The Linguist

The Linguist 55,3

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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Page 4 of 35 JUNE/JULY 2016 The Linguist 5 A level courses in modern foreign languages (MFL) are becoming "financially unviable" in some state schools in England due to falling student numbers, according to a new report. The exam system itself was seen as "one of the principal barriers to the successful development of language teaching," according to the research by the British Council. The 14th Language Trends Survey said the situation in secondary schools in England was "deeply de-motivating for both pupils and teachers," with staff reporting "deep concerns" about language learning. In October, the Independent Schools' Modern Languages Association (ISMLA) warned of a "crisis in modern foreign languages" and suggested that German could disappear from schools altogether. GCSE entries for the language have fallen by 10% since 2014. For more details, see 'Inside Parliament' (p.6). Exams: 'barrier' to languages The latest from the languages world Govt attitude to Afghan interpreters 'inhumane' In May, the Government was accused of "hiding from its responsibilities" to Afghan interpreters who have worked for the British Armed Forces after an interpreter reportedly killed himself while waiting to be deported. The Lords heard cross-bench criticism of the home Office's attitude towards former military interpreters. In March, the home Secretary, Theresa May, won an appeal to overturn a ban on returning asylum seekers to Afghanistan, imposed last year after the courts ruled the country was too dangerous. The former Liberal Democrat leader, Lord Ashdown, called the situation "inexplicable, inhumane and a matter of shame for all of us". he added that people who had risked their lives for British troops were "languishing in despair in Calais". In March, the party's current leader, Tim Fallon, accused David Cameron of sitting "idly by" and letting this happen. "This shames Britain, shames our values and shames our brave Armed Forces," he continued. "While he has been in power, not a single Afghan interpreter has been allowed to come to Britain under an 'intimidation scheme' designed for interpreters facing attacks." The intimidation scheme is one of two available to military interpreters in Afghanistan; the 'redundancy scheme' has enabled some former military interpreters to resettle in the NEWS & EDITORIAL UK. however, it excludes many former interpreters (such as those who left service before December 2012), so some are forced to flee and claim asylum when they reach the UK instead. Such claims are assessed on an individual basis, and former interpreters are often returned to the parts of Afghanistan that the home Office considers to be 'safe'. In May, two interpreters, who claim that the intimidation and redundancy policies are discriminatory because they do not afford Afghan interpreters the same protection as Iraqi interpreters following the war in Iraq, lost their case and were intending to appeal. Earlier that month, Lord Fowler had argued in the Lords that Afghan interpreters should be afforded the same treatment. Defending the Government's position, Lord howe claimed the situation in Iraq was "radically different" as there were safe areas in Afghanistan, despite the fact that 2015 had the highest number of civilian deaths in the country ever recorded. In March, an interpreter who had served in helmand Province was granted the right to remain in the UK after evidence was presented to the high Court of the risks to former Army staff in Afghanistan. This led to reports that the Government was reviewing its decision to return former interpreters to Afghanistan, with the home Office refusing to comment. The benefits of speaking slang A new study indicates that the positive cognitive effects of being multilingual are shared by people who are bi-dialectal. Researchers at the universities of Cambridge, Cyprus and the Cyprus University of Technology found that children speaking more than one dialect of the same language did as well in memory, attention and cognitive flexibility tests as multilingual children. Both groups did better than the monolingual children tested. See Cornish cuts The UK Government has axed funding for the Cornish language. The Cornwall Council, which has received up to £150,000 a year to support Cornish since it was recognised by the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in 2003, received confirmation of the cut in April. In 2014, Cornish people were given minority status under EU rules protecting national minorities. © ShUTTERSTOCK/N ATE DERRICK

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