March 3rd, 2008


Language learning for toddlers

Hi there!

I was wondering if anybody knew of any websites about teaching foreign languages to toddlers or small children or knew anything about it.

I'm currently working as aupair in France and I'. trying to teach the kids a little German. They seem to take it quite well (they're especially bright when it comes to picking up the words they're not supposed to learn :P), but I would still like to do a little more than to just talk to them in German, like games (ones I could make myself). They're two and three and a half years old. The baby is six month old, but with him I'm just counting on the fact that talking to him a lot will do the trick.

So, does anybody know of any playful tricks to teach German to my French kids?
  • Current Mood
    curious curious
  • pne

Special forms of numerals for phonetic disambiguation

The other day, a Persian taught me to count to ten in Persian, and I found it interesting that the numbers 7 and 8 (هفت haft and هشت hašt) were so similar—as I heard it, three out of four segments were identical and the remaining one was a voiceless fricative in both cases.

That made me wonder whether some method of disambiguation is used in Persian in higher-noise environments (e.g. over the telephone), and by extension, what disambiguations are used for similar things in other languages.

Three things that came to my mind are:

  • The use of zwo instead of zwei "two" in German (because of the similarity in sound with drei "three"), in contexts such as spelling out telephone numbers or postal codes. (I believe this is originally from a different case form.)
  • The use of Juno instead of Juni "June" and of Julei instead of Juli "July" in German.
  • The use of niner in some contexts in English (aviation? radio?) instead of nine to avoid confusion with five.

What similar examples are there in other languages?

(I also thought about the use of oh instead of zero in some cases, but this does not seem to be motivated by a desire for disambiguation. I'm guessing that this choice is to reduce the number of syllables spoken.)

  • elena

Looking for old words

Hey guys, I was looking for a translation for 'cobbler' or 'shoemaker' in ancient greek or latin.

however, if the above words have a cool translation in a language you know, feel free to share.

thank yooou!

EDIT: if anyone knows what the word would be in Hebrew or Yiddish, id like to know that too! :D

Making a mix for my fellow nerds

Hey fellow linguists and linguaphiles,
A little off topic but
Ever heard any music explicitly about linguistics or being a linguist? Or language or IPA or anything in any field? I'd love some artists or song titles or links to mp3s... Even if they're dumb songs -- no, especially.
Thanks =]
  • Current Music
    Weezer - In the Garage

Greetings Spanish Speakers!

I recently got hired for a job at McDonalds and I really needed the money, so I plan on staying here for a while. The problem is, I'll be the only crew member who isn't fluent in Spanish, and the manager's English is very hard to understand and more on the Spanglish side. The other crew members all communicate to each other in Spanish as well, and I'm a bit worried I might have a hard time at work.

Is anyone generous enough to offer me some fast-food-related phrases to try and remember for work?