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Invitation to visit my language museums

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
20 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
United States
Joined 7103 days ago

609 posts - 2102 votes 

 Message 1 of 20
25 March 2010 at 8:21pm | IP Logged 
Greetings! Although I remain far too occupied with other matters to participate actively in the forum, I wanted to drop by, say hello, and let the members of this community of enthusiastic language lovers know about an exciting “discovery” I have made of what has to be the single greatest source of substantive listening materials for an enormous number of languages, most of them quite rare and exotic. It is religious in nature so it may not interest those who cannot stomach the Bible, but if you can use a complete high-fidelity audio-drama New Testament as either listening sample or learning material, you can now find these in 517 languages. I have been looking in vain for any kind of listening material for dozens of languages for many years, and here, at one fell swoop, I found 20-25 hours of comprehensible input for each one of them! More than that, I found sound samples for scores of languages I had never heard before, and indeed, for hundreds of languages that I had never even heard of! Since the languages are organized in an imperfect alphabetic fashion with no other indication of what they are, as I listened, I tracked them down on Ethnologue and compiled a chart with their names, language families, areas of the world where they are spoken, and number of speakers. Thus, I am now able to listen to them systematically, both by genetic affiliation, and by geographic region, and I offer these charts to others on my website in the form of a Language Family Museum and a Geographic Language Museum, which I hereby invite you all to visit.


Alexander Arguelles

Edited by ProfArguelles on 11 December 2010 at 9:28pm

42 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 5228 days ago

3971 posts - 7747 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 Message 2 of 20
25 March 2010 at 8:36pm | IP Logged 
Is there any kind of confirmation that native speakers were used for all recordings?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5370 days ago

307 posts - 479 votes 
Speaks: English*, Finnish
Studies: Japanese, Korean, Amharic, French

 Message 3 of 20
25 March 2010 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
That is amazing, thank you
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 6220 days ago

118 posts - 171 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Russian, Esperanto, Ukrainian, Mandarin, Cantonese, French
Studies: Italian, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Persian, Hungarian, Kazakh, Swahili, Vietnamese, Polish

 Message 4 of 20
25 March 2010 at 10:19pm | IP Logged 
pretty impressive, thanks!
1 person has voted this message useful

Winner TAC 2010 & 2012
Senior Member
United States
teango.wordpress.comRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5403 days ago

2210 posts - 3734 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Russian
Studies: Hawaiian, French, Toki Pona

 Message 5 of 20
25 March 2010 at 10:40pm | IP Logged 
This is indeed a fantastic find! Thanks so much for sharing this with the forum. Sadly Irish wasn't available either on the website or via the widget you kindly provided, probably due to the reasons you stated below. It's long been a quest of mine to get hold of quality Irish audio with transcripts and translations. If you know of a direct link to "Gaelic Irish", this would be very much appreciated.

"Italics indicate languages not found on the widget - these are mainly popular or commonly studied Western European languages from lands that have long been Christian. FCBH does make and sell audio-drama New Testaments for a number of these, and I will provide direct links to alternate sources when I can find them."

Edited by Teango on 25 March 2010 at 10:42pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5663 days ago

121 posts - 232 votes 
Speaks: English*

 Message 6 of 20
25 March 2010 at 10:46pm | IP Logged 
OOOOOOOOMMMMMMGGG! That's all I gotta say about that. Thanks a lot professor.
2 persons have voted this message useful

United States
Joined 6689 days ago

10 posts - 46 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Ancient Greek, Modern Hebrew, Sign Language, Mandarin

 Message 7 of 20
26 March 2010 at 2:23am | IP Logged 
Here are a few observations which might save someone some amount of frustration in using this incredible audio resource. (I've used the Bible as a part of language learning for a few years and have a bit of experience with what might be some problem areas for people new to using these materials.)

1. In some languages, there are multiple versions. It might take some work to find the same exact written text as the one you are listening to. Some versions have had multiple revisions which all use the same basic name. (For example, there are a half-dozen or so revisions of the English King James Version which all have the same name.)

2. Some translations are almost "word for word substitution" from Greek. They might not reflect typical native language patterns. Also, some translations are quite old and may use some archaic words and language patterns. Other translations reflect modern vocabulary and usage.

3. You will undoubtedly find some NT books *much* easier to understand than others. There are 3 main types of books in the NT: narrative, epistle, and apocalypse. The narratives (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts) are basically stories about people and what they said and did. The epistles are private and public letters and communications on various (usually religious) topics. The apocalyptic book (Revelation) is full of unexpected and arcane symbolism. The books of the NT were authored by different people with different styles of writing. Some of these books would probably give you fits as part of a language learning program. Some sections are difficult to follow even in one's native language.

4. I use the book of John as part of my initial listening and learning of new languages. It probably has the simplest and most repetitive language of all of these books. The author of John was probably not a native Greek speaker and tended to write with simpler sentence structure and vocabulary than other NT authors. Many translations (which are often based on Greek) reflect this simpler language. Also, the book tends to be organized around fewer and longer sections compared to other NT books. This makes it much easier to follow an unfamiliar language since the topic is not changing every few sentences.    Note that there are 4 books containing the name "John" in the title. The "Gospel of John" and 3 letters (1 John, 2 John, and 3 John). A second recommendation would be Luke and Acts (which share a common author). These also tend to be organized around longer stories and read more like a history book. The overall language structure and vocabulary is more sophisticated.

5. The chapter and verse numbers were added later by church scholars for help in referencing texts. Quite frequently they do not follow sentences or paragraphs in an obvious manner. I usually ignore them except as a convenient reference point. For language learning, this is a nice bonus. With two different written translations, you have a built-in reference point when looking back and forth between them.

6. The textual history of the New Testament is rather involved. To make a long story short, there are a few sections and words here and there where one language translation might be based on a different family of Greek manuscripts than another. Thus, you might encounter some differences that cannot be reconciled in one language translation to another language translation. Example, John 5:4 is a verse which is in some versions and not in others.

I hope this saves someone some frustration. Quite frankly, the first half of Matthew 1 (which is the most likely audio to be listened to) is certainly not one of the more inspiring sections of the NT. I'm just hoping that does not scare anyone away from this audio treasure trove.

If there is interest, I could post up a list of chapters in the NT which might be more fun to listen to (for most people) than the first part of Matthew 1. There are a number of well-known sections (Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan, Golden Rule, the Love chapter, Christmas story) which have often been referenced in some form in Western literature and culture for centuries that might be of general interest.
18 persons have voted this message useful

Quadrilingual Hexaglot
Joined 5414 days ago

49 posts - 65 votes 
Speaks: Arabic (Egyptian), French*, English*, Arabic (Written)*, Arabic (Levantine)*, Spanish

 Message 8 of 20
28 March 2010 at 7:48pm | IP Logged 
I believe that this site is quite helpful:

Edited by snoppingasusual on 28 March 2010 at 7:49pm

6 persons have voted this message useful

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