And for all you Welsh language learners …

I was sent this today. A new series of cariad@iaith (love4language) is starting this Sunday, 19 May 2013 on S4C. It’s a series that follows  ten learners of Welsh (for a week), living in tents, being tutored in Welsh, performing challenges and so on.  I live near the border and it is raining hard here (the gulf stream has apparently jammed again), so good luck to them!

So if you are thinking about learning Welsh, or need a bit of inspiration, look no further :-

Welsh for beginners

I’ve never learnt any Welsh, but probably follow along. Only a generation or so ago there were Welsh speakers in my family. How quickly things change …




Polish and some other stuff

I’ve added and now fixed a new word game on SL, and here is an example in  Afrikaans chosen at random.

This leads neatly into – because of the awesome programming of SL 😉 …

As a programmer I’m good enough and pretty much know what I’m doing, but when learning languages I feel much less certain. I’m writing this as I’ve just finished reading some motivational blogs re language learning to encourage me with my Polish struggles, and it amazes me how confident people are.

In real life, I’m quite outgoing, noisy even (maybe hard word if you are uncharitable?). But writing a blog I feel much less confident. I don’t like making definite statements in general and certainly not regarding languages. Life and learning isn’t black and white. There is often no right or wrong but subtleties, nuances and shades (of grey).  These shades are interesting. Apparently.

I don’t even like making definite statements about programming or running websites – areas in which I feel much more certain and have more experience. There is so often more than one approach to a problem. More than one way to skin a cat and One mans meat is another mans poison sums it up. I like maxims. Pithy and to the point.

So, regarding my slow journey with Polish, there is nothing definite, other than it is difficult but rewarding.


I’ve been learning Polish since the start of the year. Not full time. I have a family, job, dog, cat (low maintenance), this website and all sorts of activities going on – mainly arranged by my wife. Luckily. Otherwise I wouldn’t do much other than walk the dog.

The above are excuses  the setting within which I’m learning Polish – or trying to. Ok so where am I? The last time I wrote about this (a month ago?) I decided that I needed to focus on vocabulary acquisition.

Polish Vocabulary Acquisition

I learn Polish words and then forget them.

I’ve learnt about 1000 words. 🙂

I remember about 100 🙁

I can’t speak for anyone else, and I don’t think I am any worse at language learning than the rest of the world, but I am finding it difficult to retain Polish vocab.

What can I say in Polish?

It is not all doom and gloom.

I can introduce myself. I can say jestem rolnikiem (I am a farmer), jestem kelnerem (I am a waiter) or jestem studentem (I am a student). So I can almost say what I do!.

I can say where I am from ‘jestem z Anglii‘ and so on.

I can (more or less) order food – proszę frytki (chips please)

I can say what I like – lubię chodzić (I like walking)

So basically I can say a few things but it you were stuck in a lift with me (and only spoke Polish) it would rapidly become boring.

This will I think drive the next top secret  expansion of SL. This is sort of a hint as to how I hope to (time permitting) expand SL. Only five people read this blog yesterday, and if you five can keep a secret I’ll tell you now …

But what if one of you can’t? Hmmmm … the risk is too great.

So to change the subject :-

I’m about to add audio for the european portuguese pages. Yipee!!

With luck this should be done by next week – ready for the summer hols. So happy days for anyone going to Portugal – who doesn’t want to buy a language course!! And just wants to learn a few words and phrases. Actually quite a few. Over a thousand…




Or Madeira?




New language learning game

I’ve added a new language language learning game to SL.

For the technically inclined it uses a mixture of jquery, javascript, ruby and html, and naturally took me longer to get working than I hoped. I have also discovered there is still one slight bug which I will iron out tomorrow. No doubt there will be more which I will track down and squash over time – probably to do with different scripts, cyrillic, arabic and the like …

For anyone else, I hope you enjoy using it. If you have any suggestions or improvements let me know. I’m going to spend some time over the next day or so improving, refining, bug fixing and adding this ‘Word Game’ to other areas of the site.

I also have audio for the European Portuguese which I will add anon.

Other News.

Our dog was weighed in the vet and discovered to have gained 0.5kg. Not too bad considering how greedy he is, but the vet indicated strongly that he needed to loose it again. He has a graph showing said hounds weight gain and loss over the past years.

He also had his kennel cough booster. Unfortunately, he remembered what it entailed from the previous year and really I don’t need to say much more than I’m now immunised against kennel cough, and it took three people to administer the booster. (Whoever decided that the  kennel cough vaccine had to be dribbled through a dogs nostril obviously hadn’t spent much time actually trying to administer it …)

Update on Polish coming soon ….