News: Language learning expands the brain

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Some interesting news pieces this week around language learning, the impact of Welsh on gas prices, Pokemon localization and a cross-cultural analysis of “fairness”.

Language learning expands the brain

Foreign Language Learning

Want to expand your brain? Try studying a foreign language! At least, that’s what Swedish researchers claim. Using MRI scans, they noticed a growth in certain parts of the brains of students of the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy to MRI since they commenced their education. The subjects of a control group existing of hard-working students which did not study language had not changed.  Moreover, the more difficult the students found their language studies, the higher the growth. Experts even claim studying a language might be healthy for your brain, so let’s get those grammar books out and start studying! Read more

Energy price hike due to Welsh language bill?

E.On, one of the largest energy companies in Great Britain, might increase their prices in Wales if a law is passed which forces them to provide their services in Welsh. Even though they understand the need for bilingual services, the company feels the law forces them to introduce these services too quickly, resulting in high costs. Therefore, E.On proposes a star system in which customers can decide for themselves which services they want in Welsh.  Responses from the Welsh public to E.On’s statement were mixed; even though some agreed prices should be kept as low as possible to boost the economy, others felt E.On, a billion-pound company, is just looking for excuses to raise their prices. Read more

Cool places to learn a language abroad

learning language abroad

If the idea of expanding your brain sounds appealing to you, why not do so in a foreign country? And why should language lessons always be given in a traditional classroom? Maureen Jenkins has searched the internet and came up with five locations you can learn a foreign language in a more unconventional way. From surfing and Spanish in Mexico to speaking Italian and Sailing in Italy, it’s your pick! Read more

How Pokemon was localized for America

The Pokémon games have been around for quite some time now, but it seems they are here to stay. For example, the Pokémon/RPG crossover game Pokémon Conquest has recently been introduced on the American Market. In this article, Seth McMahill, Assistant Manager of Product Marketing at Nintendo, explains how this game was localized to fit the American market. According to Seth, pre-localization, deciding on a translation strategy, was harder than the actual localization itself. It was decided to adhere to the developers wishes, i.e. maintain the Japanese elements as much as possible. In addition, as turn-based strategy games aren’t that popular in the West, Nintendo had to come up with new marketing strategy for the game as well. Read more

A guide to Irish etiquette

Although they might seem more or less the same for people outside the UK and Ireland, the countries that make up the islands all have a very distinct culture. This article elaborates on the Irish customs and habits. Did you know, for example, that the Irish consider it to be polite to eat all the food on their plate, and that they are very fond of handshakes? Read the article for more cultural facts about the Irish! Read more

Fairness – a cross-cultural perspective

Its not fair!

Some core values can be found all over the world. However, this does not mean these values are defined the same in different cultures. In this article, Kate Elwood refers to a number of studies which researched the notion of fairness among Japanese and American students. These studies revealed that while American students seem to look at actions of others before they look at the fairness of their own behaviour, Japanese students are more focussed on  their own actions and embrace negative feedback more easily. The explanation for this might be the Japanese concept of ‘hansei,’ the self-critical approach of thinking over your actions for further improvement.

Written by Elise Kuip

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