‘Chinglish’ – A New York Comedy Explores Cultural Barriers

A recently opened comedy in New York’s Broadway called ‘Chinglish’, is causing a stir for all the right reasons. The play opens up conversation about the communication gap between the English-speaking world and China, but in a light-hearted way. It makes light of the cultural barriers which can happen when an English-speaking person tries to communicate or do business with a Chinese-speaking person. The play is in English and Mandarin Chinese.

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After English, Mandarin Chinese Is The Most Useful Worldwide Business Language

According to US Bloomberg Rankings, Mandarin Chinese is the most useful worldwide business language to know, after the English language. The English language is still the most preferred business language to use around the world. However, Mandarin Chinese, which is spoken by over 845 million people, comes in a close second and is a useful language to learn when doing business in China. [Read more…]

The Dog That Only Responds To French Commands

A black labrador which was brought up in France and is now living in the UK, has had a lot of trouble learning the English language since his arrival. Henri the dog was raised in France and was always spoken to in French. [Read more…]

How far can you get with 100 words of English?

NHS (the UK health service) guidelines suggest that by two years old, toddlers can say around 100 words and start putting them into short sentences. And England’s Italian football manager Fabio Capello claims he can manage his players with just 100 words.

But according to Peter Howarth, deputy director of Leeds University’s language centre, “a hundred words wouldn’t get you beyond some very familiar situations in a phrase book – a weekend in London, how to get a hotel room or order a meal”. [Read more…]

Did you know … the Japanese love the Glasgow accent?

A survey by Northumbria University in the UK has shown that Japanese learners of English find the Glaswegian accent in Scotland the most socially attractive. More than 500 people were questioned in the study to find out how worldwide perceptions of the English language are changing. [Read more…]

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>>

Did you know … Penguins are Welsh

Compilers of the new online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) have highlighted the influence of Wales on the English language.  The dictionary claims to be the only English dictionary that tries to get to the roots of the first known use of every word in the English language.   [Read more…]

What Makes a Language Official?

The Welsh assembly government uphold that recent amendments to Welsh law confirm official status for the Welsh language. However, the question ‘when is a language an ”official” language’ has raised arguments with language campaigners who say that changes in the status of the language have no power in law. [Read more…]

Want to Learn a Language and Do Good at the Same Time?

Many people would love to learn a language from native speakers but it is not always feasible to travel abroad to do this.  Now a new non-profit organisation is making this a reality, and promoting intercultural dialogue at the same time.

Glovico.org, which calls itself a “fair-trade” language learning website, was founded in 2010 and empowers people in the developing world to offer language learning to students in developed countries.  It enables you to learn a language from the comfort of your own home via Skype, while your teacher is based in their home country.

The organisation currently offers English, French and Spanish language learning with native speakers from Latin America and Africa.  You receive affordable, convenient language lessons and provide much needed additional income to the teachers in return.

Read more about ‘fair trade’ language learning>>

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

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