LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

'Oldest English words' identified

Some of the oldest words in the English and other Indo-European languages have been identified, scientists believe.

Reading University researchers say "I", "we", "two" and "three" are among the oldest in use and date back as much as 40,000 years.

BBC website

Friday, 20 February 2009

Cornish language extinct, says UN

The Cornish language has been branded "extinct" by linguistic experts, sparking protests from speakers.

BBC website

Words of warning: 2,500 languages under threat worldwide as migrants head for city

Unesco unveils its first comprehensive database of endangered tongues

The Guardian

Brussels seeks recruits for an English victory

In the early days of the European Union, French famously dominated as the principal language spoken in Brussels' corridors of power, something our cousins across the Channel regarded as a significant national victory.

But yesterday the European Commission was forced to admit that times have changed, as it launched an appeal for more native English speakers to act as interpreters.

The Independent

School teaches engineers Chinese

About 30 engineers at a Glasgow-based firm are going back to the classroom in a bid to improve their skills.

But rather than heading to the science lab the Clyde Union employees are more likely to be found in the language lab as they are learning to speak Mandarin

BBC website

Friday, 20 February 2009

Need for intensive language classes

Those wishing to improve language skills need to recognise the range of levels of skill that may be required

Today's Times has published a letter from Roger Bloxham, Suffolk in response to Baroness Coussins.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Lack of native English interpreters threatens European Commission

The European Commission’s interpreting service faces a potential succession crisis of linguists with English as a native language, according to a statement released today. Without an increase in the number of qualified graduates, the EU Institutions are set to lose at least one third of their English language interpreters by 2015 due to retirement.

19 February 2009
CILT, The National Centre for Languages

The EC’s interpreting services have produced a video clip to help young English speakers learn more about the interpreting professions. ‘Interpreting for Europe…into English’ is launched today on YouTube.

The Languages of Others: Britain's reliance on foreigners' willingness to learn English is self-defeating

Five years ago Estelle Morris, then the Education Secretary, ended the requirement for all GSCE students to learn at least one foreign language. Last year she acknowledged that this had been a mistake, at least in its timing. It was, in fact, disastrous in every respect.

As unemployment nudges two million and Gordon Brown's ill-judged and inflammatory pledge to create “British jobs for British workers” comes back to haunt him, it is clearer than ever that British workers' inability to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the world's largest single labour market - the EU - stems in large part from longstanding reluctance to make more than a token effort with foreign languages.

February 16, 2009
The Times

Response from Baroness Coussins

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Sustainability newsletter February 2009

The February 2009 Higher Education Academy Sustainability newsletter is now available.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Local UK languages 'taking off'

More and more state school children in the UK are being taught in Welsh, Gaelic and Irish, the BBC has learned.

The number of Northern Ireland children learning Irish grew from just 484 in 1992 to 3285 in 2008.

In Wales, 20% of schoolchildren are now being taught entirely in the Welsh language - up from 16% in the 1990s.

Thursday, 12 February 2009
BBC website

Anti-truancy drive was behind removal of compulsory languages at Key Stage 4

The scrapping of compulsory modern languages in England's secondary schools was a consequence of truancy crackdowns, the BBC has learnt.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009
BBC website

Anti-truancy drive removed French

Monday, 9 February 2009

Alison Dickens to be interviewed on BBC Radio Solent this evening at 5.50pm

Alison Dickens, Senior Academic Coordinator at the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies will be interviewed on BBC Radio Solent this evening at around 5.50pm about the EU funded Language Cafe project.

BBC Radio Solent is available in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and East Dorset on 96.1FM and 999AM

In West Dorset, tune into 103.8FM and 1359AM

Or listen online at:
BBC Radio Solent

Friday, 6 February 2009

HEFCE publishes sustainable development strategy

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has just published: Sustainable development in higher education: 2008 update to strategic statement and action plan

HEFCE website

Monday, 2 February 2009

Spreading the Gaelic tongue from sea to Skye

Sabhal Mor Ostaig's new head has devoted his life to preserving his language. Olga Wojtas reports
Times Higher Education

Legal bid on Welsh language due

The Welsh Assembly Government's bid for more powers to make laws to promote the Welsh language is due out later.

It is expected the legislative competence order (LCO) will include the right to require some private companies to use the language

Monday, 2nd February
BBC website