MEITS Blog


MEITS does the Festival of Ideas

by Katie Howard

There is little doubt that having some knowledge and appreciation of different languages can provide us with unique access to cultures, communities and countries across the world. It is with this thought in mind that our MEITS Festival of Ideas event, Languages: Your passport to the world, took place on 20 October 2018.

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Does language learning lead to healthier ageing?

by Mariana Vega-Mendoza

I remember very well my own journey into learning a foreign language for the first time. I was back home in Mexico, and I was studying English at school. I was mostly learning vocabulary and grammar, but at that point I didn’t need to use it to communicate. 

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Learning languages outside of the classroom: a visit to the museum

by Linda Fisher

We all remember the excitement of going on a school trip. Early starts, smelly sandwiches, laughter. Even if it was a very rare "summer lesson" when we were allowed to work outdoors (thanks Mrs Caldwell), that change of scene gave everything an air of adventure and let us lay down memories to savour later in a series of "remember when"s.

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French grammar – what a waste of time!

by Wendy Ayres-Bennett

French grammar – and the difficulty of acquiring the rules of le bon usage or correct usage – is once again in the news. Two schoolteachers from Belgium have had the audacity to suggest that the rules for past participle agreement with the verb avoir ‘to have’ should be simplified. Why? Because learning these rules takes some 80 hours of teaching in school, and this time, the teachers argue, could be better spent on other things. 

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Bueno, pues molt bé, pues happy Diada

by Aleksandra (Ola) Gocławska

Long before its international associations with events in New York, 11 September has marked Catalonia’s national day, the Diada. Originally celebrated to pay tribute to those involved in the defense – and eventual loss – of Barcelona in the Spanish War of Succession (1714), the day has become increasingly politicized since 2012. Last year´s Diada was celebrated with a multitudinous pro-independence demonstration, less than a month before the referendum on Catalan sovereignty. 

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What’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?

by Karen Forbes

A few days ago, I was asked whether I thought language learning would become redundant in the foreseeable future because of the development of machine learning and translation technology. Or as some of my, shall we say, slightly less enthusiastic former students might have put it: “But what’s the point in learning languages when we can just use Google translate?”

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The diary of an exile

by Daniel McAuley

In a few weeks I’ll be moving to England from my native Northern Ireland. I’m an Irish speaker, and last week, in the library, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have easy access to a well-stocked library of books written in Irish for very much longer, so I took a quick browse in that aisle to see if there was anything to catch my eye. On one of the shelves there was a thin black hardback with Dónall Mac Amhlaigh in gold lettering on the spine. Apparently, I had written a book.

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Football, Multilingualism and Interdisciplinarity

by Lisa-Maria Müller

“Tooor, Tooor, Tooor, Tooor, Tooor, Tooor! I wer’ narrisch!” Cordoba 1978, Austria beats Germany 3:2 – a legendary victory the country still hasn’t quite recovered from (not least because Austria isn’t necessarily spoiled with football victories). 

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