Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Monthly Archives: September 2015

How specific is second language-learning ability? A twin study

“Learning a second language is crucially important in an increasingly global society, yet surprisingly little is known about why individuals differ so substantially in second language (SL) achievement. We used the twin design to assess the nature, nurture and mediators of individual differences in SL achievement.

All SL measures showed substantial heritability, although heritability was nonsignificantly lower for German (36%) than the other languages (53–62%). Multivariate genetic analyses indicated that a third of genetic influence in SL is shared with intelligence, a third with English independent of intelligence and a further third is unique to SL.”

Read more @ http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v5/n9/full/tp2015128a.html

Languages do matter!

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Best of France 2015 (26-27 September, NYC)

“BEST OF FRANCE® (Formerly Taste of France) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the image of France abroad, through major events which highlight the expertise and “Savoir-Faire” of France, to offer New Yorkers and Americans the ability to experience France in a brand new way, as well as to promote the Franco-American friendship.

The Steering Committee of BEST OF FRANCE® consists of representatives from most of the major French associations and organizations in the United States, as well as from the French Embassy.”

Read more @ http://www.bestoffrance.org/

Languages do matter!

In speaking Spanish, Pope Francis invigorates the future of U.S. Catholics

“The pope’s use of the Spanish language is also a reminder that the United States is the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country – ahead of Colombia and Spain, and just behind Mexico. By 2050, the U.S. could have more Spanish speakers than any other country.

The debate over making English the official language in the U.S. has heightened in recent years, overlapping with the immigration debate. In fact, as the number of non-English speakers rises in the country, a growing number of states and counties have adopted English as their official language.

The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a national official language, and with the nation’s fastest growing minority, Latinos, steadily gaining influence in American society, the number of bilingual speakers continues to go up. About 20 percent of Americans speak a language other than English at home, according to the U.S. Census bureau.”

Read more @ http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/09/25/in-speaking-spanish-pope-francis-invigorates-future-us-catholics/

Languages do matter!

Msgr. Mark Miles, Pope’s English Translator, Braces for the U.S. Spotlight

“‘I have a translator, a good translator. May I do that? May I?’ he asked in heavily accented English. When the crowd cheered its approval, Msgr. Mark Miles — a trim, bespectacled official from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State — discreetly materialized at the pope’s side and began expertly echoing the pope’s speech in English, keeping time with his pauses and his expressiveness, too.

The pope did not want to use a ‘professional translator that hides in the wings and is only a voice,'”

Read more @ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/16/world/americas/msgr-mark-miles-popes-english-translator-braces-for-the-us-spotlight.html?_r=0

Languages do matter!

Pope Francis struggles with English. Here’s how he’ll get his message across in the U.S.

“‘The hardest [language] for me has always been English. Above all, the pronunciation, because I don’t have an ear for it,’ Pope Francis would later tell a biographer.

After three months of studying in Ireland, he never caught on to English — the language he will encounter when he sets foot in the United States for the first time Tuesday.

Until now, it has never been much of an issue.

Although Francis travels with a personal interpreter, the Conference of Catholic Bishops hired CSI Conference Systems to manage more than a dozen intrepreters for the trip. When the pope speaks at large events such as the Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, real-time translations will appear on large screens. In some smaller settings, participants will be able to hear an interpreter through individual headsets. TV audiences will hear real-time interpretation or see captioning.”

Read more @ https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/pope-francis-has-struggled-with-english-heres-how-hell-get-his-message-across-in-the-us/2015/09/20/a3a46476-5e38-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html

Languages do matter!

Why does the European Day of Languages matter?

“Each year, the European Union celebrates the European Day of Languages on 26 September. To mark this celebration of linguistic diversity, we asked the editors of Forum for Modern Language Studies to tell us why they think people should study some of the major European languages.”

Read more @ http://blog.oup.com/2015/09/european-day-languages-2015/

Languages do matter!

De La Salle College hosts European Day of Languages (NI)

“Before the multilingual assembly where pupils performed in Spanish, Irish, French and Italian, guests were treated to a continental breakfast.

Head of the European Commission Colette Fitzgerald said: ‘It was a wonderful event and the pupils were outstanding.’

Ian Collen, the co-director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research highlighted the importance of languages in our society today and encouraged pupils to continue learning new languages.”

Read more @ http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/education/de-la-salle-college-hosts-european-day-of-languages-31555157.html

Languages do matter!

More than 80% of primary school pupils in the EU

“In 2013, 17.7 million primary school pupils (or 81.7% of all the pupils at this level) in the European Union (EU) were studying at least one foreign language, including 1 million (4.6%) studying two foreign languages or more.”

Read more @ http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7008563/3-24092015-AP-EN.pdf/bf8be07c-ff9d-406b-88f9-f98f5199fe5a

Languages do matter!

Pope Francis’ translator and ‘wingman,’ Monsignor Mark Miles, gains fans of his own

“As Pope Francis has dazzled huge crowds in his visit to America this week, his translator and unofficial “wingman” has gained plenty of fans of his own.

Monsignor Mark Miles has served as the pope’s official translator, helping him spread his message during a six-day trip to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.

Miles, 48, was born in Gibraltar.

Miles also has the tricky task of helping the pope get his message across in front of large crowds and small personal encounters while trying to avoid taking any spotlight himself.

While Miles happily translates the pope’s message, he prefers to not speak much about himself.

“I’m a pretty boring customer,” he told The New York Times after politely declining an interview.”

Read more @ http://www.today.com/news/pope-francis-translator-wingman-monsignor-mark-miles-gains-fans-his-t45991

Languages do matter!

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Chinese is so good, he didn’t speak a word of English with Chinese President Xi Jinping

“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Chinese is so good, he didn’t speak a word of English with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.”

Read more @ http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-chinese-2015-9

Languages do matter!