tonguetwisters – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: tonguetwisters


On checking Twitter this morning, I saw that Doug @dajbelshaw was trying out something new – called 12seconds.TV. I’m a nosey soul so when he offered invites, I was there like a shot.

Doug was kind enough to send me an invite so off I went to discover more.

It’s one of those ‘does what it says on the tin’ sort of sites – it’s all about 12 seconds of TV, a bit like Seismic but with a time limit. Just as Twitter limits you to 140 characters, here you have to be succinct too. You sign in with a username and are assigned your own channel – mine is http://12seconds.tv/channel/lisibo and then you just need a webcam and microphone – although Doug Belshaw managed here without a microphone ;o)

I had a first try waffling about nothing in particular, and answered today’s 12challenge – which is the best Star Wars film?

Then I started thinking of uses for 12seconds.tv, and came up with using it for a challenge – learn and perfect a Spanish tonguetwister.

Here’s the first one – from Puerto Rico

Spanish tongue twister #1 on 12seconds.tv

Trabalenguas #1 –
miel de abaja, miel de abeja, miel de abeja ……

I started thinking I’d put the widget in my blog sidebar – which I will do – but then thought I’d add it to the school web page and use it to set the challenge to pupils, staff, parents and the wider community. There’s not much going on the site at the moment and in the last year there have been three regular contributors, one of whom has left, one of whom is the administrator, and the other who loves pink and bling ;o) so I think any content will be welcome. I also take pride in promoting languages within the school – as I don’t have my own class, it’s the way most parents get to know who I am. Added to which, I like the idea of promoting language learning to the wider community – and tonguetwisters are such fun. Using video will help as I always find it easier to see the person’s face when I’m learning languages and trying to imitate pronunciation. And the 12 second limit makes it snappy – not an onerous task and within most people’s attention span.

I’ll let you know how it goes – but I’d love to see others having a go – perhaps you could join 12seconds.tv and post your attempts at the Spanish tonguetwisters?

Or post your own in French, German, Russian, Dutch, Chinese etc. or even a phrase in your local dialect? I’ve got 10 invites to give away if you’d like one!
We could start a whole new trend for linguistic 12seconds.tv videos!!

I’ll post another one in a day or so!

Omniglot

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I came across Omniglot the other day and bookmarked it in my del.icio.us account for further investigation.
Omniglot is ‘a guide to the languages, alphabets, syllabaries and other writing systems of the world’.

You can find out information about a myraid of languages including ones I’ve never heard of!

It’s fascinating to look at all the different writing systems both real – some Mayanscript


and some imaginary – some Klingon!

There are tips on language learning, as well as a multilingual bookstore and articles on languages.

In fact, there’s so much on there that it’s hard to do it justice in a blogpost so I’d encourage you to look for yourself. However, here are three of my favourite parts.

1. Language related art
This is a piece of art by Venantius Pinto based on the Torcharian script and there are links to other examples of artwork such as Mike O’Connell‘s artwork featuring a number of different scripts and Peggy Shearn who is inspired by language and writing systems (see also below)

2. Useful foreign phrases

Ever wanted to know how to say ‘Please speak more slowly’ in Estonian?

Palun rääkige aeglasemalt

Or ‘Where’s the toilet?’ if you’re caught short in Greece?
??? ????? ?? ?????????
There is a quite long list of possible phrases in a wide range of languages – some with accompanying soundfiles to aid pronunciation. And there are also phrases that are possibly not as useful, but nonetheless amusing such as ‘My hovercraft is full of eels’ – here in Mandarin Chinese ?????????? and Polish Mój poduszkowiec jest pe?en w?gorzy and ‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’ in perhaps Czech Zastavte sv?t, chci vystoupit! or Armenian ??????? ?????? ????????, ??? ?????? ????:

You can also access in a variety of languages, again some with soundfiles-
for example –

??? ????? ?? ???? ?????;
(Miá pápia ma piá pápia)
A duck but which duck). (GREEK)

Esel essen Nesseln nicht, Nesseln essen Esel nicht.
Donkeys don’t eat nettles, and nettles don’t eat donkeys. (GERMAN)

Mae Llewellyn y llyfrgellydd o Lanelli wedi llyfu llawer o lyfaint.
Llewellyn, the librarian from Llanelli, licked many toads. (WELSH)


3.Proverbs and quotations about languages.

Omniglot has collected together proverbs and quotations in various tongues on the subject of languages. The majority are quite profound –

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Una lengua natural es el archivo adonde han ido a parar las experiencias, saberes y creencias de una comunidad.
A natural language is the archive where the experiences, knowledge and beliefs of a community are stored.
– Fernando Lázaro Carreter (SPANISH)

Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon.
A nation without a language is a nation without a heart. (WELSH)

but there are others that are less ‘serious’ –

Chan fhiach cuirm gun a còmhradh.
A feast is no use without good talk. (GAELIC-SCOTLAND)

It’s no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase “As pretty as an airport” appear.
– Douglas Adams

??????????????????
(Ti?n bù pà, dì bù pà, zh? pà Gu?ngd?ng rén shu? P?t?nghuà)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Cantonese speakers trying to speak Mandarin. (MANDARIN)

????????????????????
(Tìn m? gìng, deih m? gìng, jí gìng b?kfòng yàhn góng Gwóngdùngwá m?jeng)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Mandarin speakers speaking Cantonese badly. (CANTONESE)

My particular favourites include

Any time you think some other language is strange, remember that yours is just as strange, you’re just used to it.

Kolik jazyk? znáš, tolikrát jsi ?lov?kem.
You live a new life f

or every new language you speak.
If you know only one language, you live only once. (Czech)

and this French saying that I hope will soon be seen as untrue –

Un homme qui parle trois langues est trilingue.
Un homme qui parle deux langues est bilingue.
Un homme qui ne parle qu’une langue est anglais.
A man who speaks three language is trilingual.
A man who speaks two languages is bilingual.
A man who speaks only one language is English.

– Claude Gagnière

Looking at all the above ‘favourites’ I can see the OMNIGLOT site as an excellent resource for expanding the vision of languages in an interesting and fun way.

Why not use it as a resource for European Day of Languages on 26th September?

You could use the artwork to inspire your pupils to create their own having looked at the section on various scripts and writing systems.

Or challenge pupils to learn tongue twister in another language – the sound files are great for that!

Or each class could attempt to learn a phrase in as many languages as possible – and other classes could guess the phrase – I think we’ll be doing this at WCPS!

Whatever you do, it’s well worth a look!



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