The public had a tough decision to make when choosing their 2013 language champion this year but it seems that Arsenal football club’s manager, Arsene Wenger has won the title this year. The award goes to the French football manager for his long-lasting commitment to languages as well as his outstanding work when learning languages for children through sport.
This award was the first of its kind, which made it all the more special when it came to Wenger picking up his award alongside the British Academy’s language schools. He proudly said “Being voted Britain’s first ever public language champion is an incredible honour. I am very proud that Arsenal and I can help raise the profile of language learning in schools.”
Throughout Wenger’s career at Arsenal languages have always played a crucial part in his role therefore leading Wenger to be fluent in English, French and German and learned Japanese while coaching Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan. Quite amazing, right? Well, he decided to put his fluency to good use in order to raise public dialogue over language learning alongside the British Academy. It was, and still is, to show that learning a new language does not always have to be a challenge and sport can help make it enjoyable learning.
Learning languages doesn’t have to be boring, why not take a leaf out of Wengers book and learn a language to help develop and assist other aspects of your life.
It was once, and in many cases still is expected of residents of other countries to conform to our language. England has managed to slip further and further down the table when it comes to citizens learning new languages. For years this has been a problem but the European Education Commissioner warns that if England continues this bizarre mind frame then it is seriously going to have a damaging effect on their chances to enter and even sustain employment in the business world.
Figures cited by Androulla Vassiliou show that the UK is quite literally at the foot of a European languages league table. This is rather disappointing when compared to the rest of the EU the UK boasts a mere 9% of 15 year olds who spoke one foreign language, compared to other countries. For example both the Netherlands and Sweden, who of course topped the league table with a whopping 80% of 15 year olds speaking one or more language. 
The UK has quite simply become lazy when it comes to language learning due to high volumes of other countries learning English as a second language. However Ms Vassiliou, Education Commissioner said that “This attitude doesn’t work. We live in a globalised world. We travel a lot. The EU, for instance, won’t employ people unless they speak two other languages.” This is something a lot of people fail to understand, which may soon become increasingly out of control if action does not take place.
Which leads us to share our delight and success at a language event which took place from the 18th – 20th October when Euro London attended the Language Live Show in Olympia which saw excited crowds of language lovers flow through the open doors; a refreshing sight for eyes which are fed up of reading about the lack of enthusiasm which runs throughout the UK.
As we hosted both a seminar and a CV clinic we were delighted at the positive response, restoring faith in people in relation to language learning and furthering their careers using these languages. Something which we can only hope to see flourish to a greater degree within the next year!
If you joined us at the weekend, please get in touch via Facebook and share your experience with us. www.facebook.com/eurolondon
Research which has previously taken place suggests that language learning is at its peak during the early stages in your life. This is typically up until the age of 9 years old and that’s why language learning should be thrust upon children for greater fluency. But just how relevant is this?
Research which was funded by the National Institutes for Mental Health (US) and the Wellcome Trust provides an insight into language learning for toddlers. This new research suggests that the brain has a critical timeframe between two and four for language development. This is mainly due to environmental factors.
UK and US scientists say that the biggest impact on the brain’s writing development to process new words is before the age of four. This was taken from brain scan images which provided results that suggest that young children are good at learning two languages because of the levels of myelin in the brain.
Two scientists, based at King’s College London, and Brown University, Rhode Island, studied 108 children with normal brain development between the ages of one and six.  They used brain scans to look at myelin – the insulation that develops from birth within the circuitry of the brain. To their surprise, they found the distribution of myelin is fixed from the age of four, suggesting the brain is most plastic in very early life.
But to regular people like us what on earth does this mean exactly? It simply means that we are more susceptible to environmental influences on our brain’s development earlier on in life. This is a fantastic trait to have when it comes to language learning; by being able to absorb useful information during infanthood it provides children with a greater base and understanding of what it is they are taking in. In this case fluency is greater at a younger age when it comes to language learning.
This gives a greater understanding as to why submersing children, before the age of four, into a bilingual environment before the age of four gives them the best chance of becoming fluent in both languages.
Some fascinating facts to remember when you may have children of your own!
Recently the media has highlighted on many occasions the lack of interest that languages are receiving in schools across the UK. Every year there seems to be an increase in the decline of pupils choosing to study languages beyond compulsory years, at GCSE and for their A-levels. Exam board AQA is determined to change this and emphasize the advantages that learning and studying a language can bring.
A production company working for AQA exam board, Production24, got in touch with us here at Euro London in order to arrange a short video with one of our consultants on the benefits of language learning at GCSE level. Consultant Nathalie Worsley provided her experiences and benefits with regards to the benefits of languages, any struggles she may have faced whilst learning a language, if she was able to overcome these and how being bilingual has had a positive impact on her life.
Nathalie expressed her love of being bilingual in a passionate way as she discussed her experiences with Production24. She began by explaining that her and her siblings had been brought up speaking Dutch at home as it was her parents’ mother tongue. Nathalie finds being bilingual beneficial in a number of ways including allowing her to be able to converse with other Dutch natives and fluent speakers which allows her to never forget her cultural roots despite now living in the UK’s capital, London.
Further to this Nathalie explained how beneficial it has been to her in relation to finding a job whilst incorporating both languages she speaks. As a recruitment consultant at Euro London Appointments, Nathalie is able to speak Dutch on a daily basis when she or other consultants recruit for Dutch speaking roles. This is due to language fluency tests which are taken in order to ensure we provide the best speaking multilingual professionals to our clients.
Upon hearing that the younger generations lacked motive to study languages when it came to school because they believe that the only jobs out there for language speakers are teachers or translators, Nathalie was quick to disagree with this. By working at an international recruitment company Nathalie stated that it opened her eyes to the amount of language related jobs that there are out there today within a number of sectors including media, the arts and many other business sectors. Having an additional fluent language to add to your CV can literally set you apart from one person to the next, particularly in the current economic climate. Businesses are intently looking for candidates that can provide additional benefits on top of other qualifications they have.
Many students choose subjects on the basis of fun as well as where their future lies, without even realising how potentially crippling not choosing to study a new language to a fluent level can be. A local language school found that many adults came to the school in desperate hope of learning a language as it was a requirement to move forward in a job position.
Why harm your future – enforce language learning amongst the younger generation and help them grow to the best of their ability in life.
Certain factors can influence the way we think, act, and react to life and what it throws at us. For example when the sun is shining some of us tend to feel full of life and generally more upbeat but as soon as winter rears its ugly head many of us across the world can end up suffering and feeling low (and vice versa for those who prefer the winter months). By being hit suddenly by a change in the weather our decisions may change. So if something such as the weather can have an effect on us could it be possible that our language can have an effect on particular influences throughout our lives?
In 2012 an economist Keith Chen released work which suggested that different languages had either weak or strong tenses when it came to speaking about the future and this had an effect on their behaviour. For example in English, we say “I will go to the park tomorrow.” This is considered a strong future tense however in Mandarin or Finnish they say, “I go to the park tomorrow” this is considered to be a weak future tense.
Chen believed that speakers of languages that lacked strong future tense would tend to be more responsible when it came to planning for the future. This led to further speculation with regards to languages and their tenses. As a result Chen collected data to determine whether or not language could in fact have a hold over our behaviour such as saving and even smoking.
Remarkable results revealed that speakers with weak future tenses such as German and Finnish were 30% more likely to save money, 24% more likely to avoid smoking, 29% more likely to exercise on a regular basis and even 13% more likely to be less obese than those language speakers that have strong future tense, such as the English language.  Chen also compared speakers that were both born and raised within the same country as well as their age and number of children. Similar results were found that speakers with weak future tenses demonstrated greater responsibility within their behaviour when it came to their future. A number of factors can have an affect on our behaviour such as religion, culture and now even language – who would have thought it?!
Do you believe that language has shaped your future or decisions in any way?
Over a number of years linguists have studied the relationship between words and their meanings by deconstructing them and tearing them apart letter by letter. However some languages and words can be difficult to deconstruct. Which is what could explain why some words are non translatable. Have you ever tried to translate a word and found that you weren’t able to? Well fear not it can be a common occurrence across a number of languages, just take a look at some of the following that can be difficult to translate in other languages (apart from English):
Waldeinsamkeit (German) – A feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods and a connection to nature.
Pochemuchka (Russian) – Someone who asks a lot of questions
Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – The feeling of anticipation that leads you to go outside and check if anyone is coming.
Komorebi (Japanese) – When sunlight filters through the trees – the interplay between the light and the leaves.
Sobremesa (Spanish) – The period of time after a meal when you have food induced conversations with the people you have shared the meal with.
Jayus (Indonesian) – Someone who tells a joke so badly, that is so unfunny, you cannot help but laugh.
Depaysement (French) – The feeling that comes from not being in ones home country – being a foreigner or an immigrant, or being displaced from your origin.
Have you ever come across any words in your mother tongue that have been difficult or impossible to translate into another language?
Euro London Appointments has now gone mobile. Mobile recruiting is a dynamic and growing industry with over 19% of job seekers using mobile devices to search for jobs and a further 30% of companies now witnessing their traffic coming from mobile devices.
The new mobile website that has been created allows all job seekers to browse all positions not only by location, job category and job type but also language with an additional option to enter key words in an available section. Other features include the history of Euro London, all contact information for all offices as well as a feedback option which allows users to share their opinions which can be made.
The new mobile version is available on all smartphone devices without having to download an app and allows all existing registered users to apply for jobs directly. New visitors to the www.eurolondon.com site will be able to register their interest in a role but will also need to upload their CV via a PC in order to apply for positions via the mobile website.
Steve Shacklock, Managing director of Euro London Appointments UK offices states that: “Here at Euro London Appointments we understand the importance of social media and mobile sites, particularly in recent years. People are on the go now more than ever but continue to use their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet. Therefore we wanted to create a tool which allows job seekers to browse our latest opportunities at the touch of a button with ease; our mobile website certainly allows this to happen.”
Over the past couple of weeks the UK’s 16-18 year olds have been waiting nervously as they bite their nails for their GCSE and A-level results. For many it would have been a joyous occasion, receiving the grades to get into that college or university you’ve been dreaming of to start the next chapter of your life. Along with these groups of individuals there has also been some great news for languages as there has been a major increase in the take-up of modern foreign languages; which is the biggest increase for the first time in 10 years.
The Shadow Education Secretary was pleased to see numbers finally increasing as pupils decided to take on a foreign language for GCSE. He stated that the Nations school language strategy had a positive impact on the number of students choosing language as an option as numbers rose from a dreary 35% to an astonishing 92% in 2008. Not only have languages been on the increase so have the subjects’ grades. Despite recent articles revealing that this year GCSE results had been the lowest in 25 years, the language GCSE’s have been some of the best results that languages have seen.
The only downfall on this is that many of these students are abandoning languages as a subject as soon as they hit their A-levels. Michael Grobe, the Education secretary has expressed his concerns as this trend may continue. With a number of universities closing down languages departments it is a trend to cause concern if languages are not considered when choosing a course at higher education.
If this trend continues it will continue to dumbfound us. Knowing a second language can offer endless opportunities throughout a lifetime. Leave a comment and let us know how leaning a second language has helped you.
In recent years there have been a number of articles that have popped up in the media about the lack of British bilinguals. Now, new research suggests that the figures are becoming progressively worse.
The British Council conducted research including 2,000 Brits which found that a staggering 82% of these people consider themselves unable to communicate well in a foreign language, while 40% found themselves in humiliating situations whilst holidaying as a result of their lack of language skills. The lack of language skills obtained by many Brits has even caused them to influence their cultural experiences whilst on holiday, such as visiting English only restaurants, in order to divert any further embarrassment by not actually knowing what the food on the menu is.
One of the main reasons behind the lack of languages spoken by Britains is due to the education system – a number of other European countries have systems set up in order to set the foundations for learning a foreign language when in Primary school. The government has recently been striving to change this in recent years however the study of languages at schools still reveal that entries to study German at A-levels had fallen by 11.13% compared with 2012, as well as entries for A-level French falling by 9.9%. On the opposite end of the scale, Spanish had surprisingly seemed to have dissolved other negative figures and rose by 4.08%. Meanwhile universities seemed to have also adopted the monoglot trend as a striking 40% of language departments at universities in Britain have been closed in the past decade.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the OCR exam board, added: “There has been a big push from employers to encourage students to do the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Are they really saying that, though, if you haven’t got a language we’re not going to employ you?”  If there were an increase in language it would effectively lead to a greater increase in productivity. But with many businesses planning to expand into foreign markets it could cause further strain to many monoglots in the UK seeking work and new opportunities.
Don’t put yourself at risk on missing fantastic cultural experiences or an interesting and diverse career path; get started on learning a language today.
Have you ever watched a film and wished you had a particular gadget or superpower, don’t be embarrassed now; it’s happened to the best of us! Fixated by the opportunities of being transported from a crowded city to a beautiful sunny island, or pondering what an easy life it would be if we could read people minds or the mischief that we could get up to if we had the chance to be invisible. But imagine the possibilities if you could have a conversation with someone on the other side of the world without either of you knowing the same language. According to recent reports in the media Google are in fact working on a new device that could do exactly this.
The gadget that is being designed by Google has been likened to the high-tech gadgets that have been seen in shows such as Star Trek. New developments at Google could potentially allow the technology to become reality as it could translate spoken words into another language in real-time through a receiver. Although the device is still a number of years away from being perfected, Google’s vice president of Android, Hugo Barra, revealed that it has already mastered translations from English to Portuguese.  This isn’t the first translation device that Google have brought to life as they already created ‘Google Translate’ which currently works with 71 languages.
So, if a world existed where language learning was no longer necessary to communicate between two people who speak different languages, would people still bother in taking the time to learn a language? If you asked us, we would have to disagree; although the device is brilliant and indeed would be a great addition to the world in a number of ways – there are certain attributes that it does not possess. Actually learning a language can provide a number of benefits which can benefit your life unlike a gadget, despite its intellect.
What are your thoughts – would a device such as the one Google is working on stop you from learning languages?