BBC News – Foreign languages ‘shortfall’ for business, CBI says

It’s a never ending battle as UK kids find languages difficult and so shirk the challenge. This is not helped by “easy” grading in other, less useful, subjects which allows most entrants to gain A* with little effort. The problem is compounded by a constant stream of visiting speakers, including School Governors and Ofsted Inspectors who start their intro with a cheery, “Well you know, I was never any good at languages when I was at school.”

Fortunately, languages teachers are among the brightest, fun-loving people on the planet and always cool to be with.

BBC News – Foreign languages ‘shortfall’ for business, CBI says.

Gobbledygook Recruitment Ads

Here’s a gem from LinkedIn who are rapidly becoming market leaders in the field of meaningless drivel, Learning English is hard enough without this dross.  The job is for a Sales Clerk in an office…


We’ve transformed ourselves in the last year with our exceptional and passionate global team of employees. We hire talented, motivated, interesting, people who think global and then we empower them to create outstanding results. We are looking for a candidate for the title of Associate Customer Success Manager for our growing team in Italy.

The right candidate will be responsible for maintaining and improving installed base customer relationships as a means to fostering customer satisfaction and creating new business opportunities in partnership with the larger $%£&?!!! team. This candidate will also play a critical role in the delivery of world-class client support. The Associate will be working closely with Senior Customer Success Manager(s) and also with other Customer Success Support members to help regional sales teams with operational and technical support. The CSS Associate will also be responsible for responding to technical and non-technical customer queries in their Italian and English. The success of the candidate will be measured in terms of customer satisfaction and efficiencies created within the regional sales team they support.

In bocca al lupo to all who can be bothered with this.Image

Using songs for learning

Here is an activity for beginners:

Your first task is to produce vocabulary lists in English and Italian from the video you are about to watch. Use a dictionary when needed:

  • How many different colours do you see ?
  • Which items of furniture or everyday objects do you see in the flat ?
  • What clothes do the characters wear ?
  • List the names of rooms in the flat.
  • What is in the fridge ?
  • Make a verb list of all of the different activities the characters do, eg) wake up, get up, read, watch, open. Keep this simple if you are not sure at this stage how verbs work in Italian.
  • Finally, for the more adventurous, your second task is to use all of these words, or as many as you can, to try to create a story board for this video. For this, you may definitely need help so don’t be afraid to ask.

Enjoy the video:

Do let me know how you get on.


Native Speakers Don’t Learn Grammar.

ApostrophesIt was very noticeable, when teaching French & Italian in UK schools, that few students and alarmingly many young teachers, had had  any practical training in the correct use of English grammar. Nowadays, with the increasing use of mobile technology, it is all too easy to disguise errors in the cause of “efficiency” and to promote the mantra of speedy communication being more important than spelling & grammar. It is an interesting debate. I do not know whether the writer of this sign was a native speaker or not but I am beginning to wonder if (when ?) non-native speakers will soon overtake native speakers in their knowledge and correct usage of English. Certainly the former are adding to and enriching the language. The latter, unfortunately, seem to be travelling in the opposite direction.