Friday, May 1, 2015

English Language Guide - The App

A version of the pictorial vocabulary guide for learning English is now available as a free IOS and Android app. The app includes a 'game' which will soon be integrated into and the interface has been revamped to be mobile friendly. More languages will be available as apps in the months to come.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hungarian guide

The Pictorial Hungarian vocabulary guide is now available.  Hungarian is a very unique language and according to linguists isn't related to any other European language. You certainly get that idea when you hear it spoken.

I had the pleasure of recording two Hungarian volunteers in Austin, Texas. Beata and Levi Peto here pictured with their pets Pupák (buddy in Hungarian) and Tök (pumpkin). Please visit the Hungarian vegetables page to hear the proper pronunciation of Tök and learn other veggies.

Beata first came to the USA to meet Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer". She was invited to his dog dog psychology center where she ended up helping train two of Cesar's dogs: Blizzard & Junior. While Cesar's specialty is making dogs psychologically normal, Beata teaches them advanced tricks and behaviors. During her stay in Los Angeles she met her husband Levi who had come years earlier as an aspiring Rock musician.

During the recording I got the opportunity to try Mézes Puszedli, hungarian ginger cookies. Yum!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dutch Guide

The Dutch guide  has been published. Translated by volunteers, the voices are all of volunteers as well.

Anne-Marie Ozaki is a teacher at NTC Houston. NTC Houston stands for “Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur Houston” or Dutch Language and Culture Houston. You can hear her voice on Het Lichaam (The Body), Het Lichaam II (The Body II), Herenkleding (Men's Clothing), Groenten (Vegetables), Boerderijdieren (Farm Animals), and Kleuren (Colors) Her voice was recorded by her husband, Michio Ozaki, in their home recording studio. 
Anne-Marie Ozaki and Michio Ozaki
You can hear the voice of Cees van der Linden on Getallen (Numbers), Het Gezicht (The Face), Fruit (Fruit), Huisdieren (Pets), Vogels (Birds), Reptielen & Amfibieën (Reptiles & Amphibians), and Zeedieren (Sea Animals). You can hear the voice of Marion van Dijk on Zoogdieren (Mammals), Afrikaanse Dieren (African Animals), and Insecten (Insects).

Cees van der Linden is a resident of Los Angeles and Marion van Dijk is a resident of the Netherlands. They have a business together,, through which they provide translations and voice-overs in Dutch. They used their recording facilities to record the audio.

 Cees van der Linden
Marion van Dijk

Monday, July 25, 2011

English UK guide

The English UK guide has been published. I'm visiting Morelia, Mexico again and had the good fortune of sharing a room at Hostal Allende with Jonny Gannon, who recently spent a year studying and teaching in Aguascalientes. When I first arrived at the hostel I heard Jonny speaking to a friend in Spanish and his accent was so good, I asked myself whether he was Mexican. It turns out he has a knack and in turn did an amazing French, Scottish, and then an American  accent. When doing the American accent, he pretended to be Steven, a Boston red-sox fan from Massachusetts, and to my American ears it was flawless. Perhaps to make me feel better about my inferior Spanish accent, he acknowledged that it is his forte and that he's less strong in audio comprehension. (My strength is audio comprehension due to my watching telenovelas and series.) 

Jonny studies Modern Languages at the University of South Hampton and speaks fluent French, Spanish, and German. After a demo he volunteered for the project and we recruited Simran Chadha, a friend of his who was staying at the same hostel. We had a a jolly good time recording the digestive system.

Update 9/20/2012

Johnny now lives in France and is writing a funny blog on his experiences there.

Mandarin Expansion

Some new categories have been added to the Mandarin Guide数字 (Numbers),   面部 (The Face),  身体 2 (The Body II), and 农畜 (Farm Animals). The voice you hear is that of Julie Zhu,  director of director of the Los Angeles Chinese Cultural Center. Julie is orginally from Beijing but has been a longtime resident of Los Angeles. In addition to teaching at the Los Angeles Chinese Cultural Center she teaches at local high schools. There are some other recordings I made with Julie that I hope to publish soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

About the Ads

The board of directors of Language Guide has decided to run ads on portions of the English and French guides to try to fill a budget hole. If you're using these pages in a school environment, send me an email and I'll send you a link that disables the ads. We weren't able to reach our fundraising goal earlier this year which has required the ads. After the budget hole is filled, there are some ideals we're going to try to encourage donations, and we're gong to pursue other funding sources. Our goal is to fund the project through the npr/pbs model - a combination of donations and perhaps underwriters.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interactivity with SVG

If you're using a browser that supports SVG (IE 9chrome, firefox, safari), you'll notice new features on the body page (English body, French body, Russian body, Mandarin body, Japanese body) and face page (English face, French face, Russian face, German face, Italian face).
  • When you place your cursor over a red circle, the portion of the body that is being referred to is outlined. (The effect is most visually appealing in google chrome due to it's great support for SVG filters.) 
  • You can choose the level of difficulty that you prefer using a drop down menu that's next to the options menu. On the body page if you choose an intermediate difficulty, the red circles that refer to the names of individual fingers, the hamstring and shoulder blade disappear. If you choose the beginning difficulty level, you can focus on words like arm, leg, hand, and head. When doing a quiz, you'll only be quizzed on the words that correspond to your chosen difficulty.
  • When "speaking quiz" is selected under the options menu, a random object is outlined. Try to say the word for it aloud. A second or so later you'll hear the voice of your teacher either correcting or confirming your guess. The "speaking quiz" is available on the alphabet and number pages as well as the face and body pages. One of the goals of the site is to promote active learning and the speaking quiz is designed to force you to be active. Voice recognition is being built into browsers like google chrome and eventually I'd like to set up the speaking quiz so that it waits for you to speak before the teacher's voice chimes in, and to even check and see if you said the correct word.

Are these features helpful and would you like to see them in other categories?