Thursday, December 30, 2004

Multilingual ATMs in Japan

UFJ Bank customers can remit money to Brazil with the assistance of a Portuguese-speaking operator via an in-house video phone. The service was begun at 10 UFJ branches in Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures on Dec. 20. It works in cooperation with Banco Bradesco, Brazil's largest commercial bank. About 200,000 Brazilians of Japanese descent live in the four prefectures. UFJ also modified about 4,500 of its 6,000 ATMs with language options in English, Chinese, Korean and Portuguese.

Young Brits Not Tongue-Tied

Although the English have the reputation shared by Americans for being tongue-tied, young British kids are not following in their parents' footsteps.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bilingual Police Officers in Demand

One of the new three new community service officers in the Nebraska's Grand Island Police Department must speak both English and Spanish fluently. The pay is $10.03 to $14.01 an hour for the 25-hour-a-week. The bilingual position is also eligible for the city's standard bilingual pay -- a $500-a-year stipend. It's not much extra money, yet it recognizes the skills of bilingualism

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami: World Tragedy

Of all the Japanese words to have entered the English language, tsunami is the one most in the news these days. The tragedy in the Indian Ocean has caused the death of more than 40,000 people. Tsunami means literally "harbor wave."

How to Donate: here is list of organizations you might send contributions to:

American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

American Red Cross
International Response Fund

PO Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013

Catholic Relief Services
PO Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090

Direct Relief International
27 South La Patera Lane
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres
PO Box 2247
New York, NY 10116-2247

International Medical Corps
11500 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 506
Los Angeles, CA 90064

International Orthodox Christian Charities
Middle East Crisis Response
PO Box 630225
Baltimore, MD 21263-0225

Mercy Corps
PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208

Operation USA
8320 Melrose Avenue, Ste. 200
Los Angeles, CA 90069

Multilingual Red Cross

The American Red Cross in Glendale, California is providing disaster preparedness information out on the Web to local Armenian, Korean and Spanish speakers. It's part of n outreach effort after the 9-11 terror attack.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Multilingual Holiday Wishes

Listen to audio message.
this is an audio post - click to play

And to know how to say Merry Christmas in 360 languages click HERE

Tongue-Tied Brits

Only one in three Britons can speak a second language. In the case Luxembourg national, on the other hand, 98% can speak a second language. Other multilingual Europeans are the Dutch and Danes. Hungarians and Irish rank very low like the British. The data comes from a report to be published in 2005 by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching, the UK national resource Centre for language teachers. Two thirds of British schools no longer require the study of a foreign language. Does it really matter since everyone else speaks English? It certainly does because when the other person knows your language and you don't know his or hers, you're at a disadvantage in social, political, economic, or any other situation.

Enforcing Laws in Two Languages

The increasing Spanish-speaking population in Georgia is forcing local police to learn Spanish. Classes in "survival Spanish" at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth. are popular. Although the courses don't aim to make people totally bilingual, they teach basic phrases which can help officers save lives.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fear of Languages?

Are Americans afraid of learning languages?

Bilingualism Can Save Lives

Firefighters can save lives as well as people's property. One way they do it is through prevention. In this effort communication with residents is essential. Maria V. Pelchar, a member of the fire department in Holyoke, Massachusetts, gives presentations to the Spanish-speaking community in their language. The focus is on inspecting businesses, homes, and to reach out to the community and provide information about fire safety and response activities. Fighting fires runs in the Pelchar family. Maria's father, Roberto, was a fire captain in their native Guatemala. The shortages of bilingual personnel pushes some agencies to use technology to solve language barriers. Police officers in Fort Wayne Indiana have been using voice-recognition translators to communicate with the immigrant population. The device can handle basic phrases and works like a useful Band-Aid but does not replace people like Pelchar.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bilingual Cameroon?

Although Cameroon is supposed to be a bilingual country (French & English) many official documents are only available in French, according to an editorial by Che Anoma. Another 286 languages are spoken in the country.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Communicating with Parents of Bilingual Children

Communicating with parents of immigrant children can be a daunting task because of language barriers. Yet, school officials understand how important parents are in the education of their kids. Three schools in Massachusetts are experimenting with bilingual parent-teacher conferences. Although some of the immigrant kids have reached fluency n English to be mainstreamed, their parents may know little or no English. Some may not know how to read or write. To eliminate the language barrier some schools are also offering adult education classes to teach parents of immigrant kids English.

British Linguist Spoke More Than 40 Languages

George Campbell, a British linguist who spoke about 44 languages, died recently. Campbell had a facility with languages (free registration) and in addition to his speaking ability he was also a scholar having authored a number of books.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bilingual Teachers' Shortage

Although Connecticut produced a record number of graduates from colleges
this year, shortages persist in the bilingual education field. Of the 33,642 students who got degrees, only eight were in bilingual education. Last year there were 80 job openings for bilingual teachers in the state's public schools.

Dual-Language School in Pennsylvania?

The Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania is a dual-language school proposed by a group of parents, graduate students, teachers and Penn State educators. The school would serve kindergarten through fifth grades and would open in the fall of 2005 in the State College Area School District. The school would serve both English-speaking students and those for whom English is not the primary language.

More English Only?

More and more people will be learning English. By 2015 the British Council estimates half of the world population will be either speaking or studying English. The boom is expected to be over by 2050 when the demand for English instruction will drop. These estimates are based on a computer model that estimates demand for English language teaching around the world.

Multilingual Google

Google News will now be available in more languages focusing on these countries: Argentina, Chile, Canada Français, México, Österreich, Schweiz,Suisse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tongue-Tied No More?

There are 1.3 million American college students studying foreign languages, according to a 2002 survey conducted by the Modern Language Association of America. Arabic with 10,584 students ranked 12th, both in total numbers and in its percentage of students. First place is Spanish with 746,267 students, or 53.4 percent of the total foreign language enrollment. French is in second place (201,979 students, or 14.5 percent), German follows (6.5%), then Italian (4.6 %). The fastest-growing enrollment was in American Sign Language. Over the four-year span, its enrollment shot up by a whopping 432 percent, to 60,781.

Multilingual India?

India has more than 3,372 languages but only 216 are spoken by a group of 10,000 persons or more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Bilingual Georgia?

The growing Hispanic population in Georgia is creating the usual challenges other states have already experienced. Questions of language and the importance of bilingualism are becoming issues as counties strive to serve this increasing segment of the population. The Hispanic population has been growing primarily in farming and textile communities. Needed services include education but healthcare and emergency aid.

Denver Top Student Seeks Career in Bilingual Education

The top ranked senior at Montbello's 21st Century High Technology Academy is
Victoria Salomon who has also been active in extra curricular activities. She has been president of four student groups, including the National Honor Society and Montbello's chapter of Get R!eal, an anti-smoking group. She carries a 4.5 grade-point average and plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado, where she plans to major in bilingual education. Her goal after graduating from college is to teach English and work with bilingual students.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Protesting Bilingual Cuts

Parents of Alisal Union School District children in Salinas, CA will protest a proposal to cut back the bilingual education program. The district has said it may cut back or eliminate the bilingual education program. Parents are concerned the cuts would adversely affect recent Spanish-speaking immigrants struggling to learn English.

First Bilingual Bank

Banco Independiente, which recently merged with First State Bank of Celina, is the first bilingual bank in McKinney, Texas. All employees of the bank from the President to clerks are bilingual.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Languages Only for the Rich In England?

Studying French or German is more likely to be available to kids of affluent families in England, according to a study by Staffordshire and Durham universities. Students from poor families are steered toward a business or home economics program while those from affluent families are typically encouraged to take foreign languages. The recent decision o scrap compulsory foreign language education in ages 14-16 might even have a more negative impact particularly on students from poor families.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

English and Spanish Chit-Chat

Chit-Chat in English and Spanish was so interesting to Charles Somerville while traveling in Mexico that he decided to start a group in Granbury, Texas. It's almost a language lab without headphones or cubicles. On Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the original wing of Hood County Library people meet to practice their English and Spanish. It's free and there is no lead person in the discussions. It's very similar to what I have been doing in Italian in the San Luis Obispo area (CA) twice a month. Although I teach Italian at a local college our meetings at a local café are designed to provide an informal opportunity to practice oral skills. We get about ten to fifteen people twice a month. Want to get your group going? Just do it. Start small with a few friends and little by little it will grow to a reasonable and manageable size.

Bilingual Cooking?

To make it easier cooking easier, Ventura Foods brings the company's
popular Gold n Soft (R) Margarine with new bilingual English/Spanish packaging to grocery markets in Southeast Texas and Arizona.


Although anti-immigrant feelings are strong as one can easily see from the recently-passed Arizona proposition denying benefits to undocumented immigrants, banks keep making efforts to attract Latino customers. Many banks care little about the legal status of their customers. The matrícula consular, a Mexican ID card issued to Mexican citizens residing in the US is being accepted by many banks as identification. Other techniques used by banks are having bilingual employees on staff and bilingual signs.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Saudi Students Interested in Italian

The number of students learning Italian at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia increased from 40 to 165, according to Professor Ettore Bruni. Bruni was also the Director of Italian Cultural activities in Jeddah, but because of security reasons little is happening.

More Languages for a Changing World

Norfolk’s Maury High is the only public school in the region teaching Italian in the Virginia Beach area. Italian is also taught at Norfolk Academy, a private institution. More languages are being proposed for next year including Chinese and Arabic. Advancement Placement course reflects this increasing popularity with languages. The College Board has signed off on Advanced Placement courses in Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. Rosa Motta-Bischof, the Italian teacher at Maury High, also teaches Latin at the school. Maury received assistance from the Italian Consulate of Virginia and a $2,000 grant from the National Italian American Foundation for supplies.