Archive for the Category: Chinese

Mandarin in UK schools

According to an article I found today in The Independent there is a dire shortage of qualified teachers of Mandarin Chinese in the UK – only about 100 at the moment – and at the same time increasing numbers of schools want to offer Mandarin lessons. Apparently some 500 schools in the UK currently teach […]

Also posted in Education, Language Comments Off on Mandarin in UK schools

Have you heard?

I’ve just finished a new video. It’s in English this time and has similarities and references to previous videos. I added Chinese subtitles just for fun, and because it was a good excuse to practise my Chinese. If you spot any mistakes in the Chinese, or you’d like to translate the subtitles into other languages, […]

Also posted in English, Language 2 Comments

Labhair Gaeilge liom

I just watched a video of an interview in Irish that Benny Lewis did on Raidió na Life, the Irish language radio station in Dublin. Benny mentions that he has had a t-shirt made with “Labhair Gaeilge liom” (Speak Irish with me) on it and that people who see the shirt speak Irish to him, […]

Also posted in English, Irish, Language, Language learning, Welsh 25 Comments

Best languages to study

According to an article I came across in the Daily Telegraph today, the best / most useful languages to study, for those in the UK, are: 1. German 2. French 3. Spanish 4. Mandarin 5. Polish 6. Arabic 7. Cantonese 8. Russian 9. Japanese 10. Portuguese The reasons why each language is useful vary quite […]

Also posted in Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Language, Language learning, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish 6 Comments

Ultd abbreviations

I came across the abbreviations ‘Ultd‘ today in an online add and it took me a few moments to realise that it meant unlimited. From the context it was obvious: the ad mentions Ultd texts and Ultd Internet, but without this context it wouldn’t be so obvious. Maybe they didn’t have enough space to write […]

Also posted in English, Language 8 Comments

The future is behind you

According to an interesting article I came across today, in Tuvan (Тыва дыл), a Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Tuva in southern Siberia, the future is behind you and the past is in front of you. Which makes sense as you can ‘see’ the past, or at least remember it, but you can’t […]

Also posted in Grammar, Language 11 Comments

Bilingual aphasia

I recently read The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai, an interesting novel by Ruiyan Xu about a Chinese man who loses his ability to speak Chinese after suffering brain damage in an accident. The main character, Li Jing, grew up in America and spoke nothing but English until the age of 10, when his […]

Also posted in English, Language Comments Off on Bilingual aphasia

Dialect, vernacular, patois?

The other I found quite an interesting article about Shanghainese which suggest that’s it has become a bit more popular recently, and is being used for some announcements in public transport and on planes, and that children are allowed to speak it at one school, at least during breaks. The article says that about 10 […]

Also posted in Language, Language revival 1 Comment

Mandarin v English

I came across an interesting article about the relative importance of Mandarin and English in South East Asia today. It talks about children from Malaysia being sent to school in Singapore because their parents want them to be fluent in English – schools in Malaysia teach in Malay, while those in Singapore teach in English. […]

Also posted in English, Language 2 Comments


There was quite a bit of talk about ventriloquism on an episode of QI I watched recently, mainly because one of the guests was a ventriloquist. The word ventriloquism comes for the Latin words venter (stomach, belly, womb) and loquī (to speak) so it means “to speak from the stomach”. It was known as εγγαστριμυθία […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Italian, Language, Latin, Polish, Spanish, Welsh 3 Comments
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