Posted By P & L Blog

The French parliament is debating a new road map for French universities, which includes the proposal of allowing courses to be taught in English. For some, this amounts to a betrayal of the national language and, more specifically, of a particular way at looking at the world - for others it's just accepting the inevitable.

It all started with a faux-pas - to use a French phrase commonly borrowed by English-speakers.

On 20 March, when French higher education minister Genevieve Fioraso unveiled the proposed road map, she mentioned that there were only 3,000 Indian students in France. In order to attract more foreign students, she added, French universities would have to start offering courses taught in English.

"We must teach in English or there will only remain in France a handful of experts discussing Proust around the table," she said.

But Proust was an unfortunate choice. The author is actually one of France's best literary exports and the reason why many students in the world take up French at university.

See: BBC News


 
Posted By P & L Blog

Your brain often works on autopilot when it comes to grammar. That theory has been around for years, but University of Oregon neuroscientists have captured elusive hard evidence that people indeed detect and process grammatical errors with no awareness of doing so.

Participants in the study -- native-English speaking people, ages 18-30 -- had their brain activity recorded using electroencephalography, from which researchers focused on a signal known as the Event-Related Potential (ERP). This non-invasive technique allows for the capture of changes in brain electrical activity during an event. In this case, events were short sentences presented visually one word at a time.

See: Science Daily


 
Posted By P & L Blog

Janitors claim discrimination due to lack of Spanish translations:

 

A group of Spanish-speaking custodial workers in Colorado have filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that the Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver discriminated against them by failing to provide Spanish translations.

The complaint, filed last week by a dozen custodial workers, contends that the employees suffered unfair working conditions because the AHEC failed to provide Spanish translations of policies and procedures.



Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/11/janitors-claim-discrimination-due-to-lack-of-spanish-translations/#ixzz2U2p1H5IK


 
Posted By P & L Blog

English language borrowings from Spanish began earlier than people might think, probably as soon as Spain became a vast Empire and its weight in the world awed European nations. Perhaps it all started in 1492 with the discovery of America and Antonio de Nebrija’s Spanish Grammar (Gramática castellana), the first in a vulgar language.

Dr. John Simpson, Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the most influential lexicographer in English, favored me with a prologue for my “The New Dictionary of Current Sayings and Proverbs, English and Spanish” where he says: “My introduction to Spanish proverbs occurred when I was working on the letter A for the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. The earliest piece of evidence I had for the proverb. It takes all sorts to make a world come from Thomas Shelton’s seventeenth-century English translation of Don Quixote: ‘In the world there must be of all sorts.’ I think the information has stuck with me all these years because I wasn’t expecting the first reference to an English proverb to come from a Spanish source. I’m not sure why I wasn’t expecting this: After all, English (at least since the Norman Conquest) shares much of its … heritage with the countries of continental Europe.”



Read more: http://www.voxxi.com/spanish-influence-over-english/#ixzz2U2mNlHnK


 
Posted By P & L Blog

The news of Annette Funicello's death earlier today got me thinking about who coined the word "mouseketeer", the name given the performers on the Mickey Mouse Club. A bit of research showed that it was Walt Disney himself although it was not created for the popular tv program. "Mouseketeer" first appeared in an animated short titled "Three Blind Mouseketeers" in 1936, part of the Silly Symphonies series produced by Walt Disney Productions beginning in 1929.

The show aired in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and Latin America. What I really enjoyed learning is that the show had more invented words: "The show even has its own Mouseka-language, with such terms as Mousekatune, Mousekariddle, Meeseketeer (small Mouseketeer), Mousekadance and Mousekamess."

You can learn more about the history of the Mickey Mouse Club here: http://d23.disney.go.com/news/2010/09/hey-there-hi-there-ho-there/ 


 


 
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