foreign languages

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We May Have to Rethink Foreign-Language Classes
We May Have to Rethink
Foreign-Language Classes

We May Have to Rethink Foreign-Language Classes

As quick AI translators proliferate, 'something enormous' is being lost, writes essayist

(Newser) - In an essay at the Atlantic , Louise Matsakis laments what appears to be a swift decline in the study of foreign languages in school. Enrollment in such courses is down a remarkable 29% since 2009 at American colleges, she notes, citing stats from the Modern Language Association. Similar declines are...

This Reporter's News Coverage Prompted Marriage Proposals

Philip Crowther's 6-language fluency while reporting on Russia-Ukraine crisis impressed many

(Newser) - You'd think a person would be tripping over their words with six different languages bouncing around in their head. Not so for journalist Philip Crowther, who showed the world Monday just how eloquent he could be while covering the Russia-Ukraine crisis in English, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German....

Think You've Got a Handle on Foreign Languages? Meet Thaksin

Thaksin sells souvenirs, but Cambodian Red Cross will pay for his education after newfound fame

(Newser) - A young boy who's picked up parts of at least 12 languages and dialects while selling souvenirs to tourists at Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex is about to get a change of scenery—and a free education. Thaksin first won hearts around the world in a viral video...

See Foreign Language Most Common in Your State

German is most prevalent language overall, after English and Spanish

(Newser) - It's probably not surprising that, once you take English out of the equation, Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the United States. But what if you also remove Spanish from the options? 24/7 Wall St. ventures into each state to see which other foreign language ranks highest,...

5 Surprisingly Bilingual Stars
 5 Surprisingly Bilingual Stars 

5 Surprisingly Bilingual Stars

Admit it: You had no idea Kobe Bryant speaks Italian

(Newser) - If you were impressed when you found out Bradley Cooper speaks French , well, you'll love this list rounded up by Chelsea Fagan at Thought Catalog . Fagan offers up video evidence of 10 stars who are bilingual. Five standouts:
  • Jodie Foster speaks French.
  • Kobe Bryant speaks Italian.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow speaks

9 Foreign Words We Really Need to Start Using

Kummerspeck, and other great options

(Newser) - The German language is officially richer, thanks to its adoption of the English word "shitstorm." Now that we've given, it's time to take: Cracked argues that the English language is in desperate need of these nine foreign words, for which there is absolutely no English equivalent:...

Our Kids Don't Need to Learn Chinese
Our Kids Don't Need
to Learn Chinese

Our Kids Don't Need to Learn Chinese

Spanish, however, would benefit them

(Newser) - Nick Kristof and his family speak Chinese, and “let’s be frank,” he writes in the New York Times , “if your child hasn’t started Mandarin classes by third grade, he or she will never amount to anything.” Oh, actually … “just kidding,” continues...

Cheeky British Pol: French Language Is Useless

Young people should be learning Chinese

(Newser) - Britain's former minister for Europe Chris Bryant—apparently feeling free to annoy the French now that his Labour party is out of power—described the French language as "useless" in a debate on language education yesterday. Young people, Bryant said, should be steered away from "useless modern foreign...

Iceland Laughs as World Says 'Eyjafjallajokull'

Glacier with the impossible name vexes reporters

(Newser) - Icelanders are amused at outsiders' attempts to pronounce the name of their "Eyjafjallajokull" glacier, the one causing all the travel misery in Europe. The video in the gallery, doing well on BuzzFeed , thanks reporters for giving the nation "a good laugh." We'll take their word for it....

Web Puts 2nd Language at Your Fingertips

Online options, from free to pricey, abound

(Newser) - The days of chanting vocabulary words in a classroom and dozing off in the language lab are fading from memory as language instruction becomes increasingly available on the Internet. Freestanding smartphone apps are one option, and more structured instruction comes at a price—and sometimes no price at all. The...

Après Le Deluge: French Battle Anglo Terms in Web Age

Experts struggle to create equivalents for terms like 'cloud computing'

(Newser) - Defenders of the French language are fighting a rear-guard action against a flood of Anglo-Saxon computing terms. In a process that lags far behind advances in technology, experts are tasked with finding French equivalents for new computing technology. The terms must then be passed by a panel of linguists and...

Going Public in Bear Market Is Risky Bet for Rosetta Stone

Firm could make less money due to bear market

(Newser) - Rosetta Stone, the popular language-learning software maker, holds its initial public stock offering today—a risky move in a bear market, Jennifer Collins reports for Marketplace. Rosetta Stone’s profit has quadrupled since 2007, but it could make twice as much by waiting. It’s possible Rosetta needs cash now,...

Speak Another Language? CIA's Got a Job for You

Agency running ads to recruit minorities, foreign-language speakers

(Newser) - The CIA has no trouble finding recruits. But that doesn’t mean it gets the recruits it wants, so the CIA is running a radio ad campaign targeting potential spooks fluent in a second language, Time reports, and nonwhite. “I’d like to get to a point where every...

The Insult That Hurts Worldwide

 The Insult 
 That Hurts 

The Insult That Hurts Worldwide

(Newser) - Next time you want to indulge in a pulse-pounding, worldwide tradition, call somebody a motherf**ker, Nina Shen Rastogi writes at Slate. The Chinese, Africans, and Arabs are among those who have hurled versions of the indignity for generations. Anthropologists say it works because, like religion and scatology, family and sex...

Obama Speeches Help Japanese Learn English

Students use his speeches to learn language

(Newser) - Barack Obama is fast becoming a popular English teacher—in Japan. His speeches have become a hit for people learning the language there, the Wall Street Journal reports. Obama's slow and careful enunciation make him a particularly good model, teachers say. One book of speeches, complete with a dictionary for...

Obama Speeches Teach English, Hope to Japanese

Dem's speeches good for language-learners, more inspiring than local pols'

(Newser) - The Japanese version of features an unlikely bestseller: the collected speeches of Barack Obama, with Japanese translation and accompanying CD, Reuters reports. Obama’s inspiring but straightforward rhetoric is perfect for teaching English in a country that hankers to learn the language. He “uses words such as...

Texting Could Save Dying Languages
Texting Could Save Dying Languages

Texting Could Save Dying Languages

Linguists push to get more of them on cell phones

(Newser) - Linguists trying to save the world's endangered languages believe cell phones—more specifically, texting—can give them a vital boost, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 7,000 languages are spoken worldwide, but predictive text software currently exists for just 80. Experts believe developing the technology for more tongues will...

Italians Protest English Words
 Italians Protest English Words 

Italians Protest English Words

Society not 'OK' with native speakers using Anglo shortcuts

(Newser) - One cultural institution is not "OK" with Italians speaking Anglitaliano, the BBC reports. "Weekend" and "OK" topped a list of least-favorite foreign words among visitors to the Dante Alighieri Society website. It shows Italians want more respect for their language, the group says.

Philly Steak Shop Can Keep 'Please Speak English' Signs

Statement political, no service denied: panel

(Newser) - The owner of a Philadelphia institution can keep signs that ask customers to order their cheese steaks in English, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A city agency ruled the signs at Geno's Steaks—"This is America. When ordering, please speak English"—do not violate discrimination rules; owner Joey Vento...

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