Listen to David Beckham ‘speak’ nine different languages to end malaria

9 April 2019 (The Metro)

David Beckham has ‘spoken’ in nine different language calling for an end to the killer disease malaria.

The former football star is given the voices of men and women from around the world – including malaria survivors and doctors fighting the disease. The ‘Malaria Must Die, So Millions Can Live’ campaign invites people to contribute their own voice to help end one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation, there were 219,000,000 cases of the disease in 2017.

Of those, 435,000 died – including one child every two minutes. In the short film, Beckham begins by speaking in English before appearing to converse fluently in Spanish, Kinyarwanda, Arabic, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Kiswahili and Yoruba.

Using AI video synthesis technology, producers created a 3D model of the father-of-four which they re-animated with the voices of eight others.


She loves you… sí, oui, ja: how pop went multilingual

6 April 2018 (The Guardian)

Pop stars once had to sing in English to win global fame. Now Spanish and other languages are taking over.

As Leonard Cohen sang: “We are ugly but we have the music.” He referred – rather harshly – to himself and Janis Joplin, but some might apply it more widely to the British and Americans.

“Rock and pop are American and English, and we understood that immediately,” French rocker Little Bob said recently, at home near the old bell tower in Le Havre that called dockers to work each grey dawn. Everyone knows English is the lingua franca of pop music. Less widely acknowleged is that the gyre is turning, that other languages, especially Spanish, are eroding the hegemony of pop and other genres.


Sofia Reyes: Meet Mexico's multilingual pop sensation

4 April 2019 (BBC)

"Trilingual empowerment anthem" isn't the sort of phrase that gets bandied about at record label marketing meetings; but that's exactly what Sofia Reyes has on her hands with her new single, RIP.

A vibrant, infectious slice of Latin pop, the song is a collaboration between the Mexican singer, Brazilian artist Anitta and Albanian-British pop star Rita Ora.

Each flits between Spanish, English and Portuguese as they sing about shedding unwanted emotional baggage, before teaming up for the addictive "bim-bari-bom-bom" hook (so it's actually quadrilingual, if you count gibberish).

Reyes' lyrical style evolved naturally from the way she speaks to her friends at home, where Spanish and English are largely interchangeable.

"Growing up in Mexico, we have a lot of American culture," she explains.

"So even though Spanish is my first language, at school English was very important, and we listened to English music all the time. So I wanted to sing in both."


Revealed: Prince William Can Speak Five Foreign Languages

24 March 2019 (The Cheat Sheet)

Albeit not a requirement, learning a foreign language is common in the royal family. Even Prince George and Princess Charlotte are already on their way to becoming bilingual — and they have quite the built-in tutor. Prince William is one of the most impressive linguists in the royal family and allegedly knows at least five foreign languages (some of which he is fluent in!). 

Just like his children, Prince William started learning a foreign language at a young age — partly because his father wanted him to be fluent in Welsh before becoming the Prince of Wales. But while some members of the royal family know one or two languages, the Duke of Cambridge has them beat with five (and possibly more). What languages does Prince William speak?  


Brendan Rodgers hopes to pass Spanish lesson against Valencia

9 February 2019 (The Herald)

Brendan Rodgers remains something of a footballing linguist. The Celtic manager is learning French and he is already fluent in Spanish. It’s a handy string to the bow in these multi-cultural times.

“A lot of them [overseas] are surprised because normally us British people are a bit insular that way,” said Rodgers of his ability to turn his hand to another language.

“Young Maryan [Shved], the player we signed from Ukraine was a great example of what language can do. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Ukranian but we could speak Spanish because he had two years at Sevilla.

“If I could do two things in the world I’d speak every language and I would play every musical instrument. Why? It’s the ability to communicate. As you grow older you understand communication is so important."


How Arsenal are teaching young fans to learn new languages

3 February 2019 (BBC Sport)

BBC Sport finds out how Arsenal's Double Club Languages programme uses football to help school children learn new languages, with a little help from Spanish manager Unai Emery.


Deaf boy's amazing reaction to Makaton bedtime story

19 November 2018 (BBC)

A deaf boy has an amazing response to Rob Delaney's CBeebies Bedtime Story using Makaton sign language.

Mum Laura McCartney says her son Tom, who has complex medical needs, was "enthralled" to see a story told "in his language".

Six-year-old Tom waves his arms and stands up in his chair in excitement as he watches comedian Rob on TV.


Related Links

Deaf boy reacts to Cbeebies sign language story (BBC, 19 November 2018)

Harry greets NZ audience in six Pacific languages

30 October 2018 (BBC)

Prince Harry has delighted a gathering of Auckland's local Pasifika community, hosted by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, by greeting them in six languages.

The royal opened his speech by saying greetings in Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands Maori and Maori.


K-pop drives boom in Korean language lessons

11 July 2018 (BBC)

Korean is rapidly growing in popularity, in a language-learning boom driven by the popularity of the country's pop stars.

A desire to learn the lyrics of K-Pop hits like Gangnam Style has boosted the Korean language's popularity explode in countries like the US, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia.

A report by the Modern Language Association shows that Korean uptake in US universities rose by almost 14% between 2013 and 2016, while overall language enrolment was in decline.

The latest statistics show 14,000 students are learning Korean in the US, compared to only 163 two decades earlier.

The language learning website Duolingo launched a Korean course last year because of rising demand. It quickly attracted more than 200,000 pupils.


Oscars 2018: Ex-Hollyoaks star uses sign language in acceptance speech

5 March 2018 (BBC)

A film starring a six-year-old deaf British girl and made by two former Hollyoaks stars has won an Oscar.

The Silent Child, which tells the story of a girl who struggles to communicate, was named best live action short film.

It stars Maisie Sly, aged six, from Swindon, and Rachel Shenton, who played Mitzeee Minniver in the Channel 4 soap.

Shenton also wrote it and used sign language in her acceptance speech. It was directed by Chris Overton - AKA Hollyoaks cage fighter Liam McAllister.

"I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I would sign this speech," Shenton said while accepting the statuette at Sunday's ceremony in Hollywood.


Murray faces his toughest interview yet!

6 July 2017 (BBC Sport)

Andy Murray faces his toughest interview yet as children get the chance to quiz the British number one.

How will Andy respond to the first question: "How many languages do you speak?"


Chris Pratt Impresses Jennifer Lawrence With His German-Speaking Skills

9 December 2016 (Glamour)

Chris Pratt is truly a renaissance man. In addition to being a highly successful actor and a loving father, this 37-year-old is also a master of the French braid, a magician, and apparently a polyglot as well. That last skill is something Pratt decided to showcase during a press tour for his upcoming film Passengers.


News Exclusive: The Arsenal Double Club

14 November 2016 (Arsenal Football Club)

With a total of seven languages in his armoury, Petr Cech is by far the most lingual member of Arsenal’s squad, now that Mikel Arteta, conversant in nine tongues, has left the club. Earlier this year, Steve Eadon, Languages coordinator for the Arsenal Double Club, interviewed Cech about his experience with languages.

“Before I do these interviews, I have a little time with the players off camera,” explains Steve, who has also interviewed Hector Bellerin and Gabriel on the same subject. “I asked Petr how many of these languages he is actually fluent in. He said that he was fluent in all of them. So we tested him and, needless to say, he was telling the truth!”

Cech voluntarily learned Spanish and Portuguese when he arrived at Chelsea due to the proliferation of Spanish and Portuguese speaking players in the Blues’ defence. Cech revealed earlier this year that he uses three different languages to communicate with the Arsenal defence.


Angelina Jolie's six children speak seven languages, actress reveals

17 June 2016 (Telegraph)

Any parent will know that each of their children is unique. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's brood seem to have taken that to a new level, with six children each learning a different language. In lessons that will surely benefit their future holidays, the Jolie-Pitt children can speak Khmer, Vietnamese, German, Russian, French, Arabic and sign language, the actress revealed. In a programme for Radio 4's Woman's Hour, which she guest-edited, Jolie spoke of how her children had adapted to their lives travelling around the world.


British astronaut Tim Peake is tested on his Russian skills (video)

13 December 2015 (BBC)

British astronaut Tim Peake has spent six years training for his mission to the International Space Station which blasts off on Tuesday 15 December.

He's said that the hardest bit was learning Russian - the language is needed to operate the Soyuz rocket and the Russian parts of the ISS.

We tested Tim's vocabulary and pronunciation with the help of two BBC Russian staff, Famil Ismailov and Anya Dorodeyko.


‘Will Gary Neville's appointment at Valencia trigger a renaissance in Spanish learning in our schools? Here’s hoping...’

7 December 2015 (TES)

The uptake of modern foreign languages in schools has long been influenced by sportspeople launching themselves into foreign leagues, writes on MFL teacher.

Footballers and football managers have probably done more for the dissemination of Spanish than anyone since the conquistadors.

I love it when an Englishman is offered – and accepts – a job abroad. It causes such a flurry of excitement. Justified, yet somehow comically disproportionate, admiration, shot through with just a hint of incredulity. It seems to take us by surprise every time. He'll never stick it out, of course, the bar-flies say down the pub. He'll miss the pies too much.


Jessica Alba reads Scots version of The Gruffalo to her children

6 February 2015 (STV News)

She's one of the world's most famous actresses with massive roles in films such as Sin City, Fantastic Four and Into the Blue.

So fans from across the pond were delighted when American star Jessica Alba was pictured on her Instagram account reading The Gruffalo in Scots to her children.

The book, originally written by Julia Donaldson, has become a contemporary favourite with youngsters.

But the Scottish version, produced by James Robertson and published by Black & White, is for more of a niche audience.

Or at least that's what James thought until he saw the picture of Jessica on Thursday afternoon.


Language and Listening (A point of view)

16 January 2015 (BBC Radio 4)

AL Kennedy reflects on the importance of learning languages and listening to one another. "More words give me more paths to and from the hearts of others, more points of view - I don't think that's a bad thing."


Eddie Izzard named public language champion

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

The public has chosen stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard as their 2014 public language champion.

The award was announced on Friday at the Guardian and British Academy 2014 Schools Language Awards in central London as part of the annual Language Festival. The Public Language Champion award invites Guardian readers to nominate public figures that promote the value of speaking another language.

Eddie Izzard is a long-time advocate for the importance of language learning. Readers highlight his international tour Force Majeure which sees him delivering sets in Arabic, German, Spanish and French. As part of the tour, and to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, he also performed the show three times in three different languages.


Jane Seymour: ‘Everyone should know another language’

24 October 2014 (Guardian)

Actor Jane Seymour’s mother learned Japanese and Malay while in an Indonesian concentration camp. She shares how this has shaped her attitudes to language learning/


Mark Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin sounds like a '7-year-old with a mouth full of marbles'

23 October 2014 (Independent)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wowed an audience at Beijing’s Tsinghua University by calmly chatting his way through a 30-minute interview in Mandarin, but the internet has been a bit harsher comparing him to “an articulate 7-year-old with a mouth full of marbles.”


Quelle surprise! Celebrities who speak multiple languages

23 October 2014 (CNN)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg already owns a good chunk of the Internet, but on Wednesday he won it as well when he spoke Chinese to an audience at a Beijing university. See the video along with other celebrities speaking other languages on CNN.


Paddy Ashdown: ‘Learning six languages has changed my life’

14 October 2014 (Guardian)

From speaking Malay as a young marine, to offending his Chinese teacher with unfortunate translations, Paddy shares the twists and turns of his language adventures.


Who is this year’s public language champion?

27 August 2014 (The Guardian)

Nominations are now open for the second Guardian Public Language Champion Award. We’re on the hunt for someone in the public eye who flies the flag for languages in the UK. Last year, Arsene Wenger, Arsenal football club manager, was crowned the inaugural champion.


Language news in review: 2013's 10 big stories

23 December 2013 (The Guardian)

From Polish becoming England's second language, to a Guardian investigation revealing the alarming rate of university language department closures, 2013 was a busy year for languages. Here are 10 big language stories from the past year.


Eddie Izzard: We're just lazy at foreign languages

17 December 2013 (Newsbeat)

Eddie Izzard has claimed people who speak English are "just lazy" at learning foreign languages.

Dates for the comedian's current Force Majeure tour will cover 27 countries during which he will perform in German, French, Spanish and Arabic.

"It's a very positive thing to do," said the 51-year-old who will also speak in Russian and Italian during the tour.

"It means something if you're going to learn the whole language."


Footballers give pupils language goals

10 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Football clubs across the country are using sport to cultivate children's interest in learning other languages.

"If I could say anything to Santi Cazorla? I don't know the Spanish words yet, but I'd say: 'You're a wicked footballer.'" Suraiya Farah, a year-five pupil at Primrose Hill primary school in north London, has just finished a taster Spanish session with the Arsenal Double Club and she is eager to put her new skills to use.

Arsenal is one of a number of clubs, including Newcastle United and Hull City, that runs a language Double Club, a cross-curricular course that uses football to teach students a foreign language.

The after-school sessions are made up of two halves: the first takes place in a classroom, where students are taught football-related vocabulary, and the second encourages children to practise their language skills out on the pitch.


Arsène Wenger talks his way to another title

10 December 2013 (The Guardian)

The Arsenal manager talks to Molly Pierce about his dedication to language learning and how football can make learning them more exciting.


Prince William speaks Mandarin as he joins David Beckham in wildlife campaign to Chinese

6 December 2013 (Daily Express)

Prince William joined David Beckham and NBA basketball star Yao Ming in appealing to Chinese parents to think of their children and save endangered wildlife in a video message today.


Larry Lamb on languages: 'My whole career has been based on Miss Smith teaching me French' – video

22 November 2013 (The Guardian)

The Eastenders and Gavin and Stacey star, and now the voice of Eurostar in France, started his career selling encyclopedias in Germany. Larry Lamb talks to the Guardian about the unexpected route he took into acting and how it all began in a primary school French lesson.


Celebrity Linguists

25 September 2013 (TES)

List of celebrity quotes about the value of language learning from CILT, put into powerpoint, plus pictures (Google Images) for corridor display.

You will need a TES userid and password to access the resource.


Gary Lineker: Schools don't take foreign languages seriously enough

26 September 2013 (TES)

He is better known for his views on football, but former England striker and TV personality Gary Lineker has claimed foreign languages are not taken seriously enough on the national curriculum.

The host of Match of the Day was speaking to TES about the importance of learning languages for young people today, adding that it was more relevant to their every day lives than other subjects such as the sciences.

Himself a fluent Spanish speaker after a successful three-year career playing for Barcelona, Mr Lineker believes students should learn a foreign tongue because it will always be useful in later life.


Related Links

Gary Lineker kickstarts language learning in schools (The Guardian, 26 September 2013)

Guardian Public Language Champion Award 2013 - shortlist

19 September 2013 (The Guardian)

Who is Britain's language champion? The Guardian, in partnership with the British Academy, is honouring the nation's leading language proponent in its inaugural language award.

The Public Language Champion Award recognises the commitment and passion shown by a public figure in the importance of language to British society. The award is part of the Guardian's language learning series, a campaign to start a national debate on language learning.

Our shortlist of nominees ranges from comedians and actors to sporting figures and broadcasters who are either great role models of the value of knowing one or more languages than your mother tongues or fierce advocates of the need for putting language learning on the national agenda.

See the shortlist and vote for your favourite by 14 October.


The Guardian public language champion award

3 September 2013 (The Guardian)

As part of our campaign to debate and promote the importance of languages, we're launching a special award to recognise a public figure that has done their bit for the multi-lingual cause.


Bale speaks Spanish at Real Madrid unveiling

2 September 2013 (ESPN)

New Real Madrid signing Gareth Bale showed how he had spent his summer months by speaking in Spanish during the Bernabeu unveiling to mark his world record £86 million transfer.


Related Links

Gareth Bale must put heart and soul into Real move - Gary Lineker (BBC Sport, 1 September 2013) Lineker, who played for Barca between 1986-1989, feels that learning the language and immersing himself in the culture will be key to Bale's chances of succeeding in La Liga.

Why languages matter to me: Eddie Izzard, Alastair Campbell and more

28 August 2013 (The Guardian)

A group of high-profile linguists reveal the impact languages has had on their lives and what sparked their passion for learning languages.


The Guardian Public Language Champion Award

20 August 2013 (Third Year Abroad)

Has someone famous inspired you to learn a language? Who is your Celebrity Language Idol? (Wow - imagine that as a show!) Do you think someone well-known deserves to win an award for their Services to Languages? Then you need to nominate them for the Guardian Public Language Champion Award!

The British Academy has partnered with the Guardian to raise the profile of language learning in the UK. From August 2013 The Guardian will be campaigning to increase public interest in and awareness of the impact language learning has on British society. They want to put language learning on the agenda with the government, industry, education, media and the public and generate a national debate on the importance of language learning.

Up to 5 nominations can be submitted by Friday 30 August 2013.


Tennis - Novak Djokovic says learning Chinese language is difficult

31 May 2013 (Tennis World)

Tennis - Novak Djokovic is the world's top ranked player and quite good when it comes to playing tennis. But the Serb is also pretty good when it comes to speaking languages.

The Serb revealed his love for the languages during his press conference on Thursday.



Bilingualism Steps Into a Leading Role - Viggo Mortensen and Other Actors Take Roles in Foreign Films

29 March 2013 (New York Times)

Viggo Mortensen, who speaks fluent Spanish, plays two roles in the Argentine movie “Everybody Has a Plan,” directed by Ana Piterbarg.


Celebrities speaking languages

10 December 2012 (Routes Cymru / YouTube)

Routes Cymru posted the following YouTube links on Twitter. We thought you would enjoy using them with your pupils to promote languages.

The Coaches: part four

20 November 2012 (Twitter - UEFA on YouTube)

UEFA.com speaks to the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Gérard Houllier, Arsène Wenger and Roy Hodgson about how they handle multilingual squads.


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