07
Aug

Language sponges of the world unite – how effective are bilingual books in early years education?

You know that nagging suspicion we’ve always had that babies who are brought up bilingual from birth are actually, well, wired a little differently when it comes to acquiring languages? Well, it turns out we were absolutely correct – according to the Infant Speech Perception Lab at McGill University in Canada, anyway.

Research into bilingualism

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31
Jul

Blooms, butterflies, moths – and maps? Yes, it’s time for the Big Butterfly Count Again

If you’re lucky enough to be on holiday at the moment, you might well be enjoying a little relaxation time in your garden, or a local park or nature reserve, enjoying the fresh air and flowers and being aware of the local fauna as well, including insects.

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29
Jul

Weather-wise – weather sayings or scientific facts, which are more accurate in predicting the weather?

Whether you love the weather or loathe the weather, it affects all of us. In recent years, climate change has become much more evident, but have you ever wondered how people used to forecast the weather in the old days? Now that we have the Met Office and amazing apps and computer software to help alert us to what’s heading our way, we sometimes forget that for centuries farmers and others used to use signs from the natural world to determine what lay ahead.

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29
Jul

Sing something simple – using songs for language learning

What’s the first nursery rhyme you remember learning in your native language? Chances are, it was set to music, whether it was a version of Frere Jacques or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Songs make an excellent teaching and learning tool for all kinds of subjects, including foreign language learning or English as Another Language. Even for adults, putting prosaic things like shopping lists or task lists to a familiar tune can also be a great way to remember what you need to do.

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25
Jul

Dual Language Story Books - Welcome, Bienvenu, Come on In

While there are more dual language books available than there used to be, most of the fiction titles out there are either translations of well-established classics or limited to a very small number of language pairs. In the past, parallel texts used to be a popular method of teaching classical Greek and Latin. If you’re looking for dual language stories, then your choice is reasonably broad for French/English; Spanish/English; German/English; Japanese/English and Chinese/English.

What’s a dual language book?

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19
Jul

The man in the moon, or is it a hare? Lunar expressions for the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

It’s been quite a year for anniversaries - fifty years ago this weekend, on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon, to the amazement of the world.  

Until the moon landings, the moon was swathed in superstition. And while in the west we might talk about the man in the moon, in many parts of the world, it’s traditional for people to see a hare or a rabbit. Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility – which is apparently the rabbit’s head, with the Sea of Nectar and the Sea of Fertility as the creature’s ears.  In Maori and Samoan folk tales, it isn’t a man in the moon, but a girl or a woman.  

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16
Jul

"I was bowled over, completely!" How we use sayings from sport in our everyday conversation

We’ve seen a lot of sports coverage this summer – Wimbledon, the FIFA Women's World Cup, the Cricket World Cup (amazingly, England won that one…) It got us thinking about all those sporting terms and phrases that have made their way into our more-or-less everyday conversations.

Sticking with cricket, we know something is unacceptable if we hear “it’s just not cricket”, while if you’re on a “sticky wicket”, it’s not good news. Meanwhile, if you’re “bowled over” by something or someone, we can rest assured that you’re pretty impressed.

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15
Jul

Poetic licence in the library – bilingual poetry in 64 languages, Made in Manchester

While one of the areas we specialise in is publishing bilingual books for children, we’re always on the lookout for other bilingual initiatives out there, especially when schools are involved.

So we were really taken by the fact that in Manchester, one of the most vibrant and multicultural cities in England, a poem by Zahid Hussain is now taking centre stage on screens at the Central Library. With English on one side and other languages on the other, the ultimate aim is to capture all 200 languages spoken in Manchester.

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09
Jul

Do You Speak This Language? The Mantra Lingua L1 Key Terms & Letters Library

It’s here. We can smell it in the air and feel it tingling on our hands and arms and faces. The long summer holiday, that is…

You can also tell by the “Back to School” signs everywhere you look, of course; and while we’re hoping everyone has a fabulous and well-deserved break from routine over the summer, we’re also very aware that the start of term will bring huge amounts of change, as always.

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05
Jul

The Latest British Council report reveals struggle of language learners in the UK. Can bilingual books help?

This week the British Council released their 2019 report on the state of language learning in schools. Judging by the results, there’s never been more of a need for bilingual books.

What does the British Council report say?

Every year since 2002 the British Council have published annual overviews of the state of language teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools in the UK. Between January and March 2019, over 1,600 schools took part in the survey - 776 primary schools and 845 secondary schools. The UK government currently wants 90% of pupils to sit a GCSE in a foreign language by 2025.
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