Say Christmas in different languages

We need a good YouTube clip or web page where we can find how you actually say Merry Christmas in different languages. There are clips where some of the languages are used but they go too fast and have no text. Not good if you are trying to learn how to say something. I have picked a clip which goes slowly enough so that you can actually see what is written and try to pronounce it yourself. There are also plenty of web pages where you can find the lists for different languages but no sound files. Net needs to get onto this so we can all meet each other half way. WhyChristmas.com has a good list of how to say Merry Christmas in different languages and they have backed it up with cultural exploration of the festivities in the different countries.

The benefits of learning languages

There is a constant stream of information now about the cognitive benefits of learning languages. Learning a language develops your hippocampus, enables you to retain and recall information and helps you sort information better. SBS television has just put out another article about the benefits of bilingualism and again there is indisputable evidence that it benefits your brain and your thinking amongst other things. I can relate to what they are saying in the video about people speaking more than one language . When you are immersed in a language you can block other languages. If you are in a situation which is prompting other languages you know, then it’s true, you will think of the German word instead of the French one. I have taught a number of German international students French. My instinct is to talk to them in German. They are here to improve their English and are in my French class. Like me they have a ready facility to go from their native language to another but to make them go from English to French or French to English is initially very hard. They will then revert to German. I find it hard to go from German to French. One language has to be dominant but I have been in places where people readily go from one language to another in 10 minutes. In Sydney airport I heard a businessman go from Dutch to German to French to English in one call on his phone. That kind of linguistic capacity is learned and becomes a habit. The internet and technology devices have improved considerably in helping people to learn languages. YouTube has some good channels and then there a number of apps for learning languages in a sequential way. My own favourite is Duolingo because it works across all devices and delivers very good practice. Depending on the language you want to learn you can learn it in bite size pieces very easily on a phone or tablet.

In ear translators

The technology world never gives up dreaming.  Electronic translators are getting better but to learn a language means you are learning the culture and the psychology of the people. and electronic translators really do have their limitations Every time you learn a language you discover another part of yourself and a different way of expressing yourself. The in ear translators are a major breakthrough for voice synthesisers and translators. You know electronic translators have their faults but in many situations an in ear translator would be better than nothing. Running them though could be a problem in terms on connections and battery life. Extreme Tech has a good look at them. In the meantime developers will keep pioneering. BoredPanda looks at the practicalities of an in ear translator if you are interested. They will be available later this year.

Teachable Moments – Montreal

One of the advantages and a definite strength of the internet is that we can now share our skills ,knowledge, ideas and practices locally, nationally and globally. What we do can now be available to a much wider audience and has the possibility of gathering a range of further ideas and input from a broad range of people. This is a growth mindset. We are no longer operating in a vacuum and we don’t need to be working in a closed space. Roy Lyster from McGill University is sharing his ideas about teacher collaboration in Montreal and how they are developing discussions and projects between teachers across French, Spanish and English so that they are streamlining the delivery of content and strengthening the linguistic and literacy capabilities of their students. There is plenty of information out there about how languages improve your brain but Montreal is specifically looking at how moving across languages in the curriculum or looking at how different languages are delivering content can improve literacy skills. 2015 and we need to be global communicators. We need to have a way of utilising our language and linguistic resources and ideas to promote thinking and intellectual growth. We need to look at how the skills and concepts learned in one language can be utilised in another and the ways in which second language learning enhances the knowledge of a first language. Given we have an ever changing world population which is moving from place to place for whatever reason then I think it is important we understand these concepts of how we can collaborate as teachers through the use of different language to promote a dynamic learning environment for our students who might be in Canada one year and Australia the next and then maybe onto Vietnam. It would actually be interesting to see the chosen or forced itinerary of some students and their families and their travels across cultures and languages. Getting real data about real people would make these teachable moments come to life.

Change the way you see the world

second languages This infographic was published on the Business Insider Australia site via movehub. If you go to the  Business Insider link you will see which second languages are important and established in each area of the world. The information is astounding and is showing just how much we are moving, how populations are bringing their culture and languages to different nations and how critical it is to be multilingual/plurilingual in our global society. Business is conducted in various languages and there are political implications for this . Politicians ought to be multilingual/plurilingual too so that they can establish good relationships with their citizens, neighbours and international counterparts. Will the language maps stay like this or shall we keep shifting languages around the planet? If that becomes the case, then speaking more than one language will be essential to success and capacity to live, work and study anywhere. The Business Insider site also has a video on the comparative sizes of countries. I was interested to discover that Australia can fit inside Brazil. In a classroom it is important to understand these sorts of things because our students come from everywhere and what we consider big in Australia might be considered enormous somewhere else. We’ll get in a car in Adelaide and drive to Melbourne. In other countries that is unthinkable.We need to look at how the world is changing and build that into our approach and understanding of our students.

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