Language Matters December 2005: Merry Christmas

Dear Language Friend,

Hello and Welcome to the Holiday edition of our newsletter on the HOW, WHY, WHEN and WHERE of languages. I’d like to begin by wishing you a happy holiday season from the LingoStar team. In this edition I will be covering the topics of WHERE to learn another language, WHERE to learn French online and WHEN to attend our free French lesson. I’ll explain WHY a flag is not a language symbol for your multilingual website and HOW to install foreign language characters on your computer.

Please note that our office is closed for business between 23 December and 15 January.

Thanks for reading,

Lenka de Graafova, Managing Director.

WHERE to Find a Language Partner: A Holiday Love Story

Last month, when offering helpful tips on learning a language, I strongly suggested that you find yourself a foreign language speaking partner. We are not the sort of company to give out untried advice. And so in keeping with our recommendation on language learning, two of my students have decided to enter into an English-Czech relationship. I am happy to report that both parties are progressing rapidly in their language studies. I hate to say it, but I told you so.

What our November Newsletter readers say:

Hello Lenka,

You are absolutely right about learning another language by having a foreign speaking spouse or partner. That is how I learned to read, write and speak German fluently because I had three German girl friends. I am now learning the Czech language. However, it is difficult when you have only one Czech speaking wife.

Cheers! LM


You are describing what I have been doing my whole life. I have learnt 2 languages with my 2 wives and I have lived in many countries in the world in order to learn new languages. I am not finished yet… I am going to Ukraine to practice my Russian.î


There you have it!

Read on about language courses and email for more information…

Learn French through the Media

I really want to learn French but don’t seem to find the time. Since Iíve discovered the CBC’s C’est La Vie, my motivation has risen. If youíre also short of time and looking for a taste of French culture, tune into the CBC’s C’est La Vie program on Fridays at 8:05pm on CBC’s Radio One. A glimpse into the life of French speaking Canadians is on offer.

This weekly program which covers topics from sports, to arts to current affairs, features interviews with people in the news and documentaries from across the country. The program also offers the Word of the Week, a mini French lesson hosted by The Canadian Bilingual Dictionary Projectís lexicographer Johanne Blais.

The lessons are also available on the Cíest La Vie website…

WHY a Flag Is Not a Language Symbol

Whenever I browse the Internet and come across a multilingual website, I cannot resist entering. LingoStar offers website translation into more than 50 languages, and Iím always interested to find out why a particular company has a multilingual website. What often strikes me is the display of country flags on a home page to mark a foreign language version of a website.

However, a single country flag doesnít encompass all the countries where a particular language is spoken. For example, a German flag might be uninviting for the Swiss or Austrians. They both speak German but they do not use the German flag. The same can be said about English, for which the flags of the UK, Canada, USA and other countries would have to be displayed.

So when inserting a language or translation link on your website, keep in mind that a flag is a symbol of a country, not a language. Using a flag is not accurate. I recommend that you use the languageís name rather than a country symbol.

Article on Flags & Language

Foreign Language Characters & Your Computer

Once youíve learned THE foreign language and are ready to start typing, you might sit down at your computer only to discover that all the funny characters are missing. Luckily, Windows supports most languages and you don’t need a special software to install them. Simply follow the instructions below and you’ll be able to type and view any text from French and Spanish to Arabic and Korean. Just donít forget to memorize where the characters are hidden on your English keyboard!

– Click the Start button
– Click on Control Panel
– Click on Regional and Language Options
– Click on Languages folder
– Hit Details
– Hit Add
– Scroll through Input choices and Click on your desired language
– Click OK

Your foreign language characters are now installed. You can now access the languages by opening the language bar on the task bar. Happy typing.



We will be holding another FREE FRENCH LESSON during the third week of January at a downtown location. Coffee provided.

It’s totally free! Meet your future French tutor and classmates! Please RSVP by email to reserve your spot.

The French course will start the week of 16 January 2006. Classes of 3-7 students are taught by professional teachers. These 2-hour language sessions will take place once or twice a week in Vancouver, Burnaby or, alternatively at your office. Spanish, Mandarin, Polish, Czech and other language courses also available.

  • Course fee (valid till 30 January 2006 only; excluding GST):
  • Spanish, French, Mandarin, Polish & Czech: $ 395 (20 lessons; 2 hours/week).

Contact us to register for a free French lesson