Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Nobel Prize

Posted on October 31st, 2012by jake
In Chinese, Events | Leave a Comment »

Chinese author Mo Yan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Mo Yan when literally translated means ‘don’t speak’. He is one of China’s most highly regarded authors and he has written nine novels and many short stories.

‘The Swedish Academy praised his work which “with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”.

The 57-year-old is the first Chinese resident to win the prize. Chinese-born Gao Xingjian was honoured in 2000, but is a French citizen.’

I was delighted to hear that a Chinese author had won the prize. I wrote my dissertation on Chinese literature and feel that it is underrepresented in Western culture. If you are interested in Chinese literature I would recommend the work of Mian Mian, Jung Chang and Ai Weiwei. Although Mo has written novels that are critical of the Chinese government he has not been as vocal as some of his peers with some critics accusing him of being ‘too close to the Communist Party’.

“A writer should express criticism and indignation at the dark side of society and the ugliness of human nature,” the author said in a speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009.

“Some may want to shout on the street, but we should tolerate those who hide in their rooms and use literature to voice their opinions.”‘

Quotes via the BBC

Scrabble cheat

Posted on August 16th, 2012by Michelle
In Events, Words | Leave a Comment »

We all cheat at Scrabble, right? Even if it’s just when playing Scrabble-like apps.

Not so many of us do it at a high level though – like when competing in a tournament. One of America’s top young players has been caught doing just that. In a tournament in Florida, the player, who has not been identified because of his age, was spotted by another player hiding blank Scrabble tiles.

The player was in round 24 of 28 at the time, and dropped the tiles on the floor in order to conceal them. The winner of the tournament stood to gain US$10,000.

[John] Williams, who has served as executive director for 25 years and co-authored a book on the popular board game in 1993, said this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament.

“It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this,” he said. “It’s the first time it’s happened in a venue this big though. It’s unfortunate. The Scrabble world is abuzz. The internet is abuzz.” (Source: Guardian)

Dickens dictionary

Posted on February 19th, 2012by Michelle
In Culture, English, Events | Leave a Comment »

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Dickens’ birth (7th February 1812), with lots of events, films and new books about the man released to celebrate it.

One of the new books is The Dickens Dictionary by John Sutherland. Subtitled “An A-Z of England’s Greatest Novelist”, the book is written by a recently retired Professor from the University of London.

Martin Chilton from The Telegraph wrote about a few things he learned from the book, all of which are very interesting:

There are more than 16,000 characters in the works of Dickens.

Considering he wrote upwards of 20 novels and short stories, this is an amazing number!

The word umbrella is mentioned 55 times in Martin Chuzzlewit.

Dickens suffered from nightmares following a visit to London Zoo as a boy. It was the horror of seeing snakes eating birds and guinea-pigs.

What’s your favourite Dickens fact?

Happy Christmas!

Posted on December 24th, 2011by Michelle
In Culture, Events | Leave a Comment »

In what’s becoming a tradition for this blog, below you will find one of my favourite Christmas songs (with lyrics so you can sing along!).

Merry Christmas from everyone at Language Museum!

European Day of Languages

Posted on September 24th, 2011by Michelle
In Culture, Education, Events | Leave a Comment »

© Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Happy European Day of Languages! This year the EDL celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The EDL was initiated by the Council of Europe, who promote plurilingualism for all people across the continent. The Council comprises of 47 member states, with over 300 languages spoken!

Everyone is encouraged to participate – you can find an event near you on the website. There are also materials to promote the events, like the poster in the picture to the left. Plus you can self-evaluate your language skills with a fun game!

What will you do for European Day of Languages?

The third official language of the London Olympics… Cockney Rhyming Slang!

Posted on March 28th, 2011by Michelle
In Culture, English, Events, French | 3 Comments »

NewsBiscuit seems to be coming up with some great language-related satirical news at the moment. Last month there was Nicolas Sarkozy admitting that French is a hoax, and now an article announces that Cockney Rhyming Slang is to be the third official language of the 2012 London Olympics.

The origins of Cockney Rhyming Slang are in the East End of London, the site for many Olympic venues. Organisers of the Games often talk about the ‘local legacy’ of the Olympics.

‘The inclusion of rhyming slang forms a key part of the celebration of the local culture. It will add a real sense of fun to proceedings with local marshals offering directions and answering queries in their finest cockney,’ explained Lord Coe. ‘OK, the more fluent guides may hinder more than help at times, but you never know its origins as a means for residents to communicate freely without interlopers understanding might come in handy if Olympic officials and other VIPs need to be on their toes to Steve Cram [scram] down the Sally [Gunnell -- Blackwall Tunnel] in the event of a suspected Roger [Black -- terrorist attack].’ (Source: NewsBiscuit)

English and French are the two official languages of the Games, and there was a small outcry last year when it was announced that French would take precedence over English during Olympic fortnight. Perhaps Cockney is the solution??

Evolving English exhibition

Posted on March 18th, 2011by Michelle
In English, Events | 1 Comment »

I posted previously on this blog about the Evolving English exhibition at the British Library, and this week I got the chance to actually visit it.

Unfortunately I didn’t have much time, and only got a brief overview of the whole exhibit. I chatted to one elderly lady who had visited for three hours the previous day and was back for more! There was plenty to see – from the slightly singed 1,000 year old copy of Beowulf to 19th Century pamphlets on how to improve your English.

A really nice touch was the projection on the walls of words that had joined the English language from other cultures. Booths were provided so visitors could contribute to the exhibition by talking about an aspect of their vocabulary. There were also listening stations to hear different types of English in different forms throughout the years – including a recording of Florence Nightingale.

The exhibition runs until the third of April, I definitely recommend a visit if you’re in London before then. Just leave plenty of time for it!

2011 Census to determine how many speak Scots

Posted on March 2nd, 2011by Michelle
In Events, Scots | Leave a Comment »

As the start of the UK 2011 census draws closer, more details have been revealed about what kinds of data will be collected.

Language supporters will be glad to know that in Scotland, residents will be asked if they speak Scots, according to an article on One of three languages spoken in Scotland (along with English and Gaelic), Scots is not thought of as a language by a percentage of Scottish people, according to a survey conducted last year.

To help people decide whether or not they speak the language, the government has created a website, Aye Can, where you can listen to and read examples of Scots. For more information, you can view Scotland’s census information advert on YouTube.

What’s your most romantic line?

Posted on February 14th, 2011by Michelle
In Culture, English, Events | Leave a Comment »

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day for romance, hearts, flowers and chocolates. A day for heartfelt proclamations of love.

Not all of us are good at the latter however, so here’s a little help. A poll of 2,000 Britons by Warner Home Video showed that a line from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is considered the most romantic in English literature. The line? “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

That’s not so easy to drop into conversation, so what of the others in the top ten?

2. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you” – A A Milne

3.”But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun” – Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet”

4. “He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong” – W.H. Auden

5. “You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams” – Dr. Seuss

6.” When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part” – “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”

7. “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be” – Robert Browning

8.”For you see, each day I love you more. Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow” – Rosemonde Gerard

9. “But to see her was to love her, love but her, and love her forever” – Robert Burns

10. “I hope before long to press you in my arms and shall shower on you a million burning kisses as under the Equator” – Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1796 dispatch to wife Josephine. (Source:

Yeah… maybe these are all best written rather than said.

Happy Christmas everybody!

Posted on December 24th, 2010by Michelle
In Culture, Events | Leave a Comment »

Merry Christmas from everyone at Language Museum!

Hope everyone has a warm and fun Christmas, however you celebrate it. Here’s how to wish people all over the world a happy Christmas… Can you say it in your target language?

Afrikaans: Geseënde Kersfees
Albanian: Gezur Krislinjden
Arabic: Milad Majid
Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda
Chinese (Cantonese): Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Chinese (Mandarin): Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
Croatian: Sretan Bozic
Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish: Glædelig Jul
Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Esperanto: Gajan Kristnaskon
Finnish: Hyvaa joulua
French: Joyeux Noel
German: Fröhliche Weihnachten
Greek: Kala Christouyenna!
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew: Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hungarian: Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese: Kurisumasu Omedeto
Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Norwegian: God Jul
Polish: Boze Narodzenie
Portuguese: Feliz Natal
Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Spanish: Feliz Navidad
Swedish: God Jul
Thai: Souksan wan Christmas
Turkish: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh: Nadolig Llawen

And here’s a little treat from me (my favourite Christmas song!)