How Do You Pronounce Hurricane Ophelia?

Hurricane Ophelia - pronunciationHurricane Ophelia has arrived in the British Isles leaving many homes in Ireland and Wales without power and schools temporarily closed. There are violently strong winds across parts of Scotland, Wales and England as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia hit British shores from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. With so much discussion in the news about the hurricane, English language learners might be intrigued or confused about the ‘ph’ pronunciation in the word Ophelia. Read on to find out the correct pronunciation of Hurricane Ophelia and how the ‘ph’ sound works in English. Continue reading

Learn Ancient and Rare Languages in New Online Courses

Tribalingual - rarest languages courses

Have you ever wanted to talk to locals in the ancient language of Gangte? Now you can! Tribalingual is running a series of online language courses for students wishing to learn rare languages and help preserve ancient cultures. The last native speakers of a number of ancient and rare languages have been recruited to help deliver content for the courses, which will be taught via video link. Languages available to study include Ainu, a Japanese dialect, Greko, a ancient form of Greek, and Buryat, a Mongolian dialect. Would you like to study one of the world’s rarest languages? Continue reading

UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Kicks Off!

UEFA Women's Euro 2017 The UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 is currently playing in the Netherlands, giving us the perfect excuse to move on from tennis after the excitement of Wimbledon and into some fresh football vocabulary! The Euros group stage began on 16th July and the final will take place on 16th August. Join us for a soccer-themed language and culture lesson as we explore the fascinating history of women’s football and dive into the latest footy action with the Euros 2017! Continue reading

Portugal Song is First Non-English Eurovision Winner for a Decade

Portugal's Salvador Sabral wins Eurovision 2017

Salvador Sabral’s victory for Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest this year is the first time that a non-English Eurovision song has won the coveted crown since 2007. Salvador performed Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Both) at the Grand Final in Kiev to an enraptured crowd. One of the most interesting elements of the singer’s performance was that the bossa nova was entirely in Portuguese, written and composed by his sister. Continue reading

Forgotten First Languages Leave Imprint On Brain, Study Shows

forgotten first languages - baby learningYou never forget your first language – even if you have never spoken it, scientists have discovered. Babies develop knowledge of the language they hear in their first few months of life and will always retain that knowledge on an abstract level. It has been discovered that your brain retains the hidden ability to recall forgotten first languages decades on. The findings indicate not only that you never truly forget your birth language but also that language acquisition as a baby is abstract in nature and not dependent on experience. Continue reading

Baboon Study Reveals Early Evolution of Language

Scientists have discovered that baboons can produce five distinct vowel sounds, which are strikingly similar to our own human vowel sounds. This discovery suggests that language skills actually evolved tens of millions of years earlier than previously thought. It is now thought that our pre-human ancestors could have been using meaningful language over 25 million years ago. Continue reading

Exploring Vocabulary in George Michael’s Careless Whisper

George Michael - singing live

The pop star and esteemed singer-songwriter George Michael sadly passed away on Christmas Day. As a tribute to his song-writing talent and philanthropic work we have taken one of his most famous tracks as inspiration for language learners. Careless Whisper contains many interesting phrases that are useful to English language students, so let’s consider this classic song and use George’s clever and evocative lyrics to help EFL learners get to grips with some new vocabulary and expressions. Continue reading

Exploring Remembrance Day

poppy-dayRemembrance Day is an important day in British culture. This is the day everyone remembers the sacrifices made by the service men and women during the world wars. Traditionally there is a two-minute silence on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – the moment in 1918 when the armistice became effective in Britain.

The main ceremony of remembrance takes place on the nearest Sunday, which means that this year it falls on Sunday 13th November. People wear red paper poppies at this time of year to show their support. Read on to learn more about this important day in British culture and explore new vocabulary through two famous war poems.
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Will Brexit Stop the Dominance of English?

English dominance - dog shields earsThe English language has spread around the world so dramatically since the Second World War that there are now more non-native English speakers than native English speakers. The number of English speakers has risen from 400 million to 1.5 billion over the past 70 years. English dominates many conversations between speakers of other languages, simply because it is the only language many people have in common. But will the dominance of English fade after Brexit? Continue reading