- RT @twinkelmans: Give them a laptop & a group of pupils will teach themselves | Education | The Guardian http://bit.ly/brpJGH (Sugata Mitra) #
- RT @GotPassport: Expat Friendships: Do They Survive When You Return Home? http://su.pr/40Mou0 via @MatadorNetwork #
- RT @MyMelange: In case you missed it – Who knew these places in #Italy were Haunted? http://ow.ly/33M4X #
- RT @PatriciaVance: World’s Most beautiful Pagodas http://ow.ly/348jJ #travel #
- RT @PatriciaVance: 10 Awesome places in the world where cars are forbidden! http://ow.ly/348gV #travel #
- @NYLA_1890 we can’t help they are a bit crazy! . Are they behaving? in reply to NYLA_1890 #
- RT @NYLA_1890: Some guys will do anything to sell @mangolanguages Stop by their booth #NYLA10 http://yfrog.com/77j25lj #
- RT @TaraLSF: #nyla10 Video on diversity in Russia talks about different foods, speaking two languages and immigration #
- Wow! RT @boomertraveling: Baby Boomer Fast Fact: 86% of American Baby Boomers were born in the US while 14.3% immigrated here. #
- RT @Bridget_CooKs: 5 tips to reduce your health risk while eating street food http://fb.me/EFkk1gSU #
- RT @nicolesimon: Switzerland does not use euros and has different power plugs …. [at least this time I am in the German speaking part ...] #
- I posted a new photo to Facebook http://fb.me/My1s2Ayn #
- Check out the Mango Staff working the New York Library Trade Show. We have defend our title as Best Booth. The… http://fb.me/Lz7NMy5y #
- The Mango Languages Secret Sauce! http://fb.me/LP2noIZ0 #
- @traveling_girl Thank you! BTW your testimonial will be featured on our new website! TY #
- @nyla_1890 Oh no Rocky! Save yourself! When will we know Best Booth? in reply to NYLA_1890 #
- More antics at the New York Library Association Trade Show by Drew and Ryan! http://fb.me/G5X6em5A #
- Poor Rocky – he is in trouble for being Monolingual. http://fb.me/KaPv8uFY #
- We are looking for a project linguist to join our team. Please take a look at the description and if you are… http://fb.me/vaQCGNpu #
Every year in Siena, Italy, the Palio di Siena is held twice annually. Known as just Il Palio locally, the race consists of ten horses, representing ten of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards, of Italy.
The race takes place both on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August every year, each date corresponding with a religious event.
Before the event, a pageant called the Corteo Storico occurs during which there is a choreographed parade with costumes. This parade in itself attracts visitors from all over the world. Right before the competition there are last minute meetings between the heads of the Contrada, in which alliances are made and strategy is discussed. This is serious business!
The race itself lasts literally about a minute and 30 seconds, and it is entirely possible for a horse to win the race even if its jockey falls off and doesn’t finish the race. As the jockeys all ride bareback on the horses, it isn’t too much of a surprise that they are sometimes thrown off while making tight turns or movements.
Have you ever been to a horse race? Was it anything like this?
Looking for something exciting to do tonight? The Faroe Islands of Denmark celebrate a festival called the Olai Festival every year on July 28-29th. This festival begins on the eve of Saint Olav’s Day, and continues on through St. Olav’s Day itself. Work stops, and people head to Torshavn (the island where this takes place) to celebrate.
The festival attracts about 50,000 people and is rung in with processions, sporting events, meetings, and concerts. It then moves into the next day with a governmental procession, at which time the actual governmental year begins. They close the ceremonies at midnight with community singing. People come dressed in their best, and they dance throughout the streets and towns.
From the end of May all the way until the end of July, there are festivals like this throughout the islands. These festivals all have religious roots, and it is the festive nature of the people that makes them truly fantastic events.
Have you been to any great festivals overseas?
Guest blogger Marina has been with us sharing her experience in using Mango Languages to learn Brazilian Portuguese. Here is part four.
Several weeks into my Mango Languages experiment, shortly after completing my last blog post, I made an important change in my study routine. No, I did not increase the number of lessons per week, as I had intended (for reasons explained below, this task remains to be accomplished). The change was very simple, but it had such a profound effect on my learning experience, that it is worth describing in more detail.
What I did a few weeks ago was switch to a different version of the Mango Languages software. This version, Mango Basic, focuses on building basic speaking ability, whereas the version I had been using previously, Mango Complete, addresses conversational and grammar skills. Yes, the grammar is there, although it is dealt with in a rather indirect–-and, therefore, less tedious–manner compared to most textbooks.
The reason for making the switch was the announcement that Mango is introducing Voice Comparison–an option that allows students to compare their recorded pronunciation to that of a native speaker. I have always been a fan of the voice recording option in other language learning software packages, and so I was eager to try out this new feature. Since it was only available in the Basic version, I decided to “downgrade,” and this was a step that I never regretted.
The benefits of working with Mango Basic went beyond pronunciation practice, however. I had initially assumed that Mango Basic was merely a scaled down version of Mango Complete, but the content of the Basic version is considerably different and, for a complete beginner, is certainly easier to master. This version is also much more colorful, which can be a deciding factor for visual learners. Furthermore, the lessons are broken down into very manageable bits, which provided a welcome respite from the lengthy dialogues of Mango Complete, which often made me wonder if I was biting off more than I could chew.
With this in mind, my strategy will be to work through the Basic version, making sure I thoroughly understand the material before I attempt to master the more complex vocabulary and grammar of Mango Complete. In my last blog post I announced that I would try to complete several Portuguese lessons each week, but it did not work out quite as I had planned. I started a full-time teaching job in the meantime, and this had kept me very busy (and tired!), so the thrice-weekly Portuguese strategy had to be put on hold. Knowing how detrimental extended gaps between lessons can be, I try to work little bits of Portuguese-related activities into my daily routines. Conversations with my Brazilian flatmate (not in Portuguese, yet, but rather about the different aspects of the language) certainly help, as do my occasional encounters with other Brazilians–in real life and online.
Recently, for example, I received an email from a reader of a blog that I had started years ago when I was living in Kyrgyzstan and attempting to learn the Kyrgyz language. The query was Kyrgyz-related, but its author turned out to be Brazilian, and so we ended up having a lively email interchange about regional differences in Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation.
On a slightly different note, my flatmate’s family is now visiting Turkey, so I may be in for a bit of speaking practice. Perhaps I should start drilling myself on basic Portuguese courtesies: “Olá. Como vai a senhora? Meu nome é Marina. Prazer em conhece-lo.“
Hey! This is a great get away for all of you fitness enthusiasts out there.
Every year, there is an event in Mongolia called the “Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset.” It is a whopping 100km (about 62 miles) run! This event is focused around both the run and the beauty of the terrain.
The event usually attracts about 50 runners per year, who arrive either directly in the capital of Ulaanbaatar, or make the stop in Beijing before traveling there. They are then flown to Camp Toilogt, a 2,700 sq. ft. lake surrounded by forests and mountains. There, they have a few days to relax before the run and do things like horseback riding, fishing, hiking, or visit with the locals. On the day of the race, they begin at sunrise and have until sunset to run around the whole course and make it back to camp, with a few rest stops in between. And you thought high school track was tough!
The race was held this year the 19th-24th of July, and is held every year with all proceeds going to help preserve the wildlife and nature preserve where the run takes place.
Have you ever done any international runs? Would you? Tell us!
It’s a safe bet that most people reading this are no strangers to Java. Let me rephrase that- most people reading this are most likely no stranger to a cup of Java. How many people are familiar with the island of Java, however, is an entirely different question.
Java is actually the 5th largest island in Indonesia, and the 13th largest island in the world. Home to a population of 130 million, it beats the Japanese island Honshu for the most populous island in the world. Most people speak Indonesian, either as a first or second language, alongside languages like Javanese (in development for release by Mango!), Sudanese, and Madurese.
Java is almost entirely volcanic, which has created abundantly rich soil. This, along with the ideal climate, has made Java a perfect place for its coffee industry to flourish and become synonymous with our morning cup of Joe.
So, do you think you could you make it all the way to Java without a cup of Java?
A little background: the first World Cup was held in 1930 by the Fédération Internationale de Football (that’s soccer in the U.S.) Association (FIFA), and was won by Uruguay. Since then, it has been held consistently every four years except for 1942 and 1946, when it was not contested due to international involvement in World War Two. Currently, Brazil leads all other countries in number of titles won (5 cups), followed by Italy with 4, and Germany with 3.
The last cup, in 2006, was held in Germany and saw Italy as its champion. The final match between Italy and France drew an estimated 715.1 million viewers. Compare that to the 106 million viewers who tuned in for the Superbowl, or even the entire population of the U.S., for that matter, which comes in at around 310 million people, and you can see just how popular this event really is.
What country are you rooting for in this year’s World Cup?