LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

How do you become fluent in 11 languages?

Twenty-year-old Alex Rawlings has won a national competition to find the UK's most multi-lingual student.
The Oxford University undergraduate can currently speak 11 languages - English, Greek, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Afrikaans, French, Hebrew, Catalan and Italian.
Entrants in the competition had to be aged between 16 and 22 and conversant in multiple languages.
Alex drew on all his skills to tell BBC News about his passion for learning languages and how he came to speak so many.

BBC news

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tweeting and omelettes at the 7th LLAS elearning symposium

LLAS has just celebrated its 7th annual elearning symposium with a heady mix of workshops, presentations…and omelettes! The two-day event took place in Southampton on the 26th and 27th January 2012, and was attended by colleagues from across Europe.

Highlights included Professor Claire Warwick, from UCL, talking about how academics often underestimate the power of social media to advance research. She posed the question: ‘Is scholarly culture being changed by Facebook and social media?’ She argued that Twitter, for example, is not just chatter and that tweeters often make serious scholarly points. She described the Twitter phenomenon #tweetyourthesis, started by UCL, which involved PhD students tweeting the main idea behind their research. Her robust response to the idea that 140 characters are insufficient to describe research work was: ‘What kind of expert are you, if you can’t communicate your research to absolutely anyone? Being able to communicate is not dumbing down.’ Students involved in ‘tweeting their theses’ reported that the process helped them refine and clarify their ideas, broke down feelings of isolation, and helped them make contacts across the globe.

Another highlight was our video link to Newcastle University’s Digital kitchen project. A team led by Professor Paul Seedhouse have created an interactive kitchen which will teach you how to speak French – and make an omelette at the same time! Paul talked us through the project and then handed over to researchers Anne Preston and Clare Hooper to demonstrate how the kitchen worked – and we quickly decided we all wanted a French (German? Spanish? Chinese?) kitchen of our own! The project plans to create more kitchens for different languages and you can find out more at: http://digitalinstitute.ncl.ac.uk/ilablearn/kitchen

So…another symposium over and we begin to look forward to the next one. Watch out for videos and slides from the event on our website shortly http://www.llas.ac.uk/events/archive/6395 and for the call for papers in the summer.

LLAS looks forward to seeing you next year!

Monday, 6 February 2012

NHS translation bill tops £23m, says 2020 Health

The NHS in England spends £59,000 a day on translating documents and providing interpreters, according to a health think tank.
A Freedom of Information request by 2020 Health showed the total bill topped £23m last year - an increase of 17% since 2007, it said.
The organisation described the amount of money spent as "truly staggering".
BBC website

Why do we continue to isolate ourselves by only speaking English?

According to Will Hutton Britain's future economic and political wellbeing is being hamstrung by our reluctance to learn foreign languages

The Observer