LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

IRELAND: State officials 'threaten survival of Irish language'

The survival of Irish as a language is under serious threat because more and more state officials cannot speak it and use English instead.

Sean O Cuirreain, An Coimisineir Teanga, yesterday said that, on a national level, the native language was secure and protected by state laws.

But the language commissioner added: "The future of Irish as a living community language, even in the strongest Gaeltacht areas, is currently at its most vulnerable level.

Irish Independent

Monday, 29 March 2010

An assault is under way against the arts

"Why is there such a huge funding bias towards science when the chief growth in graduate jobs has been elsewhere?" asks Simon Jenkins

The Guardian

Friday, 26 March 2010

Primary school language lessons depend on 'brave amateurs'

The programme to introduce languages into primary schools has resulted in "amateurish" teaching with scant resources and potentially bad pronunciation, teachers will tell the ATL annual conference next week.

Helen Brook, who studied French at school, will describe teaching Spanish at her Cambridgeshire primary as "terrifying" and potentially insulting to properly trained languages teachers.


Thursday, 25 March 2010

Feature on SOAS in Independent

Soas is, however, the kind of place where you expect aggro.

Specialising as it does in the culture, languages and politics of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, it tends to reproduce the political divisions of those parts of the world on campus. Webley denies, however, that it's a battleground. "What's important is that this is a university," he says. "We have a Centre for Jewish Studies, a Centre for Islamic Studies, a very strong Palestinian society. People are passionate. One of its distinctive features is that people's preconceptions are challenged. Students come from such a variety of different backgrounds that it makes them reflect on their own views. Many of them want to change the world but many are changed by their experience here. They come and are transformed."

The Independent

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Baroness Ashton: "I will learn better French".

BRUSSELS — Lady Catherine Ashton, under fire for being unqualified for her job as Europe's foreign minister, has upset the French with her flawed command of what was once the language of international diplomacy. Her diplomatic response: I will learn better French.

Associated Press

Will Self talks about learning French

Will Self decided to learn French properly when he realised he had been fooling himself for years

The Guardian

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Boris Johnson lobbies Tories to add Latin to state-school curriculum

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said today he is lobbying Conservative colleagues to take "class out of the classics" and put Latin on the state-school curriculum.

Johnson, who has no mayoral remit or powers for under-16 education but is a passionate lover of Latin and Greek, is convening an event for headteachers at City Hall later today to press the case for the educational benefits of Latin.

The Guardian

English language schools plan legal challenge on tightening of visa rules

English language schools are planning a legal challenge against the Home Office over fears that the UK will lose thousands of jobs and £400m in income through tighter visa regulations this year.

The Guardian

Monday, 15 March 2010

'Sexist' thinking still present in writing

Letters that begin "Dear Sir/Madam" and references to "Mr and Mrs" are both remnants of "sexist thinking", according to psychologists.

In the written word at least, men still come first - just as they did centuries ago, say researchers.

The claim is supported by the results of scientific studies, they argue.

The Independent

Monday, 8 March 2010

Russian A-level tops new A* grade

Students who study Russian A-level are far more likely to obtain an A* grade pass than those who take media studies or computing, according to research published today.

The Independent

Friday, 5 March 2010

Links to schools abroad ‘fuel pupils’ racist beliefs’

School links between the UK and the developing world can leave children with “racist” views of other cultures, research has found.

British pupils believe that their peers there are covered in flies and all wear straw skirts as lessons focus too much on poverty, the study said.

London Evening Standard

Monday, 1 March 2010

Spelling reform causes Portuguese headaches

Portugal is finally applying a long-delayed accord to standardise spelling in Portuguese-speaking countries, but it has left most people baffled about how to use their alphabet.

The Telegraph

Modern languages could "die out in the next 20 years at university if we are not careful" warns Vice-Chancellor

An influential group of leading academics and cultural figures has issued a stark warning that they fear for the future of the arts and humanities in British universities.

A letter to the Observer, signed by the directors of major arts institutions and a number of university vice-chancellors, claims that funding cuts and a decision to focus on the sciences have left subjects such as philosophy, literature, history, languages and art facing "worrying times". Without urgent action the country's intellectual heritage is in danger of being diminished, they conclude.

The Observer