Tag Archives: english

Polyglot Board Game - the fun way to learn languages

Polyglot Board Game is the Fun Way to Learn Languages

Language enthusiasts, if you have ever wondered if a multilingual language learning board game exists, the answer is yes! Polyglot board game was created by Polyglot Inc. of Miami, Florida, in 1987. I don’t know if the company is still active or if they have created other language learning resources, but let’s take a look at this amazing game.

 

Polyglot Board Game

Polyglot Board Game

My game is obviously a bit faded… but at only $14.95, it was a great deal!

From the back of the box: A mind expanding educational game designed to enrich the understanding and knowledge of foreign languages. Play this fast paced exciting game of words and phrases in one or up to six languages. You’ll not only race for the win, but learn new words, phrases and better pronunciation for languages you want to improve or master. Elevate your command of ENGLISH, SPANISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, and YIDDISH.

 

How to play Polyglot

Instructions are included in all of the languages, except Yiddish (though it could just be missing from my game). Read the instructions in English below. Click on the images to make them larger.

Polyglot Board Game Instructions Polyglot Board Game Instructions 2

 

Polyglot Vocabulary Cards

The two decks of cards include 1,800 words in each of the six languages plus 150 commonly used phrases. Phonetic pronunciation is included for each word and phrase. Even if you don’t have any polyglot friends nearby to play the game with, you can just use the cards to study vocabulary.

White cards are for individual words:

I’m not sure why the Romance languages are split up among German and Yiddish, as I think it’s easier to learn them side-by-side. [Take a look at my Romance languages comparative vocabulary lists if you want to learn several languages together and be able to choose which languages are next to each other.]

Yellow cards are for phrases:

 

The Polyglot Board

And the Tower of Babel board:

Polyglot Board Game board that resembles the Tower of Babel

I bought my Polyglot board game at the International Book Centre in Shelby Township in Michigan back in 2005.

If you’d like your own copy, you are in luck because there are some third-party sellers offering it at Amazon!

Has anyone else ever heard of this game or played it? Know of any other polyglot or multilingual board games?

Become and English lecteur in France in 2017

English Lecteur Positions at French Universities 2017-2018

Teach English in France

Welcome to the 2017-2018 list of English lecteur / lectrice and maître de langue positions at French universities!

Read through this previous post about these English lecteur / lectrice positions in France for more information and the education requirements.  You can also check out last year’s job listings to get an idea of when most deadlines are and which universities were hiring. I’ll continue to add new job listings to this post as I receive them, so be sure to check back often and follow ielanguages on Twitter where I always tweet the new job listings.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Lecteurs/lectrices work up to 300 hours of travaux pratiques (TP) per year, or possibly up to 100 hours of travaux dirigés (TD). TP is generally labs/workshops/testing or other classes that require very little preparation, while TD refers to actual lectures, which obviously require more preparation. For lecteur/lectrice positions, you should not be asked to work more than 100 TD hours per year. Maîtres de langue work 288 hours of TP or 192 hours of TD.  Some universities have been hiring lecteurs and forcing them to work 200 TD hours so they only have to pay the lecteur salary instead of the maître de langue salary. In January 2014, Heike Romoth published an article in SNESUP (bottom of page 17 in the PDF) criticizing this illegal practice. The official décret states that “Les lecteurs de langue étrangère assurent un service annuel en présence des étudiants de 300 heures de travaux pratiques. Leur service peut comporter des travaux dirigés sans que leur nombre d’heures annuelles de travaux dirigés puisse être supérieur à 100.”  If you are hired as a lecteur/lectrice, please make sure the university is not exploiting you by making you do more work for less pay. This has been a problem particularly at universities in and around Paris.

 

Added February 16, 2017:

La Faculté des Sciences et Technologies à Vandoeuvre lès Nancy at Université de Lorraine is hiring an English lecteur. Send CV and lettre de motivation in French by midnight 17 March 2017. [download pdf of job listing]

 

Added February 15, 2017:

L’antenne de Beauvais de l’université de Picardie Jules Verne recherche un maître de langue anglaise pour l’année universitaire 2017-2018 afin d’assurer des TD auprès des étudiants de sa filière LEA. Ce contrat peut être reconduit un an. Les conditions requises pour une candidature sont les suivantes:

– avoir un diplôme français ou étranger d’un niveau équivalent à celui du diplôme national de master.
-n’avoir jamais enseigné en tant que lecteur ou maître de langues dans une université OU n’avoir enseigné qu’une seule année en tant que lecteur ou maître de langues dans une université
-être de langue maternelle anglaise ou pratiquer l’anglais à l’égal de la langue maternelle

Le service est de 192h de cours à l’année. Il comprend des cours d’expression orale et traduction, ainsi que des TD de civilisation britannique, dont le contenu sera fourni. Il est souhaitable que le candidat possède une expérience de l’enseignement de la langue anglaise et des compétences ou connaissances en civilisation britannique (institutions britanniques, Commonwealth, histoire économique de 1945 à nos jours). Il est également possible pour le candidat le souhaitant d’effectuer des heures supplémentaires dans les autres filières de l’antenne. Le service comprend les tâches liées à l’activité d’enseignement, notamment la préparation, la surveillance et la correction des contrôles de connaissance et examens.

Le salaire net par mois est d’environ 1 500 euros, de septembre à août.

Merci de diffuser cette information. Les candidatures (curriculum vitae et lettre de candidature en format .doc ou .pdf) peuvent être envoyées au plus tard le 17 mars 2017 aux deux adresses suivantes:

nmalinovich@gmail.com (Nadia Malinovich)
villers_aurelie@orange.fr (Aurélie Villers)

 

Added February 6, 2017:

L’Université de Poitiers recrute pour 2017-2018:

– 3 lecteurs pour le CAREL à Royan — http://www.carel-royan.fr
– 1 maître de langue pour l’UFR de Pharmacie-Médecine à Poitiers — http://medphar.univ-poitiers.fr
– 1 maître de langue pour l’ENSIP à Poitiers — http://ensip.univ-poitiers.fr
– 1 lecteur pour l’UFR de Lettres & Langues à Poitiers — http://ll.univ-poitiers.fr

Les dossiers sont à envoyer à pascale.drouet@univ-poitiers.fr et joyce.brossard@univ-poitiers.fr AVANT FIN FEVRIER. Les dossiers incomplets ne seront pas examinés. En cas de candidatures plurielles, il faut un seul dossier, mais une lettre de motivation spécifique pour chaque  candidature. [download docx]

 

Added February 6, 2017:

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon will hire four English-language lecteurs for 2017. [download pdf]

 

Added January 21, 2017:

Applications for lecteur positions at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès are due by March 1, 2017. [calendrier pdf] Positions are not always posted on the website, but you can just send your dossier to/contact individual departments. [recrutement lecteur 2017 doc] Keep checking the Documents à Télécharger sidebar for information on how many lecteurs will be needed for 2017-18.

 

Added January 18, 2017:

At the Sorbonne Nouvelle (Université Paris 3), the département du Monde Anglophone recruits several English lecteurs and one maître de langue each year. Deadline is March 13 for the lecteur positions, and March 6 for the maître de langue position.

 


Other Options to Teach English

If you are not qualified to teach at the university level, consider the Teaching Assistant Program in France to teach in the French public school system. The contract is shorter and the pay is less, but it is good experience if you plan to move up to teaching at the university level later on. Deadlines are from December to March, depending on your nationality. (The American program has a deadline of January 31, 2017). There are also other opportunities to teach English in Europe if you would like to teach in other countries.

If you are an American citizen with a Master’s degree in TESOL/linguistics, you can also apply to the English Language Fellow Program to teach English overseas for 10 months. The locations change every year, but there are many options available and the stipend is $30,000.

American English courses at Udemy with Dr. Jennie

American English Courses at Udemy

American English Courses at Udemy.com

American Pronunciation and English for French Speakers Courses

Are you learning American English? Do you need help with American pronunciation? I have been busy the past few months creating American English courses for Udemy, and they are finally ready! Currently, there are two courses available:

The pronunciation course is a paid course, but if you subscribe to the ielanguages.com newsletter, you will receive a coupon code for a large discount. (Look for the code in the final welcome email.) There are a few preview videos you can watch first if you’d like to the check out the content.

The English for French Speakers course is free! (And it’s actually still in the review process, but you can join and start learning now anyway.) Even if your native language is not French, most of the lectures are in English only so you may still find it useful. And did I mention it’s free?

Promo video for American English Pronunciation: Vowels and Consonants course:

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’0′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBDeb5pVqxM[/responsive_video]

 

Promo video for American English for French Speakers course:

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’0′ hide_logo=’0′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’0′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3Mww1sOpQU[/responsive_video]

 

I plan to create another pronunciation course on Stress and Rhythm and as well as a vocabulary course on English for Academic Purposes in the future. I will also continue to add new content to the existing courses based on student feedback, so let me know what else you would like to learn.

 

Thanks for your interest in learning American English!

– Dr. Jennie

Mutual Intelligibility between English and Scots

Frisian is often cited as the language that is closest to English, but Scots is actually closer (i.e. has a higher degree of mutual intelligibility with English). Not Scottish English, which is a variety of English, or Scottish Gaelic, which is actually a Celtic rather than a Germanic language, but Lowland Scots.

ScotsLanguageMap

Map of the areas where the Scots language is spoken.

There are just over 100,000 native speakers and it is classified as a traditional language by the Scottish government and a regional or minority language by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Here is a lecture in Scots about the history of the Scots language. How much can you understand?

Trilingual Books (English-Spanish-French) for Children

I am constantly looking for trilingual book (English-Spanish-French) for my young niece and nephew. So far I have found two series on Amazon.com:

Little Pim, which has 4 books of numbers, colors, feelings and animals as well as tabs for little fingers to pull

I love to sleep and I love to eat, which are also touch and feel books

Do you know of other trilingual books?

English and “Correct” Words in French

L’Académie française has once again called for more “defense” of the French language against incorrect use of the language, especially with regards to Anglicisms. I do not agree with l’Académie’s prescriptivist ideas on vocabulary use and trying to force the formal (often written) language onto the spoken form. It is one thing to determine if a sentence is grammatically correct concerning function words, verb conjugations, word order, etc. but it is completely different to proclaim that certain content words are incorrect since vocabulary choice is highly dependent on the topic, context, medium (speech/writing) and audience. As long as the meaning of the words are similar (such as formal vs. informal variants), there is no correct or incorrect use of a word over another. It is merely what is appropriate or not to that particular situation. Saying “Hey, what’s up?” to the president is not incorrect – because that would imply that it would never be used at all by native speakers, when in fact it is used quite often – but it is inappropriate to use an informal variant in a formal situation.

Telegraph has a recent article on L’Académie’s fight against English words in French. Their website includes a new page called “Dire, Ne pas dire” which includes les fautes, les tics de langage et les ridicules qui s’observent le plus fréquemment dans le français contemporain. Jean-Matthieu Pasqualini of the Académie said “We want to restore courage to all those in France and outside France who endeavour to defend and enrich the language. Let French remain a great language of communication and culture.” But what does he mean by enrich? Claiming that some words in contemporary French (that aren’t even Anglicisms) are absurd or wrong doesn’t exactly seem like a good start.

France’s culture ministry also has a new website for people to propose French words in place of the borrowed English words at wikilf.culture.fr which states “il ne s’agit nullement de déclarer la guerre aux mots étrangers, anglais en particulier, qui sont passés dans la langue courante – pas question de toucher au week-end et au sandwich – mais d’anticiper l’utilité d’un terme étranger qui pourrait s’installer en français.” (Telegraph’s translation: “This is in no way about declaring war on foreign terms, English in particular, that have entered into common usage like sandwich or weekend. It is about anticipating the usefulness of a foreign term that could be settling into the French language.”) While I’m happy to see that they acknowledge the natural state of constant evolution and change that occurs in all human languages, the fact that they are trying to propose French translations for Anglicisms that have yet to become so entrenched in the language seems a bit suspect. There is nothing wrong with wanting to use the French translations, of course, but why is it considered ok to use sandwich and week-end but not casting or email? Just because sandwich and week-end have been used in French for longer, that somehow makes them more acceptable?

I know I have expressed my annoyance at the use of English words in French in the past, but I am not frustrated because of the existence of the borrowings, which are natural and normal in any language. I am frustrated that language learning materials do not include the borrowings or other aspects of contemporary French vocabulary. They only tend to include the standardized form of the language, or what people should say (dictated by l’Académie) instead of what people actually say, which is not useful for students who need to comprehend the various dialects and styles and which leaves them with an inaccurate and stereotypical portrayal of the French language.

Another reason that resistance to borrowings is a bit unreasonable is that certain words in English are actually borrowings from old French, which then have later been re-borrowed back into French in the newer Anglicized form. Toast in English comes from old French toster, whereas modern French stopped using toster in favor of pain grillé, but has also borrowed toast from modern English. So is le toast really an Anglicism if it was originally French?

Are you French or English, Mr. Toast?

When it comes to Anglicisms, many people like to point out that Quebecois French has more English borrowings than French in France (which isn’t true) to justify their prejudiced view that Quebecois French isn’t “real” French. That’s just as ridiculous as saying American English isn’t real English or Mexican Spanish isn’t real Spanish simply because it is not spoken in the “mother country” where the language originated. I do not understand the colonialistic attitudes about language use, just as I do not understand why some people make a connection between the older form of a language and a supposed superiority of the variety that is closest to the old form. A dialect that is more conservative with change is somehow more desirable than the others, yet many people believe that the mother country dialect is also the most conservative which is not true. Quebecois French contains many aspects of Old French that speakers in France no longer use, which some wrongly assume are Anglicisms when in fact they are Old French.

In Quebecois, Belgian and Swiss French the three meals of the day are le déjeuner, le dîner, and le souper whereas most areas of France nowadays use le petit déjeuner, le déjeuner and le dîner.* Quebec French did not borrow le souper from English supper; English borrowed it from Old French soper which turned into souper in modern French. In France, le souper is another meal even later than dinner and is usually associated with rural areas or an older generation. The words dinner and supper in English have also changed meaning somewhat over time. In my dialect of English, dinner and supper are synonyms for the evening meal, but in other forms of English, dinner is the midday meal (instead of lunch) and supper is the evening meal (instead of dinner) so the older French, current Quebec and English meals were parallels at one time: déjeuner = breakfast (dé + jeûne: undo or break fast), dîner = dinner and souper = supper.

Wordreference.com has a thread on the names of the meals where native speakers contribute what they say in their region. Looking at posts #2 and #6, you can see how far the idea of bon usage and correct French (i.e. what l’Académie says is correct) has spread. I quote from the forum:

De manière correcte et quelles que soient les régions de France :
on déjeune à midi
on dîne ou on soupe le soir (plus utilisé en milieu rural)

and the post that made me nearly cry, which refers to the above post:

Tout-à-fait d’accord. Mais chez nous (sud-est), on continue à parler de “dîner” à midi. Chez moi, quand j’étais petite, on se simplifiait encore plus la vie : dîner, midi et soir . Le “déjeuner” c’était le petit déj’. Quand je suis sortie dans le monde, j’ai été très étonnée qu’on l’appelle “petit” !

Maintenant, grâce aux médias, la langue s’uniformise et on respecte de plus en plus le bon usage français.

I wonder if the millions of people in France who don’t use déjeuner and dîner in the same manner as the first poster know that they do not speak “correct” French. As for the second poster, I feel sorry that she thinks that her native dialect is not correct while at the same time praising the effects of standardization, which lead to her dialect being considered incorrect in the first place.

These are issues of geographic variation, but using one word instead of the other is not incorrect. Compare the use of pop vs. soda vs. coke in the US. I’m from Michigan so I say pop, but I don’t consider the use of soda or coke to be wrong or incorrect. They are simply different ways of saying the same thing depending on where you are from or where you are currently located. All dialects of a language should be seen as equals but the standardized form used in most writing, and which is generally based on the upper classes, is often considered the only correct variety. There is a place for the standardized form, especially for communication purposes and even teaching students how to produce language, but the other varieties are also just as valid as human languages and should not be reduced to incorrect deviations of the prestige form.

* Even more confusing is the spoken/informal use of déjeuner to mean “to eat breakfast” even in areas where the three meals are le petit déjeuner, le déjeuner and le dîner!