National Foreign Language Week & Promoting Language Learning

This week (March 7-13) is National Foreign Language Week in the US.  It was begun in 1957 by the Alpha Mu Gammar Honor Society to help make students aware of how vital foreign language study is. Of course, if you visit my website and read my blog, then you already know how vital it is and that I promote language learning more often than once a year. So instead of preaching to the choir (and because my translation work is keeping me really busy these days), I just wanted to mention J from 52 Languages, 52 Weeks‘ grant proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition in Canada.

His proposal is to teach new languages to preschool children by converting “daycares into language nests, places for pre-schoolers to be immersed in a second language and become bilingual from a very early age. It can be a language from the child’s cultural heritage, or it can be an entirely new language to give the child a head start in life.”

His Language Nest project is in the $25,000 grant category under Education.  Voting ends April 30, and you can vote everyday until then. You can also connect with Facebook instead of creating an account to sign in. Also be sure to check out the other participants because you have 10 votes to use each day and there are many other worthy projects among the Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, and Neighbourhoods categories as well.

The American version of the Pepsi Refresh Project has different categories (only Arts & Music, Communities, and Education) and deadlines, so check out their website if you are a resident of the US and interested in participating later this year.

Bureaucracy in France: Frustrating for Foreigners and the French

+-*Every year in March I have to renew my residency card in France. This involves collecting paperwork and a trip to the préfecture with David (since I am a resident of France thanks to the fact that we are PACSed) at least two months before the current carte de séjour expires. Every encounter with the […]

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France has a new département d’outre-mer: Mayotte

+-*As of March 2011, France now has five overseas départements instead of four. Mayotte was previously a collectivité d’outre-mer, but now it is officially a département d’outre-mer joining Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and La Réunion – all of which also have the status of région. So where is Mayotte? Geographically it is the 4th island in […]

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Knowledge of French popular culture: m’a tuer

+-*An example of French popular culture: the phrase m’a tuer I figured even Voici wouldn’t have made such a glaring grammatical mistake on their cover (it “should” be Twitter m’a tueé, using the past participle and agreeing with the preceding direct object) so I asked David what it referred to. He told me about the […]

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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 […]

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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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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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