The Linguist

The Linguist 57,2 – April/May 2018

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 APRIL/MAy The Linguist 5 The latest from the languages world A new study indicates that bilingual children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) find it easier to switch between tasks than those who speak only one language. Scientists at McGill University, Montreal, asked children aged 6-9 to sort objects on a screen in different ways, and found that the children with ASD who spoke more than one language "performed significantly better" in the more complex part of the test. Researchers Ana Maria Gonzalez-Barrero and Aparna Nadig are now conducting a follow-up study comparing the development of the monolingual and bilingual children with ASD over 3-5 years. cdev.12979/full NEWS & EDITORIAL In the media PHILIP HARDING-ESCH The year began with several stories that shine a light on the evolving role of English and other languages. Published at the end of 2017, Professor Mike Kelly's Languages after Brexit led to a special report in The Telegraph on 'Why Brexit Britain needs German, Arabic and Mandarin to Thrive outside EU'. Also covered by The Express ('Learn Arabic!'), the ideas presented in the book generated much reader debate. International Mother Tongue Day, on 21 February, was celebrated live on BBC TV, as Welsh weatherman Owain Wyn Evans presented his forecast in nine languages. The day was also marked by the publication of the Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World, calling for "policies that value and uphold multilingualism and language rights" across the world – another sign that the primacy of the traditional international languages is being challenged. These issues were exemplified by news stories from the UK, including the collapse of Stormont talks in February, ostensibly due to disagreements over the recognition of the Irish language in Northern Ireland: 'Arlene Foster: "No stand-alone Irish language act"' (BBC News). Incredibly, this appears to have led the UK government to "omit Irish and Ulster Scots" from its latest four-yearly report to the Council of Europe on its implementation of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. More happily, 'MPs made History in Westminster's First Debate in Welsh' (BBC News), a year after the House of Commons changed its rules to allow Welsh to be spoken. Previously, the only languages allowed were English – and Norman French! Encouraging reports that EAL (English as an additional language) pupils are now "outperforming native speakers" were challenged as "profoundly misleading" (TES), because "smaller groups of children with high and unmet needs are hidden within a larger group". Philip Harding-Esch is a freelance languages project manager and consultant. 'Macron's French Language Initiative Meets Resistance – from French speakers', 20/2/18 [President Macron] said French would be "the first language of Africa" and "perhaps the world"… Still, the Language of Love should not be seen as a "relic of a colonial power". Except that, for some especially writers hailing from those former colonies it is. They say that the French publishing world continues to treat those writers as Francophone outsiders and not as an integral part of French literature. In January, the prize- winning Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou said he didn't want to be part of Macron's project to rejuvenate 'La Francophonie', a network of 57 French-speaking countries. What the papers say… 'Have we Reached Peak English in the World?', 27/2/18 It is this lagged growth of English, reflecting US influence hitherto, that we are now experiencing… The natural expectation will be that after the new powers, such as China, India or Brazil, establish themselves economically, politically (and probably militarily), their linguistic and cultural influence too will come to be felt, among those who want to do business with them, and then with one another. But as with all newly dominant languages, there will be a lag. 'Pupils who Speak English as Second Language Overtake Native Speakers, Figures Show', 25/1/18 This year, the average Attainment 8 score [based on eight GCSE subjects] of children who speak English as a second language was 46.8, compared to 46.3 for native speakers… Both this year and last, children with English as a second language made better progress on average than native speakers, although this year the gap widened between the two. Can bilingualism aid autistic kids? The inaugural TA first translation award has been won by translator Bela Shayevich and editor Jacques Testard, of Fitzcarraldo publishing, for their work on Second-Hand Time, written originally in Russian by the Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich. The £2,000 prize aims to reward "translators new to the profession and the editors who work with them" and to "make a statement about what should be valued", according to translator Daniel Hahn, who established the prize with support from the Society of Authors and the British Council. Translation-Prizes/TA-First-Translation-Prize Translator wins new £2k prize © SHUTTERSTOCK

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