The Linguist

The Linguist 58-1 Feb-Mar2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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30 The Linguist Vol/58 No/1 2019 OPINION & COMMENT The problem with Dunglish Regarding the news item 'Academics Fear Death of Dutch' (TL57,6), I would say that this is not only the case in universities, but also in the corporate world and the rest of Dutch society. In general, Dutch people have always argued that their English proficiency is up to standard. But it is a worrying fact that universities and businesses do not seem to care too much about the level of English spoken by their lecturers or managers. The popular term 'Dunglish', indicating the Dutch way of speaking English (i.e. with lots of mistakes), was not invented by accident. Having their English-language theses marked by Dunglish-speaking lecturers, or listening to 'bad' pronunciation during lectures, could give university students a poor start to their international careers, where good proficiency in English is still the best way forward. Anita van Adelsbergen MCIL Why Casey Wilson decided to go into teaching after a Spanish and Psychology BA at Roehampton Just the job Q Why did you choose to study languages at university? A I love to talk and travel, and that has enabled me to learn so much about myself. I studied Spanish at university because I found it beautiful and wanted to explore it in detail. Learning languages has given me the chance to travel and work abroad, and to be part of so many different cultures. It has improved my pedagogy and enabled me to teach concepts that are unusual to other non-native speakers. Q When did you decide to become a teacher? A After my degree, I taught English with the British Council in Madrid, and I found helping young people to learn languages very fulfilling. I struggled as a student, so I could explain linguistic concepts with confidence because I had spent so much time studying them. Q What is your role as Head of Languages at Ark Acton Academy? A Every day involves a strong focus on planning and lesson delivery, liaising with colleagues on best practice, and having fun teaching Spanish and French. We plan lots of trips abroad and hold in-school events that develop interest in the target language, for example creating market places in the school hall and putting on plays. We also offer community languages, which allows pupils to gain a GCSE in a home language such as Somali, Arabic or Polish. The biggest challenge is convincing students to choose a language at GCSE; the other is getting boys to see the value in learning languages. Q How has your career progressed? A I completed a PGCE in Spanish with French and taught at a secondary for two years before being promoted to Head of Department. I have no doubt that I will continue to promote language learning to young people. I do agree with Renata Towlson ('Traumatic Exposure', TL57,6). She writes about community interpreting, but vicarious trauma can happen to translators too. In the early 1980s, I found myself translating details of torture in Latin American dictatorships for presentation to the international community. I was the obscure last link in a long chain of reporters, collators, document smugglers and others who, at great danger to themselves, were bringing these human rights violations into the public domain. It was not possible to do simple word-to- word translations. I read the descriptions of torture in Spanish or Portuguese and then put my visualisations into English. It was distressing. My pain was nothing like that of those who placed themselves in danger to make this information public, let alone the agony of those actually tortured. But those images haunted me then and still do, to a much lesser extent, today. Tony Coates MCIL Trauma and the translator STAR LETTER The letter 'World Cup: Flemish v Dutch' (TL57,6) said a BBC News item referred to the languages of Belgium as Dutch and French incorrectly. Yet the official Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie) gives the following summary: "Belgium is a multilingual country, with Dutch being spoken in the northern region (Flanders), French in the south (Wallonia) and a small German- speaking area in the east." Ed Summerell MCIL On Flemish versus Dutch Email with your views IMAGES © SHUTTERSTOCK

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