Ultralingua
For people who love languages
VOLUME 12, NEWSLETTER 10 October 2010
IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Language: German
Free Update: Ultralingua 1.3.3
Tools to Try: Language Blogs
Interview with Benny the Irish Polyglot
Spotlight: "Headwords"
Language Poll
 
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Featured Language: German

Though Germany’s world-renowned festival, Oktoberfest, has come to its yearly close, Ultralingua is continuing the celebration by offering a 20% discount on all German products through October 31, 2010.

While the history of Old High German can be traced back to its origin in the 6th century, Modern Standard German did not originate as a traditional dialect of a specific German region. It began solely as a written language. Yet in spite of this silent beginning, the German language has become the most widely spoken native language in the European Union (EU). German is currently spoken by 120 million native-speakers and approximately 80 million non-native speakers worldwide.

With German topping the language charts in the EU and a month-long discount from Ultralingua, now is the perfect time to invest in a dependable German reference tool. Get started by using the coupon code GERMAN20 to take 20% off the purchase of any of the following products through October 31st.

German is a West Germanic language, an Indo-European division of language that includes both English and Dutch. Old High German and Old English developed simultaneously around the 6th century, and as a result a sizable portion of English vocabulary are words borrowed from German. These words are called “loanwords” or “cognates.” They have similar spellings in both languages, indicating a shared definition.

Listed below are some English loanwords you might not have known were derived or copied from German.


English Loanwords

For tips, tricks, and advice, check out our forum dedicated specifically to German vocabulary and grammar. Feel free to share more loanwords like the ones listed above. You can also help others identify “false cognates” - words you assume are similar based on spelling, but actually have different meanings - in our False Friends thread.

This offer is valid for Mac, Windows, PalmOS, Windows Mobile Smartphone, and Windows Mobile Pocket PC products purchased from Ultralingua’s website until October 31, 2010.

 
Free Update: Ultralingua 1.3.3

Ultralingua has just come out with a free update for its Ultralingua, Collins, and Vox apps for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The 1.3.3 update includes two new features that allow users to customize an app to fit their learning preferences: localization and rotation.

Localization

All Ultralingua, Collins, and Vox apps can now be viewed in six language localizations -- English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. When you change the language preferences in your device settings to match one of these languages, the Ultralingua app interface will recognize this preference and a new localization will automatically appear in the app. With this new feature, non-English speakers can use our apps more easily while learners can take the challenge of fully immersing themselves in their language of study.

UL 1.3.3 Localization

Localization for Collins Pro and Vox is available for the iPhone and the iPod touch, and the feature is available for both the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad for Ultralingua apps.

Rotation

Like Ultralingua, Collins and Vox now include screen rotation between landscape and portrait orientation through the 1.3.3 update. Screen rotation is activated by turning the device to the desired orientation. Whether you prefer a long view of the screen or a wide one, users can now utilize our apps in the orientation that’s most convenient. If you prefer the results of your search to remain on screen while you browse a definition, you can choose to operate your Ultralingua dictionaries in landscape orientation. Users who like to see more results per page can choose the portrait orientation.

How to Update

Customizing your app interface with these new features is easy. To update your app from your device, tap on the App Store icon and then the update button in the bottom tab bar. The 1.3.3 update for your Ultralingua apps will appear on this screen with the option to install the update for free.

To update your app from your desktop iTunes, select Apps in the navigation bar on the left side of the window. Available updates are indicated in the bottom right of this page. Clicking that link will display your Ultralingua apps and the available free update. Your app will update the next time you sync your device with iTunes.

If you don’t have one of our dictionaries for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, Ultralingua’s complete selection can be found on our page in the App Store.

If you have any further questions or need assistance updating, try the Support section of our website or connect with fellow users in our forum. You can also update your review in the iTunes store to let us know what you think.

 
Tools to Try: Language Blogs

This month we’re highlighting another free resource to supplement your language learning: language blogs. The way blogs combine text, images, and links to similar or helpful sites allows readers to assimilate the language through a variety of mediums. The social nature of blogs also creates a community of language learners and a continually growing collection of resources.

Earlier this year, the Top 100 Language Blogs of 2010 were released. This list is a central hub through which language lovers can find the best blogs to suit their needs. The competition, hosted annually by bab.la and Lexiophiles, is arguably the largest language blog competition currently running on the Internet. The competition aims to find the best blogs related to languages and award language-loving bloggers. This year sported the largest number of nominations - an astounding 495 - which then had to be culled down through various criteria and user voting to the Top 100. The list can also be broken down into the Top 10 winners of four separate categories: “Language Learning,” “Language Teaching,” “Language Technology,” and “Language Professionals.”

The blogs are ranked according to both user votes and a rubric of criteria developed by Lexiophiles with each judgment accounting for 50% of the rank outcome. Blogs are assessed by criteria from the following three categories:

  • Content - Originality of the entries, depth of the postings, inclusion of multimedia.
  • Consistency - Activeness of the blog, frequent postings, navigational ease.
  • Interactivity - Involvement of readers via contact pages, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and comment boxes.

The result of this extensive rating procedure is a comprehensive directory in which almost any linguistic subject can be found and any language need met. Check out the list here and tell us what you think. Did any of your favorites make it on the list? Have you found a new language blog to follow? Let us know in the Language Blogs section of our forum.

 
Interview with Benny the Irish Polyglot

In conjunction with this month’s “Tools to Try,” we interviewed Benny Lewis, whose blog, Fluent in 3 Months, took runner-up in the Top 100 Language Blogs of 2010’s overall competition and first place in the “Language Learning” category. He shares how he got his start, his opinion on the relationship between language and the Internet, and his number one tool for learning a language.

Ultralingua: How did your blog originate?
Benny Lewis: After coming back from India I wanted to embark on a new interesting project. I had already attempted to learn languages quickly, since I have been travelling for about 8 years. At the time I could speak seven languages fluently and was convinced that I could help others achieve something similar.

But I never blogged about it or had tight deadlines. I thought about my limit seriously and realised that I could actually reach fluency in three months if I really tried. So in one morning I registered the domain fluentin3months.com, came up with a random "tricky" language that would be interesting enough to follow (Czech), bought my ticket to Prague and started blogging. In my first week my blog was mentioned in a Dutch newsletter and that immediately gave me several regular commenters. From there it naturally grew.

UL: What effect do you think the Internet has had on language learning?
BL: The Internet has changed everything. There are countless free resources for learning the basics of any language, and lots of tools to help you learn. However the best resource by far is the social connections you can make with natives. You can practise over Skype for free or search for events/groups on Facebook to meet up with natives and other learners offline. This has helped me to maintain my already learned languages no matter where I am in the world.

UL: What do you consider to be the best way to learn a new language?
BL: Speak it from day one. Learn the basics and then use it. Waiting until you are "ready" will keep you in a vicious circle forever. Perfect course material doesn't exist - use what you have to expand your knowledge, but the greatest resource must be other people. Podcasts, CD courses and books can only get you so far. Only time speaking can get you to fluency.

UL: Why should people use language blogs - yours in particular?
BL:
While this may hurt my traffic stats, the end-goal of my blog is to have someone turn off their browser and start speaking. My blog attempts to encourage them to do this and to help them get by in early stages, but the point is to stop reading about things and do it. Language blogs can give you lots of fantastic tips, but unless you apply the advice you will never be anything more than a passive observer. Why should I get to have all the fun? Start your own blog and share your own language learning adventure with the world.

UL: What tool(s) apart from language blogs have you found to be an invaluable aid in language learning?
BL: HB 2.0 - the latest technology. It simulates the environment of online streamed audio, simulates voice recognition software, includes automatic feedback, as well as an amazing amount of encouragement. All in one and for the amazing value of $0/year - Human Beings. Meet a person (other learner or native, online or in person) and speak the language with them. It is absolutely impossible to find anything more "invaluable" than that.

You can learn more about Benny the Irish Polyglot at his blog.

 
Spotlight: "Headwords" - What Are They?

With a wide variety of dictionaries on the market, it can be difficult to compare the content in each and find the best one to fit your needs. This difficulty arises because the terminology used to describe products varies wildly between companies. Even when those terms are shared, their definitions can be significantly different. At Ultralingua, we want to make sure that our customers know the significance of vocabulary like “headwords,” “definitions,” and “translations” and the different ways in which they are used. In this article - the first in a series on this topic - we want to make our subscribers and customers aware of this inconsistency in the vocabulary used by different companies.

Because each publisher quantifies their dictionary content differently, it can be hard to compare one product to another. For example, you may see Ultralingua refer to the “headwords” in our dictionaries, while Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary counts “entries,” and Collins uses “references” to describe their products. Other words that sometimes appear in product descriptions are “definitions,” “translations,” and “terms.” It is important to understand that different publishers have different interpretations of these words, and that even when the same word is used by two separate publishers, the content that word encompasses and represents isn’t necessarily the same.

We know this is confusing, so here at Ultralingua we are working with other publishers to create a new standard of quantifying and qualifying data that is both accurate and easy to understand. We want you to know exactly what you are getting when you purchase a dictionary from Ultralingua, and how our dictionaries compare to the others you have to choose from. We provide headword and definition counts in the descriptions of our products to answer basic questions you might have about the amount of content they include. However, it is important to remember that these counts are only one way to assess the contents of a dictionary.

Reference apps by Ultralingua include extra tools and features to help you make the most of their content. Ultralingua dictionaries utilize a smart search function to recognize and find words as you type them. Handy “see also” notations help users navigate the dictionary to alternative words, and, when necessary, usage notes explain when to use tricky words and in what context.

We want you to understand our products before you invest in them, so if you have any questions or comments regarding our product descriptions please let us know.

 
Poll: Which Language Do You Want To See Ultralingua Do Next?

Here's your chance to tell us what you want.

Nothing is more important to us than making products that you’ll love. In order to do that, we need to know what it is you think is important and what you want to see next.

We’ve put together a one-question poll to help us get a better understanding of where our customers would like us to focus our efforts. By taking the time to complete the poll, you will help us get one step closer to providing you with the language products you’re looking for.

Click here to participate in the poll. It will be the easiest survey you'll ever take.

 

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Regards,

Ultralingua, Inc.
www.ultralingua.com
1313 SE 5th Street, Suite 108, Minneapolis, MN, 55414