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Babies start learning language in the womb: study - India.com, 18 July 2017

Language learning begins in the womb, say scientists who have found that babies can distinguish between someone speaking to them in English and Japanese a month before they are born.

Previous studies have demonstrated this by measuring changes in babies’ behaviour – for example, by measuring whether babies change the rate of sucking on a pacifier when the speech changes from one language to a different language with different rhythmic properties.

“This early discrimination led us to wonder when children’s sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language emerges, including whether it may in fact emerge before birth,” said Utako Minai, associate professor at University of Kansas in the US.

“Foetuses can hear things, including speech, in the womb.

It’s muffled but the rhythm of the language should be preserved and available for the foetus to hear, even though the speech is muffled,” he said.

Two dozen women, averaging roughly eight months pregnant, were examined using magnetocardiogram (MCG).

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Bilingual babies: Study shows how exposure to a foreign language ignites infants’ learning - Deborah Bach, University of Washington, 17 July 2017

For years, scientists and parents alike have touted the benefits of introducing babies to two languages: Bilingual experience has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, especially problem-solving.

And for infants raised in households where two languages are spoken, that bilingual learning happens almost effortlessly. But how can babies in monolingual households develop such skills?

“As researchers studying early language development, we often hear from parents who are eager to provide their child with an opportunity to learn another language, but can’t afford a nanny from a foreign country and don’t speak a foreign language themselves,” said Naja Ferjan Ramirez, a research scientist at the University of Washington Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS).

A new study by I-LABS researchers, published July 17 in Mind, Brain, and Education, is among the first to investigate how babies can learn a second language outside of the home. The researchers sought to answer a fundamental question: Can babies be taught a second language if they don’t get foreign language exposure at home, and if so, what kind of foreign language exposure, and how much, is needed to spark that learning?

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A day in the life of... - Vivienne Traynor, TES Australia, 14 July 2017

Young, gifted and with English as an additional language, the school’s talented and diverse intake offers this teacher a chance to develop – if she avoids the snakes

I’m a primary school teacher at St Ives North Public School in Sydney, Australia. I have been teaching for 10 years – a pretty long time, considering that between 30 and 50 per cent of Australian teachers leave the profession within their first five years of employment.

St Ives is a suburb on Sydney’s upper north shore. My school is government funded and educates about 900 pupils from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over 60 per cent speak a language other than English at home. We have two full-time teachers of English as an additional language or dialect, who work with children who arrive with little English.

Our school also has a unique unit called the Ku-ring-gai unit, which provides full-time educational enrichment for gifted students in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. The unit is run very differently to opportunity classes offered at other public schools. It aims to meet the socioemotional needs of gifted students over a four-year programme. The focus is on teaching students to see learning as a lifelong endeavour, and emphasises creative thinking and collaboration. Working alongside staff who have specialised in gifted education has been a wonderful opportunity for me, and has helped me to effectively differentiate for my higher-ability pupils who aren’t in the unit.

Rarely is there a typical day for me at school. I get to work at about 8am and I’m on the go until the school bell rings at 3pm. In the morning, I like to organise my lessons or catch up on marking if I don’t have a meeting to attend. We have a staff meeting every Tuesday morning and I conduct the senior choir on a Wednesday.

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New English strategy needs 1,020 teachers - Mexico News Daily, 11 July 2017

High school graduates expected to be proficient in English 20 years from now

The federal government has job openings for 1,020 “highly proficient” English teachers to staff Mexico’s teacher training colleges.

The federal Education Secretariat (SEP) is to announce today an 800-million-peso (US $44.5 million) National English Strategy that intends to produce high school graduates who are proficient in English in 20 years’ time.

The first step will be to recruit 1,020 English teachers and train 127 who are already in place at teacher training schools, known as normal schools.

An important element, not surprisingly, is that “all teachers must speak English,” something that is not currently the case as studies have found that many teachers assigned to give English classes have limited command of the language.

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Switching to English detrimental for Netherlands education quality - Janene Pieters , NL Times, 10 July 2017

Colleges and universities in the Netherlands are too quick to switch to giving lectures and courses in English, according to researchers from the Dutch academy of sciences KNAW. They put the quality of education under pressure by not paying enough attention to whether lecturers and students have a proper grasp of English before switching, the researchers conclude, AD reports.

According to the researchers, lecturers do have to pass a language test to check their English ability, but passing the test does not necessarily mean they can teach in English. And students who don't have a good handle on the language are less likely to ask questions if they don't understand. This means that discussions in the lecture halls are more difficult than if the class were given in Dutch, the researchers say, according to AD.

Universities and colleges must put more consideration into how and whether they should switch to English, paying attention to what they want to achieve with the switch. "The choice of the education language must be deliberately made and not automated", they conclude. And the quality of the course must be a deciding factor.

According to the researchers, the number of English courses at Dutch universities and colleges is growing. Of the 158 thousand students in the 2015/16 academic year, 20 percent followed English courses, 64 percent Dutch and 16 percent a mixture of the two. The number of English courses available differs widely per university. For example, 60 percent of the University of Twente's courses are in English, while Radboud University still has 94 percent Dutch courses.

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Accent reduction training would help international students get jobs - Gael Adrien Mbama, Daily Bruin (Los Angeles), 4 July 2017

The foreign accents that charm many Americans can also be a major barrier to getting hired after graduation.

It is no secret that having a heavy accent can make it hard for candidates to find jobs in the U.S. – a point many research studies have shown. Having a thick accent can make it seem like one has not fully mastered a language, resulting in some employers being reluctant to offer employment.

The 3,659 undergraduate international students who attend UCLA may be susceptible to this type of accent-based hiring discrimination if they decide to remain in the U.S. to work.

In order for international students with heavy accents to improve their employment chances in the U.S., the UCLA Career Center or Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars should provide accent reduction training free of charge for international students. Doing so could greatly help these students prepare for the American job market.

As it stands, UCLA Extension is the only UCLA-affiliated entity that offers accent reduction classes. However, these classes can be quite expensive, which can dissuade many international students from enrolling in them, given that they already pay high out-of-state tuition fees.

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Happy 20th, Harry Potter, and thanks for teaching me English - Patricia Puentes, CNET.com, 25 June 2017

Two decades after J.K. Rowling published the Harry Potter book that started it all, CNET's Patricia Puentes muses on the magic the franchise has brought to her life.

I was already an adult (legally, at least), when the first Harry Potter novel came out on June 26, 1997. Even though I haven't technically grown up with the books, the franchise starring the wizard with round glasses has a special place in my heart. I've devoured all the novels and seen all the movies, resulting in a number of strong opinions: I'm not a big fan of Chris Columbus' versions, not necessarily happy with Alfonso Cuarón's and very much devoted to David Yates' vision.

"The Philosopher's Stone" was the first unabridged book I read in English (Spanish and Catalan being my native tongues and English "just" a second language). I still have that book. It's full of annotated translations of what then seemed very complicated words. You know, your typical broomstick, wand, owl, sorting hat, cauldron and cloak. pottermore1.jpg

My reading also allowed me to discover that author J.K. Rowling has a talent for neologisms and uses terms I wouldn't find in the dictionary: mudblood (a magician without wizard lineage whose parents are humans); patronus (a figure generated by a wizard while he or she wants to fight the negative forces of the dementors); and dementors (creatures that feed on humans' positive feelings and guard the prison of Azkaban).

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New Zealand allocates funds to support students with English as second language - XinhuaNet, 23 June 2017

Students learning English as a second language will benefit from a further 9.4 million NZ dollars (6.85 million U.S. dollars) being made available under Budget 2017 to support schools over the next two years, New Zealand Education Minister Nikki Kaye said on Friday.

"New Zealand has an increasingly diverse student population," Kaye said in a release, adding that more schools requested specialized support to help students having English as a second language.

The number of students receiving support from the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program has increased from 32,000 students in 2012 to 39,000 in 2016, according to the release.

Specialist ESOL programs, supported by ESOL teachers, help students from migrant and refugee backgrounds to learn English they need to be successful in mainstream education. The programs also provide mainstream teachers with training and guidance on how to support students who are learning English.

In addition to ESOL funding for supporting students, additional funding has been used to support staff with training for teaching English as a second language, and there are several bilingual tutors working at schools, Kaye said, adding that the type of support that the ESOL funding makes possible has a significant impact on thousands of children in schools right across New Zealand.

"For them to be truly successful in their education they need more than a basic grasp of the English language. Just attending class won't give them the level of English they need, which is why ESOL funding is so important," she said.

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Ontario Helping Immigrants and Refugees Settle and Succeed - Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Canada, 14 June 2017

Ontario is helping immigrants and refugees succeed with four programs to help newcomers find jobs, learn English or French and settle into their new communities.

The province is inviting community organizations, municipalities and the broader public sector to submit proposals for four programs that enhance services to immigrants and refugees:

The Municipal Immigration Information Online Program and Municipal Innovation Fund supports municipalities in building online resources to help immigrants make decisions about where to settle and find information to help them prepare for their arrival. The fund also supports unique municipal projects to attract newcomers to a community or provide settlement supports, such as finding employment or health care information.

The Ontario Bridge Training Program helps skilled immigrants find jobs in Ontario that match their skills and experience, by helping them get their license or certificate in their profession or trade.

The Newcomer Settlement Program helps immigrants and refugees to settle, learn about life in Ontario and develop social connections.

The Adult Non-Credit Language Training Program helps eligible adult immigrants and refugees learn the English or French skills that they need to live and work in Ontario. As part of this program, language training projects are available to complement and improve language assessment and training services currently delivered across Ontario.

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Which language is most powerful for business? - Galway Independent (Ireland), 14 June 2017

Last month the European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, in his State of the Union conference in Italy, said that English as a language was losing its importance in Europe. This made me stop and think about whether I should reopen my French books or consider studying German. After all, Germany is the European economic powerhouse. Fortunately, the World Economic Forum have published a study which examines the world’s most powerful languages.

Did you know that there are approximately 6,000 languages in the world? Some 2,000 are spoken by fewer than 1,000 people and 15 languages are spoken by half of the world’s population.

The WEF report highlights that there are five opportunities provided by languages:

1. Geography: The ability to travel

2. Economy: The ability to participate in an economy

3. Communication: The ability to engage in dialogue

4. Knowledge and media: The ability to consume knowledge and media

5. Diplomacy: The ability to engage in international relations.

From a business perspective, language is an essential component of competiveness and the WEF report stresses that a multilingual person has more business opportunities than somebody who only speaks one language. So which languages are the most powerful?

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Language in a lab - Ravnil Narayan, The Fiji Times, 9 June 2017

FOR any professional, good communication skills are an indispensable asset for success. If one ought to reach out to others, he or she has to speak their language. The English language, in particular, has become essential in the lives of young Fijian students who aspire to advance their careers where English language is considered as a supreme mode of communication. So much so, no matter how competent our students are, they tend to show laxity in exhibiting the best of their competency.

Language learning is not the same as learning any other subject. It is not confined only to the writing of an examination and getting a degree. In fact, it is more than that.

The four macro skills of English language need to be thoroughly mastered before defining and redefining any learner's competency level. Being able to communicate to the highest admirable level is the most imperative factor when seeking a placement in any workforce. Communication involves one's ability to listen fervently so as to grasp the meaning and responding in return with apt words and clarity of enunciation. For this reason, the need for language laboratory is highly advantageous to make our students do justice to all the four macro skills of English.

As such, this article tries to shed some light on the dire need to invest on language labs in Fijian ESL (Englsih as a second language) classrooms. It's high time to look into modern and western ways of improving the deteriorating status of the English language in Fiji.

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The peculiar way Kenyans use English - Henry Gekonde, Daily Nation (Kenya), 8 June 2017

If you look more closely at our writing (and our speech patterns), you would see that there are in fact striking peculiarities about our language.

If “Black Kenyan English” is recognised by language experts as the lingo of a specific group of people in a particular area of the world — a dialect with its own (unwritten) grammar rules — do purists, including newspaper editors, have a right to impose on its speakers the rules of Standard English?

People who edit newspapers, in contrast, tend to be obsessive about how language is used, because they believe that clear and correct expression is at the core of how they earn their credibility.

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Should All World Leaders Speak in English? - Ayat Ahadi, goodherald.com, 6 June 2017

Language allows people to communicate, learn, and grow which is the fundamental underpinning of society’s progress. In recent years, more people have begun discussing the question of whether all world leaders should speak English. Whether they should speak English or not depends on if there is a need for a common language, and if English is becoming one of the most commonly spoken languages throughout the world.

Many experts believe that there should be one common language that can be used as a method of conversing with people from all countries. It can reduce misunderstandings and help build bridges between cultures. English is the leading worldwide language in such areas as entertainment, science, business, and diplomacy. Approximately 85% of all information in the world is available in English. As well, English is studied as a second language more than any other language of the world. In most careers, speaking English can help one get a promotion, open the door for more opportunities, and earn more money. Governments around the world are providing funding for their citizens to learn English. The reason is not because English is a superior language, but because the language has spread across the globe. For instance, there are more people in China who speak English than in the U.S.A.

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The Far-Reaching Influence of the English Language - Ayat Ahadi, goodherald.com, 6 June 2017

As globalization takes hold of our collective society, the English language is quickly becoming the universal language for many reasons. For one, business across borders as well as over the internet, whether it is conducted by small companies or multi-national corporations is largely conducted in English. Global politics and diplomacy are largely conducted in English as well. In fact, English is the world’s second largest native language, the official language in 70 countries, and English-speaking nations are responsible for about 40 percent of the world’s total Gross National Product. Part of this can be attributed to the USA’s status as a major world power in economic, political and military aspects and by the huge influence of American movies.

The internet was developed chiefly in America, and whether that is an influential factor or not, the majority of Web sites and Web pages are in English. People from all over the world access these English-language sites on a daily basis. This indicates that there are a many people all over the world who can at least read minimal amounts of English – enough to browse the Web.

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Should All World Leaders Speak in English? - Ayat Ahadi, goodherald.com, 6 June 2017

Language allows people to communicate, learn, and grow which is the fundamental underpinning of society’s progress. In recent years, more people have begun discussing the question of whether all world leaders should speak English. Whether they should speak English or not depends on if there is a need for a common language, and if English is becoming one of the most commonly spoken languages throughout the world.

Many experts believe that there should be one common language that can be used as a method of conversing with people from all countries. It can reduce misunderstandings and help build bridges between cultures. English is the leading worldwide language in such areas as entertainment, science, business, and diplomacy. Approximately 85% of all information in the world is available in English. As well, English is studied as a second language more than any other language of the world. In most careers, speaking English can help one get a promotion, open the door for more opportunities, and earn more money. Governments around the world are providing funding for their citizens to learn English. The reason is not because English is a superior language, but because the language has spread across the globe. For instance, there are more people in China who speak English than in the U.S.A.

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Migrants need more help with English - Kim Bielenberg, The Independent (Ireland), 25 May 2017

English language support for newcomers was slashed during the recession. As numbers continue to grow, teachers feel it is time for a rethink.

Primary teachers and principals are concerned that there is not enough English language support being given to immigrant children in schools.

Primary teachers and principals are concerned that there is not enough English language support being given to immigrant children in schools.

Teaching English to migrant families, who are not fluent, is seen as a crucial part of integration.

The Government's own Migration Integration Strategy says migrants have a need for well-developed English language skills in order to integrate well and participate fully in the life of the state.

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Hong Kong teachers play a critical role in boosting English-speaking skills - Jason Tang, South Chine Morning Post, 23 May 2017

Being a frontline ESL (English as a second language) teacher in Hong Kong, I have reservations about the feasibility of families providing quality three-hour English input for their kids daily.

No one can dispute the fact that many parents may not possess English proficiency that is high enough to converse meaningfully with their children about a range of topics. Also, family time should be a period during which children can build rapport and share their ups and downs with family members. Would they feel comfortable verbalising their thoughts and emotions in a language they have yet to gain full mastery of?

Family interaction aside, there exists a fundamental difference between first-language acquisition and second-language acquisition.

Unlike children in English-speaking countries, Hong Kong’s youngsters do not have a language-rich environment to be constantly exposed to English.

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On the demise of the English language, here and there - Neville Sarony, Asia Times, 17 May 2017

Just how valid was European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s statement that “slowly but surely, English is losing its importance in Europe”? There are 24 official languages in the European Union because each member state’s language has to be accorded parity. Making every allowance for the multilingual skills of many Europeans – a talent markedly absent among the British – does this mean that they all require instantaneous translators so that they can communicate with one another?

Or, according to their individual skills, do they tend to converse in the lingua franca, English?

Much though the French would love to arrange it, there is no prospect of French becoming the primary medium of communication, any more than German. According such unacceptable preference to either or even both of these languages would only consolidate their pre-eminence among their fellow members.

In all probability, Spanish is the next most commonly spoken language in the world simply because of all those South American countries – excluding Brazil and a couple of smaller states – but there is no way that the industrious Northern Europeans would play second fiddle to a member of the mañana countries of the Mediterranean.

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Brexit: English is losing its importance in Europe, says Juncker - The Guardian (UK), 5 May 2017

European commission chief’s remark follows Theresa May’s broadside against EU ‘meddling’ in UK elections

The English language is losing importance in Europe, the president of the European commission has said amid simmering tensions over the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking to an audience of European diplomats and experts in Florence, Jean-Claude Juncker also described the UK’s decision to leave the EU as a tragedy.

“Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” Juncker said, to applause from his audience. “The French will have elections on Sunday and I would like them to understand what I am saying.” After these opening remarks in English, he switched to French for the rest of the speech.

Making a stout defence of the EU, Juncker said the UK had voted to leave the project despite historic successes and a recent uptick in economic growth. “Our British friends decided to leave the EU, which is a tragedy,” he said.

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Legislators discuss making English Taiwan's second official language - Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, 2 May 2017

Lawmakers held a hearing last week titled 'The Promotion of English as the Second Official Language'

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Democratic Progressive Party legislators Liu Shih-fang, Chiu Chih-wei, Hsu Chih-chieh held a public hearing on Friday on making English Taiwan's second official language.

On April 28, the legislators convened a hearing titled "The Promotion of English as the Second Official Language," in the Legislative Yuan, which called for funding from the Cabinet's "Forward-looking infrastructure Development Plan" to achieve the goal.

Liu pointed out that having strong English language skills are important for national competitiveness, and currently Taiwanese people's English language ability is ranked only 33rd in the world. Excluding New Zealand and Australia, of the "New Southbound Policy" nations, Taiwan ranks 9th, meaning that after 40 years of trying to teach English in Taiwan, there is still a long way to go, said Liu.

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In response to ‘When L1 interferes with English learning’ - Lottie Baker, Multi-Briefs.com, 28 April 2017

In his April 19 column, "When L1 interferes with English learning," Douglas Magrath takes up the topic of first language (L1) transfer, demonstrating learners' errors that reflect L1 structures and patterns that differ from English.

His implication for TESOL professionals is rooted in the contrastive analysis hypothesis (CAH). Popular in the mid-20th century, the CAH posits that L1 interference is a major barrier to language acquisition and analyzing learners' L1 in comparison to the target language can lead to systematic error prediction.

Magrath rightly draws our attention to the importance of L1 in developing new languages, but does so from a deficit perspective. What Magrath neglects to highlight is the wealth of benefits that learners' L1 bring to second-language acquisition.

In the following brief, we outline foundational and current research and theory that build the case for reconceptualizing the L1 from a source of interference to a valuable resource that learners can harness.

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English phobia - Tanzila Nazneen, The Financial Express, Dhaka (Bangladesh), 27 April 2017

Now-a-days students generally feel shy to speak in English even in front of their family members and friends. They feel that if they make any mistake, people will laugh at them. It is true to some extent. Some people laugh at others' mistakes when they speak English rather than correcting and encouraging them. It is universally true that we learn from our mistakes. English is the second language for many other education systems in our country. Now courses of higher studies in universities are in English. Students who are studying in Bangla medium at SSC and HSC levels, find it difficult to study all subjects in English when they go for higher education in local universities and more so when they go abroad. They also cannot speak English fluently as much as an English medium student does. It is a big problem for those who come from villages. But why do the students face such a problem? And what is the solution?

The fact is we do not practice English either in writing or verbally in our schools and colleges. Students are only given routine exercises and in this way are inadequately prepared for the future. These exercises may bring us A+ in academic life but they are insufficient for students to face real life situation. As a result, they develop a kind of phobia about writing or speaking English. One important element of this issue is grammatical error. Students need to practice more and more to write and speak English and it will be good for them if they make mistakes because they will be able to learn from their mistakes.

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We Shouldn’t Ridicule Speakers of ‘Broken English - Georgie Evans, 19 April 2017

It’s a reasonably familiar scenario: you’re working at a cafe, or as a receptionist, or you’re having to speak to customers on the phone, and one particular person you come across happens to be speaking English as a second language. They muddle up tenses, their syntax is all over the place, and they use gestures and intonation almost as much as the actual language. Would you say they need to work on their English?

You could do. And probably quite a few people would agree with you. It’s understandable that you may find it awkward or somewhat difficult to interact with someone speaking a very muted version of your mother tongue, and yes, it does normally take a little longer to find a middle ground of communication where you each understand what the other is trying to say. But the idea that they need more practice with the language, that they need to master it more completely, or that they could do with a pronunciation manual are things that we, as first-language speakers of English, find it all too easy to say and less easy to fully understand.

For a start, English is a bastard of a language to master. I’ve been surrounded by it constantly since I was born and I still can’t pronounce ‘chasm’ right without thinking about it first. But for people who are learning it as a second language, even if they’ve been exposed to it since early childhood, they’ll have to adapt their experience with their first to be able to master the second. If they didn’t start learning it until after they were around five or six, it’ll take much more effort and dedication – children that age can’t pick up a language nearly as easily as they learn their mother tongue. And it only gets more difficult the longer you leave it.

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Global Digital English Language Learning Market to Grow at CAGR Of 23.36% - Satprnews (Poland), 17 April 2017

HTF Market Intelligence released a new research report of 73 pages on title ‘Global Digital English Language Learning Market 2017-2021’ with detailed analysis, forecast and strategies. The study covers key region that includes APAC, Americas, Europe and important players such as Pearson ELT, Sanako Corporation, EF Education First and other players. etc.

English is spoken by more than one billion people worldwide and is the second most popular language to learn after Mandarin. ELT programs are gaining momentum because of globalization, urbanization, and the desire for better education and employment opportunities. With the advent of the Internet, information and communications technology (ICT) tools are being used to provide learning content in digital formats. Digital English language learning comprises digital content and products that facilitate the learning of languages through ICT tools. These include mobile apps, activities, e-Books, games, videos, audio clips, digital software, learning lab equipment, and online tutoring. These tools are interactive, allow real-time feedback, and enhance learning processes as they involve different formats.

Research analysts forecast the global digital english language learning market to grow at a CAGR of 23.36% during the period 2017-2021.

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Trump’s Speeches Are Helping People Learn English. Really - Jennifer Billock, WIRED, 29 March 2017

We’ve got something bigly to tell you. It’s a ‘uge thing. The best thing. The most important thing you’ll hear all year. Here it is: Trump’s language—all the middle-school-level vocabulary and grammar of it—is actually serving a greater purpose. It’s helping early English learners grasp this country’s complicated language.

Though his speeches may be hard to translate into foreign languages, listening to Trump and reading his subtitles can actually be a boon for people learning English as a second language, due to his low-level vocabulary, constant word repetition, and discussion of basic concepts. And across Facebook groups sharing posts focusing on language learning and linguistics, early learners are turning to Trump-speak to learn basic vocabulary and concepts.

The trend emerged back in February, when a post in the Polyglots group—a collection of Facebookers who love language and discuss linguistics—shared a piece from Good about Japanese translators struggling to parse Trump’s speech. Commenters chimed in, noting that early language learners could benefit from the listening practice. He “uses low-level vocabulary, and he often repeats himself, and he only talks about simple ideas,” wrote Rob Mallory, an English teacher in South Korea.

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Vietnam ranks second best place in the world to teach English - VnExpress, 28 March 2017

English teachers can earn up to $2,200 a month - equivalent to Vietnam's average annual income, according to a new report.

With job vacancies available all year round offering high salaries, Vietnam has been ranked the second best place in the world to teach English by TEFL Exchange, a community for teachers of English as a foreign language.

The site estimates that a foreign English teacher can earn between $1,200-2,200 a month in Vietnam, where the average annual income in 2016 was just $2,200.

They can find a job any time of year and the best places to do so are the country’s three largest cities: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Candidates only need to hold a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.

English is an obligatory subject from sixth grade across Vietnam, but in large cities, many primary schools demand high competency. Foreign language centers have been thriving here, with students as young as three years old.

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2017 TESOL International Convention to Bring Thousands of English Language Educators to Seattle - Alexandria, VA (PRWEB), 22 March 2017

This week, more than 6,000 educators from across the globe will come to Seattle, Washington, USA, for the 2017 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. The largest of its kind in the world, the annual convention is organized by TESOL International Association, the professional association for nearly 13,000 teachers of English to speakers of other languages.

The opening keynote speaker features author, screenwriter, and poet, Sherman Alexie, who will present his take on language, identity, struggle, perseverance, hope, and respect in “Power and Empowerment: An Urban Indian’s Comic, Poetic, and Highly Irreverent Look at the World.” The other keynote speakers include TESOL President Dudley Reynolds, who will discuss what professional English language teachers have to offer in a world that prizes nontraditional learning, interdisciplinarity, and technology in “PROFESSIONAL English Language Teachers in a 2.0 World;” Guadalupe Valdes, a leader in second language acquisition theory and Spanish-English bilingualism, who will present “Ruminations of an Old English Teacher;” and Yong Zhao, who will lead a morning keynote titled “Perils or Promises: Education in the Age of Smart Machines” that proposes a new education paradigm for the new world.

Attendees will have access to nearly 1,000 educational sessions presented by experts on a broad variety of topics, including language testing and assessment, immigration policy, technology in language learning, bilingual education, and standards. The programs will provide valuable opportunities to build new understandings and networks across various contexts.

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The Sydney schools where most students speak a language other than English - Pallavi Singhal, Thge Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2017

A total of 47 different languages are spoken at Evans High School in Blacktown where more than half the student body speaks a language other than English, in a picture that is increasingly becoming the norm - at least in some parts of Sydney.

More than 33 per cent of students at NSW public schools had a language background other than English in 2016, compared to 27.4 per cent of students a decade ago.

While the overall proportion of students from diverse language backgrounds has grown steadily, these pupils have remained concentrated in Sydney's west, south and south-west, according to new figures released by the Department of Education.

Sydney's western suburbs have the most language diversity, with 65.5 per cent of students across primary and high schools speaking a language other than English.

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BBC World Service goes DAB+ in the Netherlands - Radio Today UK, 13 March 2017

BBC World Service English has announced the launch of a 24/7 DAB+ radio service in the Netherlands.

The new arrangement is an agreement with Broadcast Digital Networks (BDN) and Mobiele TV Nederland (MTVNL).

In a three year contract BBC World Service English will be streamed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on digital radio in the Ranstad area, which covers the four largest cities in the Netherlands: Amsterdam, the Hague, Utrecht and Rotterdam. BBC World Service English is also available in the country via the internet and Hotbird satellites.

Mary Hockaday, Controller of BBC World Service English said: “We’re delighted to provide so many potential new listeners with access to BBC World Service via DAB. The agreement will mean we are the only dedicated English radio station available on DAB+ in the Netherlands. At a time of huge global change I’m delighted to invite listeners to tune in to our mix of international news, global debate, human stories, plus arts, science, history and music programming.”

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Plenty Of Strategies – And Little Funding – To Address Refugee Students’ Needs - Nancy Eve Cohen, New England Public Radio, 8 March 2017

In his revised executive order, President Trump has cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. by more than half. But since the fall of last year, nearly 1800 refugees have already re-settled in New England, and more than a third of them are children and teens.

At Philip G. Coburn Elementary School in West Springfield, Massachusetts, students come from all over the world.

“My Mom and Dad are from Sudan.”

“My Mom and Dad are from Iraq”

“Turkey.”

“Afghanistan.”

“Nepal.”

“I’m from Iraq.”

Most of the English language learners here arrive as refugees. Inside an English language learning classroom, second graders learn English along with math.

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The importance of learning a second language - Sam Tracy, The Maine Campus, 2 March 2017

In many European countries, such as the Netherlands, Sweden and France, learning English as a secondary language is a requirement for young students. There are 25 countries in Europe which boast English learning in secondary schools above 90 percent, with four more quick to follow with rates around 50 percent. The top countries are deeply involved in international relations and the global market, often sending their students to English dominant countries to study by immersion. The English language is regarded as the language of the business world.

In this way, Americans and citizens of the UK are spoilt. Doris Clark at Forbes Magazine says, “English will maintain and grow its dominance, moving from ‘marker of the elite’ in years past to ‘a basic skill needed for the entire workforce.’” Native-English speakers are catered to in the business world. People excuse our monolingualism by claiming we have no bar to meet, or native language is all we need to build our economy and further younger generations.

This ignores all the other benefits related to learning a second language. First and foremost, bilingualism steps you up personally against your competition in the workplace. According to Minnesota State Careerwise Education, “Research by Rosetta Stone found that people who speak at least one foreign language have an average annual household income that’s $10,000 higher than the household income of those who only speak English. And about 17 percent of those who speak at least one foreign language earn more than $100,000 a year.”

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ESL students seek resources to improve skills - Keith Schubert, MATC Times (Milwaukee), 28 February 2017

Aurora Gonzalez is no stranger to moving from place to place. She was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and lived in many cities throughout her native country. However, she had never traveled outside of Mexico when her husband was offered a job in Milwaukee. When Gonzalez learned she and her family were moving to the United States, she was hesitant. “It was new and sort of scary,” she said.

Gonzalez and her family completed the move to Milwaukee on July 4, 2010. Suddenly, she found herself with a new life in a new city. With it came a new and unfamiliar language.

In 2011 she enrolled at MATC to learn English, taking classes through the School of Pre-College Education’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

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English as a life skill - Ratnesh Kumar Jha, The Hans India, 27 February 2017

Twenty-seven languages are spoken in India, with English being the second largest after Hindi. Census data shows that nearly 41% of India’s 1.25 billion population is below the age of 20 years. India is perhaps the only country where English is a foreign language, first language and second language and has one of the largest education systems and service industries in the world

The advent of society can be traced back to the formation of groups of human beings who had common ways of expressing themselves. Whether through commonality of expression, through the sounds they made, or gestures, or in their behaviour while chasing down prey or resolving conflicts, human beings found a way to communicate successfully with one another. That is how a majority of undivided territories with like-minded prehistoric beings were formed back in the day.

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Most Bulgarian school pupils are learning English as a second language, Russian runs second - Balkan News Agency, 24 February 2017

Close to 99 per cent of Bulgarian school pupils are learning a second language, and of these, 87 per cent are studying English, according to figures for the year 2015 released by European Union statistics office Eurostat.

Just more than 83 per cent of school pupils in Bulgaria were learning a single second language, while 16.5 per cent were learning two or more, Eurostat said.

While English was by far the most common choice of second language at schools, Russian came in at a distant second, at just less than 17 per cent.

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Speak in English, students urged - Borneo Post, 23 February 2017

MIRI: Minister of Youth and Sports and Solidarity Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said youth should not shy away from speaking English.

“The late Chief Minister, Tok Nan has made it clear that English is our second language and as a minister in charge of youth, I would like you to start learning English because it is an international language.

“It is time for us to wake up our students and make sure they can speak English; don’t be shy and do not fear making grammatical errors,” he said at the Majlis Sukan Sekolah Rendah (MSSR) Miri opening ceremony at Miri stadium on Tuesday.

He added that English is also the language of science, technology and communications “Bahasa Melayu is also important as it is our mother tongue, but we should never undermine English as it is the world’s language and if one cannot master it, we will miss out on many things that will benefit ourselves and society.

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English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing - Claudio Sanchez, nprEd, 23 February 2017

About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. They're called ELLs, for "English Language Learners."

There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them — in English and all the other subjects and skills they'll need — is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today.

As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they're being taught.

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ESL teachers feel incapable of providing for immigrant, refugee students - Ryan Cooke, CBC News (Newfoundland & Labrador), 20 February 2017

A lack of English as a second language [ESL] teachers in the province is leaving foreign students in the dark as their teachers deal with geographic hurdles and a lack of help.

Each time Cathy Anstey hits the road to travel to a different school, she thinks about the kids she could be helping closer to home.

- Still stressed after all these years: School researcher dismayed by lack of progress

- When teachers talk: Why CBC gathered 30 teachers to take us Inside the Classroom

When she is working with students in the city, she thinks about the kids she's missing in the outer regions.

It's an imperfect system, she said, and one where travel demands leave students without proper help.

"It's very difficult to go home after a day and really feel good about what you've done because we know we're doing so much less than what they need," she said.

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English-language learners may be over-represented in learning disabilities category - Mike Krings, Phys.org, 15 February 2017

For years, minorities have been disproportionately placed in special education classes, and figures available indicate the complexity of this issue for one group. National estimates reveal that English-language learners may be over-represented in the learning disabilities category due to the fact that neither a method for accurate identification nor a consistent definition of learning disabilities across states exists. This underscores the need for better tools and methods for accurate identification of those with special needs.

A new study co-authored by a University of Kansas professor shows the development of accurate and stable assessment tools for the identification of learning disabilities in English-language learner children and documentation of the rate of cognitive, language and reading growth as a function of instructional practice.

Researchers in the study conducted bilingual assessments (English/Spanish) with 450 English-language learners in the southwest United States. They administered a series of bilingual tests with students in first, second and third grades to determine who were at risk of reading disability. The tests were repeated one and two years later, with the findings showing a connection between important executive functions related to working memory, language and reading comprehension.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-02-english-language-learners-over-represented-disabilities-category.html#jCp

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What’s the best way for students to gain English proficiency? - ejinsight (Honk Kong), 10 February 2017

In view of the demands of a knowledge-based society and the labor market, the Hong Kong SAR government has adopted a language policy that seeks to nurture “bi-literate and tri-lingual” citizens.

Immersing students in an English-rich environment is considered one of the key functions of educational institutions.

According to the latest data from the Census and Statistics Department, 89.5 percent of Hong Kong people are Cantonese speakers.

The language is widely adopted in homes, schools, banks, courts, hospitals, mass media, government departments and many other settings.

Though English is also an official language, using Cantonese alone would be sufficient for survival.

From the perspective of the Education Bureau, in order to compensate for the students’ inadequate use of English in daily life, it must be used regularly and widely in schools to maximize their exposure to the language.

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Pupils show little interest in Russian, Chinese or Japanese language - Dtinews, VietnamNet, 3 February 2017

Statistics from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) shows that English is still the most popular foreign language at local schools, while only 1% pupils choose to study other languages.

Only some localities can arrange to organise classes in Russia, German, Japanese, Chinese or Korean in Vietnam. German classes are provided in Hanoi, HCM City and Danang and only 218 pupils in Hanoi and 130 in HCM City study it as a first language.

Russian is being taught for some 1,200 pupils at one secondary school and 12 high schools in 10 cities and provinces.

Chinese attracts some 12,000 pupils from nine cities and provinces, while Japanese is becoming more popular with around 25,000 learners nation-wide.

Many pupils are studying both Chinese and Japanese with one selected as the first language and the other second.

Meanwhile, French still holds a stable place in Vietnam education system with over 42,500 learners from 34 provinces.

And the rest choose English as their first language.

MoET has recently faced with rising opposition from parents and experts when announcing a plan to add Japanese, Chinese and Russian as first languages to elementary schools programs.

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The giant shoulders of English - Johnson, The Economist, 3 February 2017

The advantages of having a scholarly lingua franca should not obscure the disadvantages

“EVERYONE who matters speaks English.” So say many in Britain and America. In fact, a lot of people do not. But in some domains, this crude approximation is true: in globalised enterprises the world’s single scholarly language is increasingly indispensable. Among those global enterprises is science, in which more and more work is being done in English. This is not always good.

A scientific lingua franca has advantages. A few moments imagining scientists toiling away in different countries unaware of each other’s successes and failures is enough to show that. For centuries, Latin allowed the Copernicuses, Keplers and Newtons of Europe to stand, in Newton’s words, “on the shoulders of giants” who had preceded them. With the rise of European vernaculars as “serious” languages, an educated person was expected to read several; German was a leading language of science.

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Carnegie expert will lead English into future - Gulf News Journal Reports, 31 January 2017

Dudley Reynolds talked recently about the English language and its future: It's big and getting bigger.

“There’s no question that the number of people speaking or learning English is increasing exponentially, and that change isn’t going to stop anytime soon,” Reynolds said. “What it means to know English — in other words, what the standards are, what the rules are, what the normal way is to say something — those rules and conventions are changing rapidly. That’s something we have to acknowledge and talk about.”

A professor at Carnegie Mellon University Qatar (CMU-Q), Reynolds has been chosen to lead a group of industry professionals and policymakers at an upcoming summit in Greece to discuss the future of teaching English as a second language. The summit corresponds with the 50th anniversary of the TESOL International Association.

Carnegie Mellon came to grips with the need for quality English education shortly after it opened in 2004. David Kaufer, the head of the Department of English at the time, and Danielle Wetzel, director of the university’s first-year writing program in Pittsburgh, recruited Reynolds in 2007.

“Opening the campus in Qatar forced the issue,” Kaufer said. “It was time for us to come to grips with the fact that while we have a writing program that is perhaps one of the best American writing programs in the country, we now needed to aspire to be one of the best writing programs in the world for global English.”

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How to put sales first when English is your second language - Templar Advisors Ltd, 30 January 2017

Here at Templar, we are communication specialists. We understand the challenges our international clients face and that’s why we employ multi-lingual consultants who understand the specific problems of financial services selling in a second language.

In particular, our most recent hire, Kirsty Reynolds, holds an MA in Modern and Medieval Foreign Languages from Oxford University and also studied at Pavia University in Italy. She is certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and has a particular interest in communicating in English as a foreign language in a professional setting.

Before joining Templar, Kirsty worked in credit sales for six years and has first-hand experience of the value of building trusted client relationships for sales, as well as the challenges associated with communicating in pressured situations on the trading floor.

‘Ready or not, English is now the global language of business,’ declared the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in 2012. It’s no wonder when you consider 1.75 billion people speak English to a useful level – that’s one in four of us.

This means that there are thousands of people around the world conducting sales in English, despite it being their second language. And that requires a skill set all of its own.

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Getting retirees to teach English - K.K.YONG, The Star (Malaysia), 25 January 2017

In his letter “Retired teachers can help teach English” (The Star, Jan 23), Peter Soo brought our attention to a pool of retired English language specialists in our country.

Retirees who have a good command of English and are able to teach the language well are mainly those who had their primary, secondary and tertiary education in the medium of English. Their expertise may not be in the field of Teaching English as a second language (TESL) or Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) but they do have sufficient knowledge and skills to teach the language.

To be frank, even many young graduates trained in foreign universities in English cannot beat these old-timers in English competency.

These retirees grew up using English unlike the younger generation who just received training in the medium of English.

We should not trouble the Education Department to help connect these retired teachers with schools that need their service. The Education Department has more important and urgent things to do. The retirees themselves must take the initiative to reach out to schools that need their part-time service and to get in touch with one another.

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Learning from her Past: Nou Ly, Initial Licensure ’15, MA-ESL ’17 - Hamline University (Minneapolis), 25 January 2017

Nou Ly, Initial Licensure ’15 and Master of Arts in English as a Second Language (MA-ESL) ’17, had a difficult time as a K-12 student—as an English language learner growing up in a non-English speaking household but still under pressure to excel, the homework hotline was her best friend, she said.

Those difficulties are ones that English language learners face every day—something that Ly knows well. Through the struggles of her childhood, she has found a passion for and a career in being an ESL teacher.

Ly started out working as a first grade paraprofessional and licensed substitute teacher at a charter school in Saint Paul. After two years, she knew she wanted to take the next steps to becoming a full-time licensed teacher.

That’s where Hamline’s MAT initial licensure program came in. Ly knew she wanted to specialize in ESL, so Hamline’s program peaked her interest right away. By the time she finished her initial licensure, she knew she wanted to make a greater commitment to the field; she entered Hamline’s MA-ESL program.

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The good, bad and ugly in English - The Star (Malaysia), 23 January 2017

I have taught English as a second language in Malaysian high schools for more than two decades and wish to share my views on the mastery of the language.

The article “It’s getting badder” (The Star, Jan 21) and other glaring mistakes made by our students, graduates and professionals merely reveal the language ability of a section of our people.

It is not quite fair to take these weaker people’s writing as an indication of our low command of the language.

Why don’t we take the work of many Malaysians who are excellent at the language as examples? Many Malaysians are so good at the language that foreign experts say they approximate the ability of “first-language users.’

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The strange, peculiar language we love - Tyler Jones, Golden Isles News, 19 January 2017

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking.

As a writer, I make my living off words. English, like a carpenter’s toolbox, is my instrument of creation. Yet, English — for all its uses — is a strange and confusing language.

After all, why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway? People say that English is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, and I can understand why. I’ve explained to people that English is a lot like that 1958 movie “The Blob.”

If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically about a strange, alien substance that lands in a small American town and oozes its way through the sleepy streets consuming everything in its path. The more it ingests, the bigger it gets. It’s a quirky cult classic, but it has something in common with English.

Our language consumes just about everything it touches, too. Think about it: In English, we use Spanish words like “quesadilla,” and have stolen French phrases like “déjà vu.”

English is a shameless thief. That’s why we have about three times more words than Romance languages such as Italian or Spanish. That’s a profoundly large toolkit for us native speakers, and likely a daunting challenge for those seeking to learn English. For example, is Queen Elizabeth II’s throne kingly, royal or regal? All three words mean the same thing — but not quite. The movie theater chain Regal Cinemas just wouldn’t have the same tone if it had been called “Kingly Cinemas.”

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Comments:
English is by no means alone in stealing words from other langauges. Many languages steal from English. French people may go for a 'pique-nique' at 'le weekend'. The German language is absolutely peppered with English words.
Fred Martin

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Why parents should prefer multi-lingual schools - Francis Byaruhanga, The New Times (Rwanda), 18 January 2017

It’s no secret that most job advertisements today will carry a line suggesting that knowledge of certain languages is an added advantage. This aside, anyone who has travelled beyond their country’s borders will attest to the benefits of being able to speak many languages.

One such confession came from Eric Munyaneza, a businessman based in Kigali, who says being able to speak Kiswahili and French, in addition to Kinyarwanda and English has made his transactions across the East African region easy.

Numerous studies also show that being multilingual boosts cognitive, memory, and listening skills in children.

Research also shows that people who speak a foreign language often enjoy better career prospects and higher standards of living. In fact, a recent research from the University of Chicago suggests that a second language also helps prevent dementia later in life.

So as parents prepare for the new academic year, Education Times explores why opting for a multilingual school comes with innumerable benefits.

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‘More volunteers than we can manage:’ Offers of help for refugees overwhelm support groups, Tara Carman, The Province (Canada), 15 January 2017

Syrian refugees Vahid Said and Ayyus Bosi don’t get out of the house much.

The couple, who are originally from Aleppo and arrived as refugees in Metro Vancouver last February, have three adult children and one teenager. Three of their children have serious medical conditions.

One of them, their 21-year-old son, is in Germany and the immigration process to bring him to Canada has consumed much of their time and energy. They were taking English classes, but dropped out in order to focus on their son’s case.

Their son in Germany needs a kidney transplant and requires constant dialysis. Their daughter Reza, 25, who lives with them in their Coquitlam apartment, also needs a transplant and spends 15 hours a week undergoing dialysis. She has been doing this for the last six years, she says with a shy smile, and is on the waiting list for a transplant. She finished high school, but has been unable to continue her education due to her health. One of her two brothers in Canada also has kidney problems, although they are less severe.

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Best Selling Author Releases Children’s Book Packages to Teach Children English and Spanish - Robert Filer, PR.com, 12 January 2017

To commemorate the success of the third release in the bilingual children's series: "The Adventures of Donna Sophia." Fibre Publishing is offering all three books along with a tote bag, a t-shirt, and a signed toy by the author for a discounted price, with the intentions of reaching households that want to introduce their children to Spanish or English as a second language. They can be purchased for a limited time at www.donnasophiabooks.com.

Lake Dallas, TX, January 12, 2017 --(PR.com)-- Amazon Best Selling Author Robert Filer announces the third release in his children’s book series, “The Adventures of Donna Sophia and… Time to Clean My Room.” This delightful story of a young girl and her dog, Chief as they learn the importance of a clean room will entertain kids and adults alike. To commemorate the success of the book release, for a limited time, Fibre Publishing LLC is offering package deals that include all three books from “The Adventures of Donna Sophia” series, a t-shirt, a tote bag, and a signed toy from the author at a discount price. The books and merchandise can be purchased at www.donnasophiabooks.com.

Brilliant illustrations perfectly compliment the story’s path as Donna Sophia and Chief learn life’s lessons. The book series is written in English and Spanish, creating a unique reading experience with an opportunity to learn another language while reading.

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AUA Extension Empowers a Nation, Ruth Bedevian, The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, 12 January 2017

YEREVAN — I came to my recent visit to the American University of Armenia (AUA) well aware of the graduate degree programs. My husband and I enjoyed watching the May 2016 graduation ceremony via YouTube. We were happy to learn the first class of undergraduate students will walk in their caps and gowns to receive diplomas in May 2017. There was indeed much progress and growth to celebrate at the recent 25th anniversary gala held in Los Angeles in November 2016.

However, I was totally unaware of AUA’s Extension programs and how they creatively train, improve skills and conduct a variety of necessary education for the general public (as well as continuing professional education courses to its alumni). I was drawn to learn more and met with both Dr. Sergey Tantushyan, director of AUA Extension, and Anahit Ghazarian, Extension operations manager, in the AUA Extension office, Room 110M Main Building at 40 Marshal Baghramyan Avenue.

The university is a hub of activity with modern infrastructure and environmental amenities that instill the students, staff and visitors with the obligation to protect the Earth. Signs at the elevators remind students, faculty, and visitors alike to take the stairs to save energy (and also to augment their daily exercise). Email communications are footnoted with the following advice: Thank you for considering the environmental impact of printing emails.

AUA is a US-accredited institution of the University of California and as such enjoys an exchange of valuable technical support and educational experience; and its exchange program and cooperation are popularly known. What might be less known, however, is the valuable outreach of services and continuing education available to Armenian citizens and neighbors beyond the borders.

Both in Great Britain and the United States, continuing education has enjoyed a long history and many titles — extension courses, professional development and with the advent of the Internet — distance education/learning. Continuing education as it is known commonly in the US had an impressive start at the University of California (UC). A forerunner (beginning in 1856), it took the lead in educating a multitude of citizenry during WW II, between 1940 and 1945, educating nearly one million California workers in classes related to defense. Pre-employment training prepared students to work in factories, farms and offices. Civilian defense and first-aid classes were taught for the general population. Training in military services programs included such subjects as principles of flying, office skills, and truck driving and maintenance. Adult educators included administrators, teachers, classified support staff, students, and community leaders. For more than a century, UC has provided learning opportunities for adults in California, across the US and throughout the world.

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Where You Can Make The Most Money Teaching English Abroad - Alexandra Talty, The Daily Good, 11 January 2017

From a surge of one-way tickets being sold to Canada to our northern neighbor’s immigration page crashing, the results of the recent presidential election have some Americans looking for new digs. Luckily, moving abroad isn’t only for the wealthy or those working for international organizations. Thanks to a worldwide demand for native English speakers, teaching can be a great way for an American to live abroad—and if you don’t travel too much—make some money.

“One of my mottos is experience over things,” says Nicole Brewer, a 34-year-old teacher living in Niwza, Oman. Working at a college now, Brewer moved to Oman after teaching in Busan, South Korea, for three years. Brewer runs the popular website and forum, ILuv2GlobeTrot.com, which she founded with another English as a second language teacher, Renee Evans.

“It is one of the best experiences of my life. When I first moved abroad, I told myself I would only go do it for a year,” says Brewer. She had recently been laid off after the 2008 recession and was sick of the American economy. Seeking a new experience, she decided to move abroad when she was 27. “Seven years later, I am still here.”

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Is it English or Englishes? - Muhammad Waseem, Dr Albert p’ Rayan, The New Indian Express, 9 January 2017

In my last week’s column, I discussed some of the Indian English expressions and raised these questions: Is English the sole property of the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada? Which variety of English should be taught to those who learn English as a second or foreign language? Is English singular or plural? Is ‘Englishes’ a recognized term?

The questions have evoked responses from readers. One of them wrote: “… I don’t believe that we have the right to set the rules of this language. It belongs to the native speakers. But we do have the right to set the rules of our languages.” Another reader asked me why I changed my pedantic position. Mr Lawrence, a regular reader of the column, writes: “When a particular usage is found to be convenient for speakers, it gains currency and recognition. As we compare it with that used by the native speakers we find the difference. Such changes may or may not be accepted as long as they do not create ambiguity. But, whether native or foreign, the person who speaks a language has the right to select words that are easily comprehensible for conveying ideas. Indians are not prohibited from this. Incidentally in India, or in Asia for that matter, ‘cranny’ is less understood than ‘corner’.”

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Mind your language - Muhammad Waseem, The International Newspost, 7 January 2017

Since the Sindh government decided to introduce English as a second language from class one in all urban and rural areas of the province, a discussion regarding whether such a decision will help improve the standard of education in state-run schools has started. The effectiveness and implementation of the step are complementary as the former depends largely on the latter. This particular issue has been raised by many educationists over the years, particularly in the previously colonised nations. For some, this language is a legacy of imperial rule and must be erased along with all remnants of the colonial era. However, all rhetoric aside, in academic circles, the impact and utility of English has been important – if a student learns it in the formative years of his/her education, his/her perception and worldview is shaped by it. Sociologists consider English as a medium of the privileged.

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Tightening the reigns - Chen Ximeng, Global Times, 6 January 2017

Foreign instructors face more policy regulations and changes, which will keep qualified non-native English speaking teachers from obtaining jobs in some Chinese regions

When Noli Castillano Apachicha, 38, a Filipino English teacher in Beijing, heard the new policy that non-native English speakers may not work as an English teacher in Beijing, he was upset.

From October 2016 to March, a new work permit policy was launched by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), which classifies foreign workers into three categories, ranking them as an A, B, or C expat, based on their profession, level of education, work experience, and so forth. It has been piloted in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Hebei Province and other places, according to a post on the administration's website. In April, the pilot will spread to other areas in China.

In these pilot areas, foreign English teachers should be native English speakers with a bachelor's degree from their home country, in addition to having two years of teaching experience. Before this new policy, non-native English speakers could work as an English teacher if they have a bachelor's degree from an English-speaking country. Yet under the new policy, the bar has been raised. Non-native speakers cannot be an English teacher, even if they obtain a degree from an English-speaking country.

"I expect that later on, I will not be qualified for my job because of this new regulation," said Apachicha, who works at RISE English language training school. "It will also shun many qualified non-native speakers like me who hope to come to teach English in China."

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Nearly 60% of Spaniards say they can't read, speak or write in English - Mai Montero, El País, 4 January 2017

Nearly 60% of Spaniards recognize that they can’t speak, read or write in English, according to the latest poll from Spain’s CIS state research institute. English is the most-spoken second language in Spain, the poll says, with 27.7% of respondents saying they speak it, followed by French (9%) German (1.7%) and Portuguese (1.2%).

According to the poll, 66.9% of Spaniards do not feel they have been negatively affected or have missed opportunities because of their inability to speak a second language.

Meanwhile, 94.8% of respondents say that they think it is important to speak foreign languages – in fact, those surveyed say that after math, they are the most important subject.

However, many of those surveyed are not satisfied with Spain’s attitude toward language learning. Nearly 36% say that Spain gives little importance to second languages, compared to 16.1% who say Spain is excellent at languages.

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Cuba says 'yes' to English as tourism flourishes, Will Grant, BBC News, 4 January 2017

As Cuba slowly opens up its economy to the rest of the world, more and more Cubans are learning English. The Cuban government has made proficiency in English a requirement for all high school and university students. As Will Grant reports from Havana, that approach differs from the Cold War, when Russian was the preferred foreign language.

At the annual Havana Jazz Festival, the audience members, much like the music, were a mix of international and Cuban.

Sitting on plastic chairs at the open-air venue, visitors from the United States, Europe and China mingled with local jazz aficionados.

On stage, a saxophonist who lives in Denmark was reunited with some old Cuban friends.

At such an international event, the common language is generally English.

Many Cubans are already learning the language themselves, and if not, they are trying to make sure their children are.

'Nyet' to Russian

Morning assembly at Jesus Suarez Gayol Secondary School on the outskirts of Havana begins with the school's anthem.

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English is a life skill, Ratnesh Kumar Jha, The Financial Express (India), 4 January 2017

The advent of society can be traced back to the formation of groups of human beings who had common ways of expressing themselves.Whether through commonality of expression, through the sounds they made, or gestures, or in their behaviour while chasing down prey or resolving conflicts, human beings found a way to communicate successfully with one another. That is how a majority of undivided territories with like-minded prehistoric beings were formed back in the day

The evolution of functional societies came about through the evolution of languages through which messages could be communicated by one and interpreted by another. There was need for collaboration, for example, in hunting down prey in groups or to develop shelters, which resulted in the invention of signs and other forms of language that brought people together.

The evolution of the cortex in the human brain is a case in point. The way brain cells interact with one another, through the firing of neurons and the evolution of the cortex,are directly proportional to the number of such interactions.Similarly, the evolution of human societies is directly proportional to the enhanced interactions using a common language.

In this respect, the present day is no different than the pre-historic era. The significance of language as a communication tool is paramount, language essentially being the means of communication among the members of a society.Language is the tool that conveys traditions and values related to a group’s identity. It is still the most essential and important pillar of collaboration and critical thinking. Let alone communication within the human community, with the advancements made in the field of Artificial Intelligence, there is incremental discussion on communication with robots.

There are several important questions that invoke one’s imagination. What would 21st century jobs demand? With the concept of singularity being one of the hottest topics of discussion, and given that machines are becoming faster than men, what would be the mode and language of communication or interface for optimal yield from such technological advancements? What would our future policies be like to ensure consistent economic development and new job creation while keeping social disruption at bay and the benefit to society intact in the face of technological advancements? How does India fit into the larger scheme of things in this era of continuous evolution and change?

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English Is the Language of Science. That Isn't Always a Good Thing. , Ben Panko, Smithsonian.com, 2 January 2017

How a bias toward English-language science can result in preventable crises, duplicated efforts and lost knowledge

Thirteen years ago, a deadly strain of avian flu known as H5N1 was tearing through Asia's bird populations. In January 2004, Chinese scientists reported that pigs too had become infected with the virus—an alarming development, since pigs are susceptible to human viruses and could potentially act as a "mixing vessel" that would allow the virus to jump to humans. "Urgent attention should be paid to the pandemic preparedness of these two subtypes of influenza," the scientists wrote in their study.

Yet at the time, little attention was paid outside of China—because the study was published only in Chinese, in a small Chinese journal of veterinary medicine.

It wasn't until August of that year that the World Health Organization and the United Nations learned of the study's results and rushed to have it translated. Those scientists and policy makers ran headlong into one of science's biggest unsolved dilemmas: language. A new study in the journal PLOS Biology sheds light on how widespread the gulf can be between English-language science and any-other-language science, and how that gap can lead to situations like the avian flu case, or worse.

"Native English speakers tend to assume that all important information is in English," says Tatsuya Amano, a zoology researcher at the University of Cambridge and lead author on this study. Amano, a native of Japan who has lived in Cambridge for five years, has encountered this bias in his own work as a zoologist; publishing in English was essential for him to further his career, he says. At the same time, he has seen studies that have been overlooked by global reviews, presumably because they were only published in Japanese.

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