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The moist hated words in the English language

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Claudia Civinini writes

Is there a reason why people hate the word ‘moist’? Research says there is – and it has to do with its semantics more than its sound.
With social media periodically bringing up the topic, we decided to dig for the evidence.

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Bilinguals better at recognising voices

Lucélia Ribeiro Sandy

Claudia Civinini writes

Bilingualism is known to give children many advantages, but a new one has been added to the list.

A new piece of research has revealed that bilingual children are better than their monolingual counterparts at recognising voices.

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Not-so-bright and early

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by Claudia Civinini

Education policy makers have been emphasising the importance of starting foreign language learning early…but could it be a waste of time?

When it comes to learning a foreign language, the earlier, the better – right? Think again.

This common assumption may join the ever-growing group of edu-myths unless policies for introducing early language learning in schools have a stronger evidence base, research suggests.

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‘Don’t give up on Germany’s early start policies’, says academic

GERMANchildren

Prof Eva Wilden says there is not enough evidence to suggest the programmes will fail.

Early language learning in Germany has not failed its purpose – but more research is needed to understand why early starters lose their lead at secondary level, an academic has told the Gazette.

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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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Languages influence perception of time

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by Claudia Civinini

How you perceive time depends on the language you speak, a new study suggests.

The research adds to growing evidence that shows ‘the ease with which language can creep into our most basic senses, including our emotion and our visual perception’, researchers said.

In an experiment on Swedish-Spanish bilinguals, linguists Professor Panos Athanasopoulos and Professor Emanuel Bylund observed that participants understood time duration differently according to the language they used.

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Debunked ‘learning styles’ theory still part of gold-standard EFL qualifications

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...But Cambridge English has now pledged to remove the phrase from Celta and Delta syllabuses

by Claudia Civinini

Cambridge English Language Assessment has been referring to the concept of ‘learning styles’ in its Celta and Delta EFL qualifications even though the theory has long been debunked by academics, it has emerged.

The Cambridge English Teaching Framework, which underpins the two qualifications, contains references to learning styles – ‘visual, auditory, kinaesthetic’ – under the competency area ‘understanding learners’.

Teacher trainers have confirmed that trainees on these courses have been required to show an awareness of their students’ learning style, both in their assignments and their teaching practice.

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