Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bilingual Brains

On the subject of bilingualism - here is an interesting article, found in the Economist: "Moving between languages, not just the knowledge of two of them, may be a key part of the bilingual advantage."
The author compares this to cross fit, an approach to fitness where routine is the enemy! So, on top of all the other advantages of speaking more than one language - it can keep you fitter, for longer! I like that thought!

When you think about it, only a few countries have only one language, so being at least bilingual is the norm for most.

Check out some more advantages here.

found here
New York Times article on bilingualism from 2012

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


The exhibition: "Languages that changed my life" is being held at the Guardian offices in London until the 31. October 2014 (90 York Way, King's Cross) and here is a little snapshot about languages by Paddy Ashdown.
The Guardian, it seems, is planning a series about Language Learning in the coming months and I am looking forward to it. 

Growing up on the continent with the next border  (and language) just around the corner, it always feels so much better to be able to understand and speak at least a bit of French, Danish, Italian etc. A world capital like London should make you equally aware of other languages and cultures. However here  English seems to stop a lot of people venturing into unknown territory because it is after all a global language. 

Somehow that seems to be reflected in how foreign languages are being taught in British schools. Its rigid examination procedure stops an imaginative teacher dead in his or her tracks because certain subjects have to be covered in a certain way at a certain time. On top of that one can hardly blame the kids of loosing interest when they find out that exactly the same subjects are being covered in all the other modern languages (your pets, your home, five a day, keep fit and healthy and look after your body, environmental issues, juvenile delinquency!) etc.  - here I started to believe in brainwashing since the last few subjects are also discussed in classes like social science etc. ...)  The school books hardly touch on the culture of the country nor do they leave enough time to check out samples of foreign literature apart from the required texts. If you are hunting for good grades, you cannot divert. It is a very detached way of teaching, immersive it is not.

Glad I got this off my chest. Therefor, on a more humorous note, have a look at James Chapman's approach to languages - the Soundimals.

found here

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


We loved doing this game on a piece of paper. Someone would draw the head, fold the paper over and pass it on. The next one draws the belly and so on. Wild and wonderful creatures would finally jump of the page!
I also remember wonderful books where you could flip different parts back and forth to make the most scary creatures. And now, of course, there is an app for it: Miximal (for Iphone and Ipad). And it looks fab! You can mix and match over 1000 animals and it comes with 5 languages incl. German!! Will pass it on to my nieces pronto. I am sure it will shorten any drive (half term is coming up).

found via SwissMiss

Monday, 6 October 2014

Anselm Kiefer

We went to see the Anselm Kiefer Exhibition at the Royal Academy with the kids last weekend. His work is monumental. Kiefer is an artist who inspires on so many different levels. I love the size, the colours, materials and the thoughts and connections Kiefer makes in his works. There are difficult questions being asked regarding our recent German history and our dealings with it. We are let way back through layers upon layers of the history of the world, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Wagner and the Grimms at our side.

This is one of my favourites of this exhibition, made especially for the Royal Academy (till 14.12.2014)

Ages of the World
Ages of the World by Anselm Kiefer
found here

The Catalogue is worth checking out as is this review in the Guardian