Thank you Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland for your Multilingualism

The other main countries in Europe that speak French are Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland; however, they do not just have French as an official language. Belgium also has Dutch and German; Luxembourg has German and Luxembourgish; and Switzerland has German, Italian, and Romansh. What that means for language lovers is that certain websites have multiple translations and you can use one language to learn another as well as learn about the culture of the country at the same time.

If you like art, the Museum of Modern Art Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM)’s website is in French and German.  Maybe you’d like to know train vocabulary in German, French and Italian. Try Switzerland’s official rail company. Need to learn words for various food and grocery items so you know what to ask for at the store? Auchandrive.fr is available in French and Dutch thanks to Belgium. (Just choose a store that is on the border, such as Leers.) Then just use two browsers and put the windows side by side to compare the vocabulary.

Of course there are many other websites that provide translations into other languages, such as Wikipedia, but the content isn’t always the same so it’s much harder to compare. Another reason to use websites based in multilingual countries is so you can be sure (well, almost) that the translations are correct. Multilingual countries make much more of an effort to ensure quality translations by hiring professional translators – and not using computer translations – so that all of their citizens can have access to information in their native language(s).

Even though France is a monolingual country, a lot of resources are translated into English for tourists, but I’ve come across too many French websites with English translations that were obviously copied from Google Translate. The official tourism website, france.fr, does offer translations in four languages and even though I haven’t seen any mistakes in the English translations so far, the content is not exactly the same or even in the same place on each version so it’s difficult to compare and use it properly as a learning tool.

What would you like to see on ielanguages.com?

Now that I have more free time, I plan on working on ielanguages.com full time until at least Christmas. I have a lot of ideas and plans for improving and adding to the content, and of course I’d also like your input on what to add. What would you like to see on the site? […]

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Portugal and Portuguese: First Impressions

Portugal was a nice break from the strikes in France last week and I am already planning to return to see more of this adorable country. Lisbon is one of those capital cities that makes you forget how many people live there and the fact that it is such a large city. The subway was […]

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Lisbon & Sintra, Portugal

I adore Portugal. ___________________________________________________ Lisbon & Sintra in the Photo Albums Views from Lisbon & Sintra on YouTube Travel Tips: Lisbon, Sintra, and Lisbon airport Portuguese Language Realia

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We’re off to Lisbon, Portugal!

This week is my last trip of the year and I’m off to Lisboa / Lisbon, Portugal, with David. The pictures I’ve seen online of the Portuguese capital look incredibly beautiful, and the guest house I booked, Residencial Vila Nova, looks really nice and in a great location. Plus it’s still 20°C and sunny there […]

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Pour les francophones qui veulent apprendre l’américain / For French speakers who want to learn American English

Après quatre longues années en tant qu’enseignante d’anglais, j’ai envie d’aider les francophones à apprendre la langue des States, ou l’américain comme disent les français. Même si la plupart des manuels scolaires sont écrits en anglais britannique et la plupart des profs parlent anglais britannique, mes élèves et mes étudiants voulaient toujours mieux comprendre l’américain […]

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The French Language Outside of France

The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) just published La Langue française dans le monde 2010, its most recent report on the state of the French language in the world today. It will be in bookstores October 21 (éd. Nathan, 26€), just a day before the XIIIème Sommet de la Francophonie takes place this weekend, […]

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Expat Exhaustion: All Grèved Out and All Franced Out

Perhaps you heard that there was a strike this past Tuesday in France against the pension reforms. Perhaps you heard it was the 5th one this year, and another one is already scheduled for next Tuesday. Perhaps you heard that the government has already passed the reforms anyway. Even though most people protesting only took […]

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English Language Teaching Assistantship in France for 2011-2012 School Year

If you would like to teach English in the public school system in France or the DOM-TOMs as an assistant for the 2011-2012 school year (October 1, 2011 to either April 30, 2012 or June 30, 2012) , use the links below to find out the specific requirements and application process for your country. In […]

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Losing my Native Pronunciation: The Case of ArchipeLAgo or ArchiPELago

I’ve been contributing to RhinoSpike lately by recording myself reading texts in English for other language learners to use in their independent studies. This weekend, however,  I could not remember how to correctly pronounce a few words in my native language. I still use English often in my day to day life, but it’s mostly […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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