Topshop Enters Hong Kong Retail Market

Despite Hong Kong’s notoriously high commercial rents, British fashion label Topshop has opened its first branch there, with much fanfare. Topshop is hoping to take advantage of the large numbers of mainland Chinese shoppers who go to Hong Kong for its low taxes and international brands.  Hong Kong is a shopping haven for the Chinese as it offers many international brands, such as Topshop, which are not easily accessible in China, if at all.

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New Kawaii Star In Japan

Japanese kids have gone crazy for a new Kawaii ‘cute’ star in Japan. Kiriko Takemura who is now called Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is seen as the face and voice of the Kawaii culture after being spotted as a young schoolgirl. She is fast becoming a huge phenomenon in Japan and, around the world. Her first song went viral online and was watched more than 50 million times.

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Bilingualism Is In Decline In Canada

Bilingualism is in decline in Canada. Canada has always had a strong stance when it comes to ensuring that both French and English are spoken by its inhabitants. French and English have been the two official languages in Canada since 1969. According to the country’s statistics agency, bilingualism in the Francophone province has increased slightly during recent years. This could partly be due to the increase in the number of immigrants who moved into this area. However, the number of Canadians who can hold a conversation in both French and English has declined for the first time in 50 years, outside Quebec.

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Maasai Image And Name Are To Be Branded

The Maasai people in Kenya and Tanzania want to trademark their name and image. The Maasai is an easily recognisable culture in tribal Africa who symbolize the outdoors and adventure and wear colourful beads and costumes. They are a semi-nomadic people where cattle is a sign of status and speak the Maa language. A Maasai elder wants the Maasai name and image to be trademarked out of respect for his culture and people. Globally, there are currently more than 80 companies using either the Maasai name or image.

The Maasai elder, along with an NGO (which specialises in securing intellectual property rights in developing countries), want to brand the Maasai image and name so that companies have to get permission to use them. It is thought that the Maasai brand could be worth more than 10 million dollars a year.

Read more about why the Maasai want to brand their image and name>>


How Well Do You Know The English Language?

A new exhibition in London aims to demonstrate how ‘global’ the English language really is. The exhibition called ‘The English Effect’, set up by The British Council, will show how the English language has evolved through the immersion of words from other languages. For instance, did you know that the word ‘bungalow’ originated from the Bengal region of India? Or, that the word ‘booze’ comes from medieval Dutch?

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Learn Japanese Or German To Get Ahead In Life

Now, this is an interesting concept. A recent study has found that there is a correlation between speakers of languages who make a weak distinction of time in the future and their future health and wealth. For instance, Japanese, Chinese and German languages don’t refer to the future explicitly. Therefore, those who speak these languages, and who have a weaker distinction between the present and future, are more likely to be better prepared for their future and also lead healthier lives.

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Journée Internationale de la Francophonie – 20th March

International-Teddy-bear-FranceWith over 200 million French-speakers around the world, International Francophonie Day or Journée Internationale de la Francophonie, is a great chance to shout out about the French language! Every year on the 20th March, this day celebrates and promotes cultural diversity and the French language. Events take place around the world to encourage people to learn the French language further and to champion its culture with concerts, exhibitions, talks and forums. [Read more…]

Almost One Million People In The UK Do Not Speak English

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (2011 Census), almost one million people in the UK do not speak English very well, if at all. The Census also found that Polish is the second most spoken language in England and Wales. In some parts of the country, a large percentage of the population speak another mother-tongue language to English and of those, many admitted that they could not speak English very well, if at all.

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A New Phonetic Alphabet For World Peace?

A Syrian banker living in the UK, has taken it upon himself to create a new phonetic alphabet in the hope that it will bridge division between countries and languages. Jaber George Jabbour says that the new phonetic alphabet, called SaypU, can be used for writing all languages. Jabbour believes that misunderstandings around the world create barriers and his new phonetic alphabet could break down those barriers, possibly bringing world peace.

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Chinese New Year 2013 – Year Of The Snake

night-life-new-york-chinatownThe Chinese New Year this year, begins on the 10th February 2013. This year is the Year of the Snake (water snake), which is said to be highly motivated, insightful and influential. In honour of the Chinese New Year, why not learn to speak one of the most important languages in the world – Mandarin Chinese. We highlight our recommended top ways to learn Mandarin Chinese, featuring some of the best and most innovative language providers in the world. [Read more…]