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Learning English – The Challenges

Published 22nd March 2017

CHALLENGES OF LEARNING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE English is the most used language in several fields such as science and international law. It is the most widely learned second language and an official language of the United Nations and the European Union. English has become the leading lingua franca. It is a great asset to be in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular choice, but that doesn’t mean it is an easy language to learn. We are about to delve into the biggest challenges one faces when attempting to learn and master English as a second language. Grammar: English Grammar can be complex, making it difficult to remember, master and use logically. English grammar is full of subtlety. Especially when in conversation, using the correct grammar can be tricky. However, it is extremely important to make good use of it! Grammar mistakes can confuse the person you are talking to and change the meaning of what you intend to communicate. Vocabulary: Vocabulary can also prove to be a challenge since it has one of the biggest vocabularies of all languages. On top of …

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Code-Switching

Published 22nd March 2017

CODE-SWITCHING Code switching is the practice of alternating between two or more languages or variations of the same language while in conversation. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. This phenomenon has attracted the attention of researchers in psycholinguistics and neuroscience for its potential to explain how the brain manages two or more competing languages and how the brain manages itself to adapt to the demands of this process. Code-switching takes place in individual utterances or in the same stretch of conversation and it happens when they are each fluent in both languages. It can happen in any subsystems of a language (phonological, morphological or syntactic and semantic). When it comes to children, in the past it was believed that it happened because they were confused and mixing their languages in their brain and they could not separate languages. It was believed to be disability or evidence of incompetence. We now know that when children code-switch they maintain the rules of the grammar of both of their languages so they are keeping their languages separate. But code-switching doesn’t only take place in children. It is a common practice in adults who speak more than one …

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Are foreign languages important?

Published 20th March 2017

WHY LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE? Learning a foreign language will go a long way, it will help you boost your CV, help you when travelling and even make you smarter, more decisive and even improve your native language skills. Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than monolingual speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits. Many of these positive attributes are only apparent in people who speak multiple languages regularly. If you haven’t spoken a foreign language since high school, your brain might not be benefitting from these bilingual advantages. However, it is not too late. If you decide to study a foreign language in your adult life, you can still reap the benefits. It will improve your decision-making skills. Bilinguals are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions will still be the same. This means that if you learn a second language, this might well improve your ability to make wiser choices in your life without basing these on your emotions. People who study foreign languages tend to …

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BICULTURAL, BILINGUAL… TWO PERSONALITIES? It has been proven that being bilingual has many advantages such as better performance at tasks involving executive function (a command system that influences the way we plan, solve problems and perform other mentally demanding tasks). These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention intentionally from one thing to another and holding information in mind. Additionally, it provides a better defense against dementia and better cognitive skills (not related to language). During the 20th century, bilingualism was considered an interference for children’s cognitive learning process that hindered their academic progress. To an extent, it is somewhat true. There is ample evidence that in a bilingual brain both systems are active, even when only one language is being used. This creates situations in which one system obstructs the other. However, researchers have found this interference to be a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles. Some people reports different personality aspects when they speak in different languages. According to Benjamin Lee Whorf (American linguist) each language encodes a worldview that significantly influences its speakers. For example, when tested in a foreign …

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RBS 6 Nations – Ireland

Published 17th March 2017

Amhrán na bhFiann and Ireland’s Call We have reached the end of our 6 Nations anthems, and are finishing with Ireland on St Patrick’s Day. Over the past week we’ve seen anthems in 4 languages. Ireland is a tricky one when it comes to languages and anthems as they have two anthems, and two languages. Ireland aren’t the only nation where they sing in various languages. New Zealand sing in Māori then in English, but its the same song with a slightly different meaning. Ireland sing two different anthems. Ireland’s Call is sung at both home and away matches, but when at home they sing another anthem: Amhrán na bhFiann. This is the national anthem of the Republic of Ireland, sung in Gaelic. This song is only played when the team plays in the Republic of Ireland. In the past, if the national team were to play in Northern Ireland, God Save the Queen was played. Ireland, even though two countries, have always played as one team. Ireland’s first international match was in 1875 where they faced England. Since then, they have become a powerful rugby nation, reaching 6 out of 7 of the Quarter finals of the World Cup. …

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RBS 6 Nations – England

Published 16th March 2017

English National Anthem- God Save the Queen   England is one of the oldest rugby teams in the world. First playing rugby in 1871 against Scotland. Since then they have become one of the most successful teams in rugby. Winning the championship 28 times. They are also the only northern hemisphere winners of the Rugby World Cup (2003). Twickenham Stadium has been the home of English rugby since 1910, and is one of the largest stadiums of the 6 Nations. This anthem is one of the smallest anthems in the 6 nations. Although technically the national anthem for Great Britain (along with a few of the Commonwealth nations who have adopted it as one of their anthems), England adopted it as their anthem as they didn’t have an official anthem. You can normally hear the crowd singing to Jerusalem and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, but the official anthem of England rugby is God Save the Queen. The anthem is one of the oldest in the 6 Nations. Depending on the gender of the Monarch it can change, but origins go back to 1619, since then there have been some changes to the lyrics. The first published version of the song …

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RBS 6 Nations – Wales

Published 16th March 2017

Welsh national Anthem- Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau   Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau was written and composed by father and son, Evan James and James James, in my hometown, Pontypridd. The original name of the piece was Glan Rhondda. The anthem was first used in a rugby match against the All Blacks in 1905 and has been sung with passion ever since. Wales have played at the Millennium stadium (now called the Principality stadium) since 1999. They originally played next door at Cardiff Arms Park before then. The stadium is the only one in the 6 nations that has a roof.   Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi, Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad, Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed. (Chorus) Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad. Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau, O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau.   This land of my fathers is dear to me Land of poets and singers, and people of stature Her brave warriors, fine patriots Shed their blood for freedom Chorus: Land! Land! I am true to my land! As long as the sea serves as a wall for this …

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RBS 6 Nations – France

Published 15th March 2017

France have a large history when it comes to rugby. They won the first ever Olympic rugby event back in 1900. They officially joined into the 5 Nations in 1910, though they had competed in the home nations tournament previously. The home of French rugby is the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris. Most the Top 14 (France’s ‘Premiership’) play down south, but there are two Parisian teams. Rugby is a very important sport to the French, especially down south. They hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and are hoping to host the 2023 World Cup. The French National Anthem was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and soon became the anthem of the Republic.   ‘La Marseillaise’:  Allons, enfants de la Patrie Le jour de gloire est arrivé! Contre nous, de la tyrannie L’étendard sanglant est levé Entendez-vous dans les campagnes Mugir ces féroces soldats? Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes! Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons Marchons, marchons! Qu’un sang impur Abreuve nos sillons!     Arise, children of the Fatherland The day of glory has arrived Against us tyranny’s Bloody banner is raised Do you hear, in the countryside …

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RBS 6 Nations – Italy

Published 15th March 2017

Italian National Anthem- Inno di Mameli Italy joined the 6 Nations in 2000. During the past 17 tournaments, they have beaten all but England. And last year beat a southern hemisphere giant, South Africa. Before joining the 6 nations, Italy played at a variety of stadiums before creating a home at the Stadio Flaminio in the capital. In 2012, Italy temporarily moved to the Stadio Olimpico, also in Rome due to renovations at their stadium. They have since stayed at the Olimpico, allowing more spectators to watch Italy play. Stadio Olimpico can hold up to 80,000 spectators, almost twice the size of their original stadium. They are a team that are certainly getting better with each competition. They have made an impact in the 6 nations, especially with their fantastic anthem! The music and lyrics together make this anthem the most passionate in the 6 nations. Inno di Mameli Fratelli d’Italia, l’Italia s’è desta, dell’elmo di Scipio s’è cinta la testa. Dov’è la Vittoria? Le porga la chioma, ché schiava di Roma Iddio la creò. CORO Stringiamci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte. Siam pronti alla morte, l’Italia chiamò. Stringiamci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte. Siam pronti alla morte, …

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RBS 6 Nations- Scotland

Published 15th March 2017

Scotland’s national anthem- O Flower of Scotland Next weekend marks the final weekend of the RBS 6 Nations 2017. Although the winner has already been decided, we are still excited for the final day of rugby. As a fan of rugby, one of my favourite parts are the National Anthems. Although some may be in English, not all are! So to celebrate the final weekend, each day we will be posting a National Anthem! Today’s anthem comes from Scotland who play Italy in the first of 3 matches on Saturday.   O Flower of Scotland/ Flùr na h-Alba   O Flower of Scotland, When will we see Your like again, That fought and died for, Your wee bit Hill and Glen, And stood against him, Proud Edward’s Army, And sent him homeward, Tae think again. The Hills are bare now, And Autumn leaves lie thick and still, O’er land that is lost now, Which those so dearly held, That stood against him, Proud Edward’s Army, And sent him homeward, Tae think again. Those days are past now, And in the past they must remain, But we can still rise now, And be the nation again, That stood against him, Proud …

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Learning English – The Challenges

CHALLENGES OF LEARNING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE English is the most used language in several fields such as science and international law. It is the most widely learned second language and an official language of the United Nations and the European Union. English has become the leading lingua franca. It is a great asset to be in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular choice, but that doesn’t mean it is an easy language to learn. We are about to delve into the biggest challenges one faces when attempting to learn and master English as a second language. Grammar: English Grammar can be complex, making it difficult to remember, master and use logically. English grammar is full of subtlety. Especially when in conversation, using the correct grammar can be tricky. However, it is extremely important to make good use of it! Grammar mistakes can confuse the person you are talking to and change the meaning of what you intend to communicate. Vocabulary: Vocabulary can also prove to be a challenge since it has one of the biggest vocabularies of all languages. On top of …

Read More

Code-Switching

CODE-SWITCHING Code switching is the practice of alternating between two or more languages or variations of the same language while in conversation. Multilinguals sometimes use elements of multiple languages when conversing with each other. This phenomenon has attracted the attention of researchers in psycholinguistics and neuroscience for its potential to explain how the brain manages two or more competing languages and how the brain manages itself to adapt to the demands of this process. Code-switching takes place in individual utterances or in the same stretch of conversation and it happens when they are each fluent in both languages. It can happen in any subsystems of a language (phonological, morphological or syntactic and semantic). When it comes to children, in the past it was believed that it happened because they were confused and mixing their languages in their brain and they could not separate languages. It was believed to be disability or evidence of incompetence. We now know that when children code-switch they maintain the rules of the grammar of both of their languages so they are keeping their languages separate. But code-switching doesn’t only take place in children. It is a common practice in adults who speak more than one …

Read More
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