LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

More Russian teachers in schools than pupils

NEW figures reveal there are 100 registered Russian language teachers in Scotland, yet only 13 people took a Higher in the subject last year.
Pressure is growing for the language to be treated in the same way as Chinese, which has resource centres across Scotland allowing councils to share the facilities.

The Scotsman

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Learning to play a musical instrument can help children to learn languages

Music lessons could have a direct impact on a child's ability to learn languages by affecting the mind's sensitivity to all sounds, scientists have claimed.

Tests revealed that exposure to music can be beneficial to the brain in its developmental stages, and would have advantages for all children, including those who are dyslexic and autistic.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Rwanda switching from French to English

At the Kacyiru 1 primary school in Rwanda it's not the pupils chanting "this is my ear, this is my hair" and pointing to the board as they learn rudimentary English. It's the teachers.

The Telegraph

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Bilingualism starts before birth

It may not be obvious, but hearing two languages regularly during pregnancy puts infants on the road to bilingualism by birth. According to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, infants born to bilingual mothers (who spoke both languages regularly during pregnancy) exhibit different language preferences than infants born to mothers speaking only one language.

News report PHYSORG.com

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The trials of being an MFL supply teacher

I qualified as a teacher of modern languages in 2005 just as my subject lost its mandatory GCSE status and my specialism (German) was giving way to Spanish.

The Guardian

Monday, 15 February 2010

UCL Centre Lanches youtube mini-lecture "The truth about sign language"

People outside the deaf community may not know that the regional variations found in spoken language also exist in sign language.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Students offered little incentive to study languages and counts for little in the UK job market

The plight of the British polyglot

Students are offered little incentive to study languages – and when they do, they find it counts for little in the UK job market

The Guardian

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Schoolchildren in Reading speak 150 languages

Elizabeth Grice visits Reading in Berkshire, where, according to a recent survey, the schoolchildren speak a total of 150 languages.

The Telegraph

Universities accept students with inadequate English skills claims BBC investigation

A BBC investigation has found evidence that suggests some universities under financial pressure accept overseas students who lack adequate English.

Money from overseas students totals £1.6bn and makes up a third of university fees in England

BBC website

14-year-old British schoolgirl set to top Japanese charts

A 14-year-old British schoolgirl is set to top the Japanese charts after becoming an internet sensation.

Rebecca Flint from the Isle of Man shot to fame after uploading clips of herself dancing to Japanese pop music on the video sharing website YouTube.


Monday, 8 February 2010

It's time to end our linguistic ineptitude and make language study compulsory once again

"Bonjour, avez-vous le… ermmm… je voudrais… ermmm," I started. "Mon amis est malade," I tried, unable to think of the French for cold or flu. I moved on to mime: faking a cough, wrapping my arms around myself and pretending to shiver. The woman behind the counter held out some tablets but I shook my head.

Then it was tearing open an imaginary sachet, pouring it into a cup, adding water and drinking – blowing occasionally to indicate heat. She looked bemused. "Le flu?" I pleaded.

The Observer

Friday, 5 February 2010

The tragedy of dying languages

Linguist K David Harrison argues that we still have much to learn from vanishing languages.

BBC website

Last fluent speaker of Bo language dies

Death of Boa Sr, last person fluent in the Bo language of the Andaman Islands, breaks link with 65,000-year-old culture

The Guardian

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The rise of the extreme language exchange

In two weeks, Matthew Hodgson is going to Spain for six months. He has never been there before and does not speak the language. But this is no adventurous gap-year student: Matthew is 10 and still at primary school.

The Independent

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

NHS may be breaking law on GPs English language skills

Some NHS trusts are breaking the law by failing to check whether foreign GPs can speak English well, according to the review which was set up after a patient was killed by a German locum on his first UK job.

The Guardian

Monday, 1 February 2010

English language lecturers win better pay in Italy

A court ruling last week awarded seven British lecturers at the University of Padua about £300,000 each in back wages plus interest following a 12-year legal battle.

The Guardian