All posts by katiejurek

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.

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Germanic mutual intelligibility

I’ve written about how learning one language can help you learn another. Let me show you some examples of what I mean:

English

Norwegian

Swedish

Dutch

also også också ook
always alltid alltid altijd
expensive, dear dyrt dyrt duur
(to) have (å) ha (att) ha hebben
(to) hear (å) høre (att) höra horen
must måste moeten
north nord norr noord
tonight i kveld ikväll vanavond
(to) want, (to) will (å) ville (att) vilja willen
welcome back velkommen tilbake välkommen tillbaka welkom terug
with med med met

Continue reading Germanic mutual intelligibility

Why be a beginner in multiple languages?

So, as I learn more Swedish, my Norwegian reading comprehension improves exponentially. It’s really quite incredible. My knowledge of Dutch also helps a ton in this regard, for all three are Germanic languages. I’d say about 1 out of every 3 words in Swedish looks/sounds close enough to its Dutch equivalent that I can recognize it immediately. But Norwegians are cheaters! When they don’t want me to understand them, they just switch to writing or speaking nynorsk instead of bokmål. D:

I want to take this post to briefly explain why I’ve switched between a lot of languages lately. This is my personal learning style, and it works quite well: I learn a few languages to beginner level, then maintain them before upping to the next level. In the meantime, I get myself comfortable with another language. What is the benefit of this? Language intelligibility. A fantastic example would be Norwegian and Swedish, or even Dutch and Swedish; if you learn one, your knowledge of the other increases simultaneously. Knowing and recognizing basic words and phrases in a lot of different languages means I can recognize the Latinate or Germanic origins of tongues that are closely related. My Spanish greatly aided my French and Esperanto; my English helped significantly with my Dutch.

Continue reading Why be a beginner in multiple languages?

Norway makes everything okay!

Bergen, Norway
Bergen, Norway!

I’ve come with news! As I said, there are big changes ahead in my life, and to that effect, I am going to be living in Bergen, Norway for three months! This is made possible via a fantastic friend of mine, as well as some other Norwegian friends in the Bergen area. I will be testing the mutual intelligibility of Norwegian and Swedish first-hand, and blogging about it, of course!

However, with the great news comes some bad news for me: I currently don’t have a place to come back to when I get back from Norway. The trip is nonrefundable and a lot of problems with housing have surfaced very recently. Two people I was close to have let me down, but I won’t let that keep me down! If you want to donate to the House-Katie relief efforts, there is a donation button down a bit on the right sidebar. Alternatively, this link to ChipIn will work. Anything helps. Thank you to all readers from all over! I’ll get through somehow! 🙂

A Swedish love affair

I’ve been starting a new chapter in my life over the past few months, which seems to happen every summer; bit by bit, a transformation makes itself known over the horizon, and by the end of the season it’s palpable, improving my character in some way or another. There are a few rather large changes happening in my life right now, which I will get to in a separate post. In short, I have amazing friends, and I learn this anew every once and awhile, it seems!

However, I can tell you that I have satisfied myself with re-solidifying some of the Spanish that I learned from school, and can use it more actively. Satisfied with this, I move on to my next challenge: learn Swedish!

Why Swedish? Because I’ve had a love affair with the language ever since my Swedish friend introduced me to the band Sarek, which is a Swedish folk-pop group made popular through Melodifestivalen (I wish they’d made it to Eurovision!). About this time last year is when I was deeply into my learning Dutch mission, and I will be continuing this one for a number of months.

Continue reading A Swedish love affair

Tips for traveling abroad and learning online

It’s time for me to give some tips on how to travel abroad and do some language learning online. Let me start by telling you what I did to get to the Netherlands:

  • Talk to people online! We live in a world where you have no excuse to not know tons of people from all over, especially if you engage in activities that are very global, like gaming or learning languages online! 😉 There are always tons of people to meet on sites with content you’re interested in. I run an IRC channel (Internet relay chat; basically multiplayer notepad with people from all over) filled with gamers and game makers, and this is where I met the friend I’ve stayed with for the longest in the Netherlands. A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet! Remember, this is the Internet, so unless you have your address or information posted somewhere, people can’t harm you physically, and you won’t ever meet in person unless you fully control the amount of time you’ve known them, the location, and the number of people around, unlike meeting strangers in real life in dodgy places like bars! People nowadays are afraid of meeting people on the Internet and of anyone who uses a computer, as if these friends don’t exist because the chat is over a machine (then telephone conversations aren’t with real people either! ;)). Don’t be one of them! Look at where being social online has gotten me: two trips to Europe so far totaling 3 months in which I didn’t pay one cent of rent or hotel fees!

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Eurovision and SATW

I’ve discovered a new interest of mine in Eurovision. Listening to some past Eurovision songs has made me excited to be able to tune into the 2012 version. I’ve always loved foreign music, especially when sung in a non-English language, and from Eurovision, I particularly like Germany’s Lena and Norway’s Alexander Rybak. 🙂

Alexander Rybak
Alexander Rybak

Also, if you haven’t ever read the webcomic Scandinavia and the World, but you like learning funny tidbits about history and geography, you should check it out. For instance, I didn’t know that Scandinavia does not include Finland! I’ve always dreamed of writing a webcomic like that (except mainly with countries I’m more familiar with here in the Western hemisphere), and Humon is a true inspiration for when I end up doing anything involving comics. 🙂

A Dutch summer

So, it’s time to share the news! I wanted to share that I will be spending two months in the Netherlands this summer! I can’t believe how much I’ve fallen in love with the Dutch culture and tolerance, and I’m eager to experience more of this attitude! My Dutch has also gotten remarkably strong, as my reading and listening comprehension continue to build even though I don’t work too actively on the language anymore. After awhile, your brain gets used to it and has seen the language for so long that reading and listening become fluid! I’m very excited that this has happened, as it reinvigorates me for any future languages I take on!

My main finals for university are finished and now I have more time to develop and do things I want to do. I played the Diablo III beta over the weekend, and it’s a very fun game as a standalone, despite my belief that it’s not worthy of the Diablo title. I’ve also been messing around in The Sims 3: Late Night and SimCity Societies, because playing games is the best way to get ideas on what makes a game fun (and also to see what just doesn’t work, like World of Warcraft-ifying everything in order to make more money). =)

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Most confusing words in the English language

English is a crazy language full of exceptions and confusing words. In this article I’ll try to clear up some of the most common misconceptions in the language that I’ve seen. This page will be updated as I think of more confusing words to add.

This vs. That

farther vs. further

“Farther” implies distance while “further” implies time. As you can imagine, these two are often interchangeable even though they don’t have the same meaning.
e.g. “He’s studied longer than me, but I know more than him, so he’s further along, but I am farther along.”

it’s vs. its

See “you’re vs. your”.

Continue reading Most confusing words in the English language

Dutch friend in Florida

Whew! Hello!

My friend from the Netherlands is finally here! He arrived in Florida yesterday after 15 hours of travel from the Netherlands. I’m excited to say he’ll be staying with me for a bit. It’s really great seeing him again. 🙂

And there’s other good news about yesterday too, of course! By simply taking the chart from lernu.net (a site for Esperanto learners), rearranging it in the opposite direction (that is, switching the rows and columns), and putting the question words in an order that was easy to remember (who, what, where, when, how, why, etc.), I was successfully able to memorize the Esperanto correlatives; thus, that mission is complete! I also succeeded in another personal mission by its deadline, which was yesterday as well, so I’m feeling particularly swell. 🙂