love Simlish. Never heard of Grammelot, before now, but, well, as they say "Hoh! Abba Da No!"
posted by WolfDaddy on Mar 18, 2005 - 13 comments

Is this your sister's sixth zither, sir?

Twisting Tongues in Other Tongues
This page was originally created to give a good group of tongue twisters to people in speech therapy, to people who want to work on getting rid of an accent, or to people who just plain like tongue twisters. I hope you enjoy them.
posted by miss lynnster on Dec 30, 2004 - 32 comments

Felichan Esperanto Librotago

Today is World Esperanto Literature Day. December 15th is the birthday of the creator of Esperanto, Dr. L. L. Zamenhof. Don't speak Esperanto yet? You can learn Esperanto on the web, via email, or at home. After all of that learning you may want to relax by playing a game, watching a movie (starring William Shatner!) or listening to some music.
posted by Doug on Dec 15, 2004 - 29 comments

I could probably fake fluency in Bengali

I never realized how great Wikipedia was for quick-and-dirty guides to languages. For example, did you know that Esperanto uses affixes to cut the number of adjectives one must learn in half? Or that Finnish has fifteen noun cases, including six locative declensions? Or that Vedic Sanskrit was tonal? How about that Cherokee verbs each have 21,262 inflected forms? I could play with this forever.
posted by borkingchikapa on Dec 1, 2004 - 36 comments

Losing Languages

Losing Languages. It's estimated that between one and four languages are lost every year, the result of the only remaining speakers dying off. Many have been actively surpressed in the past, such as the Mayan and Ryukyu languages - some of which are said to be further from Japanese than English is from German. Is it worth the effort to preserve languages? Are languages and culture intristically linked?
posted by borkingchikapa on Nov 28, 2004 - 57 comments

Native Languages of the Americas

Native Languages of the Americas: Preserving and promoting American Indian languages.
posted by Ufez Jones on Sep 2, 2004 - 13 comments

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