Tag Archives: Dutch

learning a new language

I’m not so good at languages. I mean real languages, not programming languages (those are easy). I’m going to a Croatian course but you have to get a big vocabulary to really say something more substantial than ‘one beer please’. Learning words from books is not really my cup of tea so I thought I’d make something online to practice. Using jQuery and Google-language I conjured up a little page. On it you can add words to categories that are saved as a cookie on your computer.
The only weird thing is that Google-language sometimes translates stuff quite weirdly. For instance: I wanted to add the word ‘bear’ to it from Dutch to Croatian. It returned ‘pivo’ (Croatian for beer) probably because the Dutch word for ‘bear’ is ‘beer’. So I tried it the other way around: I know ‘bear’ is ‘medvjed’ in Croatian. It translated that into the Dutch word ‘dragen’ (which is to carry or to bear). At first I thought Google had made another Hungarian phrasebook but obviously it first translates any languages to English before translating it into another. If you put in full sentences it mostly comes out right though.

Initially I made it Dutch-Croatian, but my girlfriend is learning French, and the girl I share my studio with is learning Spanish so I turned it into an anything-anything eeeh thing.

The Dutch word for blindly-learning-stuff-by-heart is ‘stampen’ (to pound) so I called it stamp-o-matic (still a work in progress).