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Subject: Polyglot Scrabble Tournament being planned by Mattel rss

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It looks as though Mattel is planning a polyglot scrabble tournament to be held later this year in Spain. (It's Mattel outside of North America) A representative of Mattel is putting out feelers for participants. I heard about it today through the language learning forum at

The posting from the Mattel rep is in this thread. There is an email address provided for people who are interested in participating.

There ought to be a session report.


This news also gives me an excuse to hijack my own thread post some info that I've considered posting for some time, but just never got around (uh, the courage) to. But it seems with all the rules translating that happens around here and the international community we have, there is bound to be someone interested!

The website I mentioned above, despite having a somewhat dubious sounding name, is an excellent resource for folks that are interested in learning other languages.

It was from this site that I learned about yet another site that hosts a project focused on digitizing the FSI Language Courses. The Foreign Service Institute is a branch of the US State Department that provides language training for diplomats. Some folks at the language learning forum consider the FSI material and methodology to be some of the best available. I worked through a few units of The German Basic Course (Vol. 1) which has over 30 hours of audio drills, and a workbook that is several hundred pages long. The courses were produced by the US Government, they're in the public domain and the FSI language courses site has many of them with the audio portions encoded in MP3 and the printed materials scanned into PDF.

The materials have their issues. Many of them were produced in the 1960s, so they are very dated (sometimes endearingly, sometimes annoyingly...e.g in the first few German lessons, you learn how to buy cigarettes, cigars, matches, and how to say "Der Wine und das Bier sind gut", and to address someone referred to as Fraulein Schneider. My high school text books never taught me anything that useful!) The audio is dependent upon the quality of the old recordings, and the source tapes that the digitizer acquired. The workbooks are simply image scans of typewritten materials (no full-text search, and alas, none of that delicious mimeograph smell). Having said that, the drills are rigorous, and effective. And considering the costs of the alternatives...

Anyway, hopefully, someone will find these sites useful and enjoyable, and maybe someone will write a session report from the tournament. And, when the hype machine moves on to the next Agricola, someone (maybe me, if I start studying again) can help Melissa so we don't have to wait entire days for the translation to be finished.
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