Could Russian language teaching end in Latvia?

Latvian schoolchildren may no longer be required to learn Russian, the language of neighbouring Russia, in changes proposed by the children’s ombudsman of Latvia.

In measures to create ‘a more homogenous society’, Juris Jansons suggested that learning Russian may be causing problems for children who are already struggling to grasp their native language.

More than a quarter of Latvia’s population is Russian, and Russian is the most widely spoken minority language with more than a third of people living in Latvia speaking Russian at home, including those who are not originally from Russia.

So, with Russian such a prevalent language in Latvia, why has this change to the Latvian curriculum been proposed?

Jansons’ main arguments for ending Russian language education in Latvian schools centre on a lack of proficiency in Latvian by Russian-speaking teachers in the existing bilingual teaching system, where up to 40% of lessons may be taught in Russian. There are also concerns that non-Latvian parents may struggle to help their children with homework, meaning these children lack the Latvian support they need to succeed in the country.

In 2012, a constitutional referendum was held in Latvia to decide whether or not Russian should be adopted as the country’s official second language. The matter was overwhelmingly voted against with almost three quarters of voters rejecting the prospect.

However, rejecting Russian as an official second language does not mean that it does not play a significant role in the lives of Latvian natives. With so many Russian speakers in Latvia, it is at the very least useful for children to learn this language to enable smooth integration of Russian communities.

Russian had previously been an official language of Latvia, which may explain the ombudsman’s reasoning. Language holds strong cultural significance for many people, and by having children focus on the country’s native language it could create a renewed cultural pride.

What do you think of the measures? Do you believe that this will benefit schoolchildren in Latvia in the long run, or will it be harmful to the relationship between Latvian and Russian communities?

Read more about the decision to end Russian teaching in Latvia>>

Learn to speak Russian with Language Advantage>>

Learn to speak Latvian with Language Advantage>>

Earworms Rapid Languages

language advantage brings you top language courses from Earworms to help you learn to speak a language on your CD, MP3, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Enjoy learning languages in a completely unique and fun way with Earworms Rapid language courses. Listen to the rhythmic repetition of songs and melodies to help you learn the language by using your long-term memory or what they call the ‘accelerated learning technique’. You will be speaking real language without even realising it! The Earworms Rapid language course range is available in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Learn to speak a language in 70 minutes and on the go with Earworms Rapid Languages!


earworms rapid language courses


01 Earworms Rapid Arabic

earworms rapid arabic language courseslevels: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Arabic
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Arabic language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Arabic straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Arabic language course on earwormslearning.com>>


02 Earworms Rapid Brazilian Portuguese

earworms rapid brailian portuguese language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Brazilian Portuguese
method: MP3 download only (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Brazilian Portuguese language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Brazilian Portuguese straight away!

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Brazilian Portuguese language course on earwormslearning.com>>


03 Earworms Rapid Cantonese

earworms rapid cantonese language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1 only)
language: Cantonese
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Cantonese language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Cantonese straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Cantonese language course on earwormslearning.com>>


04 Earworms Rapid Dutch

earworms rapid dutch language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1 only)
language: Dutch
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Dutch language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Dutch straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Dutch language course on earwormslearning.com>>


05 Earworms Rapid French

earworms rapid french language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: French
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the French language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real French straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid French language course on earwormslearning.com>>

REVIEW! read our review of the Earworms Rapid French Volume 1>> and the Earworms Rapid French Volume 2>>


06 Earworms Rapid German

earworms rapid german language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: German
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the German language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real German straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid German language course on earwormslearning.com>>


07 Earworms Rapid Greek

earworms rapid greek language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Greek
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Greek language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Greek straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Greek language course on earwormslearning.com>>


08 Earworms Rapid Italian

earworms rapid italian language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Italian
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Italian language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Italian straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Italian language course on earwormslearning.com>>


09 Earworms Rapid Japanese

earworms rapid japanese language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Japanese
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Japanese language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Japanese straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Japanese language course on earwormslearning.com>>


10 Earworms Rapid Mandarin Chinese

earworms rapid mandarin chinese language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Mandarin Chinese
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Mandarin Chinese language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Mandarin Chinese straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Mandarin Chinese language course on earwormslearning.com>>


11 Earworms Rapid Polish

earworms rapid polish language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1 only)
language: Polish
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Polish language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Polish straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Polish language course on earwormslearning.com>>


12 Earworms Rapid Portuguese

earworms rapid portuguese language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Portuguese
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Portuguese language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Portuguese straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Portuguese language course on earwormslearning.com>>


13 Earworms Rapid Russian

earworms rapid russian language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Russian
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Russian language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Russian straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Russian language course on earwormslearning.com>>


14 Earworms Rapid Spanish

earworms rapid spanish language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1) – intermediate (Volume 2)
language: Spanish
method: audio cd, MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Spanish language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad, whilst Volume 2 deals with more general conversational terms including the past, present and future tenses. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Spanish straight away! This product is available as a download as well as on audio CD.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Spanish language course on earwormslearning.com>>


15 Earworms Rapid Turkish

earworms rapid turkish language courseslevel: beginner (Volume 1)
language: Turkish
method: MP3 download (phrasebook is included)

Learn essential words at the heart of the Turkish language and how to put them together to make yourself understood. Volume 1 deals with the essentials you need for a trip abroad. This  is a fun way to learn a language rapidly and will have you speaking real Spanish straight away! This product is currently only available as a download.

for more information and to buy the Earworms Rapid Turkish language course on earwormslearning.com>>


browse more Earworms language courses on earwormslearning.com>>


MICHEL THOMAS RUSSIAN (USA)

language advantage brings you our top Russian language courses using the audio Michel Thomas method to learn Russian, from the famous language teacher to the stars!

Enjoy learning Russian in a totally revolutionary way with Michel Thomas Method Russian language courses. This unique method has been perfected over a lifetime of teaching. No books, no pens, no notes and no exercises from this totally audio language course.  It works by building up the language in manageable chunks bit by bit. Just relax, listen, connect and learn. And you really do make so much progress while learning Russian, even if you’ve never succeeded in learning a language before. Now you can learn Russian with the Michel Thomas Method, in a fraction of the time needed for any other course.


browse Michel Thomas Method Russian language courses UK>>


01 Michel Thomas Method START Russian NEW!

michel thomas method start russian language courseslanguage: Russian
level: beginner – this one hour course replaces the Introductory course from previous ranges
method: audio cd/mp3

Learn 50 essential words at the heart of Russian and how to put them together to make yourself understood. This one-hour introduction to the Michel Thomas method will have you speaking real Russian straight away. There are no books, no pens and no memorising – just listen, connect and speak.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method START Russian language course on amazon.com>>


02 Michel Thomas Method TOTAL Russian NEW!

michel thomas method total russian language courseslevel: beginner – this 12 hour course replaces the Foundation Course, Vocabulary Builder and Foundation Review from previous ranges
language: Russian
method: audio cd, visual review course and interactive exercises for PC or Mac

This method works with your brain, helping you to build up your Russian in manageable, enjoyable steps by thinking out the answers for yourself. You learn through listening and speaking without the pressure of writing or memorizing. You pick up the language naturally and unforgettably.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method TOTAL Russian language course on amazon.com>>


03 Michel Thomas Method PERFECT Russian NEW!

michel thomas method perfect russianlevel: intermediate/advanced – this 9 hour course replaces the Advanced course, Vocabulary Builder and Advanced Review from previous ranges
language: Russian
method: audio cd, visual review course and interactive exercises for PC or Mac

Perfect Russian with the Michel Thomas Method includes up to 9 hours of audio on CD. Become a fluent speaker and understand in any situation with this follow-on course.

This title has not yet been released in the US but is available for pre-order.

for more information and to pre-order the Michel Thomas Method PERFECT Russian language course on amazon.com>>


Previous editions of Michel Thomas Method language courses:

01 Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian Get Started Kit

michel thomas method speak russian get started kitlevel: beginner
language: Russian
method: audio CDs

The Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian Get Started Kit is a two-hour short course audio method for learning Russian. Join your teacher in a class on the CD and you will soon be able to construct simple sentences to speak basic Russian. By the end, you will have the confidence to understand and speak some Russian.  It is the first two hours of the Speak Russian for Beginners course.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian Get Started Kit on amazon.com>>


02 Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian for Beginners

michel thomas method speak russian for beginnerslevel: beginner
language: Russian
method: audio CDs

The Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian for Beginners is an eight-hour, 100% audio method for learning Russian. Join your teacher and you will soon be able to construct simple phrases. You will learn the language with other students, hearing both their successes and their mistakes to keep you motivated and involved throughout the course. By the end, you will have the confidence to understand and speak Russian.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian for Beginners on amazon.com>>


03 Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian Advanced

michel thomas method speak russian advancedlevel: intermediate to advanced
language: Russian
method: audio CDs

An audio method for learning Russian. Join your teacher and fellow students to learn and improve on your Russian language, hearing both their successes and their mistakes to keep you motivated and involved throughout the course. By the end, you will have advanced vocabulary, excellent conversation skills and greater confidence to speak Russian.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Speak Russian Advanced on amazon.com>>


Other editions of Michel Thomas Method Russian:

michel-thomas method russian vocabulary course


05 Michel Thomas Method Russian Vocabulary Course

michel-thomas method russian vocabulary courselevel: intermediate
language: Russian
method: audio cd

Building and expanding on the language structures taught in the Foundation and Advanced Courses, these new Vocabulary Courses give you all you need to enjoy travelling in the Russian-speaking world, whether for business or pleasure.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Russian Vocabulary course on amazon.com>>


browse our Michel Thomas Language Advantage store for more Michel Thomas language courses and books on amazon.com>>


MICHEL THOMAS RUSSIAN (UK)

language advantage brings you our top Russian language courses using the audio Michel Thomas method to learn Russian, from the famous language teacher to the stars!

Enjoy learning Russian in a totally revolutionary way with Michel Thomas Method Russian language courses. This unique method has been perfected over a lifetime of teaching. No books, no pens, no notes and no exercises from this totally audio language course.  It works by building up the language in manageable chunks bit by bit. Just relax, listen, connect and learn. And you really do make so much progress while learning Russian, even if you’ve never succeeded in learning a language before. Now you can learn Russian with the Michel Thomas Method, in a fraction of the time needed for any other course.


browse Michel Thomas Method Russian language courses USA>>


01 Michel Thomas Method START Russian NEW!

michel thomas method start russian language courseslanguage: Russian
level: beginner – this one hour course replaces the Introductory course from previous ranges
method: audio cd/mp3

Learn 50 essential words at the heart of Russian and how to put them together to make yourself understood. This one-hour introduction to the Michel Thomas method will have you speaking real Russian straight away. There are no books, no pens and no memorising – just listen, connect and speak.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method START Russian language course on amazon.co.uk>>
Michel Thomas Method START Russian is not currently available in the USA nor available as a download from audible.co.uk


02 Michel Thomas Method TOTAL Russian NEW!

michel thomas method total russian language courseslevel: beginner – this 12 hour course replaces the Foundation Course, Vocabulary Builder and Foundation Review from previous ranges
language: Russian
method: audio cd, visual review course and interactive exercises for PC or Mac

This method works with your brain, helping you to build up your Russian in manageable, enjoyable steps by thinking out the answers for yourself. You learn through listening and speaking without the pressure of writing or memorizing. You pick up the language naturally and unforgettably.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method TOTAL Russian language course on amazon.co.uk>>
Michel Thomas Method TOTAL Russian is not currently available in the USA nor available as a download from audible.co.uk


03 Michel Thomas Method PERFECT Russian NEW!

michel thomas method perfect russianlevel: intermediate/advanced – this 9 hour course replaces the Advanced course, Vocabulary Builder and Advanced Review from previous ranges
language: Russian
method: audio cd, visual review course and interactive exercises for PC or Mac

Perfect Russian with the Michel Thomas Method includes up to 9 hours of audio on CD. Become a fluent speaker and understand in any situation with this follow-on course.This title has not yet been released in the UK but is available for pre-order.

for more information and to pre-order the Michel Thomas Method PERFECT Russian language course on amazon.co.uk>>
Michel Thomas Method PERFECT Russian is not currently available in the USA nor available as a download from audible.co.uk


Previous editions of Michel Thomas Method Russian language courses:

michel thomas method russian introductory russian language course  michel thomas method russian foundation course  michel thomas method russian advanced course  michel-thomas method russian vocabulary course


04 Michel Thomas Method Russian Introductory 2-hour course

michel thomas method russian introductory russian language courselevel: beginner (note: this short course is the first 2 hours of the original Foundation 8-hour course)
language: Russian
method: 2 audio CDs plus a booklet with Russian phrases with English translation and transliterated into Roman script or mp3 download of audio book

This is the first two hours of the eight-hour Russian Foundation Course. Join your teacher and two students in a live lesson and within the first hour you will be able to construct simple phrases. You will learn the language with the students, hearing both their successes and their mistakes to keep you motivated and involved throughout the course.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Russian Introductory 2-hour language course on amazon.co.uk>>
for more information and to download the Michel Thomas Method Introductory 2-hour Russian language course from audible.co.uk>>


05 Michel Thomas Method Russian Foundation 8-hour course

michel thomas method russian foundation courselevel: beginner
language: Russian
method: 8 audio CDs plus a booklet with Russian phrases in English translation and transliterated into Roman script

An eight-hour, 100% audio method for learning Russian. Join your teacher and two students in a live lesson and within the first hour you will be able to construct simple phrases. You will learn the language with the students, hearing both their successes and their mistakes to keep you motivated and involved throughout the course. By the end, you will have the confidence to understand and speak Russian.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Russian Foundation language course on amazon.co.uk>>


06 Michel Thomas Method Russian Advanced 5-hour course

michel thomas method russian advanced courselevel: advanced
language: Russian
method: 4 audio CDs plus a booklet with Russian phrases in English translation and transliterated into Roman script

The advanced courses are the follow-on to Michel Thomas’ highly acclaimed Foundation 8-hour course. With his unique method, perfected over a lifetime’s teaching, Michel will take you on to the next level so you are speaking advanced Russian easily and fluently. Join Michel and two students in a live classroom situation and build your knowledge at an astonishing rate. With no pens, no paper, no homework and no memorising, you will be able to speak with confidence – even if you’ve never succeeded in learning a language before. Now you can learn Russian with the Michel Thomas method, in a fraction of the time needed for any other course.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Russian Advanced language course on amazon.co.uk>>


07 Michel Thomas Method Russian Vocabulary Course

michel-thomas method russian vocabulary courselevel: intermediate
language: Russian
method: audio cd

Building and expanding on the language structures taught in the Foundation and Advanced Courses, these Vocabulary Courses give you all you need to enjoy travelling in the Russian-speaking world, whether for business or pleasure.

for more information and to buy the Michel Thomas Method Russian Vocabulary course on amazon.co.uk>>


08 Michel Thomas Method Russian 20 minute free sample

michel thomas method russian free samplelevel: beginner
language: Russian
method: downloadable to your ipod, mp3 player or even to your mobile phone, PDA or satellite navigation system

This is a 20-minute sample of the best-selling Michel Thomas Method Russian Language Course, offering you a fast-track introduction to Russian.

for more information and to sign up for the Michel Thomas Method Russian 20 minute free sample on audible.co.uk>>


browse our Language Advantage Michel Thomas shop for more Michel Thomas language courses and books on amazon.co.uk>>


Cuts to BBC World Service Language Programmes

The BBC World Service, which started broadcasting in 1932, is to close five of its language services.  The Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian, English for the Caribbean and Portuguese for Africa services will all be axed.

An end to radio programmes in another seven languages has also been announced [Read more…]

Celebrate the UN Language Days 2011

The UN celebrated the first ever Chinese Language Day on Friday 12 November 2010 in an bid to raise awareness and respect for the six official working languages of the organisation. With up to 1.4 billion people speaking Chinese, it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

The UN will also celebrate its five other official languages to help promote multilingualism and cultural diversity.  The dates for the Language Days were selected for their symbolic or historic significance in relation to each language. Although the first Chinese Language Day was celebrated on 12 November, it will be observed on 20 April from 2011, to mark the invention of Chinese characters by Cangjie, with English on the 23rd April; Arabic on the 8th December; French on the 20th March; Russian on the 6th June; and Spanish on the 12th October.

Read more about the UN language days>>

Find out how to learn to speak Arabic and get the Arabic language advantage>>

Find out how to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese and get the Chinese language advantage>>

Find out how to learn to speak French and get the French language advantage>>

Find out how to learn to speak Russian and get the Russian language advantage>>

Find out how to learn to speak Spanish and get the Spanish language advantage>>

Multilingual Sussex Schoolchildren Speak 94 Languages

There are over 3,000 bilingual school children in Sussex, on the South Coast of the UK, who speak an amazing 94 languages between them, including Wolof, which is spoken in Senegal, and Igbo, spoken in Nigeria and Niger-Congo.

New figures show the top ten tongues in West Sussex are Urdu, Gujarati, Caribbean Creole French, Portuguese, Tamil, Punjabi, Polish, Bengali, French and Pashto.   [Read more…]

‘Historic’ Day as First Non-Latin Web Addresses Go Live

Arab nations are leading a “historic” charge to make the world wide web live up to its name.

Net regulator ICANN has switched on a system that allows full web addresses that contain no Latin characters. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the first countries to have so-called “country codes” written in Arabic scripts.

The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil.

Read  more about the first Arabic domain names in Arabic script>>

OTHER LANGUAGE FILM REVIEWS

Portuguese language film reviews

Cidade de Deus (2002)
City of God

An independent  language advantage film review by Andrea Martins

Cidade de Deus (City of God) is set in a slum in Rio de Janeiro where the lives of many characters sometimes intersect each other through drugs and gun warfare. It is a notoriously violent slum where even the police rarely go and the residents are lucky if they live beyond their childhood. Busca Pé (Rocket) is the narrator of the story, but he is also an example of hope for the other kids who live in the slums. He is too scared to be a hoodlum but also too clever to work in menial jobs. His interest in photography is what draws him back into the slums and records the violence and reality of life there, through the eye of the lens.

This is an entertaining yet powerful film showing real life in the favelas (shanty towns) in Rio de Janeiro. It’s particularly shocking and hard to watch in places and even more disturbing to know that it is based on a true story. It shows clearly what life is like for the people and kids who have to live surrounded by drugs, guns and fear.

This film won several awards including a Bafta, a British Independent Film Award and nominations at both the 2004 Oscars and the 2003 Golden Globe Awards. It shows clearly what life is like in the shanty towns overshot with the music of samba, bossa nova and seventies funk.

The language is particularly difficult to understand even if you understand Portuguese as most of it is in ‘favela’ slang and Brazilian colloquialisms. It’s compelling stuff and definitely worth watching. In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles. Rated 18 in the UK.

To buy  City of God  and other  Portuguese language films>>

top of page


Central do Brasil (1998)
Central Station

An independent  language advantage film review by Andrea Martins

This is a very moving story by director Walter Salles. Fernanda Montenegro (1998 Academy Award nominated Best Actress) plays a lonely and troubled older woman who spends her days writing letters for illiterate customers at Rio de Janeiro’s Central Train Station. One of her customers is a mother with a young son, Josue. Both their lives change forever when one day Josue’s mother is killed and Dora (Montenegro) reluctantly befriends the boy.

She agrees to help Josue find the father he’s never known and on their journey across Brazil, they learn a lot more about each other. For Dora, the journey is also a personal one as she finds that she has compassion for the boy and through this finds self-esteem and courage, something that she never thought would happen to her.

This is one of those heart-rending but at the same time poignant films that reminds you of how strong the human spirit can be under adverse situations. The scenery is stunning and the stark difference between life in the city and life in the countryside is shown to great effect.

This Brazilian language film won several awards and nominations ranging from the Best Foreign Language Film at the 1999 Golden Globe to a nomination for the Best Actress in a Leading Role for Fernanda Montenegro at the 1999 Oscars.

Unless you learnt Brazilian Portuguese as opposed to Continental Portuguese, the language might be difficult to understand. In Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles

To buy  Central  Station  and other  Portuguese language films>>

top of page


Russian language film reviews

Solaris (1972)

A  language advantage film review by Sarah Maddocks

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Solaris is a Russian film in which a psychologist, Donatis Banionis (Chris Kelvin) is sent to a Russian space station on a mysterious planet Solaris, to investigate trouble with the scientists who work there. This film is a favourite and it is easy to see why. All but three scientists on the planet have either gone insane and killed themselves or killed each other. As Donatis investigates what has happened to the scientists, his wife appears on the planet, which is impossible as she has committed suicide.

Donatis tries everything in his power to get rid of his dead wife but she always manages to come back unharmed. Consequently he discovers it is in fact the planet which is creating these images and manipulating people’s memories as a way of communicating with them.

This film is fantastic, I loved every bit of it and the representation of the different relationships is superb especially between Donatis and his wife. I have yet to see the remake but if it is anywhere near as good as the original then it is a definite hit.

In Russian language with English subtitles.

To buy  Solaris and other  Russian language films>>


top of page

The Oscars 2009

The 81st Annual Academy Awards ® were held on Sunday 22nd February 2009 in Hollywood.   The Oscars ® reached film fans in over 100 countries. The lower-budget, but highly-acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, won many Oscars ®, including for the Best Picture.   It is in the English, Urdu and Hindi languages. [Read more…]