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I need to learn Portuguese. My Brazilian girlfriend expects me to. I keep going to visit her family in Brazil, and I keep promising them that I will learn. So... mainly as a way of procrastinating and putting off the task. I wondered how can I learn Portuguese the wiki way?
Im interested in finding learning resources which are free. Free because I'm cheapskate, and like with all information, I'm starting to expect it to be free. language learning resources can actually be quite expensive. Quite an industry. Surely they should be free, just to make the world a better place. Free as in freedom! I like to use open source software. -> I like to use open licensed content. But I'm also interested freedom to re-use and redistribute for reason I'll come onto later.
What about wikipedia? Wikipedia is open licensed content. You're allowed to re-use the content for free provided you get the attribution right. And wikipedia has everything right? Well not really. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and all the content is “encyclopedic”. It's all a bit boring and factual. I wont find a language learning course on there..
There is of course the portuguese wikipedia. This is the whole wikipedia site but in another language. As you can see they have 670,000 articles. So that's pretty impressive. It's still not a language learning course Mind you, it is supposed to be quite a good way of learning another language, to help translating english articles into that language. But I'm not really at that level yet. I can barely string a sentence together in Portuguese.
How about WikiBooks org? I guess you could say this is “from the makers of wikipedia”, except that any and everyone can be a maker of wikipedia. Likewise with wikibooks It's one of the “sister projects” of wikipedia run by the wikimedia foundation. It's all about writing self-contained books on particular subject areas. I can't help feeling a little bit sceptical about the idea of using a wiki to collaborate on writing a book. But the project seems to be succeeding with some books at least (check out the “featured books”)
And look! There's a brazilian protuguese book. So this is a bit more like it! There's a bunch of lessons planned out, but as you can see some of them are red links. If you're familiar with MediaWiki you'll know that this means the page doesn't exist yet. So actually there's lots of lessons planned out, but the book isn't very complete.
Also wikibooks has a neat little icon system for indicating how well progressed the pages are. So here we see that Chapter 1 is nicely finished off, but the other chapters (even where the page exists) still need some work.
Worse than that though. There's another Portuguese wiki book. This is a classic wiki problem isn't it? Duplication. I dont know if somebody created a second book on the same topic intentionally or they didn't realise the first one existed. Maybe they wanted to write the book a different way, Their way. But it's confusing for people using the content. It seems to me that this needs to be resolved.
So my contribution so far is to stick a big ugly label on there proposing a merge. I hate these big labels actually but it makes sense to add that temporarily at least to draw attention to the problem, and to link to the related discussion
This is a talk page discussion. So here I've explained why I'm proposing a merge. I think it's important to explain as well as sticking ugly labels on the page itself. So I've left that merge proposal there. No responses yet, so that's where I've left it, but I'll probably try to carry out a merge at some point and then continue working on it. So there we have it. I thought I'd just describe my latest little adventure into open wiki projects
There is a some more content in these apendices, including lists of vocabulary, which I was particularly interested in going back to the point about “re-use”
A while ago I experimented with putting these into Jmemorize file format. Jmemorize a flipcards program to help you memorize this kind of thing. More recently I've developed an anroid app which presents vocabulary in a little quiz. ...so you see I've managed to procrastinate quite spectacularly and not learn a great deal of Portuguese!
Wiki wed learning portuguese the wiki way
Learn Portuguese ...the [[wiki]] way? Harry Wood harrywood.co.uk Harry Wood harrywood.co.uk
Free learning resources Free as in £zero (cheapskate) Free as in Freedom! (idealogical hippy)
factual “encyclopedic” content What about wikipedia?