LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Computers to translate world's 'lost' languages after program deciphers ancient text

Scientists have used a computer program to decipher a written language that is more than three thousand years old.

The program automatically translated the ancient written language of Ugaritic within just a few hours.

Scientists hope the breakthrough could help them decipher the few ancient languages that they have been unable to translate so far.

Ugaritic was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria and consists of dots on clay tablets. It was first discovered in 1920 but was not deciphered until 1932.

Daily Mail

Friday, 23 July 2010

Will Kafka's unpublished papers be released?

The circumstances surrounding this week's partial release of the long-sequestered Kafka papers from their Zurich bank vault could be called “Kafkaesque” were it not that the whole saga — full of disobeyed instructions and legal spats — resembles an exceptionally complicated Victorian novel.

Kafka died at 40 in 1924, having commanded his friend Max Brod to burn all his unpublished papers. This Brod resolutely declined to do, rescuing such masterpieces as The Trial, Metamorphosis and The Castle from the flames, fleeing to Israel in 1939 and eventually bequeathing the rest of the material to his secretary, Esther Hoffe, on his death in 1968.

London Evening Standard

USA: Colleges Help Students to Translate the Benefits of Study Abroad

Clemson University administrators were troubled by what they discovered on YouTube in the summer of 2008. Students at the university had posted videos of themselves drinking and partying during their study abroad in Spain, and the videos had been widely circulated.

Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, 9 July 2010

Milkman breaks language barrier by learning Gujarati

"Cemcho bhai, harisani, ano chokra kabar?"

That is Gujarati for: "Hello brother, how are you? Any news about your son?"

Not too unusual as the start of a conversation in the heart of the Asian community in Blackburn, apart from the fact that the words are being spoken by a 69-year-old white, English-born milkman.

BBC website

English language schools win court battle over visas

English language schools have won a High Court battle over visa restrictions which they say are absurd and damaging to their businesses.

They took the action over new regulations which say that students entering the UK to study must have a good standard of English.

BBC website

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

USA: Computer programs replace foreign language teachers in classrooms after budget cuts

In Ridgewood last year, school officials faced a dilemma that has become familiar in districts across New Jersey: Where to cut the budget.

Looking to squeeze under the state spending cap, Ridgewood honed in on Spanish classes for children in grades 3-5. They introduced an interactive computer program in which students listen to lessons on headsets, using a computer mouse to answer questions and a microphone to practice words and phrases. A regular classroom teacher supervises.

Monday, 5 July 2010

HONG KONG: New repository of statistical information on China

A university library in Hong Kong is aiming to open up new fields of research on China by building the world's most comprehensive repository of statistical information on the country.

Chronicle of Higher Education