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Language News
Latest news

September 2006

More pupils do not speak English
One in eight pupils at primary schools in England speak English as a second language, official statistics show.
(BBC News, September 29th, 2006)
Can schools manage migrants?
What happens when an area finds itself part of the revolution in migrant workers arriving from Eastern Europe?
(BBC News, September 28th, 2006)
Language book helps police forces
A new phrase book is designed by a Herefordshire man to help police officers communicate with foreign nationals.
(BBC News, September 27th, 2006)
Universities in languages drive
A campaign to encourage more people to study languages at university is being launched in England.
(BBC News, September 26th, 2006)
Do Britons lack je ne sais quoi?
Foreign language skills are declining in the UK, prompting a drive to encourage more students. So why are we bad at learning lingo?
(BBC News, September 26th, 2006)
How do you say wine lake, butter mountain and gravy train in Irish?
Europe may be expanding to the East, but Brussels is desperately searching for interpreters from the West after Irish became the European Parliament's latest official language.
(The Times, September 23rd, 2006)
Vilnius launches 'language buses'
An EU scheme to teach people foreign languages while they travel is starting in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.
(BBC News, September 20th, 2006)
Metaphors can be dangerous: use sparingly, or they blow up in your face
What is wrong with the following sentence? "Rabbit Angstrom trotted down the alleyway holding his jacket like an envelope." When I first read it, I was genuinely baffled. But envelopes don't wear jackets, I thought. Oh no, what the author means is that Rabbit is carrying his jacket in the same way as he'd carry an envelope.
(The Telegraph, September 18th, 2006)
A new rung in the languages ladder
At last, some encouraging news about modern foreign language teaching. A new approach to it - being pioneered by the Oxford and Cambridge and Royal Society of Art (OCR) exam board - has had considerable success in encouraging children at primary school to start learning the subject.
(The Independent, September 14th, 2006)
School tests show decline in standard of English
Standards in English among 14-year-olds at secondary school have fallen, test results for 600,000 pupils published yesterday show.
(The Independent, September 14th, 2006)
Ministers 'rethink' decision on compulsory languages
The Government has ordered a review of its controversial decision to scrap compulsory language lessons for 14- to 16-year-olds.
(The Independent, September 14th, 2006)
Rethink on school language study
Ministers are reportedly rethinking their decision to make language study in England optional from age 14.
(BBC News, September 14th, 2006)
Posh profanities will leave you feeling sworn out
If you are of the view that swearing is both big and clever, I commend to you Big Ron Manager on Sky One, where the liberal use of the F word makes Goodfellas look like Bob The Builder.
(The Guardian, September 11th, 2006)
Hospital launches language pack
The Royal Hospital in Belfast launches a multi-lingual admissions for patients who do not speak English.
(BBC News, September 11th, 2006)
Bilingual school is a lesson in the entente cordiale
"Au revoir, à lundi," one four-year-old tells her new friend in the playground, as the opening week at Britain's first bilingual state school draws to an end.
(The Independent, September 9th, 2006)
Texts 'do not hinder literacy'
Pupils who text-message may not be at risk of becoming poor readers and writers, researchers say.
(BBC News, September 8th, 2006)
Terence Blacker: Don't shoot that puppy - take it for a walk
Instead of commuting, non-office dwellers get a sense of forward movement by 'buying the papers' and 'filling the bird-feeder'.
(The Independent, September 7th, 2006)*
Are African languages important?
Swahili, Yoruba and Somali are now available to read on the internet based encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. Will this help preserve African languages?
(BBC News, September 7th, 2006)
Bilingual Welsh sign stumps Scots
A building company apologises for putting up a bilingual sign in Aberdeenshire in English - and Welsh.
(BBC News, September 6th, 2006)
'First' websites for sign users
Two websites, thought to be the first of their type in Scotland, aim to improve web access for sign-language users.
(BBC News, September 5th, 2006)
news archive

August 2005
Icelanders speak up for languages
East End Cockney accent 'fading'
Muslims 'want surmons in English'

September 2005
Manx Gaelic revival 'impressive'
UK 'loves languages after all'
Tingo, nakkele and other wonders

January 2006
Web to preserve Romani heritage
Mind your PMQs? It's eff this and eff that
The C word

August 2006
Armageddon isn't upon us
Why are fewer students choosing to study foreign languages at GCSE?

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In Your Area
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Did You Know?
95% of people in Northern Ireland think of themselves as having a moderately strong accent, compared to only 63% of people in the east of England.
Voices poll results

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