Free Language Resources.

This site looks very useful; thirty years ago I wanted to try learning Bambara but could find almost no resources, but now if I give it another go I’ll know where to look.

Incidentally, I got a notice that the LH server “will be taken offline for power maintenance between 21:00 UTC July 2, 2017 and 00:00 UTC July 3, 2017,” so if you happen to try to access it during that period and have a problem, that’s what’s going on.


  1. It is awesome! Thank you 🙂

  2. Don’t know if this has already come up, but still:

    free e-books

  3. Great link, thanks!

  4. SFReader says

    De bestiis marinis, or, The Beasts of the Sea by Georg Steller is a great find, thank you.

    Description and illustration of Steller’s Sea Ape is absolutely incredible. Perhaps Bering’s ship fell into the parallel world for a day, nothing else could explain it.

  5. marie-lucie says

    SFR, You must already have read the book. I looked it up on the site, read the blurb, with its reference to several “sea” animals including the whale-size “sea cow”, but no mention of the “sea ape”. I guess I would need an e-reader, which I don’t have. Can you say something more about this fascinating creature?

  6. I found two interesting-looking books there, both by Marcelline Hutton: Resilient Russian Women in the 1920s & 1930s and Remarkable Russian Women in Pictures, Prose and Poetry.

  7. SFReader says

    Steller’s Sea-Ape
    August 10, 1741, Sunset, south of Kodiak Island
    The animal was about two ells [six feet] long. The head was like a dog’s head, the ears pointed and erect, and on the upper and lower lips on both sides whiskers hung down which made him look almost like a Chinaman. The eyes were large. The body was longish, round and fat, but gradually became thinner toward the tail; the skin was covered thickly with hair, grey on the back, reddish white on the belly, but in the water it seemed to be entirely red and cow-colored. The tail, which was equipped with fins, was divided in two parts, the upper fin being two times as long as the lower one, just like on sharks.
    However, I was not a little surprised that I could perceive neither forefeet, as in marine amphibians, nor fins in their place.
    As for its body shape, for which there is no drawing, it corresponds in all respects to the picture that Gesner received from one of his correspondents and in his Historia animalium calls Simia marina Danica. At least our sea animal can by all rights be given this name because of both its resemblance to Gesner’s Simia and its strange habits, quick movements, and playfulness.
    For more than two hours it stayed with our ship, looking at us, one after the other, with admiration. It now and then came closer and often so close it could have been touched with a pole. Then, as soon as we moved, it retired away. It raised itself out of the water up to one third its length, like a human being, and often remained in this position for several minutes. After it had observed us for almost half an hour, it shot like an arrow under our ship and came out again on the other side, but passed back again to reappear in its previous position.

  8. SFReader says
  9. Possible explanations, including the idea that the whole thing was a parody of Vitus Bering.

  10. “The possibility that the sea ape did not exist, and Simnia marina danica is a vengeful description of the Danish captain of the ship, Vitus Bering, is supported by its omission from Steller’s official reports”: I like it!

  11. Oddly, not a mention of it in Oudemans’ The Great Sea Serpent (1892; forever the best book on sea serpents, by a true believer).

  12. marie-lucie says

    LH quoting Wikipedia: The possibility that the sea ape did not exist, and Simnia marina danica is a vengeful description of the Danish captain of the ship, Vitus Bering, is supported by its omission from Steller’s official reports

    There is at least one more explanation for the omission: that the animal in question was already known to science but was misidentified, and Steller having realized this, did not want to report an error.

    The section where the above quote occurs lists possible known animals, favouring “a young fur seal”, although some of the details differ.

    I became particularly interested in the supposed sea ape a few days ago when someone briefly posted on Facebook a photo of two bodies lying on a floor and making coordinated motions with their upper limbs, apparently as some form of exercise routine they shared. One of the bodies was of a youngish man wearing a black outfit, but the other, most prominent in the picture, was quite odd: a largish head with pointed ears, a mass of bristles about the mouth, with also what could be two short white tusks framing the mouth. Below the head the hairless body tapered down to a pair of seal-like flippers. The upper limbs looked like those of a sealion, and the creature could wave them and bring them over its head, covering its face during the “exercise routine”he seemed to be sharing with the man.

    I wrote LH a facebook message asking him whether that could be the “sea ape”, he seemed to agree but did not intend to bring it up here. Meanwhile I became convinced that only a walrus seems to have bristles about its mouth, as well as tusks. Indeed when I saw the picture again (it was removed shortly afterwards) I noticed that the caption identified the animal as a walrus.

    I then turned to Wikipedia for information and pictures over the walrus (looking at versions in several languages, known or unknown, in order to see enough pictures). The bristles about the mouth are a defining characteristic of the walrus. The very small tusks of the animal in the photo, as well as its size relative to the man, show that it must be a juvenile, either male or female. Similarly the “sea ape” which played around the ship must have been a juvenile, because of its recorded size and lack of tusks (small ones would not be easy to see under the reported conditions). The colours (whitish and reddish) reported in the description are those shown in the various Wikipedia pictures.

    The only real difference with the description is that it says the sea ape was covered with long hair, but the walrus does not have hair (except at some point in fetal development), instead (in the wild) it has extremely thick skin and ever thicker subcutaneous fat. But it is possible that the people on the ship misinterpreted the appearance of the young walrus.

    So, this is my version of the “sea ape”.

    As for Bering, I looked him up to see whether he might have had a “walrus moustache”, but the portraits apparently made in his lifetime show him with a small moustache only, or nothing.

  13. David Marjanović says


  14. SFReader says

    The portrait which was widely believed to be of commodore Vitus Bering was likely a portrait of his uncle Vitus Pedersen Bering (round face with small moustache).

    Russian-Danish expedition discovered Bering’s burial site and found that the real commodore was a man of strong stature and more angular face, as befits a true Sea Wolf.

    Real Bering

    I won’t post picture of fake, fat Bering – you can find it everywhere.

  15. marie-lucie says

    Thanks SFR! Yes, that fat, vapid face that is in so many pictures labelled Vitus Bering does not correspond to one’s image of a strong, competent expedition leader.

Speak Your Mind