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Love is … multilingualism

Yesterday, the European Commission celebrated the annual European Day of Languages (EDL) by encouraging Europeans to learn how to say “I like you” in 24 languages. International EDL speak-dating evenings for linguistically adventurous types were held in Germany’s cosmopolitan Berlin and the Czech Republic’s magnetic capital, Prague. There were also hundreds of other language-related events taking place across Europe, from a multilingual rap...

400 Million Chinese Still Can’t Speak Mandarin

About 30% of the Chinese population, or 400 million people, cannot speak Mandarin, according to figures recently released by China's Ministry of Education, despite government efforts to promote a common language. Of the remaining 900 million Chinese who can communicate in Mandarin, also known as "putonghua," many do not speak it well, and the country still needs to invest...

English Language Learners: Shifting to an Asset-Based Paradigm

(Estudiantes del Idioma Inglés: Valorizando los Aportes Que Brindan) The 37th issue of the Annenberg Institute’s magazine, VUE (voices in urban education) focuses on the benefits that English Language Learners (ELLs) lend to the whole school populations and experience. Guest editor Rosann Tung, director of Research & Policy at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR), explains the...

All Students Benefit from Bilingual Education

Bilingual education programs have a very positive effect on the native English speakers attending schools with such programs even though they do not take part in them, according to a groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Public Economics. Texas elementary students who speak English as their home language and were enrolled in schools with bilingual education programs performed much...

Bilinguals More Mentally Flexible

Bilingual speakers can switch languages seamlessly, likely developing a higher level of mental flexibility than monolinguals, according to Penn State linguistic researchers. "In the past, bilinguals were looked down upon," said Judith F. Kroll, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Linguistics and Women's Studies. "Not only is bilingualism not bad for you, it may be really good. When you're switching languages all...

Taiwan Goes Native

The Taiwanese Ministry of Education has announced that programs in the nation’s native languages will be compulsory from 2016. The country’s Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ning (蔣偉寧) said that the 12-year compulsory national education program would include Taiwanese (Hoklo), Hakka, and Aboriginal languages with students in Grades 1 through 6 having at least one class a week. Under the current program,...

French Writer Wins Guadalajara Award

Yves Bonnefoy has been awarded the 2013 Guadalajara International Book Fair Prize in Romance Languages for a work dedicated to "the great pillars of poetic modernity," including Baudelaire, Celan, and Rimbaud. The jury awarded the prize unanimously noting the writer's "sophistication of his poetry, in contrast to the simplicity of his language." The French novelist, essayist, critic and,  translator of English...

Celebrate International Literacy Day 2013

Gift a book! Read to a child! Donate to a literacy organization! Learn a new word! Visit a library! Literacy is a right and a foundation for lifelong learning, better well-being and livelihoods. As such it is a driver for sustainable and inclusive development. "Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step...

Language Learning Alters Brain

According to a joint study by the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro at McGill University and Oxford University, the age at which children learn a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their adult brain. The study concludes that the pattern of brain development is similar if you learn one or two languages...

Everyone’s Speaking Spanish

According to an analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center, a record 37.6 million people above the age of five speak Spanish at home, of which nearly three million are non-Hispanics. Spanish is, by far, the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. The next most spoken non-English languages are Chinese (2.8 million speakers), Hindi,...