Minority Languages


Minority Languages

'I fell in love with these words, and despite my efforts to move on and let go of the past, Gaelic would not let me do it'

22 October 2017 (The Herald)

“Dad, I’m going to tell it to you straight,” I said at the dinner table, aged 17 and ready to jump into the big wide world. My parents put down their cutlery in preparation for whatever was to come. “I’m not going to do Celtic Studies,” I blurted out, and I remember their faces still, choking on their sprouts in their efforts to hide their amusement.

Celtic Studies was my father’s all-consuming passion, and 16 years after his early retirement from Edinburgh University, it still is. We have no family connections to the Highlands and Islands – growing up in a house in Glasgow full of French, English and Italian (and a smattering of Arabic), my father took an interest in the Gaelic he heard about him in the trams and streets and classrooms of the city.

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Edinburgh Council publish Gaelic language plan ahead of consultation

2 October 2017 (The Scotsman)

Edinburgh Council have released their Gaelic language plan to support and promote the language and culture ahead of consultation. The plan aims to promote a city that develops and supports more fluent and  confident Gaelic speakers as well as promoting thriving Gaelic communities and cultures.

The ‘Draft Gaelic Language Plan’ was published by the City of Edinburgh Council today and is open for consultation until December 15. It is part of the Council’s commitment to work in partnership with Gaelic communities, organisations who deliver Gaelic services, Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Scottish Government to support the language and culture.

Read more...

Related Links

Gaelic learning to be expanded in Edinburgh (The Herald, 2 October 2017)

Appeal launched to collect poetry in endangered languages

28 September 2017 (Guardian)

Marking the UK’s National Poetry Day, an international call for readers to submit poems that could be lost to future generations has gone out.

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Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition 2017-18

22 September 2017 (SCILT/CISS)

Today sees the launch of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition and we're delighted to announce the addition of a category for students in further and higher education, enabling all Scottish educational establishments to participate.

Whether pupils are learning a language at school, college or university, or whether they speak a native language at home, everyone can get involved in celebrating their linguistic and cultural diversity through creative poetry writing as there are options to enter in either the Mother Tongue or Other Tongue category. Even if you've taken part in the competition before, please note and read the new rules and criteria as only original work will be considered.

For more information about this year's competition and previous events, visit our MTOT website and register to take part! Closing date for registrations is 27 October 2017.

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How relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today?

2 September 2017 (The Press and Journal)

Chan eil aon chànan gu leòr.

How many readers can understand this sentiment or indeed recognise the Gaelic phrase which aptly translates as one language is never enough?

Sadly, or depending in the light in which one views Gaelic, it would seem one language in Scotland is indeed enough with just 1.1% of the population speaking Gaelic.

It is no secret that Gaelic has been in decline for many years despite road signs in the Highlands and islands and even in the north-east including the Gaelic place name.

Classed as an indigenous language, it is believed Gaelic was brought to Scotland around the fourth or fifth century by settlers from Ireland, reaching its peak in 1018.

Some historians pinpoint its decline to the reign of King Malcom Canmore, although his brother re-introduced the language when he inherited the throne.

History aside, how relevant is Gaelic to modern Scotland today on both a social and economic level?

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Parents 'key' to securing future of Gaelic in Scotland

3 August 2017 (BBC)

The future of Gaelic in Scotland could be down to parents - even if they do not speak the language themselves, according to researchers.

The University of Strathclyde said increased use of a language at home was a "first step" in its use in wider society.

Researchers surveyed 236 parents and children on the Isle of Lewis and on Sardinia.

The study included speakers and non-speakers of Gaelic and Sardinian.

Three quarters of respondents felt speaking a minority language was equally important to speaking their national tongue.

Dr Fraser Lauchlan, of the University of Strathclyde's School of Psychological Sciences and Health, said: "Previous research from more than two decades ago found that there was almost a level of embarrassment about speaking such languages and they were discouraged for many years.

"It is only in recent times that there has been a re-emergence of the importance placed on these languages - possibly because of a better understanding of the benefits that being bilingual can bring, but also because of their promotion at national or regional level by governments, including the specific introduction of legislation."

He suggested parents could encourage their children to read and to watch TV programmes in a minority language, which may even lead to them learning it themselves.

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Related Links

Parents may hold the key to securing the future of Gaelic (The National, 3 August 2017)

Parents' encouragement could keep Gaelic alive (Press and Journal, 3 August 2017)

Future of Gaelic lies with non-speakers, study finds (The Herald, 4 August 2017)

Speaking with Smaller Tongues

7 July 2017 (BBC Radio 4)

Penzance-born Rory McGrath writes and performs a Cornish song at the SUNS International Festival - a multilingual alternative to the Eurovision song contest, where English is banned.

Rory talks with fellow performers, and to academics, about how the internet and the spread of English as a lingua franca is threatening to smother small languages. The United Nations predicts that 90% of Europe's 200 minority languages will have ceased to exist by the end of the 21st century.

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Belfast council unveils policy to promote Irish and Ulster-Scots

23 May 2017 (Belfast Telegraph)

Belfast City Council is to transform how it treats minority languages, with a major promotion of both Irish and Ulster-Scots.
 
In a new policy, which was revealed on Tuesday, May 22 as a public consultation was launched into the proposals, the council will create micro-sites on its website in the languages, as well as responding to correspondence in both.

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MTOT 2016-17 celebration event webpage now live

5 May 2017 (SCILT)

We're pleased to announce the SCILT website has been updated and details of this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) multilingual poetry competition award celebration held at the SEC, Glasgow in March are now available.

Here you can see photos of our winning performers, read the anthology of winning entries, access press articles and see feedback from pupils, teachers and parents.

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Tongue twisting: What Brexit means for minority languages

24 March 2017 (The New European)

In what could be a perfect metaphor for the chaos unleashed by Brexit, the future of the British Isles’ minority languages has been thrown into doubt by the decision to leave the EU. And, says Maurice Smith, that uncertainty could have profound cultural and economic implications

From street signs, to television stations, schools, music and literature, the British Isles is a linguistically diverse archipelago, home to various native languages, whose fortunes have always fluctuated through the centuries.

But with Brexit has come a new threat, to menace them all. The situation is politically acute in Ireland, where promotion of Irish Gaelic education is a key element of the peace agreement in the North, and has particularly strong overtones as a result. At Stormont, in recent months, the two main parties – Democratic Unionists (DUP) and Sinn Fein – have been at loggerheads over the latter’s demand that Irish becomes the devolved government’s second official language.

There may be a less abrasive political dimension in Scotland and Wales, but Scots Gaelic and Welsh have nevertheless become increasingly important in terms of preservation, education and broadcasting investment. But as Scotland moves towards another referendum on independence, we can expect more abrasion on this issue.

The politics of language funding is the politics of national diversity, and Brexit, and agitation for a vote on Scottish independence, are bringing such differences into sharp relief.

These minority languages, and others such as Cornish, have all benefited from UK and devolved government support. But that has been underpinned by their status as recognised minority languages within the EU. The fear is that Brexit will lead to less support, and especially less money, for education, promotion and cultural support.

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Maurice Smith: Brexit threatens Gaelic as a living language

25 February 2017 (The Herald)

There is a hoary myth going round about a wilful Scottish Government wasting taxpayers’ money on the flagrant imposition of bilingual signs at every Scottish road and railway station, presumably as part of a dark conspiracy to make us all speak Gaelic and unwittingly vote en masse for independence.

It is one of many misunderstandings, and occasional slurs, perpetuated by some who resent any money being spent on Gaelic.

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Ian Cowley: Language is a cultural treasure we must covet

25 February 2017 (The Scotsman)

The level at which the languages of Scotland – with the exception of English – have been ignored and often despised in recent years is something that has always surprised and saddened me. 

The reaction by some to MSP Christina McKelvie’s use of the word ‘thae’ in Holyrood during the recent Article 50 debate shows that prejudice and ignorance still surround the use of Scots in daily life.

Language is a cultural treasure and some might say the maximum expression of who we are and where we’re from.

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MTOT 2016-17 winners announced!

10 February 2017 (SCILT)

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate everyone who took part in this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland. We had a wonderful variety of entries and appreciated the creative effort that went into the submissions.

Selecting the finalists for this year's anthology was incredibly difficult for the judges. However, after considerable deliberation, we're pleased to now be able to announce the winners in each category along with highly commended entries which will also feature in the MTOT anthology of poems.

Mother Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Jan Piwowarczyk (Polish)

St Benedict’s Primary

 

Highly commended

Kacper Jodelka (Polish)

St John Ogilvie Primary

P4 – P6

Winner

Laith Kabour (Arabic)

St John Ogilvie Primary

 

Highly commended

Ashley Li (Mandarin)

St James’ Primary

 

Highly commended

Amira Shaaban and Aidah Abubaker (Swahili)

St Rose of Lima Primary

 

Highly commended

Caroline Rotimi and Joolade Adekoya (Yoruba)

St Maria Goretti Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Miriam Espinosa (Catalan)

St James’ Renfrew

 

 

Highly commended

Lemuel Pascual (Filipino)

 

St James’ Renfrew

 

Highly commended

Noemi Dzurjanikova (Slovak)

St Rose of Lima

S2 – S3

Winner

Stefan Benyak (Hungarian)

Castlehead High

 

Highly commended

Éva Tallaron (French)

Royal High

Senior Phase

Winner

Boglarka Balla (Hungarian)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ayesha Mujeb (Urdu)

George Heriot’s

 

Highly commended

Nadya Clarkson (Russian)

George Heriot’s

 

Other Tongue

Category

Award

Name

School

P1 – P3

Winner

Julia Gawel (Scots)

Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary

P4 – P6

Winner(s)

Nathan Watson and Aiden Wardrop (French)

Johnshaven Primary

 

 

Highly commended

Jack Shaw (German)

Gartcosh Primary

 

 

Eva Campbell (German)

Gartcosh Primary

P7 – S1

Winner

Rosalind Turnbull (French)

Doune Primary

 

Highly commended

Samuel Kassm, Theo Wilson, Emma Cullen and Darren Campbell (French, Spanish, Italian, Urdu, Scots)

Battlefield  Primary

S2 – S3

Winner

Simi Singh (French)

Graeme High

 

Highly commended

Ciara Wilkie (French)

St Margaret’s Academy

Senior Phase

Winner

Jordanna Bashir (French)

Shawlands Academy

 

Highly commended

Holly Mincher (Spanish)

St Andrew’s

 

Highly commended

Rachel Cairns (French)

Graeme High

Well done to everyone who took part in the competition. It's been a marvellous celebration of the various languages spoken in our communities. You should all be very proud of your work.

To mark participation in the competition, registered schools will shortly be sent a certificate which can be printed out and presented to pupils who took part. The finalists above will be invited in due course to receive theirs at the MTOT celebration event on 11 March.

Thank you all once again and keep writing!

Gaelic pupils outperforming their peers in literacy skills

4 February 2017 (The Herald)

Primary pupils taught in Gaelic are outperforming children in mainstream Scottish schools, according to new figures.

Scottish Government statistics show pupils in Gaelic primary schools are doing better at reading, writing, listening and talking at nearly every stage of primary.

Gaelic medium education - where pupils are taught most or all of their lessons in Gaelic as well as studying English - is increasingly popular in Scotland with more than 3,500 children taught in 2014.

Read more...

Seven Gaelic phrases and sayings for the absolute beginner

25 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

There is nothing like learning a new language to exercise your mind and impress your friends. 

Gaelic may have become a political hot potato but picking up a few key phrases will connect you to a language spoken in Scotland for more than 1,000 years.

Little over one per cent of Scotland’s population now speaks Gaelic with highest rates found in the Western Isles. Numbers of young people learning the minority language are on the rise while the proportion of the older population with a knowledge of Gaelic starts to fall.

Here are seven easy Gaelic phrases and sayings - with phonetic transcription - to try out for size.Some may come in particularly handy over the festive season.

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Definitive guide to ancient Norn language discovered

16 November 2016 (BBC News)

The definitive text on the ancient Norn language and its link with modern Scots has been reprinted using the original pages and covers.

Norn was largely spoken by people in the north of Scotland until the mid 18th Century.

Uncollated and unbound sheets of the text, first printed over 80 years ago, were discovered in a Kirkwall warehouse.

The Orkney Norn explains the link between the ancient language of Norn and modern Scots as BBC Scotland's David Delday explains.

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New survey examines impact of Gaelic media on learning

14 November 2016 (BBC News)

The influence of Gaelic media on learning of the language is being examined.

The Big Gaelic Survey has been commissioned by the language's development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The study of media, such as BBC Alba and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, has three questionnaires. They are aimed at Gaelic speakers, Gaelic learners and people who are interested in learning Gaelic in the future.

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Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, supports MTOT

4 November 2016 (SCILT)

We are delighted to have Jackie Kay, the national laureate, as patron for this year's Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition for schools in Scotland.

Hear Jackie's message supporting the aims and values of the competition in the video on our MTOT webpage.

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Take a haiku, add Gaelic - and welcome to the 'gaiku'

30 October 2016 (The Scotsman)

It is one of the world’s oldest forms of poetry, honed down the centuries with not a word or syllable left to waste. Now haiku, the major form of Japanese verse, is set to take the Gaelic world by storm with the forthcoming publication of The Little Book of Gaiku – believed to be the first full-length volume of Gaelic poems composed as haikus.

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Swinney sets out bold ambition for Gaelic

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

The Deputy First Minister John Swinney has delivered the Angus Macleod Memorial lecture during the Mod in Stornoway today setting out the importance of the Gaelic language to Scotland as part of a bold ambition to build participation and economic activity in the future.

Mr Swinney was making his first major speech on the subject since assuming ministerial responsibility for the Gaelic language after the election. Over the summer the Deputy First Minister has engaged widely with a range of stakeholders central to the future of the language.

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£700,000 for Gaelic language delivery

19 October 2016 (Scottish Government)

Additional funding to improve facilities at Glasgow’s two Gaelic schools has been announced by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney.

Glendale Gaelic School and Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu will use the extra £700,000 to further improve the learning environment for young people studying core subjects such as physical education, STEM and ICT, ensuring Gaelic learning provides a fully immersive experience across the curriculum.

The money will also be spent on upgrading school facilities helping to tackle an increase in demand for places.

Since the introduction of the Gaelic Schools Capital Fund in 2008 the number of young people in Gaelic medium education has increased nationally by 32%.

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Seniors pass on their Gaelic skills to learners

19 October 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

A series of films to help teach Gaelic to children learning it in primary school outwith Gaelic Medium Education has been launched. 

The films star, and were made by, senior school pupils who have come through Gaelic Medium Education and are now passing on their language skills to youngsters who are just beginning to learn it. 

The films, made with the support of media professionals, form part of the Go! Gaelic programme, a comprehensive online resource developed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig.

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Royal National Mod warning that Gaelic faces battle for survival in modern world

15 October 2016 (The Herald)

Gaelic is facing a fight for its survival and every Scot needs to play a part to ensure that it continues to receive much-needed support, it has been warned.

Opening the Royal National Mod last night, the head of the Gaelic media service warned that one of Scotland’s cultural “jewels” is at serious risk of being lost forever unless it is given greater support.

Maggie Cunningham, chairwoman of MG Alba, the Gaelic Media Service, made an emotive speech about the future of the tongue which, despite receiving millions of pounds of public funding, has continued to decline.

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£3.9 million modern languages research project launched in Manchester

11 October 2016 (University of Manchester)

A consortium led by The University of Manchester has launched a four-year language research project which aims to demonstrate the UK’s critical need for modern languages research and teaching. The project will collaborate with schools and universities to develop curriculum innovations, and strengthen university commitments to local community heritage.

The launch of ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’, which is funded by an AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) grant, took place at The University of Manchester. They are leading a consortium which includes 11 other universities, city councils, the Royal Opera House, Tyneside Cinema, political think tank Chatham House, and a sixth-form college known for its strengths in modern languages.

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How a deaf teenager from Congo found her voice in poetry

6 October 2016 (STV News)

For most of her life, it seemed as though Keren Mingole would never have a place to call home.

Forced to escape war-torn country of DR Congo, the 16-year-old has been brought up in Scotland from a very early age. Not only faced with the difficulty of communicating with strangers, Keren also had to learn British Sign Language.

[..] In 2015, an opportunity arose for Keren to explore and draw from her difficult experiences as a child through a multilingual poetry contest.

The Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition explores cultural identity, and allows pupils from P1-S6 to enter creative pieces of work and celebrate the many different languages used in schools throughout the UK.

Pupils from across Scotland are currently participating in the multi-cultural competition, which is officially endorsed by Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Scottish Makar Jackie Kay is also the official patron.

Keren won the 2015 Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition with her poem 'Who am I?' - a composition of her journey from her native home to her current home, Scotland.

Read more...

Related Links

National Poetry Day (STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).

Wee Ginger Dug maps Scotland entirely in Gaelic

1 October 2016 (The National)

Going out and about this weekend?

How about a trip to Grianaig, Ros Saidhe or Achadh an t-Seagail – all places included in a new all-Gaelic map of Scotland.

The project, by The National columnist and blogger Paul Kavanagh, better known as the Wee Ginger Dug, replaces the standard English-language place names normally seen on maps with terms drawn from a number of specialist maps, studies and documents.

Read more...

Urban Scots may not be spoken in 50 years time

30 September 2016 (The National)

‘Urban’ Scots may no longer be spoken in 50 years’ time – but independence could save the language, according to a study.

According to the report, schoolchildren “aren’t familiar” with commonly used terms including bampot, glaikit and stooshie and changes to pronunciation will see the hard “r” sound after vowels disappear from “working-class” speech, with the letter “l” left off the end of words.

The claims are based on analysis of Scots used in Glasgow by an academic from York University and a dialect coach who has worked with a number of Hollywood actors.

In the findings, the pair also claim the picture could be “very different” – but only if “a second independence referendum were to go in favour of Scotland’s separation from the UK”.

Read more...

Related Links

It's the end of the frog and toad for regional slang, says report (The Guardian, 29 September 2016)

MTOT - Free creative poetry workshops for teachers

9 September 2016 (SCILT)

Once again, we are delighted to be able to offer FREE poetry workshops for primary and secondary teachers at four different venues across Scotland.

Teachers will work with Juliette Lee, a poet and creative writer, for a half-day workshop to develop their own creativity, explore poetry and the impact of language we use. We hope that teachers will leave inspired and able to take back some ideas and examples to work with their own pupils who will then submit their poems/rhymes/raps/songs into the MTOT competition.

Teachers do not have to attend one of the workshops to register their school for the MTOT competition although the workshops are a fantastic opportunity to develop your skills in teaching poetry, languages and to gather ideas to take back into the classroom. Due to the creative and interactive nature of these workshops, places are limited to 15 teachers at each venue, therefore we advise you to book your place early.

Details of the workshops are as follows. Click on the appropriate workshop link below to register for the event.

  • Saturday 24 September, 10.00 – 12.30; Dundee University, Dundee (deadline for registration Friday 16 September)
  • Friday 30 September, 13.30 – 16.00; The Open University in Scotland, Edinburgh (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 1 October, 10.00 – 12.30; Inverness College - UHI, Inverness (deadline for registration 6pm Monday 26 September)
  • Saturday 8 October, 12.00 – 14.30; University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (deadline for registration Friday 30 September) PLEASE NOTE EVENT NOW FULL!
For more information about the competition visit the MTOT page on our website and register your school to take part!

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Support for EAL and bilingualism

2 September 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT has developed a new section on its website in recognition of the growing diversity within Scottish schools. The new EAL & Bilingualism section celebrates all languages spoken in Scotland, promotes bilingualism, and supports parents and practitioners in facilitating a multilingual ethos. It also signposts a wealth of resources and advice for learners with English as an Additional Language (EAL).

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Let languages shout out your business benefits

20 June 2016 (The Guardian)

English may dominate but businesses are finding that minority languages can give brands a competitive edge.

Irial Mac Murchú knows how a minority language can help to win business: the former journalist’s television production company has grown from a one-man show in 1993 to become the largest in Ireland, employing the equivalent of 50 full-time staff.

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MOOC: Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World

3 June 2016 (Future Learn)

This free 3-week online course, commencing 13 June 2016, will explore multilingual education and how it can impact and improve education and even wider society.

Our languages are an essential part of who we are as human beings. They are instruments of communication and are often a source of dignity and of human pride. Our life experiences and views of the world are bound up in our languages.

In week 3 you can hear about the Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition, where school pupils are invited to express themselves either in the language they speak at home or in one they are learning at school, and which will be run again in Scotland by SCILT in the new term.

For more information about the course and to enrol, visit the Future Learn website.

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Colours of the Alphabet screenings in Scotland

29 April 2016 (Colours of the Alphabet)

Liz Lochhead will be launching the Scottish preview tour of 'Colours of the Alphabet' at the GFT on 11 May and taking part in a post screening discussion on the relationship between language and childhood with director Alastair Cole and producer Nick Higgins.

The launch event will mark the opening night of a run of 11 screenings and discussions across Scotland during which the filmmakers and guest contributors will discuss the issue of mother-tongue education and the impact of teaching additional languages in primary schools.

Visit the website for a full list of dates and venues and to secure your tickets. Places are limited.

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MTOT 2015-16 Celebration Event held at Language Show Live

29 April 2016 (SCILT)

The celebration event for MTOT 2015-16 saw 20 award winners receive their prizes on the main Piazza stage at the SECC on Saturday 12 March 2016 as part of the wider Language Show Live Scotland event.

Pupils took the opportunity to perform their poems and rhymes to the audience, showcasing the many languages used by children and young people both in school and at home. The event drew in a huge crowd, with passers-by stopping to also see and hear their work.

Find out more about the day on our MTOT Celebration Event webpage, where you can also find links to the list of winners, pupil videos and recitals, the anthology, press articles and photos from the event.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their support and participation, which helped make the competition and celebration such a success. We hope to run MTOT again next year, so make sure you sign up to our e-bulletin for updates, or follow us on our social media sites Twitter or Facebook.

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Identity 2016: Why I stopped mispronouncing my Igbo name

27 April 2016 (BBC News Magazine)

In Nigeria, the language spoken by one of the largest ethnic groups, the Igbo, is in danger of dying out - which is odd because the population is growing. In the past this didn't worry the BBC's Nkem Ifejika, who is himself Igbo but never learned the language. Here he explains why he has changed his mind.

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Community languages saved to ensure diverse curriculum continues

22 April 2016 (UK Government)

Government action means GCSEs and A levels in a range of community languages such as Panjabi, Portuguese and Japanese are to continue to ensure young people can carry on studying a diverse range of foreign languages.

The news, announced today (22 April 2016) by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, marks a significant step for the government in its efforts to extend opportunity to young people and equip them with the skills they need in what is an increasingly global economy.

It follows a government commitment in 2015 to protect a number of language GCSEs and A levels after the exam boards announced that from 2017 they would be withdrawing several courses. In May 2015, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to the exam boards during the pre-election period to convey her concern about their decisions to stop offering GCSEs and A levels in certain languages.

Read more...

Related Links

Community languages continue as vital part of our curriculum (Speak to the Future, 22 April 2016)

Key Gaelic celebration to light up your Twitter

18 April 2016 (The National)

Outlander star Gilbert Macmillan and an American digital radio station have been lined up to support the fledgling Gaelic Twitter Day on Thursday.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, comedian Sanjeev Kohli, singer Michele McManus and the Scottish Football Association are all supporters of the day which is gaining interest from across the globe.

Launched in 2014, Gaelic Twitter Day or Là na #Gàidhlig has this year attracted attention from a digital radio station in Baltimore which is to run an exclusive show from midnight BST on April 21 and will include messages from celebrities like Macmillan. It will be broadcast by Guth nan Gàidheal, a radio project by the American Gaelic Association, An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (ACGA).

Following the success of the previous two years, it is also intended to expand Gaelic Twitter Day into other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

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Learning English is child's play, thanks to Paisley teacher Ruth

22 March 2016 (Paisley Daily Express)

More than 500 children from all over the world are being helped to speak English fluently by a remarkable council project.

Young people, many from Eastern Europe and some newly-arrived refugees from Syria, are getting to grips with the tongue as it is spoken in Scotland, thanks to Renfrewshire Council’s English as an Additional Language Service.

And not only that – they are also being encouraged to keep in touch with their own native language through literature.

Supporting the primary-age children in the scheme is teacher Ruth Cunningham, who herself speaks fluent Spanish.

As revealed in the Paisley Daily Express, three of Ms Cunningham’s pupils – variously from Norway, Hungary and Lithuania – recently had great success in a poetry competition organised by Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. (Also see the attached, related article courtesy of the Paisley Daily Express).

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£1m for Gaelic broadcasting

20 March 2016 (Scottish Government)

Gaelic broadcaster MG ALBA will receive an additional £1m investment this year.

Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan announced the media service will receive the funding following the UK Government’s plan to withdraw all funding to Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland.

MG ALBA is a public body that works in partnership with BBC Scotland to produce BBC Alba. Since moving to Freeview in 2011, the channel viewing figure have increased significantly.

Read more...

Related Links

Gaelic TV saved in Scotland (The Herald, 20 March 2016)

Gaelic broadcaster gets £1m Scottish government funding (BBC, 21 March 2016)

More backing for Gaelic broadcasting in Scotland (Brechin Advertiser, 21 March 2016)

Gaelic Virtual School for Scotland

18 March 2016 (Stornoway Gazette)

Bòrd na Gàidhlig today announced funding to support the creation of a Gaelic virtual school for Scotland, E-Sgoil.

The announcement was made by the Cathraiche of Bòrd na Gàidhlig at the National Gaelic Language Plan 2017-2022 Seminar in Edinburgh to open discussions on the creation of the 3rd National Plan for Gaelic.

E-Sgoil will look to design and develop an online learning environment that will provide connectivity initially, between all secondary schools throughout the Western Isles and beyond.

It will provide greater quality of subject access, vocational choices and learning opportunities across Gaelic medium secondary schools nationally.

Read more...

The Sardinian professor fighting to save Gaelic – and all Europe’s minority tongues

13 March 2016 (The Guardian)

It is an impending extinction that will change the world and how people communicate: within 20 years, half of all the planet’s languages will be dead.

Experts agree that nothing can stop it happening but one academic is trying her hardest to slow it down, to help preserve what may be part of a golden ticket for our brains. Professor Antonella Sorace – a Sardinian who was discouraged from learning her own dying language in favour of “proper” Italian – is one of a growing number who believe learning a second language has enormous untapped benefits for the human brain. This is true not only for young children but also for adults and people at risk from dementia, where research consistently shows that learning a new language could delay the onset of the disease for four to five years – a better result than with any medication to date.

It is those benefits of bilingualism that should encourage us to preserve and protect Britain’s minority languages – Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Irish, Cornish and Ulster Scots, she says.

“All minority languages are declining,” said Sorace, professor of developmental linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. “If a language is not learned by children then that language is bound to die. There are big forces out there that help to speed this process along. Eventually Gaelic will die, Welsh and Sardinian will die. Many of these are languages that are still relatively healthy; others are being actively suppressed or stigmatised.

“We are trying to contribute to slowing that decline. We know linguistic diversity is important because it makes us human. We lose that and we lose an essential part of what it means to be human.”

Read more...

Gaelic 'should be preserved' to benefit the brain

15 February 2016 (The Herald)

Languages on the brink of dying out should be preserved in light of evidence that shows juggling different tongues is good for the brain, claims a British expert.

Professor Antonella Sorace, founder of the Bilingualism Matters Centre at the University of Edinburgh, is investigating the potential benefits of studying minority languages such as Sardinian and Scottish Gaelic.

Previous research has already shown that being multilingual can improve thinking and learning ability, and may reduce mental decline with age.

Read more...

MP George Eustice wants Cornish language taught to GCSE

20 January 2016 (BBC News)

A Cornwall MP is campaigning to reinstate the Cornish language as a GCSE exam.

It was scrapped in 1996 because not enough pupils were taking it.

But Camborne and Redruth Tory George Eustice, who admitted he did not know any Cornish, said the time was right to bring it back.

Cornish is recognised as minority language by the EU and Cornwall Council is encouraging staff to use it when welcoming visitors.

Read more...

From Creole to Scots, all our tongues need preserving, says top linguist

16 January 2016 (The National)

Few people know more about the power and influence of minority languages than linguist Hector Poullet, an expert on the Creole tongue of the Caribbean.

The softly-spoken 75-year-old is a source on Creole in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. You could say he wrote the book on the language, co-authoring one of the world’s first Creole dictionaries and helping to introduce it into the school curriculum.

This week, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland launched a free online resource for children. Gifting Every Child includes Scots songs and Gaelic lullabies, providing an introduction to the traditional arts for the classroom or family home.

“All of the world’s languages are like a kaleidoscope – every single one of them is multiform and each one must be protected,” Poullet says.

Read more...

Outlander Gaelic coach saves rare Dalriada dialect

21 August 2015 (Scotsman)

THE man who taught the cast of Outlander to speak Gaelic has saved a rare dialect of the language from dying out - by teaching it to his own children.

Read more...

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Welsh language 'should be taught in schools across Britain to increase appreciation of other cultures'

10 August 2015 (Wales Online)

Performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah says Welsh should be taught in schools across Britain to increase appreciation of other cultures.

Mr Zephaniah said people should have a greater awareness of the “different cultures and languages” that exist within the UK.

“Hindi, Chinese and French are taught [in schools], so why not Welsh? And why not Cornish? They’re part of our culture,” he said.

Read more...

More than 300 different languages spoken in British schools, report says

24 July 2015 (The Telegraph)

More than 300 different languages are now spoken in British schools with English-speaking pupils becoming a minority in hundreds of classrooms, a new investigation has revealed.

There are 1.1 million children who speak 311 dialects and in some schools English speakers are the minority, the inquiry revealed.

Read more...

Budding police constables must speak second language in Met pilot scheme

20 July 2015 (The Guardian)

Aspiring police constables must speak a second language to join London’s Metropolitan police under a month-long pilot scheme.

Scotland Yard is hoping the new criterion will help police “engage with London’s diverse communities as effectively as possible”.

From Monday, to be considered for one of the sought-after positions with the capital’s police force, applicants must speak one of 14 languages as well as English. 

They are: Arabic, Bengali, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Spanish, Turkish or Yoruba (Nigeria).

Read more...

Related Links

Language recruitment campaign launched (Metropolitan Police, 20 July 2015)

Left Foot Forward: a crowdsourced Scots dictionary means we can ensure our linguistic legacy

6 July 2015 (The Herald)

Before the meteoric rise in printing technology, most European nations were a hodgepodge of dialects and linguistic variations. More of a flowing fabric of interwoven words across the continent, than our current situation of bounded nation-states.

With the popularity of print publications came the need to standardise written languages - translating every book into the hundreds of French dialects would have been an unwieldy and costly project, much more complicated than developing dictionaries for people to learn the standard.

Thusly, the new and increasingly ubiquitous print media at the time effected spoken variations, with institutions like L'Academie Francaise established with the sole role of linguistic arbiter; policing the nation's speakers to communicate 'properly'.

Read more...

It is important that the Scots language survives

22 June 2015 (The Herald)

From Herald Scotland letters pages

I would like to take a broader view of the languages currently and previously spoken in Scotland than expressed by Alexander Waugh (Letters, June 19).

For this discussion we should bypass the Scots whose language inheritance is from the Indian sub-continent, China, Eastern Europe or even south of the Border.

Read more...

Morgan tells exam boards to protect Polish A-levels

22 April 2015 (BBC News)

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says a future Conservative government would "guarantee the future" of GCSEs and A-levels in minority languages such as Polish, Gujarati, Bengali and Turkish.
There has been a campaign against exam board plans to withdraw these languages as exam subjects in England.

Mrs Morgan has written to exam boards telling them to reverse their decision.

Labour's Tristram Hunt says it is a "desperate attempt" to "undo the damage of chaotic exam changes".

Mrs Morgan has added her voice to warnings that these languages should not be lost in the shake-up of A-levels and GCSEs.

Read more...

Gina Williams on why every Australian should know some Indigenous words

27 March 2015 (The Guardian)

Singer-songwriter Gina Williams’ creative life hit a high point in 2014 when, along with musical partner, Guy Ghouse, she released their debut album Kalyakoorl – sung entirely in Noongar, the Indigenous language of south-western Australia.

No mean feat considering it was just five years ago that Williams, then 40, signed up for a Noongar language course. “In my first class I remember feeling a bit sick from embarrassment and shame; I’m a Noongar and I have to come to a Tafe course to learn my own language! I was the only Noongar in the class,” she says on the phone.

Read more...

Vital modern languages could be lost, warns Labour

26 March 2015 (BBC News)

Some modern languages vital to the UK's economic future could be lost from schools in England, Labour has warned.

Exam boards have announced plans to drop qualifications in languages such as Portuguese and Turkish.

Ministers should take urgent action to ensure they are not lost from the curriculum, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said.

The government said its reforms did not stop boards developing qualifications in any language they chose.

Read more...

How will we speak in 100 years?

20 January 2015 (Mail Online)

Sci-fi visions of the future may focus on soaring skylines and flying cars, but the world in 100 years may not only look different, but sound different too.

While there are more than 6,000 languages spoken globally at present, less than 600 are likely to endure in 2115, and they could be simplified versions of what we recognise today, one linguist has claimed.

He told MailOnline that the advent of technologically-advanced translating tools will not be enough to save the diversity of Earth’s languages either.

Read more...

Related Links

What the World Will Speak in 2115 (The Wall Street Journal, 2 January 2015)

Hi-tech schools rescuing an ancient language

30 November 2014 (BBC)

Technology and education have a long, complicated and sometimes exaggerated relationship.

[...] So you might not expect to find tablet computers being deployed to defend a language first written down 1,700 years ago when "writing on a tablet" would have meant carving on a stone.

But in an innovative blend of ancient and modern, online technology is being used to keep alive teaching in the Irish language.

Read more...

Community languages not supported in UK education system, survey suggests

28 November 2014 (The Guardian)

Despite the fact almost one in five young people have a first language other than English, research reveals their skills go unsupported and unrecognised by exam system.

Most young people in Britain whose native language is not English believe speaking a second language is an advantage in life. However only just over a third take a qualification in their mother tongue, according to a Guardian/ICM poll.

Read more...

Related Links

Ten ways to support community languages in the UK (The Guardian, 2 December 2014)

Four British languages in danger of becoming extinct

9 November 2014 (The Independent)

Tourists looking for sun and sea but keen for something extra from their holiday break can now help save an ancient language.

Four languages spoken on British territories feature on a new "endangered" list, with the numbers of people using them seriously dwindling. There are particular fears for the future of Jersey French and Guernsey French, which are marked as "severely endangered" on a list of 33 under-threat languages.

Read more...

Related Links

These 33 European languages are all in danger of going extinct (The Independent, 9 November 2014)

‘In the Patagonian desert I met a petrol attendant who spoke perfect Welsh’

31 October 2014 (The Guardian)

Actor Matthew Rhys explains the benefits of speaking a minority language and why its survival is so important to him.

Read more...

Language issues in migration and integration: perspectives from teachers and learners

22 July 2014 (British Council)

This new book from ESOL Nexus is about the role of language in the integration of migrants. The writers of the chapters are all engaged in the education of migrants as teachers, researchers or policymakers in a wide variety of contexts and they provide us with a rich and thought-provoking array of perspectives from teachers and learners on language issues in migration and integration. Through them we hear directly from learners, migrants who have arrived in a new country and are now striving to master the host language. We learn much from them about the place of language and language learning in their new lives.

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Can we do more to value the languages of immigrants? – open thread

3 June 2014 (The Guardian)

Did you teach your children your native language or do you have encouraging language-related experiences you would like to share?

Read more...

How do health services care for those who can't speak English?

28 May 2014 (The Guardian)

A handful of organisations ensure that for refugees, asylum seekers and communities where English is not widely spoken, language is not a barrier to getting help.

Read more...

“Mother Tongue Other Tongue” Poet Laureate Education Project Coming Soon to Glasgow!

2 May 2014 (SCILT)

From August 2014, SCILT will be piloting the inspiring multi-lingual poetry competition and Poet Laureate Education Project, Mother Tongue Other Tongue, in Glasgow schools. If you are a teacher in a Glasgow primary or secondary school who is looking for a creative way to motivate language learning and celebrate all the languages spoken by your learners, go to our webpage to read more about what MTOT can offer you.

Read more...

Anne Donovan: 'The wonders of Scots Thesaurus brought me closer to my characters'

2 May 2014 (The Independent)

Feilamort: the colour of a dead leaf. Browsing through the Scots Thesaurus, I came across this beautiful word. I use the Scots Thesaurus occasionally as a reference, but mainly for the pure pleasure of the sounds of the words, just as many listen to the Shipping Forecast for its poetry.

Read more...

Languages roundup: online challenge, dialect differences and mother tongues

21 February 2014 (Guardian - The case for languages learning series)

Follow the Guardian's online challenge, distinguish between a dialect and a language, and celebrate mother language day.

Read more...

How can minority languages survive in the digital age?

17 February 2013 (Guardian)

As technology permeates culture and society becomes ever more reliant on it, minority languages struggle to find their place in the digital world.

Read more...

International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2014

11 February 2014 (UNESCO)

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year the theme of the International Mother Language day is “Local languages for global education: Spotlight on science”.  UNESCO highlights the importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education and encourages its member states to promote instruction and education in the mother tongue.

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Talking the talk in a global economy

20 January 2014 (The Telegraph)

A recent report warned that we are risking the economic health of the country by not teaching second languages effectively enough; we need to tap into the linguistic richness of today’s pupils, says Fiona Barry.

Read more...

CISS Newsletter Autumn 2013

12 December 2013 (CISS)

The latest edition of the CISS newsletter has been published. This edition highlights the promotion of Chinese language and culture around the country. Please download the newsletter if you'd like to find out more.

Related Files

Threat to primary language GCSEs scheme

10 December 2013 (The Guardian)

It's a familiar scene: a GCSE language class, and today the students are learning vocabulary related to family life. They are poring over a cheerfully illustrated worksheet. But what's unusual is the language being taught, which is Turkish, and the ages of the class members. Rather than teenagers, these students are 10 and 11 years old – with some adults alongside.

This after-school class, being taught at Randal Cremer primary school in Hackney, east London, is part of the GCSE Family Language project, which allows primary children whose first language is not English to study for a GCSE in their mother tongue, alongside a parent or other adult family member.

Read more...

Matthew Fitt blog – So what is Scots?

31 October 2013 (Engage for Education)

I was on the radio last week talking about a new book in Scots. “So what is Scots?” the presenter asked. I was surprised he didn’t know. After all, Scottish language, Scottish presenter, Scottish radio station. Huge numbers of their listeners speak in Scots every day. Don’t broadcasters get training on these sorts of things? At the very least, a memo? Still, that’s the way it goes and we haven’t answered the presenter’s pertinent question. So what is Scots anyway?

Read more...

Don't neglect the UK's indigenous languages

29 October 2013 (The Guardian)

Yes, we should learn French and German – but we shouldn't ignore our indigenous languages.

Would you be surprised if I told you that, far from being a land of monoglots, there are ten indigenous languages spoken today in the British Isles? Yet we are very quick to tell ourselves that we're rubbish at languages. We are linguistically isolated monoglots, marooned on a cluster of islands on the edge of the Atlantic. If we were in the mix of mainland Europe, we tell ourselves, we'd be blethering away in at least two languages.

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Poetry and fitba in Vienna

23 October 2013 (Engage for Education)

I’m a fringe player for the Scotland Writers Football Club. (Too many chip suppers and gammie legs to be a regular.) Earlier this month I played in a match in Viennaagainst the Österreichisches Autorenfußballteam. There for 90 minutes, playwrights jouked, novelists heidered, poets sclaffed, the thistle that is Tartan Noir kicked lumps out of the flower of Austrian Lit. In the evening we were friends again, convening in the splendid Buchkontor bookshop for a reading. I didn’t have the slightest clue that there in Vienna I was going to hear a reading by one of the most amazing Scots poet I’ve heard in years…. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be exploring the potential for learning and creativity the Scots language can offer pupils and practitioners in Scotland’s schools.

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It's the Patter but can you speak it

3 October 2013 (Evening Times)

We may all love to banter, but only one in four Glaswegians has the Patter.
That, at least, is the conclusion of the first full-scale survey of how many of us speak "wir ain leid".
More than 142,000 people in the city said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census - around 25% of the entire population old enough to talk.  Glasgow being the biggest city in Scotland, it also has the biggest concentration of Scots-speakers.

Read more...

Thousands download Manx language app

1 October 2013 (BBC News)

Thousands of people have downloaded a new app for smart phones and tablets, designed to boost the Manx language.  The free application, which includes 10 chapters of learning activities, has been accessed by more than 4,000 users since its launch last year.

Read more...

2013 National Poetry Day

30 September 2013 (Scots Language Centre)

National Poetry Day 2013 is on Thursday 3 October, and this year's theme is water. Among the poems being promoted is the Scots language poem by George Campbell Hay 'Seeker, Reaper'. Suitable for study by secondary pupils, the following resources have been provided by the Scottish Poetry Library.

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Let’s hear it for Scots

30 September 2013 (Southern Reporter)

It is good to see figures being produced for the first time from the 2011 census on the number of those speaking Scots.

Now that we know that 1.54million people speak the language and where they are located, we can begin to plan how to support communities of Scots speakers and encourage these communities to value their language and pass it on to future generations.

Read more...

Related Links

Action to preserve Scots tongue (The Herald, 28 September 2013)

First step taken for brand new Menter Iaith Bangor language initiative

30 September 2013 (Plaid Cymru)

Over 60 people took the first step in establishing a brand new Menter Iaith Bangor language at a recent event at Bangor Football ground. There was huge support from those present to establishing a language initiative for the city of Bangor to promote and increase awareness and the use of the Welsh language at a community level.

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Lost in Translation: Saving Europe's Endangered Languages

9 September 2013 (Huffington Post)

My a'th kar! Unless you speak Cornish, these words are unlikely to make your heart skip a beat. There is no shortage of minority languages in the UK. In addition to Cornish, you can hear Welsh, Scots, Manx, Alderney French, Guernsey French, Jersey French as well as Scottish Gaelic.
However, their future is far from certain. Throughout Europe dozens of languages are on life support, with some 120 believed to be dying out. Worldwide every few weeks a language dies. So what can be done?

Read more...

Number of Polish weekend schools doubles

27 August 2013 (Irish Times)

The number of Polish weekend schools in Ireland has doubled in the past three years, according to figures provided by the Polish embassy.

Every Sunday some 70 students travel through the boreens of Donegal to one such classroom.
There, the children of all ages learn of a culture and language that will help them read their grandmother’s letters, listen to her stories about the Nazi razing of Warsaw, learn about her love of Chopin or understand her admiration for pope John Paul II.

Read more...

Languages - Ad hoc Latin club has 'cult' appeal

23 August 2013 (TES)

Students at an East Dunbartonshire secondary are scoring top grades in Latin - even though the school has no qualified teacher in the subject and no timetabled classes.

Bearsden Academy depute headteacher Annette MacKay said that Latin has become a "cult" favourite among high-achieving students since an after-school club was set up in 2011-12.

Read more...

Beast in the classroom, but nobody's panicking

14 June 2013 (TESS)

That's because this is a story about a wolfboy from Mars who is making children feel at home in Scotland, says Emma Seith.

Edinburgh's most multicultural school has found a unique way to welcome new students - a story book, in six different languages, written and illustrated by P6 children at the primary.

Read more...

Related Links

Dalry Primary publish book on school’s diversity (The Scotsman, 14 June 2013)

Latin makes comeback in schools

11 June 2013 (The Herald)

Latin has been re-introduced in six primary schools in Fife and could be rolled out across Scotland in a bid to bring the language of Ancient Rome back to Scottish classrooms. The subject dropped from favour during the 1980s and now few state schools, and not even every independent school, offer it.

Read more...

English and Linguistic Imperialism – Time to move on?

22 April 2013 (Language Rich Europe blog)

'Linguistic imperialism: still alive and kicking?’ was the topic of a British Council Signature Event at the recent IATEFL Conference and Exhibition in Liverpool. Robert Phillipson, the author of the 1992 book Linguistic Imperialism, stated in his opening comments that ‘English opens doors for some but closes it for many.’ The concern that local languages are often neglected in preference for English was one shared by many attending the session, although Sarah Ogbay (University of Asmara, Eritrea) counteracted that ‘what we usually see is that people want to learn English because it opens the door’ to opportunities rather than it being forced upon them.

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Put Arabic on curriculum, says charity

21 April 2013 (The Herald)

Moves are under way to get Arabic taught to schoolchildren in Scotland.

Muslim charity Dar Al-Falaah Community Education Association has begun lobbying MSPs for the inclusion of the language in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

The charity says there is a high demand for the subject, which the group already teaches to more than 100 four to 16-year-olds at weekend classes in Glasgow.

Read more...

Related Links

Arabic should be taught to Scots children, campaigners say (Deadline news, 21 April 2013)

Parochialism warning over demise of language studies

16 April 2013 (The Herald)

The demise of modern languages at Scottish universities and schools has been blamed on greater parochialism since devolution. The assertion is made in a major new report on the health of minority European languages such as Russian, Polish and Czech.

The report, by the UK-wide Higher Education Academy (HEA), follows the closure of a number of language courses at Scottish universities in recent years. The number of pupils taking Highers in some modern languages has also fallen.

Read more...

'Hello, hello, hello, or should I say jak sie masz?' Police in London learn 18 languages to communicate better with capital's ethnic minorities

30 March 2013 (Daily Mail)

(Relates to England) PC Plod is about to get even more PC. Met Police officers in London are being trained to take on crime in the multi-cultural melting pot that is the nation's capital. The Met's 31,000 officers will be offered the chance to learn 18 languages, ranging from French to Farsi, so they can speak in the mother tongue of the capital's burgeoning ethnic communities.

Read more...

eTwinning Plus launches on Monday 4th March 2013!

1 March 2013 (eTwinning)

Ever wondered what is life like in Lviv? Or what’s on the curriculum in Chisinau? What kind of technology is most popular in Tbilisi?  From the 4th of March 2013, you’ll be able to find the answers to these questions, and many more, with the official launch of eTwinning Plus. eTwinning Plus is a pilot that will see a select number of schools and teachers from Ukraine, Tunisia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan join the thousands of eTwinning teachers who are already collaborating online.

Read more...

The school where they speak 20 languages: a day at Gladstone Primary

28th February 2013 (The Guardian)

Not one pupil at the Peterborough school speaks English as a first language. But, despite the challenges, it has just received a glowing Ofsted report.

Read more...

An author's guide to speaking, swearing and sounding poetic in Polish

13 February 2013 (The Guardian)

With Polish now the second most popular language heard in many northern towns and cities, James Hopkin offers some simple (and practical) tips to get you started.

Read more...

Hamas puts Hebrew on the curriculum for the first time in 20 years

13 February 2013 (The Guardian)

Palestinian pupils keen to learn 'language of the enemy' in pilot scheme to helps Gazans understand what Israel is thinking.

Read more...

Related Links

Palestinian children in Gaza start to learn Hebrew (BBC News, 21 February 2013) - video report

Hebrew taught in Gaza schools, but barriers remain (BBC News, 21 February 2013)

Manx: Bringing a language back from the dead

31 January 2013 (BBC News)

Condemned as a dead language, Manx - the native language of the Isle of Man - is staging an extraordinary renaissance, writes Rob Crossan.

Read more...

Tongue-tied? Perspectives on English as the international language of science

30 January 2013 (The Guardian)

There is no argument that English has taken a firm hold as the language of modern science. How far should non-English speaking countries go to maintain their own languages?

Read more...

Tourism chiefs urged to celebrate Burns 'Nicht' by language group

23 January 2013 (The Herald)

The nation's tourism agency has defended its stance on the use of the Scots language amid claims it uses English forms too often to promote events such as Burns Night. The Scots Language Centre says in the past 15 years the use of the term Burns Nicht has been replaced by Burns Night and some Scots are losing the ability to pronounce certain parts of the language.

Read more...

Mind your (minority) language: Welsh, Gaelic, Irish and Cornish are staging a comeback

19 January 2013 (The Independent)

Thanks to impassioned campaigners, Welsh is in fine fettle, and other minority languages are also on the up, as Holly Williams discovers.

Read more...

Related Links

Fighting to save the Welsh language (The Guardian, 21 January 2013)

New York, a graveyard for languages

16 December 2012 (BBC News)

Home to around 800 different languages, New York is a delight for linguists, but also provides a rich hunting ground for those trying to document languages threatened with extinction.

Read more...

Related Links

Our language in your hands (BBC Radio 4, first broadcast 17 December 2012)

How to email a Cherokee

28 November 2012 (The Guardian)

It's easy now that Gmail has added Cherokee to the list of 57 languages it allows its users to write in. 

Read more...

New Welsh language standards for public bodies revealed

28 November 2012 (Wales Online)

Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws has published a set of proposed new standards that will force public bodies to increase significantly their commitment to providing services in Welsh.

Read more...

Welsh parents speak out over bilingual 'enforcement'

23 November 2012 (TES)

Welsh-language primary and secondary schools must immerse pupils in the language and limit the amount of English they are allowed to speak if Wales is to become a bilingual nation, according to campaigners.

Read more...

The Catalan language is still in danger, despite its resurgence

23 November 2012 (The Guardian)

Other languages have a state to defend them and their speakers don't have to contend with a state that acts against their tongue.

Read more...

More primary schools to offer Latin and ancient Greek

17 November 2012 (The Telegraph)

Applies to England
Latin and ancient Greek are to make a comeback in state schools under Government plans to introduce compulsory language lessons for seven-year-olds. The list also features Mandarin – because of the growing importance of China as an economic power – plus French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Read more...

Regional and Minority Languages: An inevitable decline?

13 November 2012 (Language Rich Europe blog)

Martin Dowle, Director British Council Ukraine, presented the language situation in Wales at last week's Language Rich Europe launch in Kyiv. In this blog post, he summarises the approaches Wales is taking in order to promote Welsh and prevent its decline.
Is it inevitable that minority languages will always suffer decline? The case of Welsh shows this does not need to be the case. Since its low point in 1991, when just 18% of the Welsh population spoke Welsh, it has started to make a modest recovery. Today, 37% of 3 to 14 year-olds are able to speak Welsh, compared to just 15% in 1971, fuelling recovery from the cradle upwards.

Read more...

Gaelic language use by families studied by university

9 November 2012 (BBC News)

Generations of families that speak Gaelic use the language in different ways, University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) research suggests.

Read more...

We must save Gaelic before it's too late

5 November 2012 (The Herald blog)

Did you get the cruel irony that the surname of the Barcelona player, Jordi Alba, whose last gasp goal in the Nou Camp broke Celtic hearts, means “Scotland” in Gaelic? If not, that means you know even less Gaelic than me!

Read more...

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