LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Tables 'restrict A-level choices'

Some independent schools are preventing children from taking exams unless they are confident they will achieve top grades, say leading head teachers.

He claimed schools in both sectors were discouraging pupils from taking more difficult subjects at GCSE and A-level, which had led to a decline in science and languages.

BBC website
Friday, 25 April 2008

Friday, 25 April 2008

New publication on Canadian Studies in Britian

Canadian Studies in Britain, 1970-2010, edited by Tim Rooth (BACS, 2007) is available to download from the British Association for Canadian Studies website.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Can we have a word?

Can we have a word? Barista, muck, wiggle, pariah ... Henry Hitchings on how the English language borrows from others

The Guardian
Saturday April 19, 2008

THE LINGUISTS UK Premiere 7-8:30pm 7th May 2008

THE LINGUISTS UK Premiere 7-8:30pm 7th May 2008
A Documentary by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
Official Selection 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Khalili Lecture
School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square, London

Researchers estimate that there are 7,000 languages spoken across the world, and half are threatened with extinction by the end of this century. On average, one language disappears every two weeks.

THE LINGUISTS follows David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, scientists racing to document languages on the verge of extinction. David and Greg’s round-the-world journey takes them deep into the heart of the cultures, knowledge, and communities at stake.

In Siberia, David and Greg seek to record the Chulym language, which hasn’t been heard by outsiders for more than thirty years. The linguists encounter remnants of the racist Soviet regime that may have silenced Chulym for good.

In India, tribal children attend boarding schools, where they learn Hindi and English, a trade, and the pointlessness of their native tongues. Similar boarding schools for tribal children existed in the US through most of the twentieth century. David and Greg travel to the children’s villages, where economic unrest has stirred a violent Maoist insurgency. The linguists witness the fear and poverty that have driven youth from their native communities.

In Bolivia, the Kallawaya language has survived for centuries with fewer than one hundred speakers. David and Greg trek high into the Andes to unlock its secret.

THE LINGUISTS is a presentation of Ironbound Films, Inc. It is produced and directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger.

This UK Premiere screening is free and open to all. Prof David Harrison who is featured in the film will introduce it and answer questions from the audience after the showing. Seats are limited and will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

THE LINGUISTS is being shown during Endangered Languages Week 30th April to 8th May at SOAS. For more information about the film and other Endangered Languages Week activities visit our website at www.hrelp.org or email: elap@soas.ac.uk

Endangered Languages Week 2008

30th April to 8th May 2008, School of Oriental and African Studies
Meet an Endangered Language
Half of the world's 7,000 languages are under threat from larger languages and are not being passed on to children. During Endangered Languages Week you can come face-to-face with an endangered language, learn about where it is spoken and why it is threatened, experience its culture, and pick up some basic words and phrases. Each session lasts 30 minutes and will be held at 1pm on R201 (near the 2nd floor stairs, SOAS main building).

Wednesday 30th April
Guernesias - spoken on Guernsey, Channel Islands
Guernesiais, a variety of Norman French, is highly endangered. According to the 2001 census, there were 1,327 fluent speakers or just 2.22% of the population (and 70.4% of them were over 64). This presentation will include a short language lesson, some cultural images and videos, and discuss recent examples of revitalisation measures in support of the language.

Thursday 1st May
Huave – spoken in southern Mexico
The Huave (Ikoots ‘all of us’) are a minority indigenous people of Southern Mexico comprising 17,000 people settled in four villages on the Pacific Ocean coast. Until a decade ago the Huave language (ombeayiüts ‘our mouth’) was spoken in four, quite divergent, varieties. At present only one of these varieties is still used by everybody, including children, in the village of San Mateo. In another village (San Dionisio) the local variety is obsolescent, and demands to start a revitalization project are currently emerging. In the other two Huave villages local varieties of the language have been replaced by Spanish. This presentation will illustrate aspects of Huave language and culture.

Tuesday 6th May
Talyshi – spoken in northern Iran
Talyshi is an Iranian language spoken in northern Iran near the Caspian Sea and the border with Azerbaijan. The language shows massive dialect variation and is under pressure from Persian. This presentation will discuss the language situation, and present an overview of Talyshi culture and language use.

Wednesday 7th May
Kolyma Yukaghir - spoken in Siberia, Russia
Kolyma Yukaghir is spoken by about 40 people who live in the north-eastern part of Siberia, on the banks of the river Kolyma. The language is linguistically isolated, and little is known of the history of the people who speak it. This will be a brief introduction to Yukaghir language and culture, including images, original music, and learning some basic speech patterns.

Thursday 8th May
Janonke – spoken in Guinea, West Africa
Jalonke is an endangered Mande language mainly spoken in the West African country of Guinea. The taster will give a brief introduction to the language situation and then focus on one of the areas especially elaborate in West African culture and crucial for every fieldworker and language learner to master, ie. greetings.

For more details and a full programme of Endangered Languages Week visit www.hrelp.org/elw

Friday, 18 April 2008

Bilingual school 'shows benefits'

An Aberdeen school which has pioneered bilingual education has been judged a resounding success, a report has said.

Thursday, 17 April 2008
BBC website

Monday, 14 April 2008

Learning Arabic: four weeks in Tunis

Rosemary Behan gave herself one month in Tunisia to learn the Arabic language and alphabet. How did she do? Mumtez!

Friday 11 April 2008
Daily Telegraph

14-19 diplomas: News from CILT, the National Centre for Languages


The education secretary, Ed Balls, has announced the Chairs of the Diploma Development Partnerships for the three new Diplomas in Science, Humanities and Languages as part of new proposals published last week.

Dr Terry Lamb, Director of Initial Teacher Education at Sheffield University and governor of CILT has been appointed as the chair of the language group, with GoSkills as the lead sector skills council.

Terry Lamb said: 'I am delighted to be taking up this key role in the development of the Diploma in Languages. The new Diploma represents a unique opportunity to raise the profile of language learning in schools and colleges, and to encourage more young people to take up and continue the study of languages. Language learning and cultural awareness are absolutely vital for success in our increasingly globalized lives, and the new Diploma will encourage young people to develop high-quality language skills and intercultural awareness, taught in innovative and exciting ways, which they can then apply in real-life contexts.'

CILT has a strong track record in making the case for languages in the new Diplomas, through our Languages Skills Alliance with the Sector Skills Council, GoSkills and work with QCA’s Languages Diplomas Group. CILT warmly welcomes Terry’s appointment and looks forward to working with GoSkills to support the progress of the DDP and the Minister’s requirements.

For an overview of languages in the Diploma as well as practical advice on vocational qualifications in the language classroom, visit CILT's new 14-19 microsite: www.cilt.org.uk/14to19

Thursday, 10 April 2008

April 2008 e-bulletin

This month's ebulletin is now available on the subject centre website at:


We would be grateful if you would forward this bulletin to colleagues and relevant mailing lists. Please do not hesitate to contact the Subject Centre if you have any queries regarding this bulletin.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Soap 'needed' for new Gaelic TV

Thought must be given to securing a soap or long-running series for the planned new Gaelic Digital Service (GDS), one of its bosses has said.

Alan Esslemont, the new head of content at the Gaelic Media Service which would run GDS, said young audiences want comedy and entertainment.

Wednesday 9th April 2008
BBC website

Intercultural dialogue on the radio

Marie-Annick Gournet, Senior Lecturer in French and Caribbean Area Studies at the University of the West of England will be interviewed on Bristol's Star Radio tomorrow (Thursday 10th April) at around 12.35 pm about the conference 'Intercultural dialogue: The Way Forward. The conference is a collaboration between LLAS, The University of the West of England and Bristol City Council.
Star Radio is broadcast on 107.2FM in Bristol and online at http://www.starbristol.co.uk/

The conference will take place on 11th and 12th April in Bristol. There are still some places left for 12th April. Items from the conference will be broadcast on radio and online by Bristol community 93.2fm and the conference will also be available live online at Radio Salaam Shalom

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Al Jazeera unites on sheep show

S4C and a Welsh TV production company are joining forces with an Arabic channel to produce a children's series about a singing sheep family.

Baaas will air in Welsh this autumn and in Arabic in early 2009, when the Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera launches its own children's channel.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008
BBC website

Monday, 7 April 2008

ISRAEL: Why members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, are going to be sent to Hebrew classes.

Monday, 7 April 2008
Today programme
BBC Radio 4
Listen again

ITALY: Berlusconi boasts of 'good' Latin

Italian opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi claims he speaks Latin well enough to engage Roman emperor Julius Caesar in lunchtime conversation.

The 71-year-old former prime minister was responding to a question from Italian radio about which historical figure he would most like to meet.

Sunday, 6 April 2008
BBC website

Friday, 4 April 2008

The end of the line? The fate of the semi-colon in France

An unlikely row has erupted in France over suggestions that the semicolon's days are numbered; worse, the growing influence of English is apparently to blame. Jon Henley reports on the uncertain fate of this most subtle and misused of punctuation marks. Aida Edemariam discovers which writers love it - and which would be glad to see it disappear

Friday April 4 2008
The Guardian

How to get the most from an international team

Time zones, language barriers, culture differences - managing a team spread across the globe presents unusual problems

Thursday 3 April 2008
The Times

Perceptions 'affected by accent'

Accent could affect how intelligent people are thought to be, a new study suggests.

The study, which matched accents with perceived intelligence, found speaking in a Birmingham accent gives a worse impression than saying nothing at all.

Thursday, 3 April 2008
BBC website

Thursday, 3 April 2008

MoD to issue 'combat French' qualifications

The Ministry of Defence is to award members of the armed forces the equivalent of GCSEs in "combat French" for being able to translate signs warning of unexploded bombs and interviewing witnesses after an attack. The MoD is the first public sector body to follow McDonald's, Flybe and Network Rail in a scheme to allow organisations to become awarding bodies, able to train and issue qualifications to staff.

Tuesday, 3 April 2008
The Guardian

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

New Scottish CILT website

The new Scottish CILT went live at midnight last night after several months of redesign, reorganisation and professional consultation. It is a work in progress so some pages will be incomplete for a short while but we hope to have everything finished in a few weeks. In the meantime, we would welcome any feedback on the new site and hope that you like the new design as much as we do.

The website address will be unchanged: http://www.scilt.stir.ac.uk/

We are running a special competition to launch the site with an April Fool's theme, looking at how the customs, traditions and humour of different countries vary around the world and there will be a prize to the first person to post their entry with the correct answer. You will find further details on the home page of the new site this morning.

NB: The launch of the new website is not an April Fool's joke! Please come and visit us online and tell us what you think.

Sheila McLachlan and Mandy Reeman-Clark