The Linguist

The Linguist 54,3

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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I returned recently from Hong Kong and China, and was struck particularly during this visit by the different attitude to language and its role in identity and communication. In the place of our sometimes purist view of language as a subject of study, an academic discipline or a tool for for the transfer of information or data, I discovered English as a lingua franca – a means of communicating for speakers of not one but often two or more 'other' languages, and as a means of getting things done in the world. Andy Kirkpatrick, in his keynote speech at the opening of the Hong Kong Society's first annual Conference on Language Studies and Linguistics, challenged the notion (and utility) of 'correctness' in communications where both speakers are conversing in an acquired language. The full conference programme included the presentation of almost 40 papers on topics ranging from Conversational Code-Switching to Hong Kong Chinese in Legal Bilingualism and Breast Cancer Metaphors in Hong Hong, providing a stimulating range of presentations and debate. I also visited our DipTrans Centre in Shanghai, which runs an online training course for examination candidates and is starting to attract interest from other cities across China. Its numbers are rising and it is keen to promote membership among its 'graduates', who are achieving above average results for the qualification. I gave a lecture to English and Translation majors at Fudan University, one of China's top 3, which runs a Masters in Translating and Interpreting (MTI) – a professional level programme that aims to cultivate strong, practical abilities in translation and professional skills, very much along the lines of our own professional qualifications. Staying with the professional theme, CIOL was recently admitted, with observer status, to the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT), an organisation promoting professionalism in the sector and to which more than 100 professional associations are affiliated. We hope eventually to become a full and fully contributing member. Professionalisation also underpins a new project that IoLET is working on. In January, it won the contract to deliver the Foreign and Commonwealth Office examinations. IoLET has a history of involvement with the assessment of diplomatic language skills and it was good to be entrusted once again with these important professional exams for diplomats and civil servants using their language skills at work around the world. IoLET took on a major refresh of FCO examination materials and has, over the last three months, been preparing 340 examination papers across 38 world languages – a challenge as well as an opportunity to work on something new and different. Lastly, we say hello to Jane Galbraith, who joined the Institute as Head of Membership in March. Jane has a background in individual and corporate membership organisations. She brings fresh eyes and ideas as to how we might develop membership and will be keen to talk to and hear from members about your experiences of and desires for membership of the Institute. Having Jane with us helps to fill the gap left when our Membership Manager went on maternity leave in February. Congratulations to Soheila and her husband on the birth of their beautiful little boy, Eli. Ann Carlisle In the last issue, I mentioned that I had started learning German. In fact, my first choice would have been Danish – a language that has fascinated me since I found out that, while some phrases were intelligible due to their similarity with English, others were completely alien. A trip to Copenhagen and a love of Danish drama cemented it for me (surely one of the joys of watching The Killing was drawling 'Troels' along with the TV). It therefore came as a surprise to learn that Danish is considered to be one of the 'ugliest' languages in the world. Why we find certain tongues more beautiful than others is interesting (and explains my divergent attitude to Danish), but it may also be important to the survival of endangered languages (p.24). I admit that my German study so far has been almost exclusively limited to Duolingo and other apps. It has been a great way to begin learning the language (how it sounds, basic grammar, word acquisition) but the proliferation of such apps raises a number of questions – most importantly, how effective they are and how they are used. We start to explore these concerns in this issue with a look at apps aimed specifically at children (p.16). Opinions are divided as to whether or not The Linguist should print articles in languages other than English – the language shared by all CIOL members – but we felt that it would be interesting to offer contributors to our series of members' profiles the chance to provide a version in their native languages. The first non-English instalment is in Spanish (p.33). Let us know what you think via Finally, please follow us @Linguist_CIOL if you use Twitter. Miranda Moore 4 The Linguist Vol/54 No/3 2015 NEWS & EDITORIAL CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S NOTES EDITOR'S LETTER Apply to become a CIOL member at > Membership Subscribe at > Journal

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