Alumination – or just an allusion?

It’s 8am and you’re listening to Today with Nick Robinson and…a whole needless storm of pedantic nonsense. The UK’s flagship current affairs breakfast show was reduced to a maelstrom of frenzied listener criticism by Robinson’s innocuous reference to ‘alumINIUM’ as ‘aluMINUM’ in an interview with an American academic. Such was the force of Radio 4 Read More

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The Final Countdown

And so, the end is near… Another year ticks by – and the countdown to Brexit has well and truly begun, without any real picture emerging of a post-leave world. We’re told that ‘English is Great’ by the government’s aggressive marketing of language skills in China, but that smacks of an increasingly desperate attempt to Read More

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Exporting is great–in theory

As Britain tears itself apart worrying over its EU Hokey-Cokey, the government is trying to reassure nervous industry leaders with a series of high-profile TV ads showcasing the many and various possibilities for exporting British ideas and products around the globe. This laudable campaign makes it clear that there is a world of choice out Read More

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Worlds Apart

As a teacher and trainer I’ve worked in two very distinct but nonetheless related fields, namely academia and business. The relationship is the English language, but otherwise there are few correlations between these spheres. This begs the question ‘why?’ Why, when our world is so sharply focused on the ‘graduateness’ of students, do we instead Read More

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The Lost Art of Languages

One of the least appealing traits of the globalisation of English is the flawed belief that we no longer need to learn local languages in order to communicate with other nations. This is an incredibly dangerous and short-term approach which denies one simple but unquestionable fact: the more we learn about languages, the better equipped Read More

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Put Up or Shut Up?

Many of the ways we communicate are entirely instinctive–we do it because we always have. But what is instinctive is also sometimes thoughtless and when we communicate across language boundaries we need a lot more empathy and a much better sense of judgment. Here’s a quick and simple example of how something we do instinctively Read More

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One Way Street

It’s a widely-accepted fact that English is the global business language, and that it will continue to be so for many years to come. What is less clear is to what extent this fact has allowed native speakers–the 400 million or so people on the planet fortunate to have been born in an English-speaking environment–to Read More

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