Blogs

My First Book is Out! (Learn to Read Arabic)

Teaching foreign scripts has been my particular fascination, because traditional textbooks consistently do it wrong (or, more commonly, don't do it at all). My first experiment in that area was the creation of a Greek alphabet course at Wikibooks. Next, a site to learn the Korean script. Earlier this year, I quickly threw together a course for the Ukrainian Cyrillic alphabet. And now, I wrote a book teaching Arabic!

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Results of 2013

My original goal was to do 700+ hours of language study this year and read 50 books (30 in languages other than German/English). Instead, I only managed 643 hours of language study and 32 books (22 in languages other than German/English), so I am quite disappointed in myself.

My final list of books:

Book 1: "B.A.f.H. - Das Neueste vom Bastard Assistant" by Florian Schiel
Book 2: "Το ταξίδι στη χώρα που δε βλέπουν τα μάτια..." by Αντώνης Καλογήρου
Book 3: "Io Alessandro" by Steven Pressfield
Book 4: "L'Irak du silence" by Marie de Varney

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Review of "Japanese Kanji & Kana: A Complete Guide to the Japanese Writing System"

Lately I've been getting back into Japanese, which I had studied for a few months last year around this time. (Read about my challenge "Understand Your Favourite TV Series in 30 Days".)

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iTalki Fall Challenge

I decided to join the italki Fall Challenge: Take 20 lessons until the end of September and they will give you the equivalent of $30 to use for your next classes.

Considering that there are a lot of teachers on italki who charge $6 or so for a 60 minute lesson, that's quite a sweet discount, if you were planning to take language lessons anyway.

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New Project: Computer Language Teacher

For years I have been dreaming about having the computer help with language-learning. I am itching to build the best language-learning tool ever and I seem to have found support for it! Here are the details of what it will look like...

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Results of Indonesian Challenge (+ video)

The 6 weeks are over and I have given my talk at the first round of the Indonesian Speaking Competition. The topic I chose was "How to learn languages" (big surprise), which I chose for several reasons: I'm very comfortable with this topic, I knew it would be very interesting for the audience (especially coming from someone who just learned Indonesian quickly) and it's possible to talk about this with a very basic vocabulary.

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New Challenge: Indonesian Speaking Competition

I don't speak Indonesian yet. I spent maybe 10 hours on it several years ago and I have attended two 2-hour Indonesian lessons at the Indonesian embassy last month (awesome idea to offer free lessons...). At the moment, I can introduce myself and I know possessive pronouns and that's about it.

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去中国参加论坛 (Going to China)

我昨天收到了通知单,说我被接受了,可以去中国参加“第四届中欧青年组织发展论坛”。

这个论坛很快就召开,是这个月底,从二十号到二十七号。所以,我应该尽快地准备旅行。我需要签证。我昨天已经约定了去大使馆的时间。幸运的是我的飞机票、旅馆是由会议队预定的。我在中国的行程会比较紧,每天有很多节目,而且我们并不只是留在北京那一个城市,也从北京飞到长沙、上海。七天内参观三个城市,游览的时间一定不多。不管怎样,我对能有机会去中国感到很高兴,希望认识很多有意思的人,看中国因特网的状态,讨论中欧的关系。

为了这个旅行,我现在觉得提高我的汉语是一个急事。我要每天练习口语,每天写一篇汉语课文,看汉语电影。我不知道我在中国那段时间有没有说汉语的机会,可是我要试试。我上次去中国是2004年,现在是2013年,不知道以后什么时候可以再去中国。

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Tips For Learning Chinese

FluentU just published an interview with me, in which I talk at length about how I learned Chinese and the advice I have for other learners of Chinese:

Read the interview

Also, this made me think about a peculiar experience I had in China: being hired to be a white face. I wrote a text about it in French on Lang-8:

Employée comme visage blanc

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Vegan Gluten-free Cherry Cake with Chocolate-Nut Base

Yesterday I was invited to a friend's birthday party. This friend is vegan and allergic to gluten (I'm neither), but I wanted to make her a cake for her birthday. Over-the-counter vegan cakes in Berlin don't generally taste good, unless you're used to eating vegan cake I guess - I usually decline to have any, and I'd otherwise never decline cake. I'm not a fan of milk/cream/cheese substitutes used in vegan baking and most of these products actually make my tongue tingle if I have more than a bite.

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