Free Language Learning

I came across a site too good not to share yesterday. It’s still in Beta, with more to come, but it looks to have enough content already if you are looking to pick up the basics of a new language. They have a selection of courses, all online through a Flash interface. I had a look at the Spanish for English people, and it seems pretty good.So if you fancy picking up a new lingo, go check out Mango Languages.

Just in case you interested in the nitty gritty of picking up a bit of something foreign then there are a few interesting facts you should know! English has an enormous vocabulary. As many as 500,000 words, depending upon which dictionary you choose to believe. Many of them include some pretty obsolete words though. But still… compare that to 100,000 French words, 125,000 Spanish words and 180,000 German words. But fear not, the average person, regardless of the language spoken, uses a personal vocabulary of about 20,000 words. On a daily basis you probably use just 1,000 to 2,000 words.

Why is English so complicated and difficult to learn? It’s a bit of a mish mash of numerous languages, particularly German, French and Latin. Germanic words tend to be shorter and are commonly used in spoken English, whilst the Latinate words are used in formal letter writing. English regularly uses three versions of the same word from each of those three language, but each develops a slightly different feeling or use. For example, oversee (German); supervise (Latin); survey (French). The last interesting fact? English is not the official language of the United Kingdom! Although that shouldn’t be so surprising…there is no official flag or national anthem either.

 

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