Monthly Archives: September 2014

European Day of Languages

Hello different languagesA day to celebrate language learning!

September 26th 2014 is the European Day of Languages organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union. It is celebrated to promote language learning throughout the world.

Why is the European Day of Languages held?

• To raise awareness amongst the general public of the importance of learning languages at any age whether for professional or academic purposes or for leisure.
• To make people aware of the large number of languages there are in Europe and the world and to encourage cultural awareness.

Interesting language facts

• There are as many as 7000 languages spoken in the world, spoken by 7 billion people.
• There are 225 indigenous languages in Europe – around 3% of the total worldwide.
• People living in Europe are coming across foreign languages more and more in their daily lives, therefore it is essential to promote interest in learning new langauges.
• Although some languages have over 50,000 words, each speaker usually knows only a fraction of that vocabulary!
• If you know one other foreign language, you will find it much easier to learn a third and fourth language and possibly more!
• Knowing other languages brings economic benefits: more jobs will be available to you if you speak other languages. Multilingual companies can compete in foreign markets, increasing their competitive edge.
• Due to immigration, in London 300 different languages are now spoken.

Find out everything you need to know about the European Day of Languages from the Council of Europe.

Find out about events that took place across Europe in previous years here.

Language Facts and Fun.

Language and Culture Quiz.


‘Don’t have to’ vs ‘shouldn’t’

working remotelyYou don’t have to work such long hours, and you really shouldn’t

A couple of friends of mine both work remotely doing different jobs; one is a graphic designer and the other is a teacher. Their lifestyle is very flexible and works well for them as they manage their time according to their plans. However, sometimes they do seem like workaholics because their working hours can be late at night, meaning they miss out on plans we have together now and then. Our friend Jane said; “you don’t have to work such long hours you know, and you really shouldn’t!”

I thought that was a perfect sentence to help explain the difference between ‘don’t have to’ and ‘shouldn’t’, which are easily confused because ‘have to’ is the same as ‘must’. Unfortunately, ‘don’t have to’ is NOT the same as ‘must not’. Continue reading

Chinese Pīn yīn

The area of China is approximately 9,600,000 square kilometres. It covers 1/15 of the world’s total land area.

China is so big that there are many different dialects. The official spoken language is called Pǔ tōng huà (the common speech). As a Chinese character does not indicate its pronunciation, the Pīn yīn system was developed as part of a Chinese government project in 1950s. The pronunciation is primarily based on Beijing (the capital city) and the northern phonetic system.

A character is usually represented by a syllable, and most syllables have an initial (what comes first) and a final (what comes last), although some syllables do not have an initial. There are 21 initials and 36 finals in Pīn yīn. Continue reading

Portuguese Pronunciation of “-ção”

1st blog imageMany words are identical or almost identical in English and Portuguese: editoreditor, university = universidade, profession/job = profissão.

Let’s look at one big group:

Words ending in –tion in English usually become words ending in –ção in Portuguese:

• informationinformação
• competition = competição
• administration = administração
• celebration = celebração

Continue reading