May 29, 2012

Free beta version of LetterMeister word puzzle game now available for Windows, Linux and MacOS

You may have noticed the LetterMeister word puzzle game for iPhone mentioned on the French Linguistics site. Whether or not you've tried the iPhone version yet, you may be interested to know that an initial version of the game is now available free of charge for Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

This desktop version basically behaves similarly to the iPhone version of the game, but with a few minor differences in this initial version.

The on-screen help in the iOS version is replaced with a link to the LetterMeister help page in the desktop version. At present, the desktop version does not include music (though it does include sound effects).

If you do download the game, then you are advised to keep up to date with the regular updates that are planned to the game in one of the following ways:

  • by liking the LetterMeister Facebook page
  • by subscribing to LetterMeister on Freecode
  • by following @BitterCoffey on Twitter, where announcements about LetterMeister, the French Linguistics site and other computing/language related news -- along with the occasional well motivated rant or too from the author :) -- are regularly posted.

Happy meistering!

May 15, 2012

This week on the French Language forum

Various interesting questions this week-- thanks to all who have contributed!

For more advanced learners, this question about the conditional perfect combines a number of subtle grammar points that come together in certain instances of reported speech.

Then, I thought this question about the use of il y a was important in highlighting that when teaching about a particular phrase, we should be careful to explain the range of uses that that phrase may have: it's easy to get sidetracked into focussing on a single usage.

I see that the original post-- now from nearly a year ago-- on French faux amis now has 70 responses. Let the fun continue :)

It's also nice to see questions being explored in depth with various contributors, such as is the case with this queston on "voudrais" vs "vouloir".

And finally, a question on saying "in this book" in French. Remember, no question is too trivial or too complex for the French Language forum :)

French Vocab Games offer: all codes now allocated!

I had a slight complaint the other day about the previous free offer of French Vocab Games in return for a LetterMeister review, as the LetterMeister game has now reverted from its free status to being a paid app (though it is still yours for not-too-princely sum of $0.99 -- still a bargain :)

This is because the offer is unfortunately now over-- I regret that I have now allocated all the available free promo codes for French Vocab Games!

May 10, 2012

LetterMeister game free today

For owners of iPhone/iPad and iPod Touch who are into word games: make sure you download the LetterMeister word puzzle game which is free today.

To keep up to date with news about the game, make sure you "like" the LetterMeister Facebook page.

May 7, 2012

Note on claiming App Store codes for "French Vocab Games"

I just wanted to add a quick clarification here in response to a forum post yesterday re the offer of an App Store code to download French Vocab Games in exchange for a review of my recently released iPhone word game LetterMeister.

Various codes have already been sent to people who have left reviews of LetterMeister and a few codes are still left and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you still want to apply for a free copy of the French Vocab Games app (currently iPhone/iPad only!), you still have chance.

To clarify the situation:
  • I have a few free codes left, which will be given out on a first-come first-served basis
  • To claim a code for French Vocab Games, you need to download and leave an honest review of LetterMeister in the App Store
  • Reviews which are obviously spam will not qualify
  • Once you have left your review, you need to fill out the form to claim your download code for French Vocab Games (see the forum post mentioned above)
  • Please make sure that the e-mail address that you leave in the claim form is the same as the iTunes ID that you used to leave your review. If not, I won't be able to match up your review with your claim for a free code and so won't be able to issue the code.
  • Please make sure that you enter the correct country (the country in whose App Store you left your review) when claiming your code. Again, if you enter the wrong country, then may not be able to match up your review with your claim.
  • The review actually needs to be visible on the App Store before the code will be issued. Make sure that at least you can see your review before claiming your code. If you can't see your review, neither can I!
  • Codes will be sent out via e-mail. Please make sure that you are able to receive e-mails at the address you entered (i.e. at your iTunes ID e-mail).

Thank you for your patience! Let me assure readers that this is a genuine offer of a free download of the full version of French Vocab Games. However, I have unfortunately received some 'spam' claims (people filling in the form without actually leaving a review) and so am having to apply these slightly strict criteria. If you believe that you have left a genuine review and genuinely filled in the form correctly but not heard anything, or if you have any queries about this process, then please send me a Private Message via the French Language forum (you can do so via the forum post linked to above).

Happy playing!

May 6, 2012

François Hollande wins French elections

Links to a few French articles about François Hollande's recent victory in the French presidential elections have been posted on the French Linguistics site.

Perhaps you have other recommended articles?

If you have trouble understanding any newspaper articles about the French elections or other topics, remember that questions are always welcome on the French language forum.

May 3, 2012

French accented domain names on sale from today

As of today, registrars are now offering .fr domains with accents. In the initial phase, domain owners will have first refusal until July on accented versions of their existing domains. Then, .fr domains with accents will be available more generally.

I'm in two minds about this.

From a political, patriotistical point of view, being able to put accents on domain names will make French speakers feel less like the language is being contorted by archaic computing system limitations, as was once the case, for example, in the heady days of 8-bit computing when getting accents on letters was something of a rare luxury.

For some users, having the accents present as in normal prose, will also simply "look more natural and readable".

On the other hand:

  • in French, there are very few cases when accents really serve to disambiguate or where it is impossible to come up with an alternative version that does not require accents
  • there is already a well-established use case where accents are completely optional, namely when using all capital letters; does it really matter to have an additional use case, namely in domain names, when this is also the convention?
  • the Académie's spelling reform, proposed in 1990 and recently given fresh impetus, actually proposes doing away with certain accents (spurious circumflexes)
  • the system will lead to a 'doubling up' of domain names; we already have enough spurious domain name duplicates, e.g. "" and "" and "" without adding an additional recipe for duplicates

As with the recent introduction of additional top level domains like .info and .tv, I think that overall, the system will create extra complexity in return for little benefit.

But perhaps others think differently?