International Mother Language Day & Recent Foreign Language News

February 21 is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, which “has been celebrated since 2000 to promote all the languages of the world. This Day represents an effective mobilization opportunity for linguistic diversity and multilingualism.” Spread the language love!

If you don’t already know why being multilingual makes your life better:

Being bilingual may delay Alzheimer’s and boost brain power
Research suggests that bilingual people can hold Alzheimer’s disease at bay for longer, and that bilingual children are better at prioritising tasks and multitasking

Juggling Languages Can Build Better Brains
Once likened to a confusing tower of Babel, speaking more than one language can actually bolster brain function by serving as a mental gymnasium

Bilinguals Find it Easier to Learn a Third Language
Bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language, as they gain a better aptitude for languages

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I love you wall in Paris

And if the constant news about universities cutting budgets and getting rid of foreign language programs gets you down, there is at least one university in the US that is doing the opposite:

U.C. Berkeley campus expands course offerings
More than half a million dollars will be allotted to numerous foreign language courses beginning in 2011-12 and will ultimately result in more than 30 additional language courses offered

Congratulations to the winner of the Mango Passport Bundle giveaway from last week: @plutoinlove Thanks to all the participants and Mango Languages for making the giveaway possible!

Review of Mango Passport & On the Go and Free Product Giveaway for Twitter Users

Last fall, I included Mango Languages for Libraries in my review of language learning websites. If you do not have access to Mango through your library or would like your own personal copy of the program that is not dependent on an internet connection, Mango Languages now offers Passport software and On the Go mp3 […]

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More French Cultural Vocabulary: Proprietary or Brand Names

Proprietary or brand names are also a cultural aspect of learning languages. Many times people aren’t even aware that a word they use for a certain object is in fact a brand name and not the generic name. In English, we have several brand names that have become more common than the original terms, such […]

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Culturally Relevant Photos of French Objects: Learning the Cultural Significance of Words

Following up on my recent post about cultural differences in photos, I have begun taking pictures of culturally relevant objects in France as an extension to my realia project that originally included written objects in French, such as signs, brochures, menus, receipts, etc. Now I want to add realia pertaining to visual differences among cultures and […]

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Brainscape Flashcards: Website and Mobile Apps

Brainscape is a website that offers flashcards on a variety of topics – more than just foreign language vocabulary – using graduated intervals for maximum repetition and reinforcement of least-known items.  This learning technique goes by many names (spaced repetition seems to be the most common among language learning sites) and it is indeed based […]

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Spanish Resources for Teachers and Learners

Hi guys, my name’s Andrew, and I’ve been teaching myself Spanish on and off for over 3 years now, and in the process of doing so I’ve learned an enormous amount about how to learn a foreign language on your own and Spanish in particular, and of course I’ve accumulated a very large collection of […]

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Cultural Differences in Photos: USA and France

In my English classes I taught at the university, we used flashcards with a photo of an object and the English word written out to teach and/or reinforce vocabulary. For most objects, there were no problems with the images provided but every once in a while, my students didn’t quite understand the connection between the […]

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Italian & French in Aosta Valley, Italy

For those who love both Italian and French, I recommend a trip to the Aosta Valley of Italy. It is an autonomous region in the northwestern corner of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Both Italian and French are official languages, though the majority of the inhabitants speak Italian as a first language. Valdôtain, a dialect […]

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In Search of More Multilingual Vocabulary & Verb Conjugation Lists

In my never-ending search for websites that provide multilingual vocabulary lists for comparative study, I came across Poliglottus last week. They have two main sections: Basic Vocabulary of 1,300 words in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian and Basic Verb Forms in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Sardinian.  Yes, Sardinian! You choose two languages, […]

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The Power of Babel by John McWhorter

The Power of Babel is a book about the natural history of language that I read recently while getting over my Christmas cold. (As you have probably noticed from the lack of website updates, I’m still recovering and not doing much besides sleeping and reading.) The book is rather inexpensive at Amazon though it is […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 or paperback book for $29.95.