Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

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Deinonysus
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Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby Deinonysus » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:08 am

I had been learning Italian for a while, but my motivation has suffered as I've been working on my phonetic English alphabet, which always shifts my focus to the languages and dialects of the British Isles. I finished the first level of Pimsleur Italian, and I don't have enough time to finish another level before I go on parental leave for a while, and will probably stop Pimsleur because I won't be commuting. But, I do have just enough time to finish Pimsleur Irish, which only has ten lessons.

I'm taking a break from Italian with the intention of picking it back up once I'm on leave, minus Pimsleur. In the meantime, I'm giving in to a wanderlust bonanza.

I have free access to the Pronunciator language learning site through my library. It covers a massive list of languages and I wanted to try it out with a language that isn't covered by my usual favorite resources, so I picked Afrikaans.

Pronunciator First Impressions

I don't love it, but I think it's useful for the languages and dialects that have few other resources.

They have a course for Canadian French. I was hoping to use it to learn Québecois French, which I have a very hard time understanding. Unfortunately, the voice for this course has a fairly standard Metropolitan French accent, so it's no help to me.

They also have a Latin course, but unfortunately they use Ecclesiastical pronunciation, not Classical.

Pronunciator sadly has a Rosetta-Stone style flash-card system where you need to remember a word or phrase based on a vague image. It's pretty obnoxious, to be honest. But it's better than nothing, and it does seem to be the best resource available to me for Afrikaans.

Here is the full list of languages (taken from Wikipedia):

Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cebuano, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Pinyin), Chinese (Xiang), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (American), English (British), Estonian, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hiligaynon, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Japanese (Romaji), Javanese, Korean, Kurdish, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malagasy, Malay, Malayalam, Maltese, Marathi, Mongolian, Nepali, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sindhi, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovene, Somali, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Welsh, Xhosa

I'm assuming that the "Chinese (pinyin)" course is Mandarin without characters, which is pretty cool. I'm also pretty excited that they have Javanese.

They also have have a few dialects that are not on the above list: Algerian Arabic, Australian and Canadian English, Canadian French (not a Québecois accent), and Mexican Spanish (which is a separate option from "Latin American"). They also have American and Mexican Sign language. I took a look at ASL and unfortunately they only have the alphabet.

They have Scottish Gaelic too, which is also not on the above list.

Afrikaans

I am fascinated by South Africa and I have briefly dabbled in Xhosa. I know there are better resources for Dutch than for Afrikaans, but I'm not nearly as interested in it. Afrikaans has simpler grammar than Dutch so I've heard it's harder to understand Dutch from Afrikaans than the other way around, but since I also speak German I should be able to figure out conjugated Dutch verbs if I know the Afrikaans version, for example. So I'm anticipating a better-than-expected passive understanding of Dutch if I learn Afrikaans. I don't know how far Pronunciator will get me but we'll see.

My first impression is that Afrikaans may be the easiest language I've ever studied. I think it even beats Danish and Norwegian.
  • Grammar: These languages all conjugate verbs only for tense, not person. And there are no cases. But Afrikaans wins because there is no grammatical gender; Danish has two and Norwegian has 2-3 (depending on dialect).
  • Pronunciation: Afrikaans is very easy for an English speaker to pronounce. The Scandinavian languages present some difficulties: For example, Norwegian has a pitch accent and retroflex consonants, and Danish is... Danish.
  • Syntax: The Scandinavian languages win this one. English syntax is much more Scandinavian than West Germanic. But I'm cheating because I speak German, so Afrikaans syntax is easy for me anyway.
Irish

I briefly dabbled in Irish last year after having brunch in an Irish restaurant. There was an Irish poem on the wall and I couldn't fight off the urge to finally wrap my head around that impenetrable spelling system. I bought the 10-lesson Pimsleur course and did just under half of it, and I also used Duolingo. I'm doing the same now, and a lot of it is coming back to me.

One difficulty is that Pimsleur uses the Munster dialect while the Duolingo audio is spoken by a Connacht dialect speaker. There are some major differences, and even the name of the language is different! It's called "Gaolainn" in the Munster dialect rather than "Gaeilge". I suppose it can't hurt to have a knowledge of different dialects but it's confusing for a beginner.

I'm hoping that some knowledge of the Irish language will give me some insight into Hiberno-English. Unfortunately I don't know of any resources to learn Irish English as a foreign language, the way there are for US and UK English, and for Scots. I'm working my way through the canon of Anglophone literature, and sooner or later I'll need to tackle James Joyce. I'm sure a knowledge of Hiberno-English will help. In the meantime, I'm watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

Scots

I ordered the book Luath Scots; I read a bit of the introduction in a free preview and it seems to be based on the Doric (North-East) dialect. I've always been interested in Scots, but my interest grew after a trip to Edinburgh, for two reasons. One, I got a copy of The Eejits, a translation of Roald Dahl's The Twits into Scots (not Doric, but I believe the author suggests that the book will help the learner to understand Scots in general, not just Doric). Two, I could not understand the Glaswegians I met at all. Barely a word. Hopefully a knowledge of Scots will also help me to understand heavily accented Scottish Standard English by proxy, and on my next trip to Scotland I won't have to blankly smile and nod as much.

There is a CD as well but that needs to be ordered separately. I'm waiting until the book arrives to order it because there are multiple editions and I want to make sure I get the right one. Also there's a discount available if you buy the book, but depending on the shipping cost from the UK it might be cheaper to just get it from Amazon.

The name "Luath" is not Scots, but it means "quick" in both Scottish Gaelic and Irish.

UK Standard English with Received Pronunciation

As a speaker of American English, I struggle with hearing and pronouncing differences in vowel length. I think I do okay in German but sometimes I mishear the vowel length if I'm not careful. One thing that might help is to systematically learn Received Pronunciation as though it's a foreign language, taking great care to internalize the prosody.

Learning UK Standard English will also help me to use Assimil and Teach Yourself, which both use UK English. I can generally understand it just fine, but formal study would take out the guesswork.

All of the other languages and dialects that I mention here also happen to have vowel length contrasts, but UK English with Received Pronunciation is by far the most familiar to me.

I'm using BBC's pronunciation videos to learn the phonemes of RP. I may also want to go through the Pronunciator course for British English, and I'm also considering buying a copy of Assimil L'anglais, which is based on UK English.

Québecois

Pronunciator was a bust but there seem to be some good videos on YouTube, and I could start listening to some French Canadian radio via CBC. I also own some movies that I think have French Canadian dubs available.

A real course would be nice though, so I can really wrap my head around the pronunciation rules, rather than just trying to get it through osmosis.

Anglophone Literature

I've mentioned this in other threads, but to summarize: one of my goals in learning foreign languages is to read classic literature, but I haven't read most of the greats in my native language, English, so I should start there. I was a poor student in high school and I didn't read most of the books that I was assigned. Now I'm trying to make my way through the Anglophone portion of the Western Canon.

I've been making very good progress since I started reading ebooks on my phone, and especially since I uninstalled Reddit. Now I read books when I'm bored instead of mindlessly browsing oddly specific memes and manipulated spins on news articles.

I finished Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. They were both quick reads, and very enjoyable in a soul-crushing way. I'm trying not to get tempted into dabbling in Igbo.

Now I'm reading Beloved by Toni Morisson, and it's a much more challenging read than the last two because the language isn't as direct. Sometimes she will abruptly mention a glimpse of something new and it won't be fully explained for another few pages, so reading it becomes a juggling act and you piece things together simultaneously across several pages. I haven't read much non-genre modern literature so I don't know how common this is. I've heard Joyce described as stream of consciousness, so maybe his books are similar.

Despite this more difficult style, it does have the more compelling page-turner pacing that you see in most modern novels, so I'm still going through it faster than the Victorian stuff.

Catch-22 is up next. It's a long one but I think it will go by quickly.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby overscore » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:20 am

Deinonysus wrote:Québecois

Pronunciator was a bust but there seem to be some good videos on YouTube, and I could start listening to some French Canadian radio via CBC. I also own some movies that I think have French Canadian dubs available.

A real course would be nice though, so I can really wrap my head around the pronunciation rules, rather than just trying to get it through osmosis.


Check out the wikipedia page, I think the basics are all in there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French_phonology


[ɛː] → [ɛɪ̯] ~ [ei̯] ~ [æɪ̯] ~ [aɪ̯], but [æɛ̯] ~ [aɛ̯] ~ [aɪ̯] before /ʁ/, as in fête [faɪ̯t] ~ [fæɪ̯t], Eng. "party"; père [pæɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɪ̯ʁ], Eng. "father"; fêter [fɛɪ̯te], Eng. "celebrate";
[øː] → [øʏ̯], as in neutre [nøʏ̯tʁ̥], Eng. "neutral"
[oː] → [oʊ̯], as in cause [koʊ̯z], Eng. "cause"
[ɑː] → [ɑʊ̯], but [ɑɔ̯] (before /ʁ/), as in pâte [pɑʊ̯t], Eng. "paste" bar [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "bar"
[ɔː] → [ɑɔ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in bord [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "side"
[œː] → [ɑœ̯] ~ [ɶœ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in cœur [kaœ̯ʁ] ~ [kɶœ̯ʁ], Eng. "heart"
[iː] → [ɪi̯], as in livre [lɪi̯vʁ], Eng. "book/pound"
[uː] → [ʊu̯], as in four [fʊu̯ʁ], Eng. "oven"
[yː] → [ʏy̯], as in cure [kʏy̯ʁ], Eng. "treatment"
[ãː] → [ãʊ̯̃], as in banque [bãʊ̯̃k], Eng. "bank"
[ẽː] → [ẽɪ̯̃] ~ [ãɪ̯̃], as in quinze [kẽɪ̯̃z] ~ [kãɪ̯̃z], Eng. "fifteen"
[õː] → [ɒ̃ʊ̯̃], as in son [sɒ̃ʊ̯̃], Eng. "sound"
[œ̃ː] → [œ̃ʏ̯̃], as in un [œ̃ʏ̯̃], Eng. "one"
[wɑː] → [waɪ̯] ~ [wɛɪ̯] ~ [wei̯], as in boîte [bwaɪ̯t] ~ [bwei̯t], Eng. "box"
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:14 pm

overscore wrote:
Deinonysus wrote:Québecois

Pronunciator was a bust but there seem to be some good videos on YouTube, and I could start listening to some French Canadian radio via CBC. I also own some movies that I think have French Canadian dubs available.

A real course would be nice though, so I can really wrap my head around the pronunciation rules, rather than just trying to get it through osmosis.


Check out the wikipedia page, I think the basics are all in there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French_phonology


[ɛː ] → [ɛɪ̯] ~ [ei̯] ~ [æɪ̯] ~ [aɪ̯], but [æɛ̯] ~ [aɛ̯] ~ [aɪ̯] before /ʁ/, as in fête [faɪ̯t] ~ [fæɪ̯t], Eng. "party"; père [pæɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɪ̯ʁ], Eng. "father"; fêter [fɛɪ̯te], Eng. "celebrate";
[øː ] → [øʏ̯], as in neutre [nøʏ̯tʁ̥], Eng. "neutral"
[oː ] → [oʊ̯], as in cause [koʊ̯z], Eng. "cause"
[ɑː ] → [ɑʊ̯], but [ɑɔ̯] (before /ʁ/), as in pâte [pɑʊ̯t], Eng. "paste" bar [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "bar"
[ɔː ] → [ɑɔ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in bord [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "side"
[œː ] → [ɑœ̯] ~ [ɶœ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in cœur [kaœ̯ʁ] ~ [kɶœ̯ʁ], Eng. "heart"
[iː ] → [ɪi̯], as in livre [lɪi̯vʁ], Eng. "book/pound"
[uː ] → [ʊu̯], as in four [fʊu̯ʁ], Eng. "oven"
[yː ] → [ʏy̯], as in cure [kʏy̯ʁ], Eng. "treatment"
[ãː ] → [ãʊ̯̃], as in banque [bãʊ̯̃k], Eng. "bank"
[ẽː ] → [ẽɪ̯̃] ~ [ãɪ̯̃], as in quinze [kẽɪ̯̃z] ~ [kãɪ̯̃z], Eng. "fifteen"
[õː ] → [ɒ̃ʊ̯̃], as in son [sɒ̃ʊ̯̃], Eng. "sound"
[œ̃ː ] → [œ̃ʏ̯̃], as in un [œ̃ʏ̯̃], Eng. "one"
[wɑː ] → [waɪ̯] ~ [wɛɪ̯] ~ [wei̯], as in boîte [bwaɪ̯t] ~ [bwei̯t], Eng. "box"

That's good advice. In fact, I have been going over the Wikipedia phonology pages for the dialects I'm trying to learn, I should have mentioned that.

My issue with the phonology pages is that although they're very good, they're also very abstract and dense; also, there are some allophones and it isn't clear which ones might be more common, or which ones might go together.. A course would provide a lot of practice with slow, isolated words and phrases that would be an intermediate step between an abstract phonology outline and just jumping right in to full-speed native audio.

I have been looking some words in Forvo, and that might be the way to go. The problem is, there isn't always a Canadian French audio, and if there is Canadian French audio it isn't guaranteed to be with a Québecois accent. But maybe it's best I can do in the absence of a course.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:33 pm

As it turns out, Teach Yourself has the full audio of its 2012 Afrikaans course available for free on their website and app, and the Kindle book is absurdly cheap, so I'm doing that instead of Pronunciator since it's much better. But I don't think I'll have enough bandwidth to give Irish the attention it deserves if I'm also starting Afrikaans, so maybe I'll hold off and work on Afrikaans concurrently with Italian in a couple of weeks; since Afrikaans and Italian are both much easier for me than Irish, it should be fine to learn them together.

In lieu of Afrikaans, I tried to go through the first day of Pronunciator's British English course last night. Unfortunately, the room with my computer is right next to my daughter's room, and my creepy whispering was threatening to wake her up, so I had to stop. Pronunciator has an app, so maybe I'll try again tonight, downstairs on my phone.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby overscore » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:27 pm

Deinonysus wrote:
overscore wrote:
Deinonysus wrote:Québecois

Pronunciator was a bust but there seem to be some good videos on YouTube, and I could start listening to some French Canadian radio via CBC. I also own some movies that I think have French Canadian dubs available.

A real course would be nice though, so I can really wrap my head around the pronunciation rules, rather than just trying to get it through osmosis.


Check out the wikipedia page, I think the basics are all in there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French_phonology


[ɛː ] → [ɛɪ̯] ~ [ei̯] ~ [æɪ̯] ~ [aɪ̯], but [æɛ̯] ~ [aɛ̯] ~ [aɪ̯] before /ʁ/, as in fête [faɪ̯t] ~ [fæɪ̯t], Eng. "party"; père [pæɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɛ̯ʁ] ~ [paɪ̯ʁ], Eng. "father"; fêter [fɛɪ̯te], Eng. "celebrate";
[øː ] → [øʏ̯], as in neutre [nøʏ̯tʁ̥], Eng. "neutral"
[oː ] → [oʊ̯], as in cause [koʊ̯z], Eng. "cause"
[ɑː ] → [ɑʊ̯], but [ɑɔ̯] (before /ʁ/), as in pâte [pɑʊ̯t], Eng. "paste" bar [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "bar"
[ɔː ] → [ɑɔ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in bord [bɑɔ̯ʁ], Eng. "side"
[œː ] → [ɑœ̯] ~ [ɶœ̯] (only before /ʁ/), as in cœur [kaœ̯ʁ] ~ [kɶœ̯ʁ], Eng. "heart"
[iː ] → [ɪi̯], as in livre [lɪi̯vʁ], Eng. "book/pound"
[uː ] → [ʊu̯], as in four [fʊu̯ʁ], Eng. "oven"
[yː ] → [ʏy̯], as in cure [kʏy̯ʁ], Eng. "treatment"
[ãː ] → [ãʊ̯̃], as in banque [bãʊ̯̃k], Eng. "bank"
[ẽː ] → [ẽɪ̯̃] ~ [ãɪ̯̃], as in quinze [kẽɪ̯̃z] ~ [kãɪ̯̃z], Eng. "fifteen"
[õː ] → [ɒ̃ʊ̯̃], as in son [sɒ̃ʊ̯̃], Eng. "sound"
[œ̃ː ] → [œ̃ʏ̯̃], as in un [œ̃ʏ̯̃], Eng. "one"
[wɑː ] → [waɪ̯] ~ [wɛɪ̯] ~ [wei̯], as in boîte [bwaɪ̯t] ~ [bwei̯t], Eng. "box"

That's good advice. In fact, I have been going over the Wikipedia phonology pages for the dialects I'm trying to learn, I should have mentioned that.

My issue with the phonology pages is that although they're very good, they're also very abstract and dense; also, there are some allophones and it isn't clear which ones might be more common, or which ones might go together.. A course would provide a lot of practice with slow, isolated words and phrases that would be an intermediate step between an abstract phonology outline and just jumping right in to full-speed native audio.

I have been looking some words in Forvo, and that might be the way to go. The problem is, there isn't always a Canadian French audio, and if there is Canadian French audio it isn't guaranteed to be with a Québecois accent. But maybe it's best I can do in the absence of a course.


Yes! You're completely right that this is rather bad for learning the language.
The tricky part about what you're trying to do is that we don't have a standardized version of Québecois. I wish we did, but there is little political interest to do so for various reasons. in France you also find similar regional languages (Saintongeais) but they get no recognition and most are moribund nowadays.

Anyhow, I found an Assimil course for it, I'll send you a PM.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby eido » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:36 pm

Deinonysus wrote:Unfortunately, the room with my computer is right next to my daughter's room, and my creepy whispering was threatening to wake her up, so I had to stop. Pronunciator has an app, so maybe I'll try again tonight, downstairs on my phone.

:lol: This was a great image to have in my mind.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:51 pm

overscore wrote:Yes! You're completely right that this is rather bad for learning the language.
The tricky part about what you're trying to do is that we don't have a standardized version of Québecois. I wish we did, but there is little political interest to do so for various reasons. in France you also find similar regional languages (Saintongeais) but they get no recognition and most are moribund nowadays.

Anyhow, I found an Assimil course for it, I'll send you a PM.

Thanks! I was thinking of buying the Assimil course, but I didn't get it since there didn't seem to be audio. I think it would be overkill right now; I don't really need an intricate description of vocabulary and grammar differences, I just want to be able to order a coffee in French at a rest stop somewhere in Québec and then understand the response.

I think between the Wikipedia page and Forvo, I should be able to internalize the general pronunciation rules enough to start listening to some native materials. Although I'm sure accents will vary.
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Re: Wanderlust bonanza - Afrikaans, Irish, Scots, Québecois & English dialects. Reading anglophone lit.

Postby Deinonysus » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:50 pm

Gaeilge

I found a terrific new free source and posted about it on the Programs & Resources forum:
Free (with permission from publisher) out-of-print 1961 Teach Yourself Irish w/audio. West Munster dialect.

The book writes the name of the Irish language as the standard Irish spelling of "Gaeilge" even though it is pronounced [ge:liŋ′] in the Munster dialect, which would be spelled differently. I'll follow suit.

I think I'm going to quit Duolingo Irish for now and just focus on Munster Irish. The Connacht audio would probably just confuse me at this early stage. I'm sure I'll get back to later.

Stiff Upper Lip English

I've gone through most of the BBC's vowel pronunciation videos. My biggest surprise so far is that the RP /ʌ/ is completely different from the American /ʌ/! In fact, it is not an /ʌ/ at all, but is fronted and lowered to /ɐ/ (although the symbol ʌ is still used). I've heard the short "a" in Latin approximated in English as "uh", which sounded ridiculous to me at the time, but the suggestion was meant for Brits and out of their selection of short vowels, /ɐ/ does sound pretty close to the actual Latin value of /a/.

I haven't started the Pronunciator course yet. Maybe tonight. I've also decided that I want to do Teach Yourself's Complete English as a Foreign Language. The audio is free on TY's app, so I don't need to make sure that the CDs come with it. After that, I think I do want to buy a copy of Assimil's L'anglais.

Scots

My copy of Luath Scots came! There's an order form for a discounted CD set in the book and I'll see if they'll accept it by email.

It might make sense to wait until I've studied RP and Irish more thoroughly before tackling Scots. My reasoning is that working on RP will help my ear for vowel length, which is also important to Scots prosody. And Irish is closely related to Scottish Gaelic which has surely influenced Scots, so that should help me too.

French

Considering that my Duolingo time is freed up from Irish, and also considering that I'm using French language learning resources more and more, it makes sense for me to use Duolingo to help refresh my French. They recently redid the entire French tree to get it more in line with CEFR (I think they aim for A2?). I should be able to get the whole tree up to level two very quickly, and that may be all that I need since it's all review anyway.

I also want to finally finish Assimil Using French. I've done the first 20-30 lessons a couple of times, so I should be able to pick it back up at lesson 21 or so, and dust off French With Ease to finish the second wave. Then I could get back to Italian with enough time to make some good progress before the end of the opera season.

I'm not sure where I want to go next in my Québecois comprehension, but I'll figure something out.

Afrikaans

I think I'm on hold here until I'm done with Irish. I may also want to finish my German vocabulary goals first; that will surely help me learn Afrikaans vocabulary more quickly since I'll pick up on more cognates.
1 x
English
: 1 / 80 Pronunciator - British English

Français
: 35 / 314 Duolingo French (to lv 2)
: 20 / 70 Assimil Using French


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