Archive for February, 2013

Languages and Employment

Posted on February 16th, 2013by jake
In Education, Portugese | Leave a Comment »

Communications provider Telefonica Digital have stressed the importance of being bilingual. The company have said that UK graduates need another language to work for a digital employer. ‘Research published today shows 70% of UK graduates cannot speak any languages other than English well or fluently.’

Telefonica has said that as a global digital business, headquartered in the UK, it “badly needs” more graduates who can speak second and even third languages to take advantage of huge opportunities in areas such as Latin America.

Although the statistic of 70% is bad news for Telefonica it is good news for bilingual graduates as there should be less competition for jobs that require a second language.

The survey of more than 1,000 UK university graduates reveals 14% of UK graduates have lost out on a job opportunity because they did not speak another language.

French, German and Spanish are the top three languages graduates with a second language can speak, but ‘only 3% of the graduate foreign language speakers can speak Portuguese, the first language of Brazil, despite that country being one of the fastest growing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets’. In an increasingly competitive job market it would appear learning another language is not only a desirable addition to your CV but also allows you to compete for jobs many other graduates are unable to.

via: HR Magazine


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

The Origins Of Language

Posted on February 9th, 2013by jake
In Historic | Leave a Comment »

The majority of us speak at least one language, and if you are visiting this blog you are probably interested in learning another, but where did language come from? The Week has posted an interesting article explaining some of the numerous theories that have been used to explain the great mystery. Of course all of the theories are purely hypothetical as empirical research cannot be undertaken in order to prove them. The secret of where language came from is lost within history but it is still, nevertheless, interesting to muse on the topic. Two of the theories can be found below, each with their own rather unscientific nickname.

The Pooh-Pooh Theory
The idea that speech comes from the automatic vocal responses to pain, fear, surprise, or other emotions: a laugh, a shriek, a gasp. But plenty of animals make these kinds of sounds too, and they didn’t end up with language.

The Ta-Ta Theory 
The idea that speech came from the use of tongue and mouth gestures to mimic manual gestures. For example, saying ta-ta is like waving goodbye with your tongue. But most of the things we talk about do not have characteristic gestures associated with them, much less gestures you can imitate with the tongue and mouth.

As you can see from the above examples, the theories are hardly exhaustive. According to the article, persistent speculation about the origins of language caused the Paris Linguistic Society to ban discussion of the topic when it was founded in 1866. It is highly improbable that we will ever truly know how language came into existence but this is true of many intriguing question and doesn’t make musing on the topic any less fascinating.

via: The Week

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


Posted on February 2nd, 2013by jake
In Aramaic | Leave a Comment »

Aramaic, the language that Jesus and his followers are believed to of spoken is in danger of extinction. The ancient language has connections to both Hebrew and Arabic, butunlike Hebrew and Arabic, Aramaic speakers are dwindling.

The 3,000-year-old language was once common throughout the entire Middle East and was used for trade, government and divine worship from the Holy Land to India and China.

As a key language used in Israel from 539 BC to 70 AD, experts believe it was likely to have been spoken by Jesus.

As well as the belief that Jesus spoke the language, it is the language of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra as well as the Talmud and parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now speakers of Aramaic are scattered across the globe, only found in small pockets of unlikely places like Chicago. The plight of Aramaic is not a modern phenomenon however. Its decline began centuries ago.

The language lost its standing in the Middle East in the 7th Century AD when Muslim Muslim armies from Arabia conquered the area, establishing Arabic as the key tongue. Aramaic survived in remote areas such as the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

via: The Daily Mail