Why a Finn should use English to learn Spanish? Actually quite obvious, a vast selection of fine free materials. Below just a tentative surface scratch.
Edx.org is a collection site for MOOC’s from the best universities around the world. They are free if you don’t need a certificate. Currently there are only four Spanish courses. JaverianaX is Columbian and UPValenciaX Spanish university.
One of the best features of edX is the media player.
Peter is a former opioid addict. This video is from The Opioid Crisis in America from HarvardX.
Note the speed, which has 0.25x steps and how the current location is highlighted in the transcript pane. You can also download the files, for example, for mpv player, available at least for Linux, which has 10 % speed steps for more high grained control.
KVG as we Finns say, click here.
I clicked at the first: 9 Great Spanish Podcasts Every Spanish Learner Should Listen To and it first opened a pop-up requesting my email for a newsletter and a free e-book, The Complete Guide to Instant Spanish Immersion. I gave my address and hey presto! I got the book and scrolled down to Contents..
I planned to end with To be continued, but think not. Bob’s your uncle!
Bag of tricks
Here i will collect some tricks that I have used to improve my English, a continuous process.
Kindle e-book reader
I have a Kindle reader, but no longer use it. I use Kindle cloud reader instead. To try out it with spanish, I bought Don Quijote de la Mancha (Spanish Edition) from Amazon for free (most probably Project Gutenberg version converted to Kindle format) and and used the dictionary function. The Spanish dictionary was already there!
I believe almost all academic languages have their ”official” dictionaries on the net and they might be also available for Kindle (cloud) reader. There is no reason to buy dead tree versions of books or newspapers!
If you have a Kindle device, it is also possible to install all kinds of dictionaries and there is even a Spanish to English dictionary. So google ”how to install additional dictionaries to kindle” or use what I used, Multiple Languages Kindle Dictionaries Download and Install Guide. It has a download link to Spanish to English dictionary by Dave Slusher and Mac Sturm. What is perhaps not so obvious is that also WordNet 3 Infused ES English + Spanish is a English to Spanish dictionary. There is also a third one, but very small.
Kindle reader is available also for Android and if it detects for the first time, that you read something in Spanish, it asks if Spanish dictionary should be installed and if you answer yes, you just have to wait for the download to finish before you can use it.
I18n and l10n support in Linux from the point of a language student
To measure how wide l10n (short for localization) support Linux currently has, I gave the command “dnf search langpacks | grep meta-package | wc -l” and the answer was 80. Among language meta-packages are:
- langpacks-eu.noarch : Basque langpacks meta-package
- langpacks-es.noarch : Spanish langpacks meta-package
- langpacks-ca.noarch : Catalan langpacks meta-package
- langpacks-gl.noarch : Galician langpacks meta-package
- langpacks-ast.noarch : Asturian langpacks meta-package
There are also other Romance languages spoken in Spain besides Spanish. With Linux you can have them all installed or even all the 80 language support or l10n meta-packages that install the needed real l10n packages. I was more cautious or thorough, I did a search: “dnf search Spanish“, picked the necessary packages and gave the install command:
dnf install kde-l10n-es.noarch hyphen-es.noarch libreoffice-help-es.x86_64 autocorr-es.noarch hunspell-es.noarch langpacks-es.noarch libreoffice-langpack-es.x86_64
After that you can start individual programs in Spanish instead of the default by setting the LANG environment variable. The usual advice to restart or re-login is just a load of dingo’s kidneys. You can even start multiple instances of a same program each with a different language setting. Below is a command I used to start Chrome with a new profile for Spanish settings (–no-sandbox is needed when run as root user):
LANG=es_ES.UTF-8 google-chrome –user-data-dir=chrome-es –no-sandbox &
Then if you, for example, visit Spain in Google Arts & Culture, it looks like:
I am almost certain that all the text is automatically translated from English.
When I visited the same page with my normal LANG setting, fi_FI.UTF-8, everything was in English with “Translate with Google” button centered at the bottom. The only Street View building I found in Spain was Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Mind blowing!