Language Teaching and the Importance of the Role of Translation

Language Teaching and the Importance of the Role of Translation

Language teaching theories and methods September has come and, in many countries, its arrival ushers in a new scholastic year. In schools, many students are involved in language learning. Indeed, they study one or more languages, other than their native one. Foreign language teaching refers to the teaching of a language that is not native. Firstly, it is important to make a distinction between foreign language and second language, especially if we think about English language teaching. The terms English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL) are not synonymous. Indeed, the difference between ESL and EFL lies in the environment in which it is taught. We refer to ESL when we learn English in a country where it is spoken. In this case, students can practice it outside of the scholastic context. EFL, instead, is taught in countries where it is not spoken outside of the scholastic context, with little chance of practising it. This is true also for the teaching of other languages. However, as English is increasingly becoming an international language and is used as a lingua franca in countries that do not speak it, the distinction between ESL and EFL is so blurred that it is not always easy to differentiate them. Language teaching methodologies Over the years, different theories of language teaching have emerged, resulting in different language teaching methodologies. We can think of the innatist theory, according to which children have an innate ability to discover language rules. This would explain why we are able to learn complex grammar rules. If we shift to the behaviourist theory, instead, we discover...
Climate Change in Africa: How Translation and Ecolinguistics Are Helping

Climate Change in Africa: How Translation and Ecolinguistics Are Helping

Africa is the world’s hottest and second largest continent on Earth. Made up of 54 countries, there are approximately 1,000-2,000 different languages spoken across the continent. Africa has barely contributed towards climate change and yet it is one of the hardest hit by its effects. The impact of climate change in Africa Africa has experienced significant increases in temperatures and dramatic decreases in precipitation. Tropical storms have also been more frequent and more intense, as well as dust storms in June and July. Higher temperatures, drought, changing rainfall patterns; all these climate changes are already a reality and will only worsen if we don’t take action urgently. How translation is helping fight against climate change The main reason for climate change is the burning of fossil fuels. Other reasons are deforestation and farming. Indeed, all are causing the planet to heat up. But global warming is only one aspect of climate change. Human activities are directly responsible for climate change and people therefore play a pivotal role in its reversal. The population of Africa is currently 1,374,627,468. In some countries of Africa, the lack of adequate education and limited access to knowledge pose real widespread problems. Consequently, most people in Africa are not aware of environmental issues. In addition, in some of its countries, people don’t speak English or languages other than their own native language. Therefore, if a person can’t speak a certain language or isn’t aware of environmental issues, how could they understand the meaning of global warming or do anything against climate change? One of the best ways to help people in Africa address climate change...
Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Chinese to English Translations of Ancient Chinese Poetry

Invitation to Classical Chinese Poetry has been one of the most ancient and significant genres of literature all over the world. One of the reasons is its ability to express millions of delicate feelings. Chinese poetry is written in a way that enables readers to enjoy the beauty of the language. There have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. As a result, these poems have become more popular around the world. In this blog post, we focus on Chinese poetry and try to explore its depth through a poem from a prominent Chinese poet so read on! What is Chinese poetry and why is it so attractive? With its long history, China has one of the richest cultural backgrounds in the world. Some of the very first elements of their cultural heritage appeared in the form of poems. Those poems used Classical Chinese (also known as Literary Chinese). They are far different from any modern form of the Chinese language we know today. So why haven’t they all been forgotten by now? In fact, many people still love and study these poems today. It is due to the sophisticated and beautiful way in which they express ideas and provide profound insights into life and beauty. Classical Chinese to English Although translating Chinese ancient poetry is an extremely challenging task, there have been many attempts to translate poems from Classical Chinese to English. Thanks to those contributions, we now have access to the world of old Chinese poetry. We’ve picked one of the highly appreciated poems translated from Classical Chinese to English so that you...
Literary Series and Their Influence on Language and Culture

Literary Series and Their Influence on Language and Culture

Some literary series enjoy more success than others… We assume you all know Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, or Narnia? In this blog post, we focus on two of these literary series to dig deeper into how much success they’ve had and how they’ve influenced us all. The Worldwide Success of Literary Series Harry Potter Translations Some literary series have seen worldwide success. Even if you’ve never watched their film adaptations, you may have heard a lot about them! We all know Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire aka Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. These are indeed four of the most renowned ones. But do you really know how they became so successful? Their worldwide success is due, without a doubt, to their numerous translations! Without the translated versions, they would have probably become successful in their original language and country but not worldwide. Do you know how many translations there are for each famous book series? Let’s focus on Harry Potter, probably the best example here. J. K. Rowling, a British author, wrote the Harry Potter fantasy series. She published her seven novels between 1997 and 2007. The books became immensely popular. They’ve received endless positive reviews and have met commercial success worldwide since the release of the first novel. As at February 2018, the book series has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. It’s the best-selling book series in history and it was translated into 80 languages! The first volume was even translated into Latin and Ancient...
The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

Some data about the Bengali language The Bengali language, also called Bangla, is the official and national language of Bangladesh, but not the only one. “Bangla” is written বাংলা in the Bengali script. This writing system (brahmic script) is the 6th most widely used one in the world. The original inhabitants of the Bengal region of Southwest Asia are the Bengalis. 98 % of Bangladeshi people speak Bengali as their first language. It is also one of the official languages of India. Indeed, 7.1 % of Indians speak it. It is the most widely spoken of the 22 languages of India, after Hindi. Other communities speak it, for example in Pakistan, in the UK or in the USA. In a nutshell, it is the 5th most spoken language by native speakers in the world. It is also the 7th most spoken language by the total number of speakers. There are around 267 million speakers, of which 230 million are native. The evolution of the Bengali language The Bengali language can be traced back to 3500 B.C. to the Indo-European language family. Many assume that it was born from Sanskrit. But scholars and linguists believe that it derives from Indo-Aryan languages like Magadhi Prakrit and Pali. Modern Bengali uses words taken from Turkish, Portuguese, Persian or English, for example. We can divide the evolution of the Bengali language into three stages: Old Bengali, Middle Bengali and Modern Bengali. Old Bengali dates back to around 650 A.D. when priests and scholars widely used Sanskrit in literary works in Bengal. However, this is a bit of a dark area in the history...
English Language Etymology from a French Perspective

English Language Etymology from a French Perspective

English is the product of many cultures and despite being of Germanic origin, an important part of English language etymology finds its source in the French language. In Twenty Years After – the sequel to The Three Musketeers by French novelist Alexandre Dumas – D’Artagnan said “English is little more than badly pronounced French”. Several years later, George Clémenceau (early 20th century French PM) said the same. Is there any truth in their claim? To find out, we need to go back in time and look at English language etymology in its historical context. But first, here are a few useful definitions. English Language Etymology: Definitions Cognates Cognates are words that share a common ancestry. True cognates might not be instantly recognizable; they only share the same etymology. But they can also have the same spelling and meaning, or they can be loanwords or calques. They can be close cognates (same meaning but slight variation in spelling) and even false cognates (or “false friends” – same spelling but different meaning). For example: True cognates: to attest < attester, from Latin ad-testari, curfew < couvre-feu, from the Old French cuevrefeu (used in the Middle Ages when fires had to be covered and people had to be home and off the streets by a certain time), coward < couard, Old French.Close cognates: analytique > analytical, créatif > creative, banque > bank.False friends: magasin (FR) = shop (EN) not magazine (publication), douche (FR) = shower (EN) not douche (EN) (medical term or type of person), bras (FR) = arm (EN) not bra (EN) (undergarment). Read more about the etymology of words between...