All posts by katiejurek

Love and Kittens is now open!

A store containing some of my artwork and other designs, Love and Kittens (because who doesn’t love love and kittens? :D), is now open here on Zazzle. Check it out and tell me what you think! There’s also a link to it in the top navigation bar, and if you want to see some of the t-shirt and sticker designs in their original form, those are located on my Art page.

Norway has been fantastic so far, and I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate abroad. I’ve had a great time and have built up my leg muscles quite a bit, and I don’t imagine this’ll be my last stop ever to the country since it’s been so awesome. I’m getting stuff in order to return to Florida, but I’ll be back here sometime soon! =)

Swedish decks on Memrise

My last deck on Memrise now has 307 people who are learning Swedish from it! To celebrate its success, I created another deck, this time not on all kinds of Swedish words, but specifically the body parts in Swedish. Check it out here!

For those who don’t know what Memrise is, it’s an online flashcard-and-memory game where you learn words and, through Memrise’s spaced repetition algorithm, you get tested on those words just when you’re about to forget them. It’s free and has worked fantastically for me, and seems to be doing a great job of teaching words to those people using my decks, too!

Foreign music artists

I mentioned way back when that singing can help to learn a language. Listening to artists in my target language is one of my favorite ways to boost my vocabulary and listening/speaking abilities. Here are some of my favorite artists for each language; give ’em a try! The more asterisks (*), the more I love them.

Chinese
* alan (c-pop j-pop) – Japanese, Mandarin
* Alex Fong (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Janice (c-pop) – Cantonese
** Jay Chou (c-pop) – Mandarin
Joey Yung (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Jolin Tsai (c-pop) – Mandarin
* Stephy Tang (c-pop) – Cantonese

Dutch
Eva De Roovere (folk pop)
* Jurk (nederlandstalig pop)

Continue reading Foreign music artists

GMC Jam #8: 2nd place!

So, happy news for me as a programmer! The Game Maker Community Jam #8 competition was held recently. The GMC Jam is a competition with an average of over 50 entries that occurs once every three months on this large programming forum I frequent; each entry has to be made within the 72 hours from the late Friday to the late Monday during which it’s held. I met the Norwegian friend with whom I’m staying because of the GMC, so we’re both programmers and decided to team up and make a game. Our brainchild/game came in 2nd out of 62 entries! Download a copy of “The Little Tornado that Couldn’t” by clicking “Games” on the top bar, or just by clicking here.

And here’s the trophy:

2nd place trophy

News sites in other languages

Here is a useful list of links for news article sites (like newsnow.co.uk and onlinenewspapers.com and newspaperindex.com) to practice reading in other languages (* means they’re some of my favorites):

Danish
Akhbar (Danish news in Arabic) – Arabic
** Avisen (news) – Danish
* B.T. news) – Danish
Berlingske (news) – Danish
* Børsen (news) – Danish
The Copenhagen Post (Danish news in English)
Dagbladet Information (news) – Danish
DR (news) – Danish
* Ekstra Bladet (news) – Danish
** Erhvervs Bladet (business) – Danish
Ingeniøren (news) – Danish
* Jyllands-Posten (news) – Danish
* Kristeligt Dagblad (news) – Danish
* Politiken (politics) – Danish
TV2 (news) – Danish

Continue reading News sites in other languages

Pros and cons of different countries I’ve been to so far

I’ve found a lot of differences between England, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the US in my travels, and I’d like to espouse on those here. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages, some more obvious than the others:

England

England walk

Default grocery stores: Sainsbury’s, Tesco.
Payment:
Visa, MasterCard, and other major debit and credit cards; cash.

Pros

  • Good food selection: There’s a huge selection of food here, much like in the US, and especially when you go to Sainsbury’s.
  • Fair number of places to find cheap things: England has a lot of different shops, but even though they can be quite expensive, you can usually find another shop with a cheaper version of exactly what you were looking for.

Continue reading Pros and cons of different countries I’ve been to so far

Common foreign words and their pronunciations

Learning similar languages can be quizzical for a number of reasons. Here’s a quick glimpse into some incredibly common words in English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch. Notice how the Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch ones are pronounced:

English

Norwegian

Swedish

Dutch

yes ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”)
no nei (“nye”) nej (“nay”) nee (“nay”)
I jeg (“yiy”) jag (“ya”) ik
me meg (“my”) mig (“may”) me (“muh”)
me (stressed) meg (“my”) mig (“may”) mij (“may”, “my”)
you (nominative) du du je (“yuh”)
you (nominative, stressed) du du jij (“yay”, “yiy”)
you (objective) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) je (“yuh”)
you (objective, stressed) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) jou (“yow”)
it den, det (“deh”) den, det (“deh”) het

Continue reading Common foreign words and their pronunciations

Literal translation – Dutch

Services and auto-translators like Google translate and others take entire sentences and put together a meaning from all the different parts present. When learning a language, however, it’s sometimes more beneficial to see word-for-word translations, as it gives you a better idea of the most common sentence structures. In this post I’ll go over a few Dutch sentences. A Swedish version will come in the future! So here are some sentences in their original Dutch, a word-for-word translation, and then a reworded translation:

Hoe laat kom je morgen?
How late come you tomorrow?
What time are you coming tomorrow?

Ik moet het morgen halen.
I must it tomorrow get.
I must get it tomorrow.
Continue reading Literal translation – Dutch

Correcting a beginner

In this post I’d like to discuss something that is very beneficial to me when I’m starting out learning a language: getting corrected by people in a helpful way. This goes beyond simply not being rude when telling someone how to reword their sentence; it involves correcting as few things as is possible. When correcting a beginner’s sentences, change as few words as is possible to make the sentence make sense. For example, if I’m learning English and I write:

When she go, I will be first to be sad.

It’s helpful to correct it to:

When she goes, I will be the first one to be sad.

Do NOT correct it to how a native would say it:

I’ll be the first one to cry when she leaves.
Continue reading Correcting a beginner

My Swedish resources

It’d be silly for me to continue for too long about learning Swedish without mentioning the resources I use, so here’s a list of what I’m currently using, as well as an explanation of when I use it; it’s the Swedish equivalent for my Norwegian resources and my Korean resources:

  • Penn State University Swedish lessons: Used from the very beginning for basic vocabulary and grammar. I happened upon a really nifty bunch of Swedish lessons from a professor. They have been extremely helpful from the get-go, and I advise this to be one of the first things you look at if learning Swedish. There’s a great rundown of not only vocabulary, but also bits of grammar, but never enough to overwhelm you. Definitely one of my favorite finds.
  • LingQ: Used to start learning words. This can be used from the very beginning! LingQ is a fantastic site that allows you to hover your cursor over words in their different language lessons and stories and see the meaning. When you feel comfortable with a word, you mark it as known and move on. This is also the tool that gives me those nifty, auto-updated language badges on the right sidebar.
  • Google translate: Used all-the-freaking-time to define single words. Here’s how it normally works for me: I see a word in LingQ or hear a word in a podcast (also coming up), and then look it up via Google translate if I know how it’s spelled. I hardly ever use Google translate for translating phrases, because if you give it more than one word, it often messes up. For best results, translate FROM your target language INTO English, as Google translate tends to have a better grasp on English than some of the other languages. It’s also decent enough to use vice-versa, but I don’t trust its English-to-Swedish, etc. translations as much as the reverse. Remember, in the beginning, when translating something in Google translate, don’t use ambiguous sentences that can be translated in multiple different ways; try to stick to simple sentences until you can tell when Google translate is wrong, at which point you can feed it more complex things.

Continue reading My Swedish resources