The UK should be ‘forced’ to give Europe the English language after Brexit, former Italian prime minister Mario Monti has said. Monti, who is also a former EU commissioner, declared that English is ‘one of the very best products of Britain’ and that it should continue to be the main language of Europe. However, he also said that Europe should ‘upgrade’ English after the UK’s departure from the EU to increase its competitiveness on the world stage. The importance of English in international trade is obvious – so could this be Britain’s secret weapon post-Brexit? Continue reading
You 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
When learning English, some teachers advise that students should avoid using their native language and interact primarily with those who speak their target language. The idea is that by practising total language immersion and by avoiding contact with your native tongue, you will get used to speaking your target language and will improve more quickly.
This technique could be applied for all language learners – but is avoiding your native language a practical way to learn a new language or even a good idea? Should you avoid your native language when learning English? Continue reading
One of the more heavily debated issues in TEFL is whether it can ever be a good idea to use the students’ mother tongue to help explain finer points in EFL lessons. There is no doubt it can be helpful for elucidating a subtle point, but some EFL teachers think that only the target language should ever be used in the classroom. Does using the mother tongue stop us from ever developing fluency in the target language?