‘La Grande Belleza’ wins Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes

This Sunday saw the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations annual celebration of excellence in film and TV – the Golden Globes. Glam celebrities lined the red carpet before collecting their awards. And of course Language Advantage was keeping a keen eye on the Best Foreign Film category.

‘La Gerande Belleza’ from Italian director Paolo Sorrentino beat off competition from ‘La Vie d’Adéle, Chapitres 1 et 2’ (Blue Is the Warmest Color) from France, the Danish film ‘Jagten’ (The Hunt), ‘Le Passé’ (The Past) from Iran and from Japan, ‘Kaze Tachinu’ (The Wind Rises) .

After thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press and his friends and family, the director concluded his acceptance speech by saying: “Thank you to Italy. That’s a crazy country, but beautiful. Thank you very much.”

An exploration of the contradictions and beauty of Rome, ‘La Grande Bellezza’ was the big winner of last year’s European Film Awards, taking home four gongs – for best European director, actor, editor and best film.

Learn to speak Italian with Language Advantage>>

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Interactive European language map

Do you ever find yourself wondering how to say common words in other languages? Do you know how to order a white wine/ vin blanc/ hvitvin/ valkoviini on your next holiday? What if you need to know when the next train/ næsta lest/ prossimo treno will be?

This fantastic interactive European language map is your new best friend if you’re already planning your travels around Europe for the year. Simply type in a one- or two-word phrase and Google Translate will give you that phrase in the vast majority of European languages to make travelling a breeze.

James Trimble of UK Data Explorer was interested in the shared lexical etymology of Europe, and created this map for a quick at-a-glance guide to those languages with shared origins. However, it’s also great for those of us interested in learning not just one language, but many. That’s certainly something we like to see at Language Advantage!

Explore the interactive European language map>>

Take a course in your favourite European language with Language Advantage>>

What is Icelandic linguistic purism?

Iceland is a small country located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Scandinavia and North America. With a population of around 320,000 with more than two thirds of its inhabitants living in the capital, Reykjavik, its native language, Icelandic, is a little-spoken language, especially outside Iceland itself.

Icelandic is subject to strict linguistic purism, meaning the Icelandic government takes a strong interest in replacing foreign loanwords with newly created Icelandic words. These are usually derived from Old Icelandic and Old Norse, and the goal of the movement is to prevent any non-Icelandic words from entering the language; hence, ‘purism’.

This idea is rooted in sociolinguistics. Language is intrinsic to our sense of cultural identity, and this is particularly true of the geographically isolated Icelanders. Icelandic is a highly unique language, bearing only a passing resemblance to its closest existing relatives such as Norwegian and Danish. By retaining as much of the language as possible, Icelandic is better prepared to preserve the rich history and culture of the island and its people.

The approach taken by the Icelandic government is in direct contrast to governments of English-speaking countries. English has always been a melting pot of other languages, with its history stemming from Latin, French, the Nordic languages and the Germanic family, amongst others. English has adopted much of its lexicon from other languages, and as such we enjoy a rich and varied vocabulary, and with it, a complex system of rules for grammar and pronunciation.

An example of the creation of a new word in Icelandic is ‘sími’, the word for ‘telephone’. This is an old, previously disused word for ‘long thread’ which was pulled out of history and reused for the somewhat similar concept of a telephone. The disparity between Icelandic and other languages is clear in this case: in Spanish, it is ‘telefóno’; in French, ‘téléphone’; in Norwegian, ‘telefon’; in Irish, ‘teileafón’.

In Iceland, English is a compulsory language, and virtually all young Icelanders will be fluent. However, this example of linguistic purism highlights the importance of learning new languages, as learning a language such as Icelandic could hold the key to unlocking a whole new culture and its fascinating history.

Read more about the relationship between English and Icelandic>>

Learn Icelandic with Language Advantage>>

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>>

Romanians and Bulgarians to join the UK workforce

Romanians and Bulgarians will now be allowed to freely move to the UK as immigration controls have been lifted.

Until now, there have been restrictions on workers from the Eastern European countries coming to work in the UK. However, now these controls, which have been in place since 2007, have been removed, it will be possible for workers from these countries to live and work in the UK.

It is hoped that Romanian and Bulgarian workers will contribute to the UK economy through employment and expenditure. Wages in the UK greatly exceed those in Eastern Europe, attracting quality workers to the UK.

However, many MPs oppose the move, calling for a further five year extension to the immigration restrictions for people from these countries. They say that the UK is yet to recover from 2008’s recession and that it will put unnecessary pressure on the limited job vacancies for UK citizens.

Workers from the UK have the freedom to work almost anywhere in the EU. Migration in the EU is not uncommon, with Spain and France among the most popular destinations for UK citizens seeking work abroad.

Common job roles for immigrant workers in the UK include labouring, table waiting in restaurants and kitchen roles, though it is hoped that good salaries in the UK will attract skilled workers from these countries, including doctors and lawyers.

Opponents of the lift in immigration controls say that as many as a quarter of a million Bulgarians and Romanians could enter the UK in the next five years, but the Bulgarian ambassador has predicted that just 8,000 Bulgarians will seek work in the UK.

Anyone living in the UK has the opportunity to work in many other countries in the EU, and for many jobs it is vital that the worker learns the native language of their country of choice. With the addition of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the UK workforce, it may also be beneficial to learn Romanian and Bulgarian for smoother integration in the workplace.

Read more about the lifted restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration>>

Romanians and Bulgarians will now be allowed to freely move to the UK as immigration controls have been lifted.

Until now, there have been restrictions on workers from the Eastern European countries coming to work in the UK. However, now these controls, which have been in place since 2007, have been removed, it will be possible for workers from these countries to live and work in the UK.

It is hoped that Romanian and Bulgarian workers will contribute to the UK economy through employment and expenditure. Wages in the UK greatly exceed those in Eastern Europe, attracting quality workers to the UK.

However, many MPs oppose the move, calling for a further five year extension to the immigration restrictions for people from these countries. They say that the UK is yet to recover from 2008’s recession and that it will put unnecessary pressure on the limited job vacancies for UK citizens.

Workers from the UK have the freedom to work almost anywhere in the EU. Migration in the EU is not uncommon, with Spain and France among the most popular destinations for UK citizens seeking work abroad.

Common job roles for immigrant workers in the UK include labouring, table waiting in restaurants and kitchen roles, though it is hoped that good salaries in the UK will attract skilled workers from these countries, including doctors and lawyers.

Opponents of the lift in immigration controls say that as many as a quarter of a million Bulgarians and Romanians could enter the UK in the next five years, but the Bulgarian ambassador has predicted that just 8,000 Bulgarians will seek work in the UK.

Anyone living in the UK has the opportunity to work in many other countries in the EU, and for many jobs it is vital that the worker learns the native language of their country of choice. With the addition of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the UK workforce, it may also be beneficial to learn Romanian and Bulgarian for smoother integration in the workplace.

Read more about the lifted restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration>>

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25549715

Romanians and Bulgarians will now be allowed to freely move to the UK as immigration controls have been lifted.

Until now, there have been restrictions on workers from the Eastern European countries coming to work in the UK. However, now these controls, which have been in place since 2007, have been removed, it will be possible for workers from these countries to live and work in the UK.

It is hoped that Romanian and Bulgarian workers will contribute to the UK economy through employment and expenditure. Wages in the UK greatly exceed those in Eastern Europe, attracting quality workers to the UK.

However, many MPs oppose the move, calling for a further five year extension to the immigration restrictions for people from these countries. They say that the UK is yet to recover from 2008’s recession and that it will put unnecessary pressure on the limited job vacancies for UK citizens.

Workers from the UK have the freedom to work almost anywhere in the EU. Migration in the EU is not uncommon, with Spain and France among the most popular destinations for UK citizens seeking work abroad.

Common job roles for immigrant workers in the UK include labouring, table waiting in restaurants and kitchen roles, though it is hoped that good salaries in the UK will attract skilled workers from these countries, including doctors and lawyers.

Opponents of the lift in immigration controls say that as many as a quarter of a million Bulgarians and Romanians could enter the UK in the next five years, but the Bulgarian ambassador has predicted that just 8,000 Bulgarians will seek work in the UK.

Anyone living in the UK has the opportunity to work in many other countries in the EU, and for many jobs it is vital that the worker learns the native language of their country of choice. With the addition of Romanian and Bulgarian workers in the UK workforce, it may also be beneficial to learn Romanian and Bulgarian for smoother integration in the workplace.

Read more about the lifted restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration>>

Learn to speak Romanian with Language Advantage>>

Learn to speak Bulgarian with Language Advantage>>

The state school Latin revival

Latin is making a comeback in British schools at the moment as hi-tech methods are used to re-introduce it to the classroom.

Latin has been phased out in the majority of UK state schools, tending to be taught mostly in private schools in the present day. However, with iPads being used more extensively in classrooms, Latin is suddenly becoming more accessible to educational establishments across the country.

There was an increase of around 15% in the number of children being entered for a Latin GCSE (or equivalent) last year – no mean feat when many language GCSEs are in decline.

iPads and other classroom technologies help get around the lack of teachers trained in the art of Latin and other extinct languages such as Ancient Greek – pupils can be taught via video link by experts in the languages, and sophisticated apps can assist them with their translation abilities.

Lectures are being streamed from Cambridge University Classics courses, so pupils can learn Latin even without a teacher being present to teach them.

Interestingly enough, Michael Gove’s compulsory primary languages initiative will allow ancient languages such as Latin to count as the compulsory language taught in schools from 2014 onwards. It remains to be seen how many schools will take advantage of this, but it is interesting that this is to be an option at all.

There has been a lot of support for the learning of Latin in recent governments, and it will be interesting to find out whether the increase in uptake of Latin will continue with increased funding and wider opportunities to learn the language even in state schools.

The Romance languages are derived from Latin, and it can provide a useful foundation for those wishing to learn French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese. Learning Latin can also help language learners understand the way languages work in general, and it is still used in areas such as science, botany and medicine.

Read more about the way technology is being used to aid Latin language learning>>

Learn Latin with Language Advantage>>

Give the gift of Michel Thomas!

Christmas is nearly upon us and the New Year is just around the corner. Do you need a lastminute gift for someone and can’t think of what to get? How about giving the gift of Michel Thomas! Michel Thomas language courses are available in over 10 languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian as well as Portuguese, Russian and Arabic.

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Foreign languages to become compulsory at KS2 in 2014

2014 is just around the corner and lots of us are coming up with New Year’s resolutions. With compulsory foreign languages being introduced into the primary level curriculum imminent, why not give your child a head start in the classroom with a language course designed specifically for kids?

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Learn over 100 languages with Eurotalk!

Now you can learn over 100 languages with Eurotalk! We’re excited to have finished adding all of the Eurotalk language courses in our shop and just in time for Christmas too. Eurotalk is one of the world’s leaders in language learning software and their language courses would make an ideal gift for someone. With over 100 languages to choose from, there’s a language for everyone!

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We woz only talking slang, Sir, innit

A South London school recently pledged to ban the use of slang terms in order to improve linguistic standards amongst students. The Harris Academy in Upper Norwood, London is to ban students from using popular slang terms and phrases such as ‘ain’t’, ‘bare’ and ‘innit’, along with preventing the use of ‘basically’ to start a sentence.

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