LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

World languages are disappearing

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Every two weeks on average, one of the 6,500 languages of the world vanishes with the death of its last elderly speakers, taking with it a wealth of cultural knowledge, experts say.

At a recent meeting in the Malaysian capital, linguistic experts said the United States, Canada and Australia were the worse off, with a wealth of Asian languages also under threat.

Monday, 29th October 2007
Reuters India

Boy, 10, has learned ten languages

A 10-year-old schoolboy has mastered 10 languages - and is busy learning his 11th.

As well as English, Arpan Sharma speaks Hindi, picked up from his parents, and has learned Spanish, Italian, German and French at school.

Tuesday, 30th October 2007

Guardian Unlimited

Monday, 29 October 2007

BBC 'requires language watchdog'

The BBC needs a language adviser to ensure its broadcasters use correct English, campaigners have urged.

29 October 2007
BBC website

IRELAND: Language learning system launched

A formerly dyslexic taxi driver claims he has created a revolutionary system of learning Irish and other languages.

The Smart Learning program patented by Pat Howe in conjunction with Dublin City University features an audio CD and pocket-sized memory cards.

Irish Times
29 October 2007

Thursday, 25 October 2007

CILT welcomes proposed new languages diploma

CILT, the National Centre for Languages welcomes the announcement this week of a Diploma in Languages to be available to young people from September 2011. The case for improving the position of languages in Key Stage 4 and through into higher education and employment is incontestable, and a subject-based Diploma in languages will help build a wider range of options for fourteen to nineteen-year-olds, as recommended in Lord Dearing’s Languages Review earlier this year.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages

Welsh language policy

Has discussion of Welsh language policy become taboo?

Today Programme
BBC Radio 4

Listen again

Hindi by podcast

Harry Potter is faced with the realisation he is getting older. After his cousin Dudley pulls a prank on Hedwig the owl, the ensuing squawking drills through Harry's hangover; enraged, the wizard turns Dudley into a replica of Michael Jackson's nose. Meanwhile, Ron Weasley, swooning over his classmate Hermione, breaks in to a love song. No, JK Rowling has not lost the plot: this is an imagined Bollywood reworking that features in a podcast to teach people Hindi.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2007
The Guardian

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Is a new language programme being rushed in?

The sudden appearance of quickie courses to teach workplace English has raised eyebrows. Peter Kingston reports

The government's new quickie courses for teaching foreigners just as much English as they require to work seems like an efficient idea. But does it really take half the time to teach someone to speak only work-related English as it does to teach them English for life in general?

Tuesday October 23, 2007
The Guardian

Diplomas 'could replace A-levels'

Diplomas could replace A-levels as the "qualification of choice" in England, says Schools Secretary Ed Balls.
Mr Balls announced three new Diplomas in academic subject areas - science, languages and humanities - adding to the 14 planned vocational subjects.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2007
BBC website

Monday, 22 October 2007

Bi-lingual plan to rescue school

A west London comprehensive could be turned into a bi-lingual school, partly-funded by the French government.
This would see the school using both the French and English languages and their national curriculums.

Monday 22 October 2007
BBC website

Friday, 19 October 2007

Rise in number of language undergraduates

UCAS data released yesterday shows that there has been an increase in full-time undergraduate students starting single and major honours language degrees this year. French numbers increased by 14%, German by 14% and Spanish by 4%. Higher increases (although lower student numbers) were seen in Modern Middle Eastern studies up 23%, Japanese studies up 20% and Chinese up 15%.

CILT: http://www.cilt.org.uk/research/statistics/education/higher.htm

UCAS data: http://www.ucas.ac.uk/website/news/media_releases/2007/2007-10-17

USA: Being multilingual becoming more essential

A US company merges with a Mexican firm, a software manufacturer establishes an office abroad, a bank opens a branch in a Portuguese-speaking community: For one reason or another, employees are finding out they had better acquire a second language.

Sunday, 14 October 2007
Boston Globe

English at work courses launched for migrants

The lifelong learning and higher education minister, Bill Rammell, today announced the launch of more work-focused English language qualifications for migrant workers.

Tuesday, 16 October
The Guardian

Court staff's gift for languages

An ability to deal with people speaking a wide range of languages, including Welsh, is now available at a court serving an area of high immigration. Bury St Edmunds court in Suffolk is advertising in English and Welsh, the availability of "cyngor cyfreithiol ddum" - free legal advice. Staff can call on interpreters in 25 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese.

Wednesday, 17th October 2007
BBC website

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Petition to Scottish Parliament on Foreign Language Learning

Reports on a petition lodged by Dr Murray Hill of Robert Gordon's University calling on the Scottish Parliament to debate the urgent need to make a step change in strategy and vigorously promote foreign language learning and intercultural awareness in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities.

Scottish Parliament website

Thursday, 11 October 2007

LLAS e-bulletin (October 2007)

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


Learning languages is more vital than ever

Article by Dr Murray Hill of Robert Gordon's University in which he calls for a proper languages charter for Scottish school pupils and university students.

Monday, 8 October 2007
The Herald

Survey of Mandarin teaching sets monitoring baseline

Between ten and thirteen per cent of English secondary schools provide some Mandarin teaching; however, so far this is only available for small numbers of students within the school and may take place outside normal curriculum time.Between ten and thirteen per cent of English secondary schools provide some Mandarin teaching; however, so far this is only available for small numbers of students within the school and may take place outside normal curriculum time.

CILT, The National Centre for Languages

Monday, 8 October 2007

Language body says ban will fail

Irish language advocates have said they are confident a move to stop assembly ministers using Irish will fail.
UUP MLA David McNarry has tabled a motion seeking to stop ministers making addresses in the chamber in Irish.

Monday, 8th October 2007
BBC website

Steven Pinker on BBC Radio 4 'Start the Week'

“We are verbivores, a species that lives on words” declares the Harvard academic STEVEN PINKER. In his new book, The Stuff of Thought, he argues that language is a window into the human mind and can give a “word’s eye view” of how we think about the world. He also unpicks our love affair with metaphor and ponders new words. For example, why do we talk about “re-booting” our computers when the process has nothing to do with giving our PCs a good kicking? The Stuff of Thought is published by Allen Lane.

Monday, 8th October 2007

BBC Radio 4 Listen again

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Evaluation of Routes into Languages- Invitiation to tender

For full details, please visit the Routes into Languages website

Evaluation of Routes into Languages : Invitation to tender

1. The 9 Regional Consortia in England
2. National Network for Translation; National Network for Interpreting
3. Governance
4. Whole Programme (Consortia, Networks and Governance)

The Routes into Languages Programme is a HEFCE and DCSF £8 million funded initiative to increase and widen participation in language study in higher education. It also aims to support the national role of HE languages as a motor of economic and civic regeneration. The Programme has been developed by the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML), the HE Academy Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) and CILT, the National Centre for Languages.

Evaluation is a key component of the Routes into Languages Programme and was written into the bid document which can be viewed on the Routes into Languages web pages www.routesintolanguages.ac.uk.
The evaluator will be appointed by, and report to, the Programme Steering Group and will work under the direction of the Programme Director and Programme Manager.

email: routes@soton.ac.uk

UK private schools' Beijing link

The Chinese government is to fund the teaching of Mandarin and Chinese culture in 10 UK independent schools. It will pay for teachers to come from China and for software in a scheme that will involve school twinning and pupil trips to China. Brighton College, where all children learn Mandarin from the age of three, is spear-heading the scheme in the UK. In the spring, 10 independent school head teachers will travel to Beijing to sign agreements with the Chinese government for what is being called the Confucius programme.

Wednesday 3 October 2007
BBC website

Fate of modern languages

An article which explains and puts into perspective the apparent increase in languages graduates shown in the higher education statistics issued yesterday by the Scottish Government.

Too few Scots are immersing themselves in the bath of modern languages. Some 86% of the increase reported yesterday comes from activity at two further education colleges: Central College of Commerce in Glasgow and Telford in Edinburgh. Passes achieved by students were in higher education units not leading to a national certificate. To describe them as graduates is wrong.

In addition, some of the students were learning English which, in the circumstances, is itself classified as a foreign language.

Wednesday 3 October 2007
The Herald

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

LANGUAGES: Graduates in Scotland rise by third

The number of language graduates produced by Scotland's universities and colleges increased by more than a third last year, according to figures issued today. Subjects including architecture, education and business also saw significant increases as part of the largest ever crop of graduates.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007
The Herald

Lack of spending on learning languages ‘costs billions’

BILLIONS of pounds are lost to the economy each year because of a lack of investment in language learning, a Welsh academic said yesterday. A report by Professor James Foreman-Peck, of Cardiff Business School, said that investing more in teaching foreign languages to improve people’s ability to speak French, Spanish or German would save businesses £9bn a year.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007
IC Wales

What language barrier?

It is a truism that men and women do not communicate in the same way. But is there really any evidence to support this Mars-and-Venus theory? Oxford language professor Deborah Cameron investigates in the first of three extracts from her new book

Monday, 1st October
The Guardian

Monday, 1 October 2007

Fees policy hits Esol enrolment

English language student numbers are down by thousands as immigrants are ‘priced out of the market’

Friday 28th September 2007
Times Education Supplement