Blogs by the Veritas team about language and linguistics, across many languages in and outside of Europe.
Everyone can identify with the power of song to stir up memories! Some people associate songs with a happy holiday or an epic road trip. For me, certain songs often conjure up the memory of a superb surf trip to Devon with friends that I went on 10 years ago.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that one of the best ways to consolidate language learning is through the medium of song. This is one of the successful ‘teaching methods’ employed by teachers at Veritas Academy who are passionate about promoting the benefits of learning foreign languages through song. For both children and adults alike, the benefits of learning about language and culture through song range from the development of listening skills, the encouragement of intuitive responses, aided memory, better pronunciation and most of all – fun!
I enjoyed attending one of our Veritas Academy sessions last week and was amazed to observe the recall that the children had for a French song. Not only did they remember every word, they also sang in perfect French accents! They were clearly having a lot of fun while learning about culture and language. Conjugating verbs certainly wasn’t that fun when I was in school.
While studying my BA in languages, I had the opportunity to live in Spain for a year. While there, I developed a passion for Spanish music and my language skills improved significantly. Perhaps this was due to the immersion environment that I found myself in (little village in Northern Spain), but I believe Spanish music contributed significantly to my grasp of the language.
If you would like to improve your French or Spanish, or would like to introduce your children the concept of foreign language and culture in a fun way, [...]
Our clients have asked us to shed some light on some of the key reasons why Canada’s French and France’s French are considered as separate entities.
When Jacques Cartier planted the French flag in what is now Québec, in 1534, he expected there to be a rich history of cultural exchange to unfold.
The truth is that Québec has since gone onto form its own unique linguistic entity within Francophonie. Despite the fact that both areas use the same grammar, differences can be noted in rhythm, intonation and pronunciation.
There are expressions like ‘être en shape’ that are clearly borrowings made from the English language while ‘être en forme’ would be more commonly used in France.
This can also be seen in the existence of ‘chien chaud’ in Québec, the literal translation of ‘hot-dog’ in English. Although this is uncommon in terms of usage, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), through enforcing the principles laid down by la Charte de la langue française, is keen to enforce francization.
Contrastingly, Parisian French is less prone to adopt this attitude, even under the Académie française’s guidance; there is a growing trend, amongst young French people in particular, in the number of English sayings like ‘C’est un must’ (It’s a must) being used.
The key reason that Québec’s French is so far removed from that of France is the distance that separates the two territories. With Canada’s rich native culture, there was a need, during early colonisation, for new words to be coined in the French language in order to describe this new reality that French people were living.
Furthermore, Québec’s economy has traditionally been more aligned with that of North America; organisations like the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) are [...]
Here at Veritas Language Solutions we’re disappointed to hear the news reported by the BBC yesterday that the Welsh Assembly intends to cut language learning cash by two thirds for the National Centre for Languages (CILT) from April this year.
Recent reports state that the number of pupils applying for language degrees in Wales is already down by a third from 12,826 in 2005, to 8,601 in 2013. So it’s safe to say that this a worrying blow for the youngsters in Wales who are growing up in an ever competitive global market where language skills is of growing importance to succeeding in the workplace.
With some current job opportunities in Wales already remaining unfilled due to a lack of language skills, this decision by the Welsh Assembly to cut funding for promoting foreign language learning is a worrying and confusing one. It is already widely acknowledged that early exposure to language learning aids not only language retention but other skills such as improved memory, multi tasking ability and an improvement of the use of English grammar. However, a survey published by the European Commission states that the British are currently officially the worst language learners in Europe, with only 38% of British population surveyed able to speak at least one foreign language, compared to 56% of people in the rest of the EU.
The current modern foreign language crisis is not a new phenomenon. Veritas’ MD Sharon Stephens identified the need for language learning services for children some time ago creating the Veritas Academy. By sharing her passion for languages through a series of interactive and communication based sessions for 3 to 10 year olds, the Veritas Academy aims to act as a catalyst to spark an early interest in, [...]
It’s January. It’s a new year. And so it’s time for the annual ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ lists. Thing is, I don’t like resolutions – I prefer goals. I think the language we use makes a big difference.
RESOLUTION: a firm decision to do (or not to do) something; the quality of being determined or resolute
Making a resolution is simply making a decision. You make your decision (to lose weight, for example) and you’re done. You already feel like you’ve accomplished something, so where is the impetus to carry on? You should just say, “I’ve decided to lose weight this year.” “Great”, say your friends. “Now what?” The problem with resolutions is that simply making a decision does not actually accomplish anything (well, other than making a decision, obviously). You feel good because you feel like you’ve done something, but you haven’t actually done anything.
A goal however, is very active.
GOAL: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result; the destination of a journey.
A goal, by definition, involves effort and making a journey toward something. Making a goal means you have to decide how to get there. It means having to make an effort – having to reach for something.
A resolution is to join a gym. A goal is to go to a gym an take classes.
A resolution is to join Weight Watchers. A goal is to go every week reach a goal weight.
It’s easy to make resolutions. But this year, take the more proactive route and set goals, instead.
(*There are lots and lots of websites and apps that both tell you how to set goals and how to track and reach them. A simple Google search on ‘Setting Goals’ will [...]
Java. Joe. Brew. Black gold. Battery acid.
We have a lot of words for that highly popular hot, black, bean-based drink: Coffee.
I was always a tea drinker, myself – even after coffee cafés began popping up in bookstores and replacing bars/pubs. But I was increasingly feeling ‘left out’ of the social scene of the 2000s – the coffee house. Comfy chairs, alternative music, a language of its own. I even said to my husband just the other day, “Ya know, I think coffee places are the pubs of the 21st century.” We no longer say, let’s meet for a drink. We now say, let’s meet for a coffee.
Initially I was able to enjoy coffee houses if they had Chai Latte (‘the tea drinker’s coffee’ I call it), but the day that changed everything was when I tried a dark chocolate mocha (heavy on the chocolate). I was hooked! Then cinnamon, vanilla, mocha, peppermint mocha….flavours galore! And whipped cream, too!!
Indeed, coffee has become far more than just a quick hot drink to wake us up and keep us going. The list of offerings take-up an entire wall. Variations are in the hundreds – even thousands! (And if you’re lucky, your barrista is artistic and can do a ‘picture’ in the foam!) The days of choice being strictly between a filtered regular or a filtered decaff are GONE.
In fact, coffee has become a whole social event – a ‘coffee culture’! This new culture even includes its own language – tall, double-shot, skinny latte with 1 pump vanilla and whip, anyone? And yes, sometimes eyes roll if a person doesn’t speak the language, like when the lady in front of me said ‘I just want a small coffee.’ [...]