The OTS Digest: Language Stories in the Headlines
We’ve scoured the web to find our favourite language stories from around the world in the past few months. Here’s what you may have missed in 2018…
Kate Middleton made the headlines for saying ‘ciao’
Possibly one of the funniest stories of 2018 came from The Express in November, who ran a story on the Duchess of Cambridge with the headline ‘Kate Middleton shocks onlookers by speaking this language during official visit’. In reality, the duchess only managed one word – ciao – and apologized very sweetly for not being able to say more. What she did say was ‘My languages are so bad, I have to make sure my children are better than me’. Perhaps we’ll pop a One Third Stories book in the post…
Google’s Gboard keyboard app has reached 500 languages
Got a phone? Gboard, the virtual keyboard app developed by Google for Android and iOS devices, has now hit a total of 500 supported languages – about a hundred of which were added in the last few months of 2018. As Digital Trends explains, ‘Newer languages include the likes of Rangpuri, which is spoken by 15 million people, Pontic Greek, which is spoken by around 800,000 people, and more.’ Every time a new language is added, Google creates a new machine learning language model to train the keyboard to predict words and autocorrect typing, so 500 languages is no mean feat.
If you work in an educational setting and are looking for qualified Spanish teachers, this is worth knowing. State-funded schools in England can get help recruiting qualified teachers from Spain to teach modern foreign languages for up to three years, via Spain’s Visiting Teachers Programme (SVTP). The Department for Education has issued guidance on how to do it – take a look.
BBC Sport has released five handy tips to learn a new language in 2019
Is your New Year’s Resolution to learn a new language in 2019? BBC Sport have come up with some really good tips to help any language-learners, and we’d second them all. One of their tricks is to start watching foreign-language films, so make sure you take a look at our list of six foreign-language films for kids in French, Spanish and Italian. Oh, and if you’re feeling festive, watch this short video and learn how to say Merry Christmas in 15 languages, just for fun.
And last but not least… some children’s books to add to your reading list
Not strictly languages-related, but The Guardian has released a list of the best children’s books of 2018 and it’s got some great titles on it. That should see you through another 12 months!