English is spoken as a first language by around 400 million people, making it the third largest language by native-speaker number after Mandarin and Spanish. But when you include non-native speakers, that number could be as high as 2 billion, making it by far the most widely spoken language in the world. What effect does it have on the language when the majority of the people speaking it are non-native? The video and article below examine this question.
Are you a linguistic prescriptivist who loves a catchy tune? Here is the world’s premiere parody song-writer, „Weird Al“ Yankovic with his hit all about his frustration at the bad grammar and language usage you see all over the internet. Oh, and you might recognise the tune…
This weekend will see the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup 2015. Like the FIFA World Cup, it is held every 4 year, with this year’s event hosted by England. With the pool stage finished, 8 teams have made it to the quarter finals – South Africa, Wales, France, New Zealand, Ireland, Argentina, Australia and Scotland
If you want to take this opportunity to watch some top-level international rugby, Eurosport is the only free-to-air channel showing some of the matches on German TV. If you can find a way to watch British ITV, they are showing all the games live. And most Irish / British pubs will be showing the games, just phone one and ask. To help you enjoy this very complex sport, have a look at the video below, it will explain some of the basics.
Today the LINGUA FRANCA Sprachschule blog is bringing you another video from the TED series. TED (Technology, Education, Design) is an international and interdisciplinary conference series based around the concept “ideas worth spreading”.
This talk by Valérie Hoeks looks at one of the key difference between Europe and China – the importance that is given to relationships. In China connections with the right people help you to get things done, to survive and to succeed. This talk provides essential information for anyone interested in doing business in China.
This video is suitable for a variety of levels. Higher-level English learners (B2+ and up) should just watch it without subtitles. Intermediate students (B1+ – B2) turn on the English subtitles. Lower-level learners (up to B1+) can turn on the German (or the language of your choice) subtitles.
This is the final installment of the Lifeswap series – in which a Kiwi living in Germany called Duncan and a German living in New Zealand called Jörg, discuss their culture shock via a series of Skype conversations. In this episode Jörg learns about Kiwis‘ inability to be formal and Duncan gets a lesson on dealing with German supermarket ladies.
Nothing separates the northern hemisphere from the southern quite as much as the way they celebrate Christmas, as the boys discover in this episode of Lifeswap – a series about a Kiwi called Duncan living in Germany and a German called Jörg living in New Zealand, told through their Skype conversation with each other.
Cecil, one of Africa’s most famous lions and the star attraction at the Hwange national park, was killed by bow and arrow in June by Walter Palmer, an American who runs a dental practice in Minnesota and hunts big game for fun.
The video below shows American late show host Jimmy Kimmel putting into words what I think a lot of people are feeling about this event.
As English becomes ever more established as the world’s lingua franca, more and more people have to perform parts of their jobs in English. This may be true for you. It’s certainly true for high-ranking politicians. And sometimes they struggle.
There is a long history of politicians inflicting their less-than-perfect English on the world, from Heinrich Lübke’s words – „Equal goes it loose“ – to the Queen while awaiting the start of a military tattoo (although this may not be a true story) to the incomprehensible speech by current Italian prime minister in the video below:
But the fact that politicians who speak English as a second (or third, or fourth…) language have some problems with it shouldn’t surprise anyone. What’s really shocking is what comes out of the mouths of native English-speaking politicians.
Some US politicians really stand out in this regard. Enough has been said about George W. Bush in recent years, but let’s take a moment to remember Dan Quayle, vice president to Bush the elder. Quayle was famous for his almost poetically confusing statements. For example:
„Votes are like trees, if you are trying to build a forest. If you have more trees than you have forests, then at that point the pollsters will probably say you will win.“
„If you give a person a fish, they’ll fish for a day. But if you train a person to fish, they’ll fish for a lifetime.“
„This isn’t a man who is leaving with his head between his legs.“
„The future will be better tomorrow.“
„We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.“
He also struggled a little with spelling, and wanted to make sure that the children of America would suffer the same fate:
Germans love to be naked. And to talk about their health in horrifying detail. Watch as Duncan learns these lesson in the fourth episode of Lifeswap – a series about a Kiwi called Duncan living in Germany and a German called Jörg living in New Zealand, told through their Skype conversation with each other.