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Foreign Languages

How to solve Australia’s language learning crisis

How to solve Australia’s language learning crisis

With the "moribund" state of language learning in Australia in the spotlight, Ingrid Piller busts some myths, arguing that it does not have to be this way and that something can be done about it.

How to lose your North, be gone with a raft, and have a bird

How to lose your North, be gone with a raft, and have a bird

Languages across the world create some pretty interesting imagery. Andreea S. Calude investigates some of the creative idomatic constructions that exist in Indo-European languages.

Swedes and Australians say yes to gender neutrality

Swedes and Australians say yes to gender neutrality

As society becomes more focussed on equality, some languages are evolving to include gender-neutral pronouns. Allie Severin and Hedvig Skirgård discuss how this is playing out in Swedish and Australian English.

Banning prisoners from speaking Arabic is lazy and probably a human rights breach

Banning prisoners from speaking Arabic is lazy and probably a human rights breach

Arabic is not a small, minority language. It is the fourth most widely spoken language in Australia. The decision to ban some NSW prisoners speaking it is not only possibly a human rights breach but also just lazy, according to Greg Dickson.

There's more to language learning than economic utility

There's more to language learning than economic utility

Recent reports show that the number of students studying Asian languages in later years of high school continue to drop. Lochlan Morrissey wonders if convincing students that learning a second language is economically useful might be the wrong way to go about things.

Footyglots: the AFL goes multilingual

Footyglots: the AFL goes multilingual

Last week, the Australian Government dissolved its Ministry of Multicultural Affairs leaving us wondering who will provide leadership that encourages Australia to embrace its linguistics and cultural diversity. Funnily enough, it's coming from an unlikely collaboration between one of our biggest religious organisations – the AFL – and one of our biggest financial institutions, the NAB. Greg Dickson has more on Footify, a commercial campaign doing more to promote multiculturalism than our government seems to want to.

Candidates get their language on

Candidates get their language on

One day out from the election and Greg Dickson has noticed a few more languages other than English being used in various campaigns. Is this a last-ditch effort to reach every constituent, a deliberate recognition of our linguistic diversity, or just because we can?

The Great Language Game. What's your score?

The Great Language Game. What's your score?

When you hear a foreign language, can you tell what it is? A Melbourne-based engineer and fellow language geek has developed the Great Language Game. It's quick and fun but rather hard! Have a go and let us know how clever you are.

LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates

LOTEs in the Election: your guide to linguistically-talented candidates

With the election campaign in full-swing, you could be forgiven for thinking all the candidates are monolingual English speakers. Not true. Here's a starter's guide to people on your ballot paper who speak Languages Other Than English (LOTEs). But why didn't you know all this before? Greg Dickson argues it's part of politics race to the bottom to appeal to a dumbed-down notion of middle Australia.

PM Gillard's Linguistic Exemplar

PM Gillard's Linguistic Exemplar

It seems that Julia Gillard has been listening to the advice of the Language and Culture Network of Australian Universities (LCNAU) and Fully(sic) and has started leading by example when it comes to languages. William Steed ponders her motivation… It was only recently that I commented on LCNAU’s call for Australia’s leaders to lead by […]