Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Back to School (Part 2)

Posted on July 14th, 2013by Melanie
In English, Grammar, Spelling | Leave a Comment »

Back to school 5Critics of the new national curriculum scheduled to begin in primary and some secondary schools in September 2014 say that it is too soon, that no one is prepared enough yet, and that it will cause chaos where schools and their teachers are not ready. Advocates of the changes state they are glad that the national curriculum is finally being given an overhaul which will put the UK back on track with the rest of Europe. The proposed changes will be taught to children aged between 5 and 14 years old, but secondary schools can opt out if they wish.

But what implications do these changes hold? Teachers have been used to teaching the set curriculum for years with little need for in-depth teaching. Many now have no choice but to go back to school themselves in order to revise the subjects before attempting to teach them to the children.

Among the subjects being given an overhaul is English, with a new focus on grammar, spelling and vocabulary. Rigorous spelling lists will be given to children in various age groups. It will be expected of children between the ages of 11 and 14 years old to have learned at least two Shakespeare plays. Younger children won´t get off lightly either as seven-year-olds will be taught about adverbs, conjunctions, subordinate clauses and prepositions while eight-year-olds will learn about fronted adverbials. Nine-year-olds will find out the uses of modal verbs and relative clauses and ten-year-olds will study using the subjunctive form of verbs as well as the relationship between subject and object, active and passive. Does this all sound like double Dutch to you?

To make sense of it all, take some refresher English courses in Leicester or a city near you to gain a better understanding of the complexities of the English language.

Tackling the TEFL

Posted on July 7th, 2013by Melanie
In Education, English, Grammar | Leave a Comment »

TEFL 3Samantha enjoyed a challenge, which was a good job really considering a huge one loomed before her! Her husband had been offered a job in southern Spain and it was too good an opportunity to miss, so they´d decided to relocate there with their three children.

The plan was that, once she´d got the kids settled in school, she´d earn a bit of cash herself by teaching English to the Spanish children. She´d get to know the other parents and offer extra tuition after school to help the kids with their speaking skills.

In order to do this, however, Samantha had to gain a formal qualification known as the TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She knew a couple of people who had already gained their TEFL qualification and they´d warned her that, despite being born and bred Brits who´d spoken English all of their lives, they´d struggled with some of the grammar aspects and found the terminology relating to teaching English a little tricky. Samantha knew this was only natural as people get used to speaking without thinking and become lazy in their knowledge of language construction, but she thought she´d better brush up on her skills nonetheless.

She found some private one-to-one English language training classes in Coventry where she lived. The tutor was willing to structure the lessons around the requirements needed for Samantha to be able to pass the TEFL teacher training course. Soon afterwards, thanks to the expert tuition she received, Samantha was confident enough that she could complete the TEFL course with ease.

Now, with her TEFL certificate firmly in her hand, Samantha is preparing to make the move to Spain and is looking forward to the teaching challenges that await her there!

Educating in English to Expand in Enrolment

Posted on June 27th, 2013by Melanie
In Education, English, French | Leave a Comment »

Welcome bienvenueThe French are proud of their language, just as they are of their country and culture. Their language is their identity and they protect it quite vigorously. And why wouldn´t they? The melodic language is soft and romantic and, to the French, it holds links to its traditions and history.

The Academie Francaise continuously sweeps for foreign words that have been introduced into the French language, usually from immigrants and the influence of their own native languages. It strives to substitute them with French alternatives in order to preserve their beloved language from devolving into a modern mixture of languages as others have done in recent years. English words in particular have a habit of cropping up. And despite their best efforts, it looks as though the English language is about to encroach on them even more.

The French parliament has settled on a debate over the teaching of lectures at French universities in English. Only elite universities and business schools have previously taught courses in English but these new proposals will allow all universities to do the same. This has caused a lot of opposition in France. The arguments are not against the learning of foreign languages – linguistics are promoted and encouraged from an early age – but of academic subjects being taught in a language other than French. The reasons for promoting this, though, are to encourage foreign students to study in France, and this new proposal is seen as an obvious progression if France wants to boost its intake of foreign students. The minister for Higher Education, Genevieve Fioraso, has backed this proposal completely and is adamant that these changes will be a positive change for France and its universities.

If you´re as passionate as the French people about preserving their language, these French classes in Manchester will have you speaking it fluently in no time!

Leading the Way

Posted on June 23rd, 2013by Melanie
In Chinese, English, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

Spanish, Chinese, EnglishIt seems as though the race is on for the top spot of the most spoken language in the world. The two main contenders are English and Chinese. Mandarin Chinese has the highest number of speakers, however, the majority of these are native speakers and the language is mainly concentrated in China, Taiwan and Singapore. China has become the second largest economy in the world and the need for others to learn the language is becoming more apparent. A new interest in the language has emerged and, in particular, businesses are starting to appreciate the need to address this issue for the future. Relations between the Unites States of America and China are gradually increasing and the US are making a concerted effort to promote the learning of the Chinese language.

English is the most widely spoken language throughout the world. It´s usage can be found almost all over the planet and it is the official language in at least one country of every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Historically, this is inevitable due to the extent of the reign of the British Empire. It is the foremost business language and is compulsory in many countries as the first foreign language.

Is any other language in the running to compete with these two hugely popular languages? Spanish has gradually been creeping up the ladder and is now a major international language, being rumoured to overtake English as the most widely spoken in the world. It is spoken across four continents and is the official language of 21 countries. It´s becoming increasingly common in the US due to the rise in immigration, where the number of Spanish speakers is said to have reached 30% of the total population. As a rapidly expanding market, Spanish as a business language has also become more prominent. It´s an official language of the European Union and one of the official languages of the United Nations.

So make sure that you´re ready for the future and don´t get left behind. Start learning Spanish with these courses in Bristol to increase your standing in today’s linguistic society.

Lazy at Learning Languages?

Posted on June 19th, 2013by Melanie
In English, German, Speech | Leave a Comment »

LazyWhen speaking with people of other nationalities, it´s very noticeable how fluent they all seem to be in English, with usually another couple of languages tucked under their belts as well. They have a firm grasp of the language and are confident when speaking it; there are no embarrassed looks or pauses, no awkward moments, they can joke around in English and have a vast knowledge of the vocabulary. And then you have the Brits….

Whilst not wishing to stereotype people, Brits on the whole seem fairly content at just belong able to speak English. They may have learned French or German at school, some may have tried their hand at Spanish, Italian or Russian, but those who take it further and become fluent in a second or third language are fairly rare in comparison with their European counterparts.

So why is this? Are Brits just lazy at learning languages, or maybe just reluctant? Is the British educational system letting them down or is the curriculum just not promoting the benefits of language learning enough? Or are the British just complacent, being satisfied with just speaking English with no need to have a knowledge of other languages?

Well, perhaps it´s a mixture of all of them. English is so widely spoken around the world that you´d be hard pushed to go to an area where someone didn´t speak it. Even in countries where English isn´t commonly spoken, there always seem to be people around and to hand who can speak it, if only a little, who always seem willing to help if need be or eager to strike up a conversation.

In 13 member states of the EU, English is compulsory as the first foreign language and is still usually chosen in those countries where it´s not compulsory. Whilst languages are included in the UK´s national curriculum, not as much emphasis is placed on their necessity as is in other countries and pupils aren´t actively persuaded to choose languages over other, more academic subjects. Learning a foreign language in school is not actually compulsory in the UK or Ireland. The benefits of being able to speak more languages aren´t highlighted to pupils and the options this skill could give the pupils later on in life are not necessarily promoted.

The attitude of many Brits is that there is not as much need to learn a foreign language as there is within other countries as English is such a widely spoken language anyway and that, being British, that automatically holds an advantage. Historically, English became the spoken language in many parts of the world and people needed to be able to converse in it to be able to advance in society. Nowadays, it´s an internationally recognised business language.

Despite this lack of foreign fluency, British schools actually offer the highest range of languages available to learn in the EU. Further education establishments, independent language classes and adult education language centres offer an extremely diverse selection of languages, particularly minority ones, and these classes are on the rise. As more people travel or meet new people from other countries, the interest in learning new languages is increasing. More and more people are enrolling in language classes in their spare time, whether it´s to learn the more “common” options such as French, German, Spanish or Italian, the increasingly popular language of Mandarin Chinese, or more obscure languages such as Polish, Danish, Turkish or Russian. This escalation in foreign language learning in the UK will only increase more as people discover a love of other countries and more opportunities for language learning become available to them.

You, too, can join the ranks of linguistic masterminds by taking part in some German lessons in London, or a city near you, and demonstrating your flair for foreign languages. This enthusiasm for linguistics, post-school education, just goes to show that the British aren´t lazy at learning languages after all!

Finding Foreign Words in our Everyday Language

Posted on May 24th, 2013by Melanie
In English, French, Words | Leave a Comment »

EurostarCan´t speak a foreign language? Think it´s too hard to learn? Nonsense! You may not realise it, but the English language has absorbed so many words and phrases from other languages over the years that they have become commonplace and used as everyday terms for us. Take the French language, for example.

How many times have you asked to see the à la carte menu in a restaurant? And chosen crème brûlée, mousse or a flambé for dessert? Do you enjoy watching the ballet or is the Grand Prix more your kind of thing? Are you an entrepreneur? Why don´t you buy your fiancée a lovely bouquet of flowers? Is your home in a cul-de-sac and does your bedroom have an en suite bathroom?

We have become so used to these words in our everyday language that we often don´t realise that they have been taken from another one. So whilst you might think that you´re unable to learn another language, think again, because you´re already speaking one more than you realise!

With the right style of teaching, at a level to suit you, you can learn to speak French fluently in no time. The best way to pick up the language easily is for a native French speaker to teach you. So give it a go! Arrange to meet your tutor in the local café and pick up your friends en route to your lessons. You´ll be surprised at just how easy it is to learn French in Leeds!

Fitting In With New Friends!

Posted on April 25th, 2013by Melanie
In Education, English | Leave a Comment »

Joanneke, born and raised in Holland, had lived in Spain for a number of years with her English husband. Now divorced, her husband had moved back to the UK and Joanneke had decided to remain in Spain to be near her friends and her work with her two young daughters. The girls attended a Spanish school so had a mixed vocabulary of Spanish, English and Dutch. As they grew older though, it became apparent that more opportunities would be open to them in the UK as well as for Joanneke in her work. So she made the difficult decision to leave her home and friends behind and took the girls to England with her to live in Birmingham near their dad.

Whilst the girls were thrilled to be near their dad and the English side of their family, there was one hurdle they needed to overcome! Despite having British friends in Spain and being able to speak English to a good level, they were still behind with their understanding of the language compared with kids of their own age group in the UK. So Joanneke made enquiries and enrolled the girls in some recommended private English classes in Birmingham which they did alongside their normal schooling. The classes were very convenient as the teacher visited their house to conduct the lessons after school and at a time that fitted in with the girls´ timetable of activities. This extra tuition enabled them to catch up quickly with their new schoolmates and helped them settle in quicker to their new home life.

Now, with lots of friends and a big family, the girls are enjoying a happy life in the UK. The eldest has just passed her exams with flying colours and made her mum proud by excelling in both Spanish and English!

Canadian Bilingual Row

Posted on February 13th, 2013by jake
In English, French | Leave a Comment »

There is tension in Quebec, Canada over a proposed bill that would limit English language rights.

The law would make it more difficult for municipalities to maintain their bilingual status if their anglophone population drops below 50 percent. Those seeking to enter the nursing order would have to demonstrate advanced proficiency in French. Measures would be taken to discourage English CEGEPs from recruiting students from the French system.

Bill 14 has caused a media firestorm and has lead to protests against the bill. The bill seeks to revoke bilingual status from some municipalities that currently cater to both French and English speakers. This would open a can of worms as the law would be far reaching, including forcing children from military families to go to French language schools. Many politicians have spoken out against the law including Daniel Ratthe, the CAQ MNA for Blainville who said:

“We think that we should leave to the city the choice or not to stay bilingual”.

Liberal interim leader Jean-Marc Fournier had this to say:

“French will always be a priority when it is presented the right way,” said Fournier. “When we seek to share French it will grow, now when we use a hammer to impose it.”

via: CTV News Here and Here

LOLcats Language

Posted on February 6th, 2013by jake
In English, Invented languages, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Twitter knows how to create some good publicity with an advertising gimmick. Twitter is currently available in a variety of different languages from Arabic to Urdu. Twitter also caters for languages that are usually forgotten about like Basque and Catalan. Twitter has decided to also cater to internet addicts by creating a version of Twitter. LOLcats is an internet meme in which people combine pictures of adorable cats with a comical, capitalised, ill spelt caption.

Taking a trip to transforms your timeline into a tribute, of sorts, to one of the internet’s most ensuring memes.

Twitter is replaced by TWITTR, while Home becomes HUM. COMPOZE NEW TWEET, VUW PHOTO and EXPAN.KTHX have also replaced the conventional commands on the site.

Whilst language purists may shiver at the sight of their Twitter page proudly proclaiming VIEW MAH PROILE PUJ, the gimmick is undeniably funny. It also raises an interesting point about ‘correct’ English usage. I’m all for the evolution of the English language, but imagine picking up your daily newspaper to find it written entirely in LOLcats. It is perhaps a good idea to have a common notion of ‘correct’ English.

via: Techradar

Polish On The Rise

Posted on January 23rd, 2013by jake
In English, Polish | Leave a Comment »

Since the British census results were released we have been treated to a barrage of news stories brimming with statistics. The latest story to hit the headlines is that Polish has become Britain’s second biggest language.

Polish is now the main language spoken in England after English, according to 2011 census data released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday.

This is not surprising as the amount of Polish people moving to Britain after Poland became a member of the EU was substantially larger than was predicted. This headline has given right wing newspapers ammunition against immigration, however,  the headlines are somewhat deceptive. Welsh is in fact the second largest language in Britain but has for some reason been lumped in with English. To achieve the sensational headline, languages indigenous to Britain have been lumped together in first place. It is however interesting to find that Polish is clearly a useful language to learn in Britain.

via: The Guardian