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Very British problems.


When reporting on ELT from a London office, it’s easy to get obsessed with the UK, but the future of English is global, writes Melanie Butler.

‘Never forget you’re British’. That was the sobriquet bestowed by a Hausa speaking radio presenter on a BBC English by Radio course I once produced for broadcast in West Africa.

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Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.

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It’s more important than ever to know how to be a good host.

You’re welcome. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, these three English words are said as a polite answer when someone thanks you for doing something. But welcome is not the word we use when we receive guests. Instead you hear ‘Come on in’ or ‘Make yourself at home’.

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Fairy dust is fine for Christmas, just keep it out of the classroom.


As the old year creeps into the new I spy some grounds for celebration, Melanie Butler writes.

On our news pages, accredited Irish language schools are supporting a ban on zero hour contracts. The British Council is questioning the constant quest for English Medium Instruction.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, the bats are sporting regional accents.

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It all comes down to the right brainwaves.


Neuroscientific studies into language learning could produce a wealth of evidence to help teachers, writes Melanie Butler

Neuroscience loves language learning. And I am learning to love neuroscience. As my ageing brain struggles to deal with life in any of my languages, I find it such a comfort to know that multilingualism protects against dementia.

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Appoint a busy woman – you’d be a fool not to

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A critical mass of women will come into management positions only when there are enough role models to inspire them, writes Irena Barker.

I was up a windswept hill in the driving rain with my three young children when I first shouted the word ‘idiot’ at one of them. My middle child was standing at a 45 degree angle in the howling wind atop a vast cairn with his raincoat wide open. He was rummaging in his bag for a KitKat.

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