Thursday, May 18, 2006

DEBATE: Lord Chancellor unveils diversity strategy for judges

The following news story is the source of today's debate at the intercultural forum - to take part in the debate visit Do we really need judges from ethnic minorities?

A strategy to increase the diversity of the people appointed to be judges has been announced by the minister responsible for the judiciary.

The strategy, jointly agreed by the secretary of state for constitutional affairs and Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, and a new Judicial Appointments Commission, will widen the range of people eligible to apply for judicial office and encourage a wider range of applicants.

It also aims to ensure that the culture and working environment for judicial office-holders encourages and supports a diverse judiciary and increases understanding of the communities served.

Read more: BMEs

Migrant language barrier tackled

A scheme to tackle language problems faced by many migrant workers is being launched in Angus.

The Angus College project will provide English lessons specially tailored to those working in the industrial sector. An information pack to help new workers to the area has also been drawn up by a voluntary organisations body. Both Angus and Tayside have seen an increasing number of foreigners, many from eastern Europe, moving to the areas to seek work and begin new lives.

Read more: Angus

Language classes for non-English speakers lack "fluency"

The provision of English language lessons for speakers of other languages (ESOL) is not sufficient to meet huge levels of demand from migrant workers, an inquiry has today claimed.

Releasing its interim report, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education-led inquiry (NIACE), believes that the government needs to expand training schemes for ESOL teachers to meet a 65 per cent increase in students since 2004. NIACE points to lengthy waiting lists across the country, something previously contained within London.

Read more: NIACE

germans seek to end French's EU dominance

German MEPs have asked European parliament president Josep Borrell for more texts in German and fewer in French.

German centre-right MEP Michael Gahler is collecting signatures in the parliament to support his bid for Brussels to be “visibly multilingual�? and speak more German.

Together with 13 German-speaking colleagues, Gahler has written a letter to Borrell asking him to end the dominance of French in EU politics, reports German daily Die Welt. Gahler notes that since enlargement, German has become the most widely understood language of the EU after English, with one in three Europeans speaking German.

Read more: German
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:48 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

internet reaches 1 billion users worldwide

According to the latest eMarketer study, “Worldwide Online Access: 2004-2010,�? Internet access became available to one billion people around the world in late 2005 with approximately 845 million people using the Web regularly. The U.S. came out on top as the single country with the largest Internet population of 175.4 million Internet users (43.7% broadband users) followed by China with 111 million (34.1 percent broadband users).

Read more: The Net

snobbery over non-european languages

More must be done to promote the learning of non-European languages in schools, say language teachers.

Learning Mandarin is becoming something of a vogue, especially in the independent school sector: high-profile schools such as Brighton College, in East Sussex, have added it to their curriculum. And figures from the National Centre for Languages (Cilt) show 3,091 candidates were entered for GCSE Mandarin in 2005, up 40% on 2001.

But there are still concerns that non-European languages are regarded as "second-class" options among teachers, parents and pupils.

Read more: Language
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:45 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

Cultural Differences and GIS

Do all people, from all cultures and all languages, think about geographic space and geographic processes in more or less the same way? Or are there significant cross-cultural variations in how different peoples conceptualize and reason about geographic processes, features and places? Do geography and spatial relations parallel the infamous case of the many "Eskimo [Inuit] words for snow," the linguistics factoid that every cocktail party conversationalist thinks he or she knows? (The snow words situation turns out to be mostly a misinterpretation, but that's another story!) Or is spatial cognition and related linguistic development governed by universal principles?

Read more: GIS

Capitalising on cross-cultural knowledge

Businesses are eager to promote international experience for their employees. Employers enthusiastically tout the benefits and skills gained from a workforce steeped in frequent travel, expatriate assignments and cross-culture experiences. But while businesses continue to build intercultural highways by sending their workforce abroad, expats and international managers are lamenting the breakdown in communication along the way.

Capitalise on cross-cultural knowledge

"I regret that there's knowledge within my company and that knowledge isn't identified and shared between people," said Jerome Fiere, international project manager for Veolia Transport. "They know that people work internationally, but they don't know us."

Read more: Expatica

world cup 2006: phrase of the day - gutted

Gutted is how Arsenal fans would have felt as they watched Barcelona crowned as champions of Europe on the 17th of May. Gutted is a slang word, used by fans and players rather than commentators, that describes bitter disappointment at something. Literally it means to have your insides taken out, therefore feeling empty inside. England fans are perhaps the fans most used to feeling gutted in World Cups through watching their team beaten by a "hand of God" or penalty shoot-outs against Germany!

word of the day: palimpsest

palimpsest \PAL-imp-sest\, noun:
1. A manuscript, usually of papyrus or parchment, on which more than one text has been written with the earlier writing incompletely erased and still visible.
2. An object or place whose older layers or aspects are apparent beneath its surface.

The manuscript is a palimpsest consisting of vellum leaves from which the "fluent and assured script" of the original Archimedes text and 55 diagrams had been washed or scraped off so that the surface could be used for new writings. -- Roger Highfield, "Eureka! Archimedes text is to be sold at auction", Daily Telegraph, October 3, 1998

Each is a palimpsest, one improvisation partly burying another but leaving hints of it behind. -- Robert Hughes, "Delight for Its Own Sake", Time, January 22, 1996

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:35 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

japanese workers to be sold canned oxygen

The Japanese culture breeds hardworking individuals. This has now reached such a point that exhausted Japanese workers in need of a pick-me-up will soon be able to get a hit of canned oxygen at their local convenience store.

Seven-Eleven Japan will start marketing the new product, "O2 Supli," at select stores in the Tokyo area later this month and expand sales nationwide in June. "People are under a lot of stress and can't get much exercise, so they aren't getting enough oxygen," said Minoru Matsumoto, a spokesman for Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd, Seven-Eleven's parent company.

Read more: Japan

uk plc needs chinese education

Britain risks missing out on the economic revolution in China unless thousands of British undergraduates can be persuaded to study at Chinese universities, the Higher Education Minister said yesterday.

On a visit to China, Bill Rammell said that the British Government and universities had to do far more to promote China among British students as a place to study.

Read more: China

using the web allows intercultural dialogue between schools

Today's schoolchildren are not longer restricted to French exchanges or a rainy week in Essen (the stark choice at my school). Instead, exotic places like Jamaica, Romania, Cuba and even China are on the agenda. Many use programmes such as the British Council's Global Gateway to stretch their horizons this far.

It's just as well. A recent British Council report says that as more foreigners learn English as a second language in an increasingly global economy, UK school-leavers with only English will be shouldered out by those that can speak more than one language.

Read more: British Council

eu states failing immigrant children

The old member states of the European Union do far worse than countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada at educating immigrant children to give them equal opportunities, a report published today shows.

The study, Where Immigrant Students Succeed, shows children born abroad or to immigrant parents underperform most compared to native-born students in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Against a backdrop of last year's riots in France's poor high-rise suburbs and high youth unemployment across Western Europe, the survey examines the role of education in the success and failure to integrate immigrant children.

Read more: Report
Posted by Kwintessential at 6:42 PM
Categories: Cultural Diversity

learn a language through your mp3 player

Transparent Language, a leader in language learning solutions, today announced the latest version of its Before You Know It(R) Deluxe software, featuring a new audio component that allows the user to learn foreign languages on the go. The BYKI(TM) Pod audio files are available in all languages and can be easily downloaded to an iPod or other MP3 player.

Whether you want to learn Spanish for personal enrichment, study a French lesson so you can order a cup of coffee in front of the Eiffel tower, or learn Italian phrases because your grandparents were from Sicily, Before You Know It can teach you in the fastest way possible.

Read more: MP3

world cup 2006: phrase of the day - knock the ball about

A team starts to knock the ball about when they are fully in control of a match and the opposing team puts them under no pressure. In England the tradition is that once your team starts knocking the ball about you give a loud cheer every time the balls is passed to one of your players. If by chance the ball is lost to the opposing team, a loud boo fill follow.

word of the day: arrant

arrant \AR-unt\, adjective:
Thoroughgoing; downright; out-and-out; confirmed; extreme; notorious.

More deplorable is his arrant and compulsive hypocrisy . . . Under all the chest hair, he was a hollow man. -- J. D. McClatchy, review of Crux: The Letters of James Dickey, New York Times, December 19, 1999

I think a pilot would be a most arrant coward, if through fear of bad weather he did not wait for the storm to break but sank his ship on purpose. -- Georges Minois, History Of Suicide translated by Lydia Cochrane

Posted by Kwintessential at 6:18 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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