29 June, 2009

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London -- Westminster Council spent more than £200,000 of taxpayers' money translating pamphlets into 10 different foreign languages last year.

Town Hall officers ensured documents were translated into Arabic, Bengali, Spanish, Portuguese, Kurdish, Albanian, Polish, Farsi, Somali and French - at a cost of £230,000 to the public purse.

The revelation comes despite a call in 2007 by Hazel Blears, then the communities secretary, for councils to think twice before translating documents. She said the money should be spent teaching immigrants English to aid immigration.

Full article here.

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23 June, 2009

Newest Exercises in English Toolbox

We've added a few new exercises recently. One is on the difference between "it" and "it's" (look up "Its vs It is" in the Exercise Name field on the Search page). Another is "Modals of Belief and Ability," while a third explains the differences between "according to," "in accordance with" and "accordingly." As always, the exercises are available in both MS Word and HTML formats.

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17 June, 2009

Is EFL Now Needed in the Philippines?

The Economist discusses the loss of English fluency in a former American colony:
Never mind the pupils, teachers have been flunking English for years. In 2004 only one in five teachers passed the English-proficiency test. The effect on pupils is plain to hear. Last year the country winced when the 17-year-old winner of the Miss Philippines World beauty contest failed spectacularly to answer in English the usual questions posed by judges in such events. Call-centres complain that they reject nine-tenths of otherwise qualified job applicants, mostly college graduates, because of their poor command of English.

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12 June, 2009

English Dominance, Redux

Foreign Policy Magazine offers an article charting the continued adoption of English as a global lingua franca (gee, shouldn't there be an English term to describe this?). Key quote:
[Soon] English will boast one million words -- twice as many as Cantonese, four times as many as Spanish, and 10 times as many as French. Half the world's people are projected to be speaking English by 2015.

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08 June, 2009

Is Kazakhstan the New EFL Paradise?

An article claims that the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan still offers lots of opportunities for EFL teachers. Excerpt:
Despite feeling the impact of the worldwide recession, the economy is still growing and with economic growth and international trade comes a demand for English.

Parents who cannot speak English often insist that their children learn it. Catering to meet this demand, there are several international schools located in Kazakhstan's main cities of Astana, Almaty and Atyrau. The most recent, and the first British public school in Central Asia, is Haileybury Almaty, an offshoot of the British independent school Haileybury.

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