Monday, May 31, 2010

The end is in sight.

Next Friday, all my exams will be over and I will finally be able to concentrate on something else than Russian grammar. I have now got a couple of German grammar books that I am going to look through, and I also ordered the Routledge Hungarian grammar which I hope will arrive after my exams. I know this book is good, because I already have it as a PDF, and I intend to do some intensive Hungarian study this summer. I have never been able to remember any Hungarian grammar, so I think I'm going to try to apply some of my Russian grammar assiduity to Hungarian. I will also squeeze in some German, of course.

For German I discovered something that I hope will be useful during the summer. I have already written about it on the forum. I was browsing, a very nicely structured Russian blog/site about languages, but which unfortunately for me deals very much with English. I guess someone studying Russian could also use it though, because there are many word lists from English works of literature, and of course there are Russian translations for the words (without stress though, unfortunately). The author of the blog has written a rather extensive post about the site WordSteps. It's a site, or a community, for learning words! There aren't that many languages, but for those that do exist there are already premade word lists, which is excellent for me because then I don't have to type, and of course you can make your own lists as well. You can go through different exercises for each word list, and since your statistics are always saved, you can see how many words you have learned, how many percentages you get right, and so on. The interface is nice and friendly, and I think I could spend quite a lot of time just clicking away at this site. I think it's a good alternative for those who don't want to sit with Anki or word lists, and would like to have something visual in order to learn words. Also, you can log in from anywhere, so that is also a plus :-)

If you sign up, add me, I'm tricours as always.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Syttende mai.

The other day was the 17th of May, which in Norway is a serious business. It's the Norwegian National Day or Constitution Day and it's celebrated rather violently compared to many other countries. This is just going to be a photo post, showing the national costumes Norwegians wear on this day. In general, people are rather happy if it's not too hot on the 17th of May since a big part of them walk around in many layers of wool. These costumes cost thousands of euros and each region has its own costume.

For those who party on this day, the festivities start at like 10 in the morning. The 18th of May is an ordinary working day, so it's a good idea to already be hung over by the evening, with the hope of having recovered in the morning.

There are plenty of flags on the 17th of May.

(I was trying to take a photo the girl with the bonnet in the background...)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More beer.

Speaking of beer, I just had to share some of Sweden's finest beer commercials. This is a series of humorous commercials for Norrlands Guld, "the gold of Norrland" (Norr = north, land = land, the northern parts of Sweden, which is where I'm from). The slogan is "when you want to be yourself for a while".

Many of these are pretty understandable even if you don't understand Swedish.

The first, and unforgettable one:

Making fun of Stockholm and people from Stockholm.

One that makes fun of the "scho", which in Norrländska means "yes". Ingressive speech, I once wrote a post about it.

Dating in Norrland :D

This Spendrups commercial is also excellent, but you do have to understand Swedish in order to fully enjoy it, and it features one of Sweden's best comedians, who is convinced his fulöl (uglybeer) is better than Spendrups.


I have a couple (or 10) of these in the fridge. Happiness.

There is this one verb that I always forget to use in Hungarian, even though it's absolutely brilliant and should be used all the time. I tend to write "blablabla sört inni" (literally "beer to drink") and then someone corrects that to "sörözni". And how cool is that? A verb that actually means "to drink beer" (even though I'm not 100% certain I understand the nuances of this word). I was thinking a bit about how this would turn out in other languages. In Swedish I guess we would arrive at "öla" (öl being beer), which at least to me sounds very funny. Conjugated in the first person that would be "jag ölar". It's so ugly I think I must start using it. We do have a specific verb that is used together with drinking alcohol, when you're kind of sitting around drinking something, and that's "pimpla", which is also the word for "ice fishing". I like it though - "Pimpla öl". Still, it's composed of two words.

In English it would be... to beer? I beer. Hmm, that doesn't really work out that well, does it? French, bièrer - je bière. Same problem there! Obviously, the productive patterns of those two languages aren't always that practical.

I think I'm going to öla tonight, because tomorrow is a day off. The summer, I hope I will be doing lots of ölning. I ölade a bit yesterday, so I know that the öl I have is very tasty.

Do you know of any other language that has a particular verb for beer drinking?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Russian reading group.

Some time ago, I tried to start a Russian reading group on the languagelearners forum. The idea was that we would read some shorter text together and research some stuff around the text (author, historical context and so on), making every person write something about it. Usually when you have these reading groups, people don't really know what to say, so I thought that giving it some structure might be a good idea. Not very much happened, no one even replied. Our forum really lacks enthusiastic learners of Russian (and of French, there is way too little activity in the French room), and since I'm not really sure many such people actually read my blog, I don't think this post will really help much either. But one can always try, so this is a general call to anyone learning any language to go join the forum and contribute to the different language corners. The language journals and ABC logs are also very interesting and motivational to read.

However, is it only me or does it really seem like people learning for example Japanese or Chinese are much more active and creative? why do not learners of Russian have that energy?