Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to avoid any French wedding nightmares

How to avoid any French wedding nightmares

France is a popular choice for foreign couples tying the knot including a fair few celebrities – but beware the pitfalls. Here, The Local speaks to a France-based wedding planner and a bride-to-be about how to have a hassle-free French wedding.

Languages do matter!

English job jargon invades French offices

English job jargon invades French offices

“Head into any French office these days and you are likely to hear a mixture of French peppered with examples of classic English office jargon. The author of ‘The dictionary of New French’ tells The Local why the tide of Anglicisms will not be resisted in French workplaces.

Languages do matter!

Bonne Fete du Premier Mai

Bonne Fete du Premier Mai

“Le premier mai est une journée spéciale en France. C’est la Fête du Travail, ou Fête des Travailleurs, et donc c’est un jour férié, un jour chômé pour tout le monde, avec une grande exception : les fleuristes. Le premier mai est aussi la Fête du Muguet, et il est traditionnel d’offrir à ses proches un brin de muguet, symbole du printemps et du porte-bonheur, surtout si le brin a 13 clochettes.”

Languages do matter!

May Day in Germany

May Day in Germany

“May is full of festivals and the first day of the month starts it all off with a bang. Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit) is a national holiday in Germany with wildly different celebrations in the North and the South.”


Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca

English has taken off as a global language in higher education — as a ‘medium of instruction,’ not just a foreign language in those countries where English is not the first language, says a report released Tuesday evening here. But in many countries and at many institutions, key issues related to the expanded use of English have not been defined or, in some cases, even discussed.”

The British Council report, English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon: phase 1 Interim report April 2014, may be found @

Languages do matter!




Mother’s Day in Ireland

Mother’s Day in Ireland

“So cue mounts of fresh flowers at sale in all garage forecourts today, plus big boxes of chocolates. Because it is Mother’s Day in Ireland. Really. Today.

Or not … actually it is just called ‘Mother’s Day’ in the vernacular, in reality it is Mothering Sunday. A Christian holiday, falling on the 4th Sunday in Lent.”

Languages do matter!

Mother’s Day in Eastern Europe

Mother’s Day in Eastern Europe

“For those in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. While Mother’s Day or Dzien Matki is celebrated on May 26 in Poland, March 25 in Slovenia, the first Sunday in May in Hungary and Lithuania, Oct. 14 in Belarus, and the last Sunday in November for Russians.”

Languages do matter!

Cinco de Mayo: An American Holiday, Not Mexican

Cinco de Mayo: An American Holiday, Not Mexican

“With Cinco de Mayo looming next week, restaurants, bars and even wrestling for entertainment in the United States are promoting all things Mexican, including margaritas, tacos and tamales, and Mexican “costumes.” While most Americans party and drink on Cinco de Mayo, most Mexicans in Mexico do not celebrate or even recognize it as a significant Mexican holiday.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken as Mexican Independence Day, which is on September 16.”

Languages do matter!

Using a Foreign Language Could Affect Moral Judgement

Using a Foreign Language Could Affect Moral Judgement

“Psychologists from the University of Chicago and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona found that people who speak multiple languages tended to take a more utilitarian approach to this moral dilemma when it was presented in their non-native tongue. Researchers say their results indicate that the use of foreign languages reduces our emotional response and provides psychological distance when making moral decisions.”

Languages do matter!

CRN’s Barry Farber Celebrates 30 Years Of The Language Club

CRN’s Barry Farber Celebrates 30 Years Of The Language Club

“CRN DIGITAL TALK RADIO host BARRY FARBER is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his educational group THE LANGUAGE CLUB with a special event on MAY 28th in NEW YORK, and the veteran talker will be honored at the celebration.  FARBER founded the club to help students and speakers of foreign languages get together in a social environment; after nearly flunking Latin in ninth grade, FARBER has since studied 28 languages.”

Languages do matter!

Farber’s book on language learning, How To Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and on Your Own, can be found @