“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Not A Monoglot, Honest.

with 3 comments

Although I mostly write in English (well, almost 100%) I am not a monoglot.

I find foreign languages fascinating and even though I never truly learned any grammar to speak of, I’m quite fortunate that I can listen and make sense of a lot of phrases, on a good day, or even make a stab at memorizing them.

I suspect that I am, like many people, who learnt languages as an adult, often put off by the conjugation of numerous verbs and the formal, stilted, methods of teaching which have been so prevalent.

Which is a roundabout way of getting to the subject of: the Internet and languages.

We are incredibly fortunate that today we can read newspapers across the globe, which are only published in their native languages, not English, with the aid of online translation tools.

Granted, none of them are perfect, but they offer an insight into other cultures, other ideas and enhance our appreciation of humanity.

No longer do we need Esperanto, but online translation tools will do the job, sufficiently and the world thankfully become smaller and more connected as a result.

Here’s a small (and rather random) selection:

Farsi – Hamshahri – Daily Newspaper, Iran

Thai – Thansettakij Newspaper.

Indonesian – Pesat News

Slovak – Pravda

Russian – Izvestia

Swedish – Norra Västerbotten (Thanks to Jonathan Leman for the idea of this post).

I used Google translate for the above, but there are many more, just type the language required into your favourite search engine with the words: translate online, and see what comes up.

Written by modernityblog

03/08/2009 at 00:50

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for this, mod. I knew it was someting I could do, but I never bothered to learn how. My one foreign tongue is Norwegian, which I read fairly well, but which I don’t hear nearly enough to maintain the fluency I once had. I reckon three weeks of immersion would take carse of that.

    I don’t think any translation program could ever gracefully deal with prepositions, whose meaning are so vague and flud.


    03/08/2009 at 02:31

  2. Yeah, they are not perfect, but for reading a newspaper or getting a general sense of things I think they do well enough.

    I do have 5/6 words of Norwegian, not much use but learnt them as a joke, I can say “Do you speak Norwegian” – in Norwegian, which is fairly useless when you think about it.

    And my Farsi is limited to saying “good afternoon”, but it is a very hard language to learn, subtle pronunciation and very flowery.

    My Hindi’s a bit better.


    03/08/2009 at 02:44

  3. thanks mod they look like useful tools for translation.


    03/08/2009 at 13:50

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