Easy Afrikaans

I have had a website called easy afrikaans for years.

One of my grandfathers was an Afrikaner and Afrikaans was his first language.  So, I created an Afrikaans website in part because of this. I think. I’ve never changed it since. Or even looked at it.In fact it was I think the first site I ever created as you can tell from the retro look 🙂 Actually it looks kind of eighties but that seems unlikely.

Anyway, I’ve moved my Afrikaans site to a new and shiny server which is the first step in bringing it into this century.  I have the idea of update it into something like  Polish Lessons (unfinished naturally) over the coming months. Initially I’ll use the same content as I have on Surface languages but then I will get a load of new audio and so on.

PaX, besos etc



Refranes (proverbs)

One of the things that I find fascinating with languages are proverbs often encapsulating some pearl of wisdom or  folk knowledge from years gone by and sometimes just plain cryptic.

I also love idioms, and find it fascinating how other languages use (often in a very similar) almost identical idioms.

For example, te has comido la lengua el gate ‘has the cat got your tongue’,  (this was often said to me by my grandmother) probably when I had committed some transgression.

Or how about llevarse el gato al agua as in a pesar de que era casi impossibile, finalmente me he  llevado el gato al agua  meaning to achieve something almost impossible. The equivalent in  english is  ‘it was like herding cats’. I.e. herding cats is something that is basically impossible. (I remember trying to place two cats in a cat box. I was wearing thick gardening gloves and still ended up bloody and scratched).

As I seem to be on a cat related theme what about ‘there is not enough room to swing a cat’? I don’t think that there is an equivalent Spanish cat related size idiom. (BTW you do know that the cat doesn’t refer to the four legged creature in this case – don’t you?).

Or how about cuatro gatos  with the meaning very few people, so in Spanish you can say somos cuatro gatos ‘there are only a few of us’ or no no habìa màs que cuatro gatos ‘there was hardly anyone there’ or maybe ‘there were four men and a dog’, ‘it was like a graveyard’, ‘like a ghost town’ …

I bet you can’t guess what ‘she has blond hair and big blue eyes’ stands for in Polish 🙂

Hugs & besos,


Goodbye polyglot people :(

… and hello PolishLessons 🙂

This, as can be guessed by the name, will only be of interest to anyone who wants to learn Polish. I have ditched the Polyglot People website and idea in favour of this new one.

I was in the middle of creating another site called (provisionally) Polyglot People,  and  having finished the coding I started to think about content. Quality content is more difficult than you might think to obtain. Although it is easy enough to have translations done and audio recorded, it isn’t so easy to know what needs to be translated. Before you know it, yet another generic ‘learn lot of different languages’ website is created. Surface Languages is different, as the objective is to teach words and phrases in different languages. No more. No less.

As  Surface Languages only requires phrases such as ‘where is the station’ or ‘I am a vegetarian’, there is no particular difficulty (other than finding a translator) with doing this for multiple languages. But what if you want more detail? Or that you want your website to be more thorough?

Different languages require different approaches to learning them. (Or so I believe).  In fact this is why I believe that the concept of Rosetta Stone is flawed. As I understand it, the same approach/pictures are used for all languages. In reality the way  in which you will approach Polish (for example) is likely to be different from the order in which you will approach Italian.

I was thinking about this with regard to Polyglot People and decided that it would be too difficult to obtain useful content/translations/phrases and so on for multiple languages about which I know nothing.

And so (don’t start a sentence like this if you are doing an exam) it seemed sensible to start with a language I am learning or know something about – Italian, Spanish or Polish.

Well, I’m not pretending here that my Italian is brilliant, but I’ve got to the point where I can have a conversation about most topics without too much difficulty (yes I make mistakes and presumably sound like a numpty but that isn’t the point). This is good, but means that I can no longer remember the process I followed to get here. The same goes for Spanish.

However, Polish is still very new to me and so seemed like a natural choice for a new website. I’m starting to have a feel for how the language hangs together, and know (more or less) what I want translated and in what register (formal/informal).

There is not much there yet, but I will expand PolishLessons as and when depending on what is going on in my life.




Polyglot People

I’ve been working on Polyglot People  Polish Lessons (see later post)  over the last month or two, and have now finished the coding. As far as I can see everything works apart from the stats which don’t (as yet).

I”ve checked Polyglot People  using some of the phrases from Surface Languages for Polish, Italian and Russian, and more or less everything seems to be in order. Helpful comments much appreciated.

For those who are interested I picked Russian to check support for two scripts (Cyrillic and a romanized version), Polish to check diacritics (it has lots), Italian because I love the language and Spanish because I am going to add it first.

And so now I need content and will start with Spanish (as spoken in Spain) followed by Italian. No doubt there will be a few teething problems to iron out but such is the life of a programmer.

I can’t remember if I have already mentioned this but I f added Icelandic Phrases to Surface Languages. Audio to follow. I hope.




Polyglot People

After a sleepless night I decided that forcing lessons to be done in sequence in Polyglot People  Polish Lessons (see later post) would be tedious for you my hypothetical reader/audience.

I want  Polyglot people  to allow more and not less choice. And so you can do any lesson at any time, however if you want a ‘tick’ for a lesson then you have to complete it. A picture is worth a 1000 words so if you want to have a butchers there is a functional (though without any content to speak of) demo over at PP.

My reasoning was that any website/language learning software is just a resource to be used as and when, and if that is the case (which it is) then you should be able to use any part of it as you feel fit.

There are a couple of bugs which I will fix tomorrow, and then dear reader,  I will add Icelandic phrases to this site. I’m also in the process of obtaining Belarusian audio.

And for all you dog owners out there, my dog has just been x-rayed, and  been found to have osteoarthritis. Poor chap. He is only seven. I think he better stop chasing squirrels for the duration. Also he is not allowed to go for a walk for the next day or so. This will make life difficult for all concerned.



Decisions about my new web site (PolyglotPeople.com)

Firstly, I’m in a better mood today. After a good nights sleep the world doesn’t look so grim.

So …… I’ve been working on my new website Polyglot People (another language learning site)  and I need to make a decision. I always have problems making decisions, or rather making decisions and then sticking to them.

The decision is do I,  or do I not force learners to progress in sequence through the lessons when using the above. Lesson one might be (it isn’t but could be) colours,  followed by (for example) lesson two describing things with colours and so on with each lesson logically following on from the previous.

I like this in principle but see how it might be annoying. I don’t like to be forced to do anything in a particular order (even if it makes sense), so should I really have a website which does the same?

Another option is that each lesson will allow you to learn (say) ten words, and it is up to you which lessons you choose and the order you do them in.

I had thought of adding something like this to Surface Languages but decided it wan’t a good fit, and so I’m intending to keep Surface languages as it is I.e. a way to learn phrases in millions (ahem fifty or so) languages.

Polyglot People could then be used in conjunction as a way to get a basic understanding of how a language fits together through basic sentences, or on its own, or of course not at all depending on whether or not you find it useful.

I … need … to … think ….