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Bilinguals take ‘hybrid’ approach to reading

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By Claudia Civinini

The way your brain works when you read varies depending on the languages you speak, a review of research suggests – and bilinguals adopt a ‘hybrid’ approach to reading in both tongues.
Being bilingual could even help you learn to read if you have dyslexia, the research adds.

The researchers explain that learning to read in some languages – where the sounds correspond directly to individual letters on the page – makes the brain decode written texts in very small chunks (such as single letters).

These ‘transparent’ languages include Italian and Spanish, for example.

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Under African skies

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‘Leave your assumptions behind’ – a maxim that should be engraved on every classroom door. But it is even more important in sub-Saharan Africa. Teacher and author Jason Anderson talks about the challenges of teaching in the region

Remember last year’s ELTons winner Teaching English in Africa? Its author Jason Anderson tells the Gazette about his experiences.

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Teach in a university


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As more private language schools have limited funds for training and development, Hannah Alexander-Wright explores if teaching English as a foreign language at a university could be the natural next step in your career.

The Gazette asked five university tutors, based both in the UK and the US, what it’s really like to teach in academic institutions.

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The importance of meaningful conversation

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The globalisation of English often focuses on doing business, but the language is a powerful tool for communicating across cultures and across ideologies.

Last month’s Iatefl conference in Glasgow I started my presentation using the evocative image of a campfire. I see this as a metaphor for meaningful group interaction. Whenever I engage in deep conversation with a group of people, I feel as if transported back to the roots of humanity, when the fire was the magnet bringing homo sapiens together, giving us warmth and being the bond that built communities. Whenever I see a circular formation emerging naturally out of a group of students waiting for a class to start, for example, I feel the pull of that imaginary fire.

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The perils of using slang in the air

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Headlines suggested that pilots who are non-native English speakers are to blame for aeroplane near-misses. But is this the whole story?

Claudia Civinini talks to the author of the report that hit the news

For Dr Clark, language and aviation are life-long passions. Once a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, she then obtained an MA and PhD in linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London, and went on to become a researcher and a consultant.

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